High-protein vegan meals. Is there such a thing? Yes, there is!
Whether you’re new to a vegan diet or working toward becoming a seasoned pro, you might wonder how easy it is to meet your protein needs. This is especially important if you’re on a specific meal plan or hoping to snack less and mix it up during the day.
We’re happy to share that building a high-protein vegan meal can be simple and satisfying. Keep reading to learn which ingredients are good protein sources, and take a peek at our list of delicious high-protein vegan recipes.
What Are the Best Sources of Vegan Protein?
Creating delicious vegan recipes that are protein-rich doesn’t have to be a daunting task. When switching from animal products, it’s natural to wonder whether you can get enough protein in your diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of plant-based protein sources that can turn a meal from ho-hum to rock-solid both in nutrition and taste.
That said, keep in mind that not all plant-based meats offer the same quality. Spend some time reading product labels and ingredient lists. This is especially important if you’re interested in avoiding genetically modified ingredients.
Here are a few sources of vegan protein to get you started:
- Tempeh: Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh averages 31 grams of protein per cup.
- Legumes: Protein content varies. Soybeans can have up to 28 grams per cup. In comparison, lentils average 18 grams, black beans contain about 15, and chickpeas typically have 14 grams of protein per cup.
- Seitan: Seitan, also called vital wheat gluten, can clock in at more than 21 grams of protein per serving.
- Protein Powder: While this will depend on which brand you use and the blend of ingredients, you can expect a vegan protein powder to average around 22 grams of protein per scoop.
- Pea Protein: A personal favorite, pea protein is high in protein (with 16 grams per cup) and low in fat. It's more easily digestible than other plant-based proteins, is free of common allergens, and contains all nine essential amino acids. Not too shabby.
9 High-Protein Vegan Meals for Your Family
Now that you have some ideas for plant-based protein sources, it’s time to get cooking. We’ve put together a collection of beloved vegan recipes that are protein-rich and sure to become some of your family’s favorites. Don’t forget to grab your apron and a helper.
1. Easy Falafel
It doesn’t get much easier than this 10-ingredient falafel. This Mediterranean gem is full of flavor and gluten-free. And with a bit of meal prep, this recipe becomes super weeknight-friendly since you can freeze uncooked falafel patties for up to a month before cooking them — which takes just 10 minutes.
Chickpeas, parsley, shallots, oat flour, sesame seeds, and warming spices blend perfectly in your food processor. Simply shape, chill, and you’re ready to go. Perfect in pita bread or sandwich wraps, all you need is a drizzle of tahini, smear of hummus, or tzatziki to add another layer of flavor.
2. Veggie Burgers
With so many vegan burger recipes, you might not be sure which one to make next (or try for the first time). We think the Healthy Sweet Potato’s chickpea-chia seed veggie burgers could be just what you’re looking for.
Even though the ingredient list may look a little long, these veggie burgers have a prep time of just five minutes. Oats, sunflower and chia seeds, chickpeas, tamari, and other seasonings make for a burger full of umami flavor. Swapping ingredients or adding new ones to the mix is easy — try zucchini or mushrooms for extra flavor.
3. Hiyashi Chuka
Sometimes you need a little vacation, even if it's only for an evening and through the magic of cooking. For something new and fun to whip up, check out Okonomi Kitchen's vegan hiyashi chuka. This Japanese dish is a cold ramen salad, so if you're a fan of Buddha bowls or vegan salad, this is a great way to branch out.
Even though hiyashi chuka is typically made with eggs and meat, swapping those animal products for plant protein is a cinch. Just Egg would work here, as would tofu or a vegan nugget like Nowadays, which will add just the right amount of protein and crunch to your noodle bowl.
Don't forget the veggies — carrots, cucumbers, edamame, bean sprouts, lettuce, and tomatoes are right at home in a cold noodle salad. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, and you're good to go.
4. Loaded Nugget Potatoes
Sometimes baked potatoes can feel boring, but not these. Plan on having seconds because there’s nothing like tucking into loaded nugget potatoes. This recipe's humble potato becomes the ultimate vehicle for your favorite seasonings and toppings.
