No matter your reason for eating vegetarian, there's no doubt you want to make sure you're getting the right nutrients. Experts believe that protein is one of the most important parts of your diet since it helps muscles, bones, hormones, skin, and even your immune system to work the right way. Protein comes from animal sources like meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish or plant sources like beans, nuts, soy, seeds, and legumes. Long story short, when you cut out meat for good, it can be a little trickier to satisfy your protein needs.
That's because when people are craving protein, it's usually pretty easy to fix with chicken, steak, or even a burger. But that doesn't mean vegetarian eating that's high in protein isn't possible—in fact, it can be quite tasty. By adding a mixture of the right superfoods to each meal, you'll find that it's not difficult to incorporate more protein into breakfast, lunch, and dinner sans meat. Keep reading to see the top high-protein vegetarian recipes we think you should put on your summer cooking shortlist.
Everything Spice Egg Avocado Yogurt Bowl
We probably don't need to mention that eggs are an amazing source of protein, but even if you're a vegetarian who doesn't consume them, this yogurt bowl is still good for you. Greek yogurt packs much more of a protein punch than the regular variety while avocados yield a ton of protein and healthy fat, and the grain base also contains protein (choose quinoa for about nine grams per serving).
Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat
Tacos are just about the best, and why should you have to deprive yourself just because you're on a plant-based diet? That's where this spiced cauliflower walnut taco meat comes in. A medium head of the veggie yields you about 11 grams of protein and walnuts are one of the best nuts when it comes to protein—with about 12 grams in just one ground cup.
Crunchy Roasted Chickpea Pitas
Whole wheat pitas are fancied up with crunchy spiced chickpeas, halved tomatoes, hummus (more chickpeas!), and feta. When it comes to protein, chickpeas are pretty much your best friend since they give you 2.5 grams of protein for each tablespoon you consume. PS: Make the homemade pita for this recipe if you can find the time; it's worth it.
Grain Bowls With Brussels and Sweet Potatoes
Who doesn't love a grain bowl that's packed to the brim with everything good like maple-flavored Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, kale, three types of grains, and kale? Brussels sprouts are one of the greens with the most protein, we already mentioned kale is great for you, and there are chickpeas. When you add in the grains, you're on protein overload (in a totally good way).
Lentil Mushroom Stew
Sometimes comfort food is a must, and that’s where this mushroom lentil gravy over mashed potatoes comes in. While lentils are a decent source of protein in and of themselves, when they are paired with potatoes it’s a home run (one large spud gives you a whopping eight grams of protein). Dip some crusty bread in the stew to make it even heartier.
Pea and Mushroom Farro Risotto
When you choose to make your risotto with farro instead of Arborio rice, you're instantly upping the protein factor. That's because farro has about two times the amount of protein gram for gram than quinoa, meaning it's kind of a protein all-star. Another reason to make this dish: Peas and mushrooms are a great way to make risotto feel summery.
Southwestern-Style Baked Tofu Steaks
We simply can't talk about high-protein vegetarian recipes without including a tofu option. That's because tofu is a protein powerhouse, offering more than 10 grams of protein in a half-cup. This recipe calls for the tofu to be served in a bowl along with quinoa and black beans (among other things), rendering it one of the highest in protein we've mentioned thus far. You'll be missing out if you don't drizzle the homemade lime dressing on top.
5-Ingredient Green Curry
When you don't feel like cooking, is there anything simpler than a five-ingredient curry? This take calls for browned tofu and sweet potato, which we know are high in protein. Yes, there's also coconut milk and green curry paste, but the other winning ingredient here is broccoli—which brings in over four grams of protein per serving.
No-Guilt Broccoli Fettuccine
This isn't an ordinary pasta—this fettuccine "alfredo" relies on hummus to make up the creamy sauce. And since hummus is made from chickpeas and there's also tons of broccoli, we know you're getting enough protein. And since the rest of it is so good for you, you may feel better about adding some Parmesan.
Now that you've read about the tastiest high-protein vegetarian recipes, you'll be able to get your nutrients without meat.