When you're vegetarian, you want to make sure you're getting the right nutrients. Protein is one of the most important parts of our diet, and though we generally think of it coming from animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish, it can also come from plant sources like beans, nuts, soy, seeds, and legumes. Vegetarian eating that's high in protein is possible—and 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.
Read on for our favorite easy high-protein vegetarian recipes below.
Everything Spice Egg Avocado Yogurt Bowl
We probably don't need to mention that eggs are an amazing source of protein, and this yogurt bowl by Half Baked Harvest combines them with yogurt for an extra-high protein boost. Greek yogurt packs much more of a protein punch than the regular variety, while avocados yield healthy fat. The grain base even contains protein (choose quinoa for about 7-9 grams per serving).
Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat
Tacos are the best, so 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 from Pinch of Yum 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 in this recipe from How Sweet Eats. 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.
Grain Bowls With Brussels and Sweet Potatoes
Who doesn't love a grain bowl, like this one from How Sweet Eats, that's packed to the brim with everything good like maple-flavored brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, three types of grains, and kale? Brussels sprouts are one of the veggies with the most protein, and chickpeas help up your intake even more. 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 from Minimalist Baker 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).
Pea and Mushroom Farro Risotto
When you choose to make your risotto with farro instead of Arborio rice, like in this recipe from Broma Bakery, 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.
Southwestern-Style Baked Tofu Steaks
We simply can't talk about high-protein vegetarian recipes without including a tofu option, like this one from Pickled Plum. 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, like this one from Pinch of Yum? This take calls for browned tofu and sweet potato, which are both 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" from Half Baked Harvest 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.
Mexican Sweet Potatoes
This A Couple Cooks recipe makes it possible to eat Mexican foods on a vegetarian diet. Black beans pack in the protein, while sweet potatoes and avocado make the dish hearty enough to keep you full (and help you avoid unnecessary snacking!). Not only is this recipe vegetarian, but it's also gluten and dairy-free.
Though you can serve these sweet potatoes as a lunch or light dinner, they'd also work as a party appetizer.
Vegetarian Burrito Bowl With Cauliflower Rice
Skip Chipotle tonight—this burrito bowl from A Couple Cooks is healthier, vegetarian-friendly, and packs in protein thanks to eggs, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes, but if you want to add even more protein, you could mix in black beans or top with Greek yogurt.
While pasta itself doesn't contain a high amount of protein, topping it with something like these meatballs from Feed Me Phoebe helps make it a well-rounded, nutritionally balanced meal. Lentils and quinoa form the base of the vegetarian balls, and if you really want to kick up the protein count, consider serving over chickpea pasta.