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World Chefs: Overcoming skepticism about meatless meals

Aug 9, 2011, 3:18 a.m.

Q: Was it an easy thing to do?"

A: "It really was because I just experimented."

Q: A big concern for vegetarians is getting enough protein. How do you address that?

A: "Whole grains, beans and nuts are naturally rich in proteins and even vegetables that people don't expect. My favorite thing to tell people is that a cup of steamed broccoli has five grams of proteins, so when you sit down and eat two cups of steamed broccoli you are going to eat 10 grams of protein, which is the equivalent to maybe half a chicken breast. When you incorporate all these things together in whole meals you will find that you have more than enough protein."

Q: What advice would you give a family that wants to reduce the amount of animal protein in their diet?

A: "I would say approach it from the idea that you will do it slowly and take it one step at a time ... Make the food and it will speak for itself. When you have clean plates you will realize that your family may be more ready for this than you think."

Green and Red Lentil Enchiladas (makes 8)

1 30-ounce cans of prepared green enchilada sauce, divided

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

8 to 10 corn tortillas or La Hacienda de Peas Tortillas

2 cups non-dairy (i.e. Daiya) or organic cheese

1 4-ounce can sliced olives, drained

Trimmings: non-dairy or organic sour cream, chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce, diced fresh tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Bring one can enchilada sauce and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, onion and jalapeno, if using, and cook approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Liquid should be absorbed completely and lentils should be tender. Stir in chopped cilantro and set aside.

Meanwhile, wrap 8 to 10 tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for approximately 30 to 45 seconds to soften

4. Pour the last can of green enchilada sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.

5. Put several spoonfuls of the lentil mixture into each tortilla and roll, placing the tortilla seam-side down in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas

6. Pour an additional cup of green enchilada sauce over rolled tortillas (you may not use all the sauce), and top with cheese and sliced olives.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Paul Casciato)

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