10 High Protein Vegan Recipes | Veg News


Current marketing trends place way too much emphasis on protein. The fact is, a large majority of Americans get plenty of this macronutrient, regardless of what diet they follow. However, there are situations where certain individuals may need to be a little more careful about their protein intake. Athletes need more protein than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle – about 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight versus the average 0.8 grams/pound. Other health issues or goals can also increase a person’s daily protein intake for a period of time. Vegan meals can have just as much protein as animal meals, and those meals can be more varied than scooping plant-based protein powder into everything (although that works, too). All your plant-based protein questions answered, plus 10 high-protein vegan recipes to hit your macros every day.


Can Vegans Get Enough Protein?

Most vegans don’t need to worry about getting enough protein. All whole foods naturally contain protein. So if you’re eating a mostly whole, plant-based diet and consuming enough calories to meet your needs, you don’t need to crack the numbers—you’re getting enough protein without even thinking about it. For those who enjoy the quantitative aspect of nutrition, calculating protein needs is fairly easy. The USDA recommended daily allowance is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To calculate your protein needs, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 and the result is the number of grams of protein you need each day. For example, a 130-pound woman should aim for 46.8 grams of protein per day, and a 170-pound man should aim for 61.2 grams of protein per day. Note: This formula is for the “average” person – someone who exercises occasionally but not at high intensity for most of the week. Those who are more active — who exercise at least four days a week at moderate to vigorous intensity — should aim for 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is a general guideline – to really optimize performance, a plant-based nutritionist can help tailor your exact protein needs based on your activity level.

Given that average daily protein requirement — between 47 grams and 61 grams — it’s not difficult for vegans to get enough protein naturally. Let’s say you enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with a dollop of nut butter every morning. The soy or pea milk you use to cook the oats has eight grams of protein. Half a cup of oats contains five grams of protein. And that tablespoon of peanut butter provides an additional four grams of protein. In total, that’s 17 grams of protein for just one morning meal. Add in lunch, dinner and snacks and you’re in the protein comfort zone.

Where can you get vegan protein

This needs to be repeated: All whole foods contain some amount of protein. Yes, there are drastic differences in protein content between foods, but technically, protein is in every food. In fact, if you only ate 2,000 calories of broccoli every day, you would still be getting 146 grams of protein. (Please don’t actually try to eat 2,000 calories of broccoli—we’re just using this example to prove a point.) Vegetables also contain protein, and it’s not necessary to rely on animals for their protein content.

Common sources of vegan protein include nuts and seeds, grains, beans and legumes, seitan, plant-based protein powder, soy or pea milk, and plant-based meats. The selection is large, which makes the vegan diet anything but boring and bland.


High protein vegan diet

First, let’s define what high protein means. There’s no technical or legal definition of high protein – which is why you’ll find it on virtually every food product – but for us, we set the bar at eight grams per serving. Why? The dairy industry touts cow’s milk as a high-protein food, and a cup of cow’s milk (as well as pea or soy milk) contains eight grams of protein. So anyone arguing that eight grams isn’t high protein is rubbing shoulders with the giants of dairy marketing.

Plant-based meat has set a new bar for protein-rich plant-based foods. Traditional vegan burger patties and other beef alternatives provide up to 20 grams of protein, and plant-based butchers outperform store-bought options with protein counts in the high 20s. For example, The very good butcher Ribz provides a whopping 27 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. At just 150 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, this nutritional profile is unmatched when compared to cow or pork-based ribs, which contain over 230 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 18 grams of protein.


Vegan protein powder can also provide a significant protein boost. Most brands range from 18 grams to 30 grams of protein per serving. In a pinch, adding a scoop to a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal can practically guarantee you’ll hit your protein quota.

Pure plant-based protein sources include tofu, quinoa, lentils, soy and pea milk, and peanut butter. Yes, while other nut butters contain moderate amounts of protein, old-school peanut butter reigns supreme with this macronutrient.

