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5 Scrumptious High-Protein Vegetarian Recipes to Try This Month

Two bowls filled with sliced vegetables over quinoa.
Megan Betteridge/Shutterstock

Vegetarian food doesn’t have to be boring, flavorless, or low in protein. The five recipes below are not only protein-rich, but they’re also easy to make and feature major flavor!

Chickpea Salad Bowl

Chickpeas are high-protein legumes that are easy to digest. They also have a low-glycemic index, are full of iron and folate, and packed with fiber. This means they tick many of those daily requirement nutrition boxes.

This salad is eaten cold, so you can even prepare it the night before for a ready-made lunch the following day.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
  2. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together and mix well, making sure all the vegetables are coated with oils and lemon juice.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Although no one can seem to decide whether quinoa is a seed or a grain, everyone agrees it’s high in protein content, making it an excellent ingredient for those who don’t eat meat.

It’s also versatile! You can use it in a ton of dishes, but many folks prefer to use it in place of carb-heavy rice and make it the star of their favorite risotto.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup of your mushrooms of choice
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of white wine (optional)
  • 4 cups of vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 1/3 cup of vegan cheese or Parmesan, grated
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the butternut squash on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until edges are dark and crispy.
  4. Rinse the quinoa well to remove all of the saponin coatings. (This prevents it from tasting sour.)
  5. Heat a pan over medium-high heat, add the garlic and remaining olive oil, then sweat it for a minute.
  6. Add diced onions and cook until soft and slightly browned.
  7. Add mushrooms and fry them off.
  8. Add quinoa, broth, wine, and spices, then cook until the liquid has almost evaporated.
  9. Remove from heat and mix in cheese until creamy.
  10. Serve topped with crispy roasted butternut squash.

Crispy Tofu Stir-Fry

A bowl of stir-fry tofu in a bowl with a pair of chopsticks lying next to it.
Natalia Hanin

Tofu is a favorite source of protein among vegetarians and vegans as it packs an impressive 14g per cup. It’s also easy to work with because it takes on any flavor you add to it, making it pretty versatile.

Tip: If you own an air fryer, you can cook this meal in it instead of the oven to speed up the process.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 zucchini, cut into strips
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 1/3 cup of cashews, crushed or not
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, minced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the tofu on the sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the sesame oil in a large pan, add the garlic and onion, and sweat them out.
  5. Add ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant, and all spices, then frying them off, stirring often.
  7. Toss in cashews and sesame seeds and let them toast for one minute.
  8. Add tofu and mix it all through.
  9. Serve by itself, or on a bed of rice, noodles, or your pasta of choice.

Chili Sin Carne

It’s definitely possible to make a vegetarian chili con carne with a rich, hearty flavor. You can use any beans you like, or even combine a few varieties to make something truly unique in your dutch oven.

Beans are great sources of protein and fiber. They’re also one of the staple ingredients non-carnivores rely on to get those all-important macro- and micronutrients.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 cup of button mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 can of tomatoes, diced or crushed
  • 2 cups of vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 2 cups of water (more if needed)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions:

  1. In a large dutch oven (or similar-sized pot), fry off the onion in olive oil on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the bay leaf and toss to release the aroma.
  3. Add the sweet potato and fry off for 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, broth, and beans, and then cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add water and all spices, then cook for 30 minutes, checking often to make sure water hasn’t evaporated (add more, if necessary).
  6. After 30 minutes or so, add the mushrooms and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes until everything is rich and softened.
  7. Serve with a piece of bread and a dollop of vegan or Greek yogurt.

Black Lentil Bolognese

Lentils are another amazing legume from which many vegetarians get their protein. And there are so many varieties, you can try a different combination every time.

Switching out the beef for black lentils in this recipe adds a ton of fiber, iron, and calcium. In fact, this meal will greatly contribute to the recommended daily amounts of all of the above.

You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of black lentils (1 cup when cooked)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can of tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of water or broth (more, if needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of oregano
  • One bunch of parsley, diced

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil on medium-high heat for a few minutes until soft and slightly browned.
  2. Add the lentils and fry them off for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomatoes, spices, and broth or water, reduce to a simmer, then cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and more water or broth, if necessary, then cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the parsley, then remove from heat.
  6. Cook your preferred pasta, then toss it with the lentil bolognese, stirring it through.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

Wondering what to make for dinner this week? Try something (or everything) on this list and enjoy some easy, delicious vegetarian dishes!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »

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