There are two common concerns around protein and vegan eating: getting enough protein and getting complete proteins.
Here are 25 high-protein vegan recipes to support your plant-based lifestyle!
How to Eat High-Protein Following a Vegan Diet
Getting high amounts of protein-dense foods can be a little tricky when following a plant-based food plan.
Protein is essential for our health and wellbeing. Higher protein intakes are associated with decreased appetite, reduced food cravings, and better body composition (1,2,3). Not to mention it plays a major role in building and maintaining just about every cell in your body - including your precious lean muscle mass!
Here our own top tips for maximizing your protein when following a plant-based diet.
1. Be Precise
Having an idea of how much protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need per day will help you plan what that looks like in food.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein for a healthy adult who is physically active can range between 0.8 - 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight; most of us will average somewhere around 1 gram per kilogram of body weight (4).
Pro Tip: Buy yourself a food scale or a good set of measuring cups and spoons. This will save you a big headache when it comes to dividing up your portions accurately and ensure you are sticking to your calorie and macro goals.
Use our protein calculator, the Trifecta App or consult with a nutritionist to help you determine a healthy range of protein intake for your lifestyle and goals.
2. Use A Variety of Plant-Based Proteins
Many whole food plant proteins tend to be a source of healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients - making them an excellent nutrition choice.
However, their high amounts of carbs and fats can make balancing your plant-based macros a little trickier and lower their overall protein density. Peanut butter is considered a plant protein but is more fat than protein per calorie.
Most are also not complete proteins, meaning they are lacking certain essential amino acids compared to their animal counterparts; research suggests that consuming a diet with a proper combination of vegetable sources containing all of your essential amino acids throughout the day may be sufficient enough (5).
In other words, Aim to get plenty of variety in your diet and shoot for more complete proteins when you can.
You can find tofu, tempeh, a combination of whole grains and beans, quinoa, meat alternatives like Beyond Meat®, and even plant-based yogurts in the recipes below.
3. Diversify Your Carbohydrates
When it comes to quality carbohydrates, a vegan diet has no shortage - mainly because carbs come from plants and all foods that grow out of the ground! Which is essentially everything included on a vegan meal plan.
Some carb sources provide a small amount of protein - like whole grains and starchy vegetables, such as:
- Brown Rice or other whole grain rice
- Legumes (all varieties - chickpeas, lentils, mung beans)
Opt for more fiber-rich whole foods like whole grains and fruits and less refined carbohydrates like added sugars and those found in processed foods as the quality and type of carbohydrates can have varying impacts on our health.
4. Eat More Non-Starchy Vegetables
Low-starch vegetables are rich in important vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) and water content. This means they are naturally rich in nutrition and low in energy - making them one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Some of these vegetables pack in small amounts of protein too when consumed in the proper amounts, for example, 1 cup of grilled portabella mushroom contains up to 4 grams of protein (6).
Non-starchy vegetables you'll love:
- Bok Choy
- Broccoli Rabe
Load up your vegan meal plan with non-starchy vegetables for small amounts of added protein and plenty of beneficial micronutritints and phytonutrients.
5. Add High Protein Snacks
Whether you are trying to hit your high protein goals or just keep your hunger in check between meals, high protein snacks are a healthy eating staple.
By FDA labeling standards any snack that has at least 5 grams of protein per serving can claim it's a good source of protein and any snack with 10 grams of protein per serving or more is high in protein - even if this snack is well over 300 calories per serving.
Opt for more healthy, minimally processed snacks, made with quality whole food ingredients and natural nutrition. And, double-check the nutrition info for total calories, fat, carbs, sodium, etc. to make sure it matches your overall health needs.
Common Plant-Based High Protein Snacks:
- 1/2 Cup Edamame
- Vegan Protein Bars
- Dairy-Free Yogurt Parfait with Granola
- Protein Shakes
- 2 Rice cakes with 2 Tablespoons Nut Butter
6. Top off Your Meal Prep with Healthy Garnishes
Eating the same thing every day can get really boring. Add some life to your menu with a variety of seasonings and toppings.
7. Get A Quality Protein Powder
Supplements can also be helpful if you are finding it difficult to get enough protein without meat and dairy. With so many protein supplements hitting the market it can feel overwhelming to decide which ones are best for you.
For the cleanest powders, look for third-party certification, like USP or NSF. And opt for options with minimal added ingredients including added sugar. Avoid proprietary blends unless the actual ingredients are described.
Even though protein powders and supplements may feel like an easy way to hit your daily protein goals, they may not always be the best way.
Powders typically consist of partially broken-down proteins that are ideal for fast absorption. This works great in a lean post-gym snack or protein shake, delivering amino acids quickly to your muscles for fuel. But throughout the day this can end up being an easy way to consume too many calories.