10 high protein vegan recipes


1 High protein vegan quinoa hemp tabouli

Combine a high-protein grain like quinoa with an equally hardy seed like hemp, and you have a high-protein grain-herb salad like tabouli. Scoop this on warmed flatbread or heap it over a Mediterranean-inspired Buddha bowl for added texture, flavor, and nutrients.
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2 Vegan & Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Dessert shouldn’t be the meal you rely on to meet your protein goals, but a high-protein candy never hurts. These crunchy brownies deliver a moderate amount of protein not only from the incorporation of black beans, but also quinoa flour and a healthy dose of chia seeds and walnuts. Wash one down with a glass of chilled soy milk and your humble dessert has the protein equivalent of a small meal.
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VegNews.CharSiuTofuJeeca Uy

3 Vegan Sticky Sweet Char Siu Tofu

The protein content of tofu varies by type of tofu — silken tofu weighs about four grams, while extra-firm tofu weighs about nine grams. Get a high-protein tofu — like Wildwood — and you’ll be consuming over 14 grams per serving. The point is that tofu is naturally high in protein, but sometimes we crave a preparation outside of our everyday stir fry or air fryer technique. These seared tofu slices have a bold flavor and are high in protein. Go ahead, have seconds.
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VegNews.Protein SmoothieBowlJackie Sobon

4 Chocolate vegan peanut butter smoothie bowl

On the way? Dilute this high-protein smoothie bowl made with banana, plant-based chocolate protein powder, and creamy peanut butter with a little more soy or pea milk for a delicious breakfast or post-workout pick-me-up. No matter how you take it, the protein count will be in the double digits.
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5 Vegan protein pancakes with spinach and chia

Sweet and healthy enough for breakfast, this morning staple relies on spinach and chia seeds to deliver a powerful boost of protein. Not in chia? Use vegan mini chocolate chips instead, or add a dash of your favorite vanilla plant-based protein powder to your batter.
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VegNews.SnickerdoodleBitesCarina Skrobecki photography

6 Vegan Snickerdoodle Energy Bites in two steps

These easy, healthy, cookie-inspired Energy Bites are made with almond butter for a nutty, slightly sweet, high-protein snack that’s perfect for busy days. Enjoy it on long hikes, summer days at the beach, or in-between Target runs.
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VegNews.BeefyTempehIsa Chandra Moskowitz

7 Strong vegan tempeh & broccoli

While we wait for chains like Panda Express to offer a plant-based beef and broccoli option, this meaty tempeh version will work just fine. Tempeh is a long-standing vegan protein source made from fermented soybeans. A three-ounce serving has 18 grams of protein. Pair that with a hearty helping of broccoli and you have a high-protein meal that’s scratching the itch to go at the same time.
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VegNews.PumpkinSagePastaAmy Angelo

8th Vegan Pumpkin Sage Pasta with Blackened Tempeh

Yes, tempeh provides a solid amount of plant-based protein, but to really up the ante on the diet, choose a bean-based pasta like banza. A reasonable 2-ounce serving packs an impressive 11 grams of protein thanks to the chickpea flour base. Think of this comforting meal as a grown-up version of mac and cheese with hot dog slices.
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VegNews.SweetPotatoChili.jpgHannah Kaminsky

9Vegan Sweet Potato Chili

After going vegan for a while, you’ll find that the main course doesn’t have to provide the bulk of your protein. Sides can be more than enough to provide both essential nutrients and satiety. Pair these hearty, slightly sweet and meaty baked beans with steamed collards and blackened corn on the cob for a tantalizing meal of the best side dishes.
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VegNews.SeitanPozoleTerry Hope Romero

10 Vegan White Bean & Pozole Verde

Seitan stands for traditional animal products in this stomach-warming pozole. The meat cuts made from essential wheat gluten give this hearty stew the necessary texture and bite as well as 18 grams of protein. Pair that with a can of creamy and high-protein white beans, and this soup is eaten like a meal.
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Read more about vegan nutrition:
How do I get calcium on a vegan diet?
How to get iron on a vegan diet
I tried Plant-Based Whole30 and here’s what happened

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