There are also many classic food combinations that contain all nine essential amino acids when combined. By most definitions, soy is considered a complete protein (. Certain populations have lived mainly on soy and have remained very healthy. Tofu is one of the original complete vegan proteins, and too often it's ignored by kitchen professionals.
Tofu is made from soy, which contains all nine essential amino acids in the right proportion. Tempeh and edamame, also forms of soy, are also complete proteins. Of those 20 amino acids, nine are considered “essential”, meaning that our body cannot manufacture them and we must consume them in our daily diet. These include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Complete proteins, such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products, contain all 20, while most plant-based protein sources are limited to at least one essential amino acid. These whole-grain vegetable protein pairings can serve as a base for cuisine-inspired dishes, with or without the addition of other proteins. The caveat, as for many other food enthusiasts, is that you are incorporating more vegetable proteins through whole foods and not through processed products that are formulated to look like hamburgers or chicken nuggets. There are some plant-based foods that contain the nine essential amino acids that qualify them as a complete source of protein, such as soy (tofu, tempeh, edamame or soy milk), quinoa, buckwheat and pistachios.
When served in the form of a burrito or wrap, the dish can be converted into a complete protein if other proteins are added to it, such as a chipotle cheese sauce. Research generally shows that plant proteins are not as well absorbed as animal proteins (between 60 and 90%, depending on the plant). Wheat and chickpea proteins combine perfectly to fill those amino acid gaps and provide a good source of protein for the day. It's not a perfect source of protein, but it's extremely good and one of the best plant-based sources of protein.
For this dish to be a complete protein, something that must always be taken into account when formulating with vegetable proteins, it must contain other ingredients that have sufficient amounts of the limiting amino acid.