It doesn’t take much to make this a high-protein and filling meal. Try cashew cheese (or plant-based queso), gently steamed broccoli, and a tray of fresh-from-the-oven Nowadays nuggets. Add some spice with jalapeños, cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and your preferred sour cream and you have a dish that’s sure to stop cravings in their tracks.
5. Lentil Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs are always a crowd-pleaser for young and old alike. So naturally, we felt it deserved a place on our list of high-protein vegan meals. These lentil meatballs are grain-free, high-protein, and vegan. They can even be made oil-free if that suits your dietary preferences.
Mushrooms lend a meaty taste and pair beautifully with classic ingredients such as olive oil, Italian herbs, garlic, and onions. And they're equally tasty with traditional red sauce or herby pesto.
6. Cozy Chili
Suppose you counted on a bowl of chili to keep you full before eating a more plant-forward diet. In that case, you'll be excited to learn you can still dig into a vegan chili and be just as satisfied. We love this sweet potato and black bean chili from Nora Cooks. With a 30-minute cook time and minimal prep, you can have dinner on the table and a tidy kitchen in under an hour. It's also an ideal one-pan meal.
Full of flavor, this also makes a beautiful base recipe that you can customize to your heart's content. Try pinto or white beans instead of black beans or keep it as is and give your pot of chili a protein boost with a plant-based nugget like Nowadays. These cook up hot and crispy in the oven, adding even more flavor and a delightful texture to toppings like diced avocados, fresh cilantro, and plant-based sour cream.
7. Chicken and Waffles
Breakfast for dinner, or dinner for breakfast? We'll let you decide, but heads-up — this is one downright addictive flavor combination you're sure to adore. Sweet, savory, and everything in between, chicken and waffles are on our list of high-protein vegan meals for a good reason.
This vegan recipe will help you start (or end) your day on the perfect note while helping meet your protein intake goals in the most delicious way possible. Made with fiber-rich oat and almond flour, these waffles can easily be made ahead and frozen so you can get a delightful meal on the table even when you're pressed for time. A batch of Nowadays hot and crispy plant-based nuggets gives you 13 grams of protein per serving, so all you need is a drizzle of maple syrup and a fork to dig in.
A vegan breakfast everyone at the table will enjoy? Oh yeah.
Psst: While you may have to experiment with finding the best wet-to-dry ratios, you can always add a scoop or two of protein powder to your waffle mix!
8. Sushi Sandwiches
We know the idea of making sushi at home can seem a little intimidating. Some things are best left to the pros, right? Not this time.
You can skip the takeout and make a tailored-to-you version of sushi with onigirazu. Officially a type of Japanese rice ball, onigirazu is typically shaped into a flat rectangle, so it looks much more like a sandwich than you might expect. They're easy to prepare and made with nori sheets, so the most trouble you'll have is deciding what your fillings will be.
Rice is traditional, but quinoa or other whole grains would be fantastic choices. For the filling, don't be shy about taking a cue from a favorite stir-fry recipe. Red peppers, carrots, and green onions would pair nicely with crispy tofu and a delicate miso dipping sauce. While we know it's not traditional, a plant-based chicken nugget like Nowadays makes for a fun and kid-friendly twist.
Sushi sandwiches and other vegan meals for kids (and adults!) are officially in.
9. Crispy Tacos
Whether you've got a craving for Mexican or just want to try something new for Taco Tuesday, we've got you covered. These crispy tacos with pico de gallo are excellent for a busy weeknight, super simple to prepare, and aren't your run-of-the-mill taco recipe. We've taken all your classic taco fixings and made them kid-friendly and fun to eat with a plant-based nugget filling.
Fill your corn tortilla with crisp cabbage, fresh pico, and a squeeze or two of lime juice for a filling and delightful meal. These tacos will be on your list of favorite high-protein vegan meals in no time at all.
High Protein Vegan Meals for the Win
Now that you've seen how easy it is to create high-protein vegan meals in your kitchen, you can feel even more confident rolling up your sleeves and exploring other plant-forward dishes.
We think mealtime should be fun and stress-free no matter what you're cooking, from fully-loaded baked potatoes to mile-high stacks of chicken and waffles or bento-box-approved sushi sandwiches. Nowadays nuggets are here to help make your time in the kitchen more effortless. Nourishing you and your family with a wholesome plant protein has never felt better. For more kitchen inspiration, check out some of our other plant-based recipes.