Many people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are concerned about adequate protein intake. The truth is that in a balanced, plant-based diet, hitting your daily protein quota isn't at all difficult. For those eating eggs and dairy, it's less of a problem. Legumes, nuts, grains, root vegetables, and, yes, fruits and vegetables have protein in varying quantities, so if you plan your meals and know their nutritional content this shouldn't be an issue.
By simply incorporating tofu, quinoa, barley, nuts, kamut, or beans, amongst other ingredients, into your vegetarian or vegan recipes, you will instantly increase the protein content in the dish and create a filling meal.
01 of 20
This comforting warm cereal is flavored with maple and cinnamon and studded with raisins, which may remind you (or the kids) of your favorite instant oatmeal. Made with quinoa instead of oats, this breakfast has about 30 percent more protein than traditional oatmeal, with a healthy 7 grams per serving.
Add berries or dried fruits like apricots or dates. For this breakfast to be ready, you need a total of 25 minutes, less if you're using leftover quinoa or instant quinoa.
Serve it with a veggie smoothie for an extra 4 grams of protein.
02 of 20
This breakfast dish, similar to a spinach omelet, has a bit of umami flavor, giving it an unexpected but delicious finish. Sautee tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, and spinach until tender, add the tofu, and then drizzle everything with a bit of soy sauce and lemon juice. With 36 grams of protein per serving, this is more than you need to start your day with a boost of energy.
Serve it with a coconut-raspberry smoothie for an extra 5 grams of protein.
03 of 20
Just because you don't eat meat doesn't mean you can't recreate a dish with the flavors of sausage. By using a vegetarian sausage substitute, you're making a dish with traditional sausage flavoring and adding a good 18 grams of protein to your morning.
Plan on making the casserole the night before so the mixture of sausage, egg substitute, soy milk, sauteed onion, and soy cheese can rest and meld together. You need 2 hours to prep and 1 hour in the oven
Serve with a watermelon smoothie for an extra 3 grams of protein.
04 of 20
These pancakes are flavorful and delicious. The soy milk, tofu, and pecans add protein to the recipe while the apples bring a healthy dose of fiber and vitamin C. If you have 20 minutes in the morning, simply blend all ingredients, but the pecans, gently fold those into the batter and pour onto a hot griddle. Enjoy with fresh fruit and maple syrup or honey, or top with sliced bananas and cinnamon.
This tasty breakfast has 8 grams of protein per serving, but if you want more, have a glass of homemade almond milk for an extra 5 grams of protein.Continue to 5 of 20 below.
05 of 20
This no-protein-powder smoothie brings 26 grams of protein per serving. The best part? You just need 5 minutes to prep it.
Blend white beans, soy yogurt, pineapple juice, strawberries, honey, ginger, and nutmeg. The beans are so mild-flavored and the fruit is so sweet that you won't notice the beans while they add thickness to the smoothie and a beautiful silky texture. Add a frozen banana for extra creaminess, or 3 ounces of silk tofu to up the protein content with 7 extra grams.
06 of 20
Colorful and fresh, this bean and vegetable salad has the flavors of garlic, onion, parsley, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar, making it ideal for a summer cookout side dish. Serve with 100 grams of quinoa (4 grams) or brown rice (2.6 grams) for extra nutrition.
This salad takes 10 minutes to make and has 33 grams of protein per serving.
07 of 20
Fresh herbs and the pesto sauce make this a colorful plate filled with crunchy textures and fantastic flavors. This salad is loaded with protein thanks to the bulgar wheat, feta cheese, edamame, and chickpeas.
Keep it vegan by skipping the cheese, or add fried tofu for an extra 14 grams of protein per serving of salad. You need 35 minutes to plate this healthy dish. Each serving of salad has 23 grams of protein.
Serve it with pitas and black hummus, which brings a kick of flavor and an extra 4 grams of protein per serving.
08 of 20
Fluffy quinoa and crunchy pecans—two great sources of protein—work well together to create complementary textures in this brightly flavored salad. Batch cooking grains and keeping them in your fridge is a great way of having ready-to-use ingredients that will save you time and also help you make healthy choices.
For this salad, use pre-cooked quinoa and mix it with pecans, mint, parsley, green onions, and a quick vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon juice. Only 15 minutes to prepare and 6 grams of protein per serving.Continue to 9 of 20 below.
09 of 20
You get a double dose of protein in this healthy and delicious wrap—first from the roasted red pepper hummus and then from the black beans. Vegetables such as mushrooms and corn add texture and nutrition while the poblano pepper brings a bit of smokiness to the recipe.
Each wrap has 13 grams of protein and you need 25 minutes total to serve this dish.
Toss a quick salad and serve with avocado slices, which also contain protein at 2 grams per 100-gram serving.
10 of 20
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that comes in cake form and that can be found in its plain form (just soy) or with added grains like fermented rice. It's very easy to cook and can be used as a meat substitute in any recipe you'd like. Just slice and cook as you'd cook tofu.
