10 High-Protein Vegan Recipes | vegetables

Current marketing trends focus a lot on protein. The truth is, the vast majority of Americans get plenty of this macronutrient no matter what diet they eat. However, there are situations that may require some individuals to pay more attention to their protein intake. Athletes need more protein than those who live sedentary lifestyles – about 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight versus an average of 0.8g per kg.

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Other health conditions or goals may also cause a person to increase a person’s daily protein intake for a certain period of time. Vegan meals can contain just protein as well as animal meals, and these meals can be more varied than eating a vegan protein powder on everything (Although that works, too). Here are all your plant-based protein questions answered plus 10 high-protein vegan recipes to hit your macros every day.

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Do vegans get enough protein?

Most vegetarians don’t have to worry about getting enough protein. All whole foods naturally contain protein, so if you’re eating a mostly whole food, plant-based diet and consuming enough calories for your needs, there’s no need to crunch any numbers — you’ll get enough protein without even thinking about it.

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For those who enjoy the quantitative aspect of nutrition, it is easy to calculate protein requirements. 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” individual – someone who may exercise occasionally but not at a high intensity nor most days of the week. Those who are more active — who exercise at a moderate to high intensity at least four days a week — should aim for 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Here’s a general guideline – to really improve performance, a vegan dietitian can help adjust your exact protein needs based on your activity level.

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

Where do you get vegan protein?

And this bears repeating: All whole foods pack some amount of protein. Yes, there are huge differences in protein content between foods, but technically, there is protein in every food. In fact, if one ate only 2,000 calories of broccoli per day, they would still get 146 grams of protein. (Please, don’t actually try to eat 2,000 calories of broccoli – we’re just using this example to prove our point.) Vegetables also contain protein, and it is not necessary to rely on animals for their protein content.

Common sources of plant-based protein include nuts, seeds, grains, beans and legumes, seitan, plant-based protein powder, soy or pea milk, and plant-based meats. There is a wide variety to choose from, which makes the vegan diet not boring and bland.

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High protein plant food

First, let’s define what high protein means. There’s no technical or legal definition of high protein—which is why you’ll see it bump up in almost any food product—but for us, we’re setting the bar at eight grams per one serving. why? The dairy industry promotes cow’s milk as a high-protein food, and a cup of cow’s milk (plus pea or soy milk) contains eight grams of protein. So, anyone who argues that eight grams isn’t high in protein can take issue with the dairy marketing giants.

Plant-based meats set a new standard for high-protein plant-based foods. Traditional plant-based burger patties and other beef alternatives provide up to 20 grams of protein, and plant-based butchers outpace store-bought options with protein amounts in the high 20s. For example, The Very Good Butcher’s Ribz contains 27g of protein per 100g serving. With only 150 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, this nutritional profile is unparalleled compared to beef or pork ribs, which contain over 230 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 18 grams of protein.

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A vegan protein powder can also provide a great protein boost. Most brands range from 18g to 30g of protein per serving. If needed, adding a scoop to a smoothie or bowl of oats can actually ensure that you reach your protein quota.

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

10 high-protein vegan recipes

Vegetables, quinoa, hemp

1 High protein vegan quinoa grain

Combine a protein-rich grain like quinoa with a robust seed like hemp and you’ve got yourself a grain-and-herb-packed salad like tabbouleh. Spread this on warm pita bread or top it with a Mediterranean-inspired Buddha Bowl for extra texture, flavor, and nutrition.
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vegetables.  Black Beanbrownie

2 Vegan and gluten-free black bean brownies

Dessert shouldn’t be the meal you rely on to reach your protein goals, but a protein-rich dessert doesn’t hurt. These fudgy brownies provide a moderate amount of protein by incorporating not only black beans but also quinoa flour and a healthy dose of chia seeds and walnuts. Wash one down with a cup of chilled soy milk and your humble dessert holds the protein equivalent of a small meal.
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Vegetables.  CharSiuTofuJeeca Uy

3 Vegan char siu sweet sticky tofu

The protein content of tofu varies depending on the variety of tofu — silken tofu weighs around four grams while extra-firm tofu hovers around nine grams. Pick up a high-protein tofu — like Wildwood — and you’ll be consuming more than 14 grams per serving. The point is, tofu is naturally high in protein, but sometimes we crave a preparation outside of the everyday scramble-style or air-fryer technique. These slabs of cored tofu are bold in flavor and rich in protein. Go ahead, you have seconds.
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Vegan News.  Smoothie Protein BowlJackie Supon

4 Chocolate vegan peanut butter smoothie bowl

Quickly? Lighten up this protein-rich smoothie bowl of banana, chocolate vegan protein powder, and creamy peanut butter with a little soy or pea milk for a delicious breakfast or post-workout pick-me-up. Whichever way you eat it, your protein count will be in double digits.
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green vegetables.  GreenPowerPancakes

5 Vegan protein pancakes with spinach and chia

Sweet and healthy enough for breakfast, this morning staple relies on spinach and chia seeds to provide a solid protein boost. Don’t like chia? Use mini vegan chocolate chips instead or add a little bit of your favorite vegan vanilla protein powder to your shake.
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Vegan NewsPhoto by Karina Skrobicki

6 Energy Bites Vegan Snickerdoodle Two-Step

These easy, healthy, cookie-inspired bites are made with almond butter for a filling, slightly sweet, and protein-packed snack perfect for busy days. Enjoy hiking, summer days at the beach, or between target runs.
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vegetablesIssa Chandra Moskowitz

7 Beef and broccoli vegetarian tempeh

While we wait for chains like Panda Express to provide a plant-based Beef & Broccoli option, this meaty tempeh version will do just fine. Tempeh is a long-lasting plant-based protein source made from fermented soybeans. A three-ounce serving clocks in at 18 grams of protein. Combine that with a big serving of broccoli and you’ve got a protein-rich meal that simultaneously scratches that eating-out itch.
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Vegetables, pumpkin, sage, pastaAmy Angelo

8 Vegan butternut squash pasta with black tempeh

Yes, tempeh provides a solid amount of plant-based protein, but to really boost the nutrition, opt for bean-based pastas like Banza. A reasonable 2-ounce serving contains 11 grams of protein thanks to a chickpea flour base. Think of this comforting meal as a large version of macaroni and cheese with hot dog chips.
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Vegan News.  Sweet potato chili.  jpgHannah Kaminsky

9Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili

After you’ve been a vegetarian for a while, you’ll realize that your main course doesn’t have to provide the bulk of your protein. Sides can be more than enough to provide essential nutrients and satiation. Pair these savory, slightly sweet, and meaty baked beans with steamed cabbage and black corn on the cob for a tempting meal made with the best sides.
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Vegan NewsTerry Hope Romero

10 Vegan white bean and pozole verde

Seitan stands for traditional animal products in this belly warm pozole. Meaty chunks of vital wheat gluten provide the necessary texture and chewiness to this hearty soup, plus 18 grams of protein. Add that with a can of creamy, protein-rich white kidney beans, and this soup will go down like a meal.
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