Whenever someone transitions to a vegetarian diet, the thing they often wonder is “what can I eat that’s high in protein, healthy, and tasty?” My friends, I have answered your question. Eating meals that are high in protein on a vegetarian diet is actually super easy, and I’ve compiled 15 high-protein vegetarian recipes you NEED to try. From tacos to burgers to quiche, you’re going to want to bookmark these.
1. Vegetarian Chili
With fall here and winter right around the corner (yeah, that felt just as weird to write as it did for you to read), chili is a staple in the kitchen. Instead of opting for a turkey chili, try this vegetarian chili that’s high in protein, easy to make, and budget friendly.
#SpoonTip: Make a big batch in the slow cooker for a week's worth of dinner, plus more to freeze for later when you’re in a pinch
2. Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos
Taco tuesday should be considered a weekly event, and just because you’re vegetarian doesn’t mean to you need to miss out! Try out these black bean and butternut squash tacos, which are high in protein, flavor, and require minimal ingredients. I’m talking cubed squash, beans, seasoning, tortilla’s, and avocado (not optional).
#SpoonTip: Cut the squash ahead of time to cut down on time when you’re making the tacos, and you’ll also have extra cubed squash for other dishes.
3. 3-Ingredient Quinoa Pizza Crust
Quinoa is a vegetarian’s best friend because it’s high in protein, fiber, complex carbs, and is relatively cheap (about $2 per pound in bulk). Instead of sticking with your standard quinoa bowl, make this three-ingredient quinoa pizza crust and go crazy! I recommend making the crust and adding some pesto, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes on top for the ultimate homemade pizza night!
#SpoonTip: Prep the quinoa ahead of time and have some leftover for other meals later in the week.
4. 30-Minute Lentil Salad
Similar to quinoa, lentils are a staple in any vegetarian’s diet. Containing roughly 18g protein per cooked cup, they're a must. What better way to cook them than this 30-minute cold lentil salad? Containing lentils, quinoa, and fresh vegetables, it’s a hearty, plant-based meal filled with protein. The best part? It’s ready in under 30 minutes!
#SpoonTip: Add on some pumpkin seeds, avocado, or tahini for some healthy fats to round out the meal.
5. Chickpea, Sweet Potato and Apple Farro Salad
Sounds like a weird combination, but trust me on this one. Chickpeas contain about 7g protein per 1/2 cup serving, farro has fiber, whole grains, and texture, and the sweet potato / apple combo provides a touch of sweetness and brings the salad all together. This chickpea, sweet potato, apple, and farro salad is packed with flavor and is ready in 30 minutes. Combining chickpeas and farro is a great option for vegetarians, because they balance each other out to make a complete protein.
#SpoonTip: Stock up on beans at the grocery store, since one can is between 60 cents to $1.
6. Pistachio Buddha Bowl
Say hello to your new obsession. This is not your average buddha bowl, as it contains quinoa, tofu, fresh vegetables, and best of all, PISTACHIOS. Yeah, you heard that right. Pistachios add in some nuttiness that you didn’t think you needed, but once you taste it, you realize how important they are. Plus, they add in healthy fats that are vital for a complete meal. Pair that with the tofu, quinoa, and greens, and you got yourself the perfect quick dinner that’s high in protein and flavor.
#SpoonTip: Buy the pistachios in bulk instead of by the bag, because it’s cheaper and you get more bang for your buck.
7. Chickpea, Spinach, and Lentil Dahl
Have you heard of dahl before? It’s a traditional Indian dish that contains pulses (lentils, peas, and beans), which makes it a great protein dish for anyone. This chickpea, spinach, and lentil dahl combines simple spices, beans, lentils, fresh vegetables, and a little bit of oil to create the perfect dinner for anyone. Since it’s high in protein but also contains cheap ingredients, it’s great for anyone on a budget.
#SpoonTip: Serve over brown rice and garnish with some chopped peanuts.
8. Black Bean Burger
This one goes out to all the In-n-Out lovers who haven’t found the perfect replacement for their beloved midnight snack. This black bean burger is incredibly easy to make, requires five ingredients, and is AMAZING for any quick meal. Plus, the recipe also shares a dreamy Sriracha aioli, which is the perfect topping for the burger.
#SpoonTip: Serve the burgers with toasted sourdough bread and add some pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce as well.
9. Butternut Squash Buddha Bowl
Remember when I told you to prepare extra cut butternut squash? Well, you can put them to use with this butternut squash buddha bowl. The squash provides fiber, the crunchy chickpeas provide crunch, protein, and flavor, and it’s all balanced out with some crispy Brussels sprouts and pumpkin seeds. It’s high in protein, hearty, and the perfect fall bowl.
#SpoonTip: Massage the kale in olive oil for maximum flavor.
10. Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Bowl
Like I said, lentils are a must for vegetarians. This lentil and sweet potato bowl from Minimalist Baker provides flavor, fiber, is high in protein, and is a nourishing fall bowl. Plus, the curry powder is a nutritional powerhouse, as it's anti-inflammatory, helps ease pain, and may prevent cancer.
#SpoonTip: Add in extra spices for maximum flavor and to change up the meal. For example, try adding cumin and paprika for a spicier dish.
11. Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad
This Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad from Ambitious Kitchen just took your lunch game to a whole other level. Made with whole wheat pasta for carbs, beans and cheese for protein, and some fresh vegetables for crunch, this dish comes together in under 20 minutes and is a protein powerhouse for vegetarians.
#SpoonTip: Use chickpea pasta for extra protein
12. Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Mexican Quinoa
This slow cooker sweet potato mexican quinoa from Fit Foodie Finds is full of protein, flavor, and is a nice change from your average quinoa dish. Made with corn, beans, potatoes, and some simple spices, it’s a cheap, high-protein vegetarian recipe that makes for the perfect cozy dinner.
#SpoonTip: Make a big batch to freeze!
13. Mini Mexican Vegan Sloppy Joe’s
Aren’t these mini mexican vegan sloppy joe’s from Emilie Eats the cutest thing EVER? They use seitan for the protein and are the perfect twist on a classic meal. High in protein, easy to make, and ready in 30 minutes max.
#SpoonTip: Serve some leftover sloppy joe mixture over rice for another meal.
14. Loaded Greek Quinoa Salad
Have you ever seen such a pretty salad? This loaded Greek quinoa salad from Half Baked Harvest is an amazing vegetarian twist on a classic meal. The chickpeas replace the chicken for protein, the quinoa adds more protein, carbs, and fiber, and the bowl is rounded out with tons of fresh vegetables, cheese (duh), and avocado.
#SpoonTip: If you're on a budget, sub the avocado for hemp seeds, which you can buy in bulk for cheap and provide healthy fats and more protein.
15. Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche
Looking for a twist on a classic brunch meal? Take your quiche game to the next level with this Mediterranean Vegetable Quiche from Hummusapien. It’s filled with fresh vegetables, eggs, and flavor. The eggs and crumbled feta provide healthy fats and protein, and with the homemade crust this is the perfect meal. Eggs are a staple in vegetarian’s diet, because of the protein and healthy fats, plus they’re relatively cheap and last a while.
#SpoonTip: Use cage-free eggs if you can afford it.
There you have it! 15 high-protein vegetarian recipes to try. Which one are you going to eat first? Personally, I'm all about the butternut squash buddha bowl, but I may be a bit biased since I created that recipe myself.