Protein powders can be used for much more than you think!
There’s nothing like an ice cold smoothie in the dead of the summer or a chilled shake to cool you off after a sweaty workout sesh. Growing Naturals protein powders are perfect for such occasions where you can pair them with just about any liquid or other ingredient your little heart desires–fruits, nuts, grains, spices, herbs—you name it! With endless add-in options, you could whip up protein-packed, liquid versions of anything from dessert, to a classic American breakfast or just a regular cup of Joe.
But what if instead of ice-cold you wanted something warm or savory for Fall/Winter? Or what if you wanted something to chew on instead of drink? After all, as humans with teeth, there’s as reason why chewing food is so much more satisfying than drinking it. Can Growing Naturals rice and pea proteins be used for baking and cooking?
If you hadn’t noticed on our recipes page, our rice and pea proteins can be used in just about anything sweet to savory. Here are about 20 ways we thought of: pancakes, waffles, breads/muffins, cakes/cupcakes, energy balls, doughnuts, bars, oatmeal, (or any other porridge-type meal), granola, pudding, chocolates/truffles, cookies, brownies, salad dressings, hot beverages, soups, casseroles, etc.
Many of these foods are traditionally high in sugar/carbs and low in protein, even more so if they are made without eggs, dairy or gluten (all major sources of protein, but also allergens to millions of people). By adding Growing Naturals rice or pea protein you could boost the protein content of that food, thereby making it more nutritious. Not that there’s anything wrong with an occasional sweet treat, but who wouldn’t feel better about eating high protein brownies?
Not only that, but the added protein can help to satisfy hunger, and minimize blood sugar spikes otherwise caused by those high sugar/carb baked goods or sweets.
Oatmeal & Granola
1 cup of cooked oatmeal (made with water) contains about 6g of protein and 28g carbs. You could add a whole scoop of protein to this if you wanted, but by adding even one tablespoon of vanilla rice protein (for example), you would now be having 11g protein and 28g of carbs—almost twice of what it originally was on protein, and no added carbs. Plus you get the vanilla flavor as a bonus.
This delicious strawberries & cream oatmeal recipe was made with vanilla rice protein, for a whopping 30g of protein total. Goodbye hunger!
The same could be done with other breakfast-type porridges made from quinoa or grits, or even the increasingly popular “power bowls.” The beauty of it is being able to use the type and flavor of protein you like best and tailoring the amount of powder used to your individual needs.
Many grain-based, gluten-free flours are very low in protein, especially those used for baking like tapioca-, sorghum-, rice-, and potato flour. They range from 0-4 grams of protein per ¼ cup of dry powder. If you eat eggs and dairy, then adding protein in your pancake, waffle, muffin, bread, or other baked goodie is probably not an issue. But for those who can’t have eggs/dairy or choose not to, then Growing Naturals pea- and rice protein can serve as the protein source in those foods.
Check out this nutritious and gluten-free waffle recipe featuring our vanilla rice protein, coming in at 12g protein per 2 small waffles! Or how about these decadent, plant powered Double Chocolate Brownies made with our chocolate pea protein powder, coming in at 10g protein per serving. Is it dessert or is it nutrition?
With the exception of soymilk, or types that have been fortified with protein, nearly all non-dairy milk alternatives (almond, coconut, cashew, flax, hemp, oat, etc.) are naturally poor sources of protein, with most providing 1 gram of protein per 8 fluid ounces. Even at 4g protein per 8 ounces, oat milk provides half the amount that dairy milk provides in the same serving.
If you never consumed dairy milk in your life due to allergies or choice, then you are probably used to getting protein from alternate sources. However, if you recently made the switch to non-dairy milk, then you’ve eliminated a source of protein from your diet. Using our rice- and pea protein, you could fortify any milk of your choice, adding anywhere from 1 tablespoon of powder to a full scoop. You could drink the fortified milk as-is, pour it over your favorite cereal or even into your coffee!
It would be difficult to make a savory dish with vanilla or chocolate flavored proteins, but here’s where our unflavored, “Original” pea and rice proteins make a great fit! This Rustic Vegan Mushroom Soup uses 2/3 scoop of the Original rice protein boosting the protein content by 16g! Feeling like a delicious Caesar salad? Make this tangy vegan caeser dressing ahead of time and store it for multiple rounds. It uses our Original pea protein and gives the dressing a 45g protein boost for the whole batch!
Other foods or meals which could benefit from our unflavored versions include vegan/vegetarian casseroles, pasta sauces, dips, condiments…just about anything you can think of.
Can I cook with protein plant protein powders? Will the proteins get denatured?
When a raw egg turns solid with heat, the protein is said to have been denatured. Or when milk curdles in the presence of acid, it is also denatured. To clarify, denaturing means the chemical structure of the protein has been changed, but it does not mean the protein content is lost or no longer usable by the body. So yes, high temperatures denature proteins, but they don’t render them useless. If you think about it, a cooked egg still has protein in it. As do milk curds, like cottage cheese.
This is certainly different than overcooking or burning the protein, which can definitely destroy the protein and make it unusable by the body.
Do the protein powders substitute any ingredients like eggs or flour in baking?
Not technically. Although the protein powders have the consistency of flour, they do not serve the same function that flour does (at least not in a baked good). In baked goods, flour functions to provide the main structure of the baked good and holds the other ingredients together. If you were to replace the flour with protein powder, your baked goods may turn out to look (and taste) a bit strange.
The best move is to use the protein powders in addition to your choice flour, or to replace only a small portion of the flour. Otherwise, when making non-baked goods like bars or energy balls, using protein powder instead of flour is not an issue.
In a baked recipe, eggs serve a ton of functions: (if you didn’t know) they’re what make your baked goods cakey/spongy, they also help to retain moisture, they add color, flavor, and they help to bind the ingredients together. Our GN pea protein makes for a great 1:1 egg replacer in terms of function in a baked recipe, where 1 unpacked scoop would approximately count for 2 eggs. Rice protein does not provide these functions, but could still be added as a source of protein into the baked good.
Get Creative & Send us Your Recipe!
Wherever you chef’s hat takes you with any of these foods, the key is to start off small–add one tablespoon (approx 6-7g protein) of your favorite plant protein and add more to taste preference or protein needs. Get as creative as you can or check out our recipes page for some inspiration.
Submit your recipe and photos to Recipes@GrowingNaturals.com