If you’re hoping to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this blog post is for you! Here’s how you can make protein-rich vegetarian meals that’ll leave you satisfied and well-nourished.
How to make protein-rich vegetarian meals
The key to making protein-rich vegetarian meals is to use protein-packed ingredients.
Of course, meat is a popular protein source, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t vegetarian protein options out there.
Using protein-packed vegetables and plant-based products helps to increase your protein intake on a vegetarian diet.
But are plant-based proteins as good as animal-based proteins?
Ever wondered how plant proteins compare to animal-based proteins?
If you have, here’s some good news for you: Plant-based proteins are healthier for you compared to meat. According to registered dietitian Andrea Giancoli, plant-based proteins provide more nutrients, fiber, and fewer calories compared to meat products.
Diets rich in red meat are often associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, increasing one’s intake of plant-based foods reduces this risk.
So, incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet can be good for your overall health.
Protein-rich ingredients you can use
There are various plant-based protein options you can include in your diet. Here are 7 such ingredients that you can use, along with some serving suggestions.
Tofu is a soy-based protein that contains up to 20g of protein per 100g serving. It has a neutral taste, and can absorb the flavors of the sauces or ingredients it’s paired with. There are many ways to enjoy this protein-packed ingredient.
You can use it in place of eggs to make a tofu scramble for breakfast. Other than that, you can use it in curries, stews, and soups.
There are different tofu to choose from with varying textures, so you can pick and choose what you prefer. Firm tofu is, as the name suggests, more firm and hearty.
High protein Indian vegetarian recipes with tofu:
Lentils are also a great protein source to make protein packed vegetarian meals. They contain around 9g of protein per 100g of cooked lentils. Lentils are also pretty affordable, which is an added plus!
Many Indians are vegetarian, which could explain why Indian cooking inherently uses quite a bit of lentils as a protein source. This budget-friendly and hearty ingredient can be used to make a variety of stews and soups.
Easy high protein vegetarian meals with lentils:
Nuts are yet another great source of protein! Peanuts have 9g of protein per ¼ cup serving, whereas almonds have 7g. There are tons of easy protein rich vegetarian meals that you can make with this this nutritious ingredient.
The easiest would be to have nut butter on toast as a quick breakfast or afternoon snack. You can also add nut butter to your morning smoothies to amp up their protein content. Other than that, you can also use nuts to make delicious, protein-rich foods such as pesto and curries.
Protein-packed vegetarian meals with nuts:
Beans such as kidney, garbanzo (chickpeas), and black beans are high in protein, making them the ideal choice for protein-rich vegetarian recipes. Most beans have about 8g of protein per 100g of cooked beans.
Beans can be added to chilies and curries to make a hearty, filling meal that can be paired with bread or rice. This is a great option for a high protein vegetarian meal prep. Chickpeas can be roasted with spices to make a healthy and tasty snack.
Protein-rich vegetarian meals with beans:
Did you know that plain yogurt has 8.5g of protein per cup? Greek yogurt has even more! You can add yogurt to marinades, curries, and even salads.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can also enjoy yogurt with fruit in a parfait. This makes a great make-ahead breakfast that you can store in the fridge.
Alternatively, you can enjoy a fruit lassi, which is a yogurt-based drink made by blending yogurt, fruits such as mango, a sweetener of your choice, and some water. It’s a cool, refreshing drink that’s great for summer.
High protein Indian vegetarian recipes with yogurt:
There’s a reason why Popeye grows strong after chowing down a dose of spinach! It’s a vegetable that’s rich in protein. There’s 5.2g of protein per cooked cup of spinach.
The best part is that it can be eaten raw, so you can throw spinach leaves into salads or smoothies to increase your protein intake.
You can also add it to stews, curries, and pasta towards the end of its cooking time. Just give it a few minutes to wilt down, and you’re good to go!
High protein Indian vegetarian recipes with spinach:
Mushrooms are another good plant-based protein source. They contain 4g of protein per cooked cup.
The great thing about mushrooms is they have a meaty, umami flavor that makes them the perfect meat substitute for those who are trying to enjoy more plant-based dishes. Plus, there are a wide variety of different mushrooms that you can try.
Oyster and golden mushrooms are great in soups, shitake mushrooms can be used in stir-fries with other vegetables, sliced brown button mushrooms can be used as pizza toppings, and king oyster mushrooms are delicious when grilled.
Dried mushrooms, on the other hand, have a long shelf life and just need to be soaked in warm water to rehydrate before using in stir-fries.
Easy high protein vegetarian meals with mushrooms:
Frequently Asked Questions
How much protein do I need a day?
The average amount of protein intake recommended for sedentary adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For instance, a person who weighs 80 kilograms or 175 pounds needs around 64 grams of protein per day.
What is the highest protein vegetarian food?
Edamame is a great plant-based protein that offers over 18 grams of protein per cup.
You’ve probably enjoyed these tasty legumes at your local sushi restaurant, but you can also have them at home to up your protein intake. Buy a pack of frozen edamame, boil them until tender, and season with salt before serving.
What are some vegetarian options for protein?
Soy products such as tofu and tempeh, legumes like edamame, and lentils are all great sources of protein for vegetarians. They can be added to stir fries, stews, and soups to boost your protein intake on a plant-based diet.
How can I add protein to my vegetarian meal?
Here are a few easy ways to add protein to your vegetarian meals:
- Enjoy oats with nuts and seeds for breakfast.
- Add lentils to vegetable stews.
- Add soy products such as tofu and tempeh to stir fries.
- Snack on rice cakes with nut butter, or edamame.
- Add a variety of beans such as black beans and kidney beans to chili.
Which nut has the most protein?
In terms of protein content, peanuts take the win with 9.6 grams of protein per ¼ cup.
There are many ways to incorporate peanuts in your diet – top your stir fries with roasted peanuts, enjoy toast with peanut butter and slices bananas for breakfast, make a peanut salad dressing for your salad – the options are endless!
Which fruit is highest in protein?
With 4.2 grams of protein per cup, guava is one of the most protein-packed fruits you can have. It’s also low in calories, and rich in vitamin C and fiber.
Which Indian foods are rich in protein?
Here are some protein rich Indian dishes for vegetarians:
- Sambar (lentil stew)
- Spinach stew
- Mushroom curry
- Chana masala
- Palak paneer
- Panner korma
- Matar paneer
- Beetroot raita
- Fruit lassi
What is a high protein snack?
Here are some high-protein snacks you can try when you’re feeling snacky in the afternoon:
- Rice cakes with nut butter
- Apple slices with nut butter
- Yogurt parfait
- Trail mix with assorted nuts
- Roasted chickpeas
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia pudding topped with nuts and seeds
- Black bean salsa with tortilla chips
What are some high protein low carb vegetarian meals?
Here are some high protein low carb vegetarian meals that you can try:
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Tofu scramble with veggies
- Lentil soup
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Tofu peanut curry with cauliflower rice
- Salad with tempeh and peanut dressing
- Tofu steak and asparagus
These ingredients are sure to give you plenty of protein-rich vegetarian meals. Swapping some animal-based proteins with plant-based proteins can have positive effects on your health, so add these ingredients to your shopping list and get cooking!