Misinformation and myths about the amount of protein a person needs per day leave everyone wondering, vegans included, if they're eating sufficient protein. A wholesome vegan diet that includes legumes, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and fruits fulfills the requirements for protein without much effort, since plant-based proteins check the box just as well as animal-derived ones do. All of these recipes are also vegan if you skip the optional sour cream or cheese topping the recipe suggests.
Remember that the recommended daily average protein intake for an adult woman is barely 46 grams and 56 grams for a man (which varies somewhat depending on your weight). These recipes are in descending order of protein content per serving, so for more protein, start at the top of the list.
Easy Vegetarian TVP Chili
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is commonly used in vegan and vegetarian recipes and it's a good source of protein. It is a soy product so it isn't suitable for all diets, but if you don't have soy allergies it's a good choice when you need to add texture to your vegan preparations. With an outstanding 34 grams of protein per serving, this vegan chili has a wonderful texture and is hearty and filling, perfect for a cold day. You can make it more or less spicy by varying the amount of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Serving it with plain toasted baguette or crackers can help tone down the heat.
Vegetarian Tofu Chili
Kidney beans and tofu provide a one-two punch of protein (31 grams per serving). This recipe also includes mushrooms and bell peppers, which you don't see in many chili recipes. Use brown rice as a side dish for an extra 5 grams of protein per cooked cup of the grain and you'll get a filling a nutrient-dense dish that is also high in fiber.
Vegetarian Tempeh Chili
This chili uses both beans and tempeh to provide 28 grams of protein per serving. Tempeh is a protein food made from fermented soybeans and other grains like barley. It is more flavorful than tofu, and when diced into the chili, it makes for an easy meat substitute. Tempeh has a firmer texture so it's easier to handle when grilling or pan-frying it, but some brands contain gluten. If you want a gluten-free recipe, you'll need to look for gluten-free tempeh.
Vegetarian Low-fat Lentil Soup
Lentils have a meaty flavor that is impossible to resist. Filling and full of texture and body, this type of legume is fantastic in soups and also great when grounded for meat-less patties. This soup is low in fat but high in protein (21 grams of protein per serving). The recipe calls for lemon juice, thyme, and bay leaf to perk up the flavor and it's a satisfying bowl to enjoy in cold weather. Some slices of avocado pair well with the flavors and croutons for some crunch are irresistible.
Vegetarian Chili With Mock Meat
If you're making chili for someone who might miss meat, or if you're craving a thick hearty soup, this recipe calls for Smart Ground, a product that tastes and acts similar to ground beef, but has less fat and also zero cholesterol. Filled with vegetables, this recipe is very forgiving and you can't go wrong by adding more. With substantial protein content (21 grams of protein per serving), it can be served with rice or soft corn tortillas or spread with vegan sour cream or vegan cream cheese for extra indulgence.
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili
Sweet potatoes and carrots play against the spiciness of the chili powder in this high-protein vegetarian chili recipe (19 grams of protein per serving). You can also make this gluten-free by choosing a gluten-free vegetable broth or making the broth yourself. You'll get a big burst of vitamin A and plenty of vitamin C and iron. When served with a cup of cooked quinoa, you add an extra 8 grams of protein.
Crockpot Vegetable Chili Recipe
This easy crockpot chili has lots of veggies, so If your summer garden is producing a bounty, you could make this soup and freeze portions to enjoy in the weeks to come. You'll enjoy a big blast of vitamins A and C and a high protein punch (15 grams of protein per serving). Just put the ingredients together, turn on the crockpot, go to sleep, and wake up to a house filled with the smell of this aromatic dish.
Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup
By using canned beans and prepared salsa, you can put this black bean soup together in the time it takes to heat it up on the stovetop. If you've got both in the pantry or refrigerator, you're just a few steps away from a quick high-protein vegetarian or vegan meal (14.5 grams of protein per serving). Crush some corn tortillas on top, or use a spoonful of guacamole for creaminess, and this dish will constantly appear on your weekly menu. Simple, fast, and healthy!
Yellow Split Pea Dhal
Dhal or dal is a soup based on lentils, beans or peas, a staple of many cuisines in South Asia. There are as many variations on dhal as there are people, seemingly, because each family has a favorite take on this traditional dish. Enjoy the flavors of turmeric, cayenne, cumin, and cloves—all very aromatic and also anti-inflammatory foods. It has a reasonable protein count (4 grams of protein per serving) and is usually served with roti, naan, or rice. You'll be using your bread to clean up every last drop!
Fat-free Curried Split Pea and Potato Soup
If you'd like a non-fat vegan soup, look no further. Made with carrots, potatoes, and celery, this curried split pea soup recipe is also a good source of vitamins A and C. It's filling and low in calories, good for those who are trying to watch their weight, but also contains a good amount of protein (3 grams of protein per serving), especially if served with 3 ounces of grilled tofu for an extra 8 grams of protein.