You are here

6 High-Protein Vegan Meal Ideas

6 High-Protein Vegan Meal Ideas

1 of 7

All photos

"Where do you get your protein?" It's the most common question I get when people find out that I'm a vegan. My answer? There are a zillion ways to incorporate vegan protein into your diet! Between beans, legumes, quinoa, nuts, and so much more, I'm never short on non-animal protein sources. Here are six of my favorite protein-packed vegan meals. They're all super easy to make and perfect for any summer night. Happy eating!

Southwestern Salad

2 of 7

All photos

This salad is perfect for summer—fresh, light, and full of protein, thanks to the quinoa, black beans, vegetables, and tofu from the dressing. Want to beef it up even more? Just add tempeh! Fun fact: Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods you can eat, and it's a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving):
2-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce or leafy green of choice
1 serving red quinoa cooked and chilled (1/4 cup dry)
½ cup black beans
½ cup corn
½ cup jicama, sliced
½ cup red pepper, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp red onion, diced
Optional: barbeque tempeh or tempeh bacon and/or avocado slices and/or pumpkin seeds

For the dressing (use as much as you like and save the rest for later!):
1/4 of a 10oz container of soft silken tofu, drained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp mustard
½ tsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions: Put all of the salad ingredients in a bowl, blend up the dressing ingredients in a food processor, use it to top the salad, and enjoy!

Leek, Artichoke, & Lentil Mung Bean Linguine

3 of 7

All photos

Mung bean linguine is an awesome gluten-free, vegan pasta substitute that delivers 20g protein per 187-calorie serving! The combo of mung bean pasta, lentils, and vegan nutritional yeast makes this delicious dish practically pure protein. Bonus: Cheesy tasting vegan nutritional yeast is a great source for vitamin B12, which is hard to come by in a vegan diet, so sprinkle more on top if you want!

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings):
1 package(7.05oz) of organic mung bean linguine
1 can organic lentils
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and chopped
1 12oz can or jar of artichoke hearts, rinsed and sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
½ cup vegan nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp vegan margarine

Directions: Melt vegan margarine in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, onion, and leeks, and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the lentils, lemon, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Cook the mung bean linguine al dente per the package instructions and reserve ½ cup pasta water. Transfer the cooked mung bean linguine into the pot with the artichoke, lentil mixture, add the nutritional yeast and reserved pasta water as needed, and mix all together, adding fresh lemon juice to taste. Enjoy!

Chickpea Veggie Burger & Sweet Potato Fries with Tahini Sauce

4 of 7

All photos

Next time you're craving a burger and fries, enjoy this meal without guilt!

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings):
For the tahini sauce:
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

For the chickpea burgers:
1 (15.5oz) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, divided

Finishing touches:
4 mini whole-wheat pitas
Chopped romaine lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 cup sliced red onion

Directions: To prepare sauce, combine all sauce ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth. To prepare the patties, combine all of the patty ingredients except for the breadcrumbs in a food processor and mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer that bean mixture into a large bowl; stir in 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. Divide the bean mixture into four equal portions, shaping each into a patty. Place remaining 1/4 cup breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dredge patties in breadcrumbs.
Heat 2 teaspoons vegan margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.


Lightly toast the pitas. Fill each pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a patty. Drizzle with tahini sauce (or serve sauce on side to dip.)

To prepare sweet potato fries, heat broiler, thinly slice one small sweet potato per person (so four for four servings) into chip like pieces, lay flat on a cookie sheet, lightly salt, and then broil 3 minutes on each side or until lightly crisped. Serve the sweet potato fries along with the burger and enjoy!

Soy Ginger Un-Fried Rice with Kale & Sunflower Seeds

5 of 7

All photos

Some of my favorite flavors come together in this super-healthy version of the Chinese food staple. Tofu takes place of the egg in traditional fried rice, and edamame adds even more soy protein. Steamed kale tossed with sunflower seeds makes the perfect, nutrient-packed accompaniment.

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings):
½ cup dry basmati rice
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp dark sesame oil
½ yellow onion, chopped
12oz package of firm tofu, chopped
10oz package frozen mixed vegetables (California or Thai mix works great), thawed
1 cup chopped peppers (red and green)
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 square inch of ginger, minced (or more if you love ginger!)
4 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
¼ cup of chopped cilantro
1 small head of kale, chopped or torn
¼ cup sunflower seeds

Directions: Cook brown basmati rice according to package directions, substituting vegetable broth for water. While cooking, heat sesame oil in a wok on medium-high heat, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 2 minutes, and then add the tofu, stirring frequently until browned. Next, add the ginger, mixed vegetables, edamame, peppers, soy sauce or tamari, and cilantro and stir. Once the rice is done cooking, add the rice to the vegetable mixture, turn heat to low, add salt, pepper, and extra soy sauce or tamari if desired, and cover for 5-10 minutes. While rice mixture is on low, steam kale and then toss with sunflower seeds. Divide into four portions, serve the un-fried rice along side the kale, and enjoy!

Mediterranean Salad

6 of 7

All photos

Easy, quick, and delicious, this salad is one of my favorite “no-time-to-cook” stand-bys. It fills you up with protein from tempeh and hummus, and it leaves nothing to be desired on the flavor front!

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving):
2-4 cups mixed greens
3 slices of tempeh bacon, cooked per package instructions and chopped
4 Tbsp hummus
4 black olives, pitted and chopped
1 Tbsp red onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
½ small cucumber, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Place all ingredients except for the hummus in a bowl with lid, shake well. Add the hummus on top, and enjoy!

Cuban Plate

7 of 7

All photos

I love plantains, but they are always served deep fried, which never sits well with my stomach. Here, oven baked plantains are equally as delicious as their fried counterparts, and are paired perfectly with protein-packed lime-cilantro beans and quinoa; heart healthy guacamole completes it all!

Ingredients (Makes 2 servings):
2 ripe yellow plantains
1 can kidney or pink beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp cilantro (more if you're making guacamole)
½ onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
½ cup dry red quinoa, cooked according to package directions

For the guacamole (Slightly altered from my Aunt Kari, the queen of avocados, to make plenty for this plate and for leftovers. Because everyone loves guacamole!):
2 ripe avocados, diced and lightly mashed with a fork
1 small tomato, diced
1/3 small red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp diced cilantro
Juice ¼ lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: To prepare the guacamole, mix all of the ingredients together, and then cover and place in the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Meanwhile, in a small pot, heat margarine on medium heat, and add onion and garlic. Sauté until caramelized, and then mix in the beans, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. While the beans are simmering, turn the broiler on high, chop the plantains into chip-like slices, and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Lightly salt and then broil for about 3 minutes on each side or until lightly crisped. To plate: Start with the quinoa, top with beans, and serve plantains and guacamole on the side. Enjoy!