There are three macronutrients that are essential for a balanced healthy diet: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. While all three macronutrients provide energy for our bodies (along with a whole host of other health benefits), protein, especially complete proteins with all nine essential amino acids, is one of the hardest to get enough of on a vegan diet.
We already know protein is a macronutrient, but protein is also used for fuel and “is essential to building muscle mass.” Looking at the chemical structure, protein is “composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur.”
Luckily, there are a host of ways to get your bang for your buck when it comes to making whole foods-based protein-rich meals each and every day!
First off, it’s good to know which plant-based foods have the highest protein content including seitan, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, green peas, beans (especially navy beans), spelt, amaranth, spirulina, oats, chia seeds (a complete protein!), and soy products such as tempeh, tofu, and soy milk. After that, it’s all about creativity and experimentation!
In order to get you started, here are 15 protein-rich recipes from the Food Monster App!
Source: Chicken-Style Seitan
Source: Quinoa Lentil Meatballs
Hankering for some traditional spaghetti and meatballs? Try this Quinoa Lentil Meatballs recipe by Kristen Genton, which is chock full of protein-rich lentils and quinoa. Pair these meatballs with spaghetti squash for the ultimate vegan dinner!
If you’ve only got 20 minutes and you’re looking to get your daily dose of protein, then this is the recipe for you! This 20-Minute Spinach and Chickpea Curry recipe by Dana Sandonato is nutrient-dense — with spinach, coconut oil, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and turmeric — and also brimming with protein-rich chickpeas.
Source: Whole Wheat Spelt Bread
This Whole Wheat Spelt Bread recipe by Petra Vogel is a great substitute for traditional whole wheat bread. Rich in protein from spelt flour, yet still providing that fluffy bread texture, try this on your next lunch sandwich.
Source: Cherry Hemp Oat Bars
This Cherry Hemp Oat Bars recipe by Taryn Fitz-Gerald is wonderful for both adults and kids! These bars back a protein one-two punch with both chia seeds — a complete protein with all nine amino acids — and protein-rich oats, which also happens to be rich in fiber for improved digestive health.
Source: Asparagus and Pea Soup
The summer is coming to an end and now is the time to begin planning your favorite cold-weather soups! Consider adding this Asparagus and Pea Soup recipe by Harriet Emily to your menu for a dose of protein and a warm comforting texture.
Source: Raw Cauliflower ‘Popcorn’
Spirulina is one of the more recent foods to crop up in the health world. Sourced from algae, spirulina is a superfood that is rich in nutrients including protein! This Raw Cauliflower ‘Popcorn’ recipe by Jodi Burke is an easy way to introduce your family to spirulina, while also getting a daily dose of cruciferous veggie.
Source: Navy Bean Soup with Crispy Kale
Source: Maple Maca Amaranth Porridge
Looking for something new for breakfast? Try this super creative and unique Maple Maca Amaranth Porridge recipe by Claire Ragozzino. It’s slightly sweetened with maple, antioxidant powered with maca, and incredibly satisfying with a base of protein-rich and gluten-free amaranth.
11. Homemade Soy Milk
Source: Homemade Soy Milk
For those wary of store-bought soy milk, try your hand at this Homemade Soy Milk recipe by Faith VanderMolen. With a super simple and easy to follow recipe, you’ll be able to control exactly what goes into your protein-rich soy milk.
Source: Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Peanut butter is rich in healthy fats and oats are rich in protein, making this Peanut Butter Overnight Oats recipe by Hayley Canning not only incredibly delicious but also incredibly nourishing and satisfying. It’s a great way to start your day!
Source: Protein Quinoa Bowl
Never discount the power of quinoa! This gluten-free pseudocereal is brimming with nutrients, especially fiber and protein! This Protein Quinoa Bowl recipe by Caroline Doucet is the perfect quick prep meal that is both nutritious and delicious.
Chia pudding is one of those wonderful vegan treats that even non-vegans enjoy! This Peach, Raspberry, and Coconut Yogurt Chia Pudding recipe by Hayley Canning provides a healthy dose of protein alongside healthy fat-filled coconut yogurt and naturally sweetened with peaches and raspberry.
Source: Tempeh Cubano Sandwich
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
For more Vegan Food, Health, Recipe, Animal, and Life content published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter!
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