Our salad uses tempeh as "chicken." Combined with vegan mayo, lemon juice, onion, celery, fresh parsley, and curry powder, it's the nucleus of a fresh and tasty salad. Place a scoop over a bed of lettuce, on an avocado half, or on a slice of toasted bread.
This salad takes 20 minutes to make and has 7 grams of protein per serving.
11 of 20
For a twist on the traditional chili, try this hearty, vegan, and gluten-free dish. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes is a pleasant counterpoint to the cayenne pepper, cumin, and chili powder. The black beans add a nice texture and good dose of protein, making for a satisfying stew the whole family will love.
Each serving of chili has 19 grams of protein and the stew cooks in just 25 minutes after 10 minutes of prep. Serve over brown rice, or crush tortillas on top. Use a dollop of vegan sour cream or cream cheese to add some creaminess to your chili.
12 of 20
Lentils are high in protein and fiber, so you won't need too big a serving of our soup to feel satisfied. Carrots and onions add flavor to this healthy soup, while thyme and bay leaves bring a beautiful aroma.
Prep time is 5 minutes, while cook time on the stove is 50 minutes. If you're batch cooking, double the amounts and freeze in individual portions for weekday lunches or dinners. Make quinoa, brown rice or baked potatoes for the week and you won't have to worry about what you're making for dinner.
The recipe offers 21 grams of protein per bowl. Serve this soup with slices of avocado (2 grams of protein per 100 grams) and pepitas on top (5 grams of protein per 30 grams).Continue to 13 of 20 below.
13 of 20
This famous spiced Indian soup can be made with split peas or lentils. Our version features yellow split peas cooked in water or broth along with turmeric and cayenne. Top the soup with onions sauteed in cumin and clove, and garnish with cilantro or parsley for a colorful bowl.
Cook the soup in 40 minutes for 4 grams of protein per serving and barely 78 calories. Serve with brown rice or homemade naan.
14 of 20
This tortilla pie has cheese and optional sour cream, but it can be veganized by using vegan cheese and vegan cream cheese in the same amounts. Cook the beans with onion, pepper, garlic, salsa, and cumin. Layer tortillas with bean sauce and top with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted.
When topped with tomatoes, olives, avocado, and sour cream, this high-protein dish is hearty, nutritious, and satisfying enough for even the meat-eaters at the table. With 33 grams of protein per serving, this casserole takes 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to bake.
15 of 20
If you need an easy lunch for the family but don't have time to be in front of the stove, prep this lasagna in 10 minutes and put it in the slow cooker for 6 hours. By lunchtime, you'll have a creamy lasagna ready for your family without worrying about the oven or without having to clean so many pots.
Each serving of lasagna has 25 grams of protein.
16 of 20
You don´t have to miss out on Chinese sweet and sour flavors if you're vegan. This tempeh recipe has all the best of those flavors without the meat and fats. Cook this high-protein soy ingredient with pineapple and bell peppers in a sweet and sour sauce of soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch.
Prep in 10 minutes, cook in 20, and sit down to a Chinese-inspired meal with 10 grams of protein per serving. Make brown rice or serve your tempeh alongside Szechuan style vegan noodles to keep up with the "Chinese take-out" theme.Continue to 17 of 20 below.
17 of 20
Bring these healthy burgers to your next BBQ cookout, or make them for your family on a special evening. Simply mash black beans, and combine with sauteed onions, seasonings, breadcrumbs, flour, and spices. Make patties and pan fry for 3 minutes on each side. The total prep and cooking time is just 20 minutes.
Serve a burger bar with warm rolls, fresh vegetables, salsa, avocado, vegan cheese, hot sauce, cassava chips, and guacamole. Let each guest make his own burger with the different toppings.
Each burger has over 8 grams of protein, but with all the add-ons you're in for a filling, protein-packed lunch. Replace breadcrumbs for quinoa or brown rice, and flour for chickpea flour for a gluten-free version.
18 of 20
For our vegan "meat" loaf we use a vegan beef substitute and mix it with onions, garlic, bell pepper, seasonings, ketchup, and oatmeal. This becomes a dough that you bake for 30 minutes and then cover with a sauce of ketchup, sugar, dry mustard and nutmeg to give moisture and a chewy texture.
Each serving has 5 grams of protein, but serve it with a bulgur salad for an extra 5 grams.
19 of 20
20 of 20
These breaded nuggets look and taste similar to their chicken counterpart, and when served with different sauces, everyone may be fooled. Great sides for these tasty, crunchy pieces of tofu include homemade ketchup, white bean hummus, vegan pesto, BBQ sauce, and pink sauce.
After pressing the tofu for 30 minutes, you prep in 15 and cook for a few minutes of frying, or bake for 25 minutes if using the oven. Each serving offers 17 grams of protein.