15 High-Protein Vegan Recipes to Try
Find vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes, as well as snack options in this collection. Most of these can be used for lunch, or also as weeknight meals. Try one or all of them, and let us know what you think and how your meatless creations came out in the comments. Cheers to your health!
1. Cheesy Vegan Tofu Scramble Recipe
This savory and hearty tofu scramble mimics the texture of cheesy scrambled eggs and packs 24 grams of protein per serving. Bonus: Mix in your favorite vegetables!
2. Vegan Breakfast Muesli Recipe
A creamy, sweet, and satisfying breakfast dish to swap out when you're burnt out on oatmeal or want to try something new. Add one scoop of protein powder and get 30 grams of protein in one meal!
3. Vegan Vanilla Chai Protein Smoothie Recipe
Smoothies are a staple way to pack in the protein following a plant-based diet; blend in your favorite vegan protein powder for a quick breakfast or snack options along with a variety of whole fruits and vegetables. Our vanilla chai recipe has 31 grams of protein and tons of fall flavor.
4. Vegan California Burger Recipe
This vegan burger uses Beyond Meat®, combined with a tangy, refreshing salsa, and garlic-oriented guacamole. The macronutrients are incredibly well balanced with a whopping 30 grams of protein per burger. Serve it with a side of roasted cauliflower and enjoy a deliciously balanced meal.
2. Vegan High Protein Veggie Pasta Recipe
New plant-based protein pasta have a great texture and are produced from nutrient-rich ingredients like quinoa, lentils or chickpeas. With these protein pastas, you can pack over 30 grams of protein in your meals without the addition of a meat alternative.
3. Vegan Meatballs and Spaghetti
These comforting and savory low-carb vegan meatballs and spaghetti will leave you feeling satisfied and satiated with 20 grams of protein per 3 meatballs.
4. High Protein Pesto Pasta Recipe
Another recipe using high protein pasta paired with a tasty pesto; mix in any extra veggies you'd like!
5. Vegan Beyond Burger Chili Recipe
Enjoy a high-protein vegan chili prepared with Beyond Meat® that contains 24 grams of protein per large serving. Meal prep this ahead of time in bulk and combine it with roasted cauliflower and brown rice for a super easy meal prep option for the week!
6. Vegan Tacos with Beyond Meat
This recipe offers a whopping 30 grams of protein per two tacos. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and if desired pickled red onions.
7. Vegan Burrito Bowl Recipe
Bowls are incredibly functional - they are incredibly simple, straightforward, and delicious. My love for burritos is second to my love for tacos; it only made sense to create a burrito bowl recipe for you to use. The guac in this case is not extra.
8. Grilled Tofu Bowl Recipe
A Savory and slightly nutty grilled tofu bowl made with super simple ingredients and packs 29 grams of protein per serving.
9. Vegan BBQ Tofu Stir Fry Recipe
The beautiful thing about tofu is that it acts just like a sponge - it soaks and absorbs whatever flavor you marinate the tofu in. This Asian-oriented BBQ recipe uses a variety of whole foods and has 24 grams of protein per bowl.
10. Vegan Protein Mexican Quesadilla Recipe
A quick recipe that tastes delicious and can be prepared with beyond meat, soyrizo, or black beans for up to 30 grams of protein.
11. Tempeh Garlic Ginger Soy Bowl Recipe
Tempeh adds a different texture and protein source for your weekly meal prep pair it with a garlicky ginger sauce and BAM, you have yourself a delicious meal with 27 grams of protein.
12. Vegan Southwest Stuff Sweet Potato
For an easy lunch or dinner use a variety of plant-based protein and vegetables to create flavorful fillings to stuff in a plain roasted sweet potato. This southwest version uses beyond meat to get up to 26 grams of protein per serving.
15. Matcha Green Tea Fat Bomb Recipe
This perfect high protein and high fat snack is incredibly satiating. The outside coating is made of coconut oil powder infused with matcha tea. Aside from satisfying, this snack provides a little punch of caffeine to help you maintain energy levels. Make a big batch ahead of time and keep them refrigerated for your weekly meal prep!
Looking for more plant-based recipes and resources?
Build a comprehensive vegan meal plan utilizing all of the resources below. If you've just started or plan on starting to meal prep, remember to include your snacks and any drinks as well.
- 14 Day Vegan Meal Plan with grocery lists, recipes, and more
- How to Start Meal Prepping in 7 Simple Steps
- 40 Vegan Meal Prep Recipes High in Protein
- Low-Carb Snacks
Let Us Do The Cooking and Cleaning
Finding the time to cook well-balanced plant-based meals can be difficult, check out our ready-to-eat vegan meals to help you create the meal plan of your dreams.
Start off with 7 meals to swap out for lunch or dinner during the week and support you in your wellness journey!