High protein vegetarian meals are easier to come by than you’d think! Give your body a boost in plant-based protein with these delicious meat-free dishes.
It’s the question every plant-based eater has heard at some point. “If you’re vegetarian, where do you get your protein?” And it’s kind of like…what? Plant-based protein is everywhere and it can be so delicious!
Because the truth is, protein comes from more than just animals!
I decided to round up some of my favorite protein-rich meals that you can use as an easy reference for days when you need to add a little extra something to your food lineup.
Protein Quality vs Quantity
Oh hi, Sarah here, a degreed nutritionist popping in to get food nerdy with you for a sec. When thinking about protein, it’s important to remember two things: amount and quality.
According to Harvard Health, the average person needs 50 to 60 grams of protein each day (that’s about 200 to 250 calories of protein), an easy number to reach on a plant-based diet.
But you also need to think about protein quality. Protein is made up of amino acids, and there are nine essential amino acids that we need to get from our diet. Most meat products are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids. Plants, on the other hand, are often incomplete proteins. This simply means that you need to eat a variety of plant protein sources to ensure your body gets all the amino acids it needs!
Here are a few plant-based protein combos that when eaten together make a complete protein source (we call these complementary proteins!):
- Rice + Beans (like Spanish Rice)
- Wheat + Nuts (like PB&J)
- Wheat + Legumes (like hummus and pita)
- Legumes + Corn (like Chickpea Corn Salad)
High protein vegetarian recipes
Whether you’re a full vegetarian, participate in your fair share of Meatless Mondays, or just like to enjoy meat-free dishes once in a while, check out these vegetarian meals filled with ample protein and mouth watering flavor.
Tofu is a widely versatile food that has rightfully earned its spot as a plant-based staple. This particular recipe is packed with protein by using tofu (obviously) as well as hummus to create a delish faux-egg scramble! (28.5 grams of protein)
Almond Crusted Baked Tofu Nuggets
Almonds are a tiny protein powerhouse. When combined with tofu, you know there's something special going on! These tasty little almond crushed baked tofu nuggets pair with a delicious avocado and Greek yogurt sauce for double the protein. (21 grams of protein)
Greek comfort food that doubles as a protein-filled, nutrient-rich meal? I'll take it! This recipe uses tempeh to create plant-based "lamb," in addition to a delicious creamy bechamel sauce. (26.3 grams of protein)
Bulgur Falafel Wraps with Yogurt Tahini Sauce
Try this for your next Meatless Monday! It's a crispy pan-friend bulgur falafel placed on a yummy pita flatbread and topped with tahini (a protein-rich ingredient) yogurt sauce! (20.3 grams protein)
Roasted Veggie and Spanish Rice Meal Prep
This Tex-Mex inspired meal goes heavy on the flavor and the protein. Enjoy rice, beans, and roasted veggies decked out with a creamy cilantro dressing. (34.2 grams protein)
Parmesan & Almond Baked Asparagus Fries
The perfect appetizer, snack, or side dish lies in these parmesan and almond fries. Oh, the flavor! These high-protein bites are breaded with almonds, eggs, and parmesan and are paired with a Greek yogurt sauce! (27 grams protein)
Roasted Chickpea Kale Salad with Tzatziki Dressing
Roasted chickpea kale salad is basically a gyro unloaded into a bowl and topped with delicious tzatziki dressing! Ingredients include chickpeas, Greek yogurt, feta, and spinach, making this a protein powerhouse of a meal. (27.7 grams protein)
Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowls with Yum Sauce
Taste the rainbow with this roasted veggie-packed buddha bowl! It's a delicious meal made with sweet potato, couscous, and chickpeas and is drizzled with tasty yum sauce! Don't forget the pomegranate! (22.5 grams protein)
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
This one is great for chilly nights. It's a quinoa veggie soup made with celery, carrots, quinoa, etc. and warm broth! It tastes like chicken noodle soup but is completely meat-free. (20.4 grams protein)
Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
Pretty much everyone loves a good parm recipe! This one is no different, as it's cooked to perfection with eggplant slices, tomatoes, and more. To top it all off, we include a generous layer of mozzarella and parmesan cheese! (20.6 grams protein)
Pressed Eggplant Sandwiches
In my opinion, anything made with ciabatta bread is a winner! This delicious (and I mean DELICIOUS) sandwich is filled with flavorful ingredients like mozarella, eggplant, bell peppers, and more. Pesto makes it complete. (23 grams protein)
Stovetop Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
You haven't had mac and cheese until you've had it with butternut squash! This version is filled with protein because it's made with a creamy squash, cheese, and Greek yogurt blend that flavors the pasta to cheesy perfection. (20.1 grams protein)
Easy Mushroom Risotto
Mushrooms are often overlooked, but not with this recipe! Enjoy a creamy and cheesy meal made with arborio rice, shallots, parmesan, butter, and mushrooms! You can also add white wine for extra flavor. (23.9 grams protein)
Healthy Slow Cooker Potato Soup
Grab your slow cooker and throw in some broth, potatoes, chickpeas, cheddar, and more for a lower-calorie meat-free flavorful potato soup! Is it just me, or do slow cooker recipes always taste the best? (22.7 grams protein)
Creamy Vegan White Bean Soup
You can never go wrong with a vegan soup. This white bean rendition uses veggie broth, spinach, onion, celery, and plenty of garlic to create a flavor bomb that's just as warm and cozy as it is delicious! (23.6 grams protein)
Tempeh Tacos with Avocado Kiwi Salsa
These tempeh tacos are veggie tacos with a bit of extra oomph. They're filled with spice-seasoned tempeh and topped with a deliciously fruity avocado kiwi salsa. They're not your average veggie tacos! (24 grams protein)
Buffalo Tempeh Sandwiches
I often call tempeh the best vegetarian comfort food, because it is! Season it a certain way and it tastes absolutely indulgent. For this recipe, we're slapping it on a roll alongside provolone cheese, veggies, and dressing for a delicious buffalo tempeh sandy! (26.2 grams protein)
Black Bean Boo-dle Soup
Get spooky any time of the year with this boo-dle soup! It's made with creamy black beans, thick noodles, and tasty veggies to provide lots of protein and fuel. (31.7 grams protein)
Buffalo Tempeh Tenders
Everyone loves a good tender, whether it's tempeh or actual meat! These meat-free buffalo tenders are crispy, delicious, and downright perfect when slathered with creamy buffalo sauce. (28.9 grams protein)
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