You don’t need to be a vegan or vegetarian to appreciate plant-based protein. Beans, nuts, whole grains and soy, like tofu and tempeh, are excellent sources of lean protein. And unlike beef, pork and poultry, these plant-based foods are high in fiber and antioxidants. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends limiting meat consumption to help reduce risk of cancer and other diseases.
But even if you’re not going plant-based for life, you should aim to incorporate more meatless meals into your recipe repertoire. Here are 10 delicious vegetarian-friendly recipes that pack in the protein and other key nutrients.
Plant-Based Protein Meatless Meals
This hearty grain bowl packs not one but two plant-based proteins: tofu and quinoa. A great source of B vitamins, quinoa makes a great gluten-free substitute for pasta. Tofu’s meaty texture and sponge-like quality makes it easy to match the spices and flavors of this dish. The next-best thing about this recipe? It can be made using a single sheet pan. Photo and recipe: Lee Hersh / Fit Foodie Finds
When you’re craving a flavorful Asian stir-fry, this dish truly hits the spot. Made with shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and spicy tahini sauce, this super-quick stir-fry also happens to rich in vitamin D, iron and fiber. Photo and recipe: Vicky / Avocado Pesto
The Instant Pot is all the rage right now, and winter is the perfect time to use for preparing chilis, soups and stews. Set the hygee mood in your kitchen with this satisfying vegetarian chili. Black and red kidney beans lend plant-based protein and fiber, while avocado offers heart-healthy fats. Photo and recipe: Trevor and Jennifer / Show Me the Yummy
You’ll never want to order take-out again once you try this delicious fried rice recipe. Extra-firm tofu, peas and carrots transform the basic dish into a protein- and fiber-rich side. Tamari, peanut butter and garlic add taste-tempting flavor without going overboard on the sodium. Photo and recipe: Dana Shultz / Minimalist Baker
Another great use for the Instant Pot is pasta sauces. Remake this Italian classic with mushrooms and lentils to up the plant-based protein. You still get the spicy tomato flavors you love for less fat and calories. Enjoy over pasta or zoodles! Photo and recipe: Erin / Platings and Pairings
If taco night is on deck, consider this Mexican quinoa filling. It’s got the Southwestern flavors you love, plus the heartiness of sweet potatoes, quinoa and beans. Wrap it in a whole-wheat tortilla or enjoy it on its own in a bowl. Photo and recipe: Lee Hersh / Fit Foodie Finds
A spaghetti squash base makes this dish filling and flavorful while getting in an extra dose of vegetables without even trying. Top with fresh cilantro, plain Greek yogurt and a light sprinkle of pepper jack cheese for finger-licking flavor. Photo and recipe: Erin Clarke / Well Plated
Indian food lovers will be all over this saucy and spicy dish that also happens to be low in fat. Chickpeas flavored with a variety of spices and seasonings pack in the plant-based protein, which pairs nicely with a comforting serving of rice for carbohydrates. Photo and recipe: Tanya Schroeder / Lemons for Lulu
Freekeh, a nutty-tasting grain, makes these protein-filled wraps taste pretty freakin’ good. A whole-grain tortilla and plenty of vegetables complement it nicely for a dose of healthy carbs. Photo and recipe: Dara Michalski/ Cookin Canuck
10. Falafel Burgers
Falafel, while vegan and chock-full of chickpeas, sometimes gets a bad rap for being fried. But this flavorful burger recipe keeps health in mind with instructions to pan-fry them and keep the oil to a minimum. Healthy, hearty plant-based protein for the win! Photo and recipe: Alissa Saenz / Oh My Veggies