top of page

High Protein Vegan Meals

Unleashing the power of high-protein vegan food

"Where do you get your protein?" It's something that every vegan hears at some point. It doesn't seem to matter what you tell people, they will look at you with disbelief, as if protein can only be found in animal products. Thankfully, the idea that vegan food is too low in protein to be healthy is fading away. As more people move to flexitarian and plant-based eating the health benefits are becoming more well known, with the fears around a vegan diet fading away. This is especially in sports as more sports people take up and advocate for plant-based living. They continue to be successful, beating their meat eating competition, performing better and recovering faster. The fact is that if you design your meals with an aim to increase the amount of protein it is easy to make high-protein vegan meals.

calisthenics, outdoor exercise
Vegan Power

The Protein Powerhouses

Incorporating high protein foods into a meal is easy when you know where the protein is coming from. You can make meals that are rich in nutrients and high in protein without having to result to processed foods and supplements. Once you know which plant-based foods have higher protein content you can base your meals around them, combining foods to ensure you get the full complement of proteins:

  • Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas and other legumes are nutrient rich and versatile with high amounts of protein per 100g. They are easily added to stews, can be used as a meat substitute in pasta dishes or meals like a chilli. Legumes are also good sources of iron and other minerals that your body needs.

  • Tofu and Tempeh: Soy-based products like tofu and tempeh are very versatile, they absorb sauces and can be marinated ahead of cooking to make them even more flavourful. Both tempeh and tofu can be fried, baked, added to soups, stews or salads or served with wholegrains such as brown rice, they have a wide nutrient profile that incudes iron, calcium, B vitamins and manganese.

  • Quinoa: One of the complaints that non-vegans often have about the plant-based diet is that you can't get complete protein, all of the amino acids that our bodies need to make the full range of proteins required to keep us healthy. This can be done by combining foods that offer different and overlapping amino acid profiles, however quinoa, on its own, is a complete protein, rich in the full complement of amino acids. It can be used as an alternative to rice, pasta and other grains and is often added to salads.

  • Seitan: Seitan is wheat gluten, the protein found in wheat, when cooked it has a texture and taste that is very meat-like. Seitan can be cooked as meat and used in many savoury dishes with sauces or gravy with pasta, grains, potatoes, salads, whatever you fell like eating. It can also be cooked and sliced for sandwiches or kebabs.

  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and other nuts and seeds are not only great sources of protein but also provide healthy fats and other essential nutrients.

High-Protein Vegan Meal Ideas

These are some simple ideas for protein rich vegan meals. Once you're used to creating these meals you can tweak them, adding or taking away what you want, or even create your own meals from scratch.

  • High-Protein Budda Bowl: Layer quinoa or brown rice as a base and top it with roasted chickpeas, marinated tofu chunks, avocado slices and a generous serving of steamed or microwaved broccoli. To finish the bowl off you can drizzle tahini over the top or add hummus for added flavour and creaminess .

  • Spicy Lentil Tacos: Sauté onions, garlic, ginger and black pepper, add cooked or tinned lentils with spices like turmeric, cumin, paprika, chilli or a seasoning mix, such as all purpose seasoning. Stuff the cooked mixture into taco shells with fresh tomato, lettuce and top with salsa. For extra bite you can add tinned kidney beans or black beans, these will add firmness as well as increasing the protein and nutrient profile.

  • Mediterranean Chickpea Salad: Combine chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and olives in a bowl. Add some lettuce for texture and top with chopped parsley and sunflower seeds, again you can add tahini or hummus for more flavour.

  • Tempeh Stir-Fry: Marinate tempeh slices in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and a little brown sugar for a minimum of twenty minutes. Stir-fry the tempeh with bell peppers, broccoli florets (don't throw the stems away, add them to the mix) and snap peas. Serve the sir-fry with brown rice, quinoa, wholewheat noodles or cauliflower rice.

  • Protein Smoothie Bowl: Blend frozen berries, a banana, almond or oat milk, chia seeds and a scoop of plant-based protein powder until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with granola, sliced fruits and a small scoop of almond butter. This smoothie bowl is a nutrient dense meal that will leave you comfortably full and satisfied.

To maintain a high-protein vegan lifestyle, it is vital to plan ahead. Consider meal prepping ingredients like cooked quinoa, cooked chickpeas and marinated tofu to streamline the cooking process and provide quick, easy, healthy meals throughout your week.

A high-protein vegan diet doesn't mean sacrificing flavour or variety and with the huge range of plant-based protein sources available, your meals will be satisfying and will easily meet your nutritional needs. Experiment with different ingredients, flavours and cooking techniques to create your protein rich meals and enjoy the benefits that come from the increased energy and power.


bottom of page