Healthy Cooking

8 High-Protein Vegan and Vegetarian Dinners That Pack Even *More* Protein Than a Steak

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Getty Images/vaaseenaa
If you were asked which contains the most protein between a steak and a can of chickpeas, you'd probably choose the steak without a second thought. But you'd be wrong. While the recommended 3-ounce serving size of steak packs 21 grams of protein, a cup of chickpeas contains a whopping 39 grams. With that in mind, making high-protein vegetarian dinners is pretty easy.

Aside from chickpeas, a cup of lentils contains 50 grams of protein, a cup of tofu has 20 grams, and kidney beans contain 43 grams of protein per cup. Not too shabby—especially considering the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein for a 140-pound person is 50 grams per day, or about 7 grams per 20 pounds of body weight.

The next time you're planning out your weekly meals, add these high-protein vegetarian dinners to the menu.

High-protein vegetarian dinners (and lunches) that pack more protein than a steak

1. Vegan jalapeño chickpea mac and cheese

Photo: Cotter Crunch

Protein: 27 grams per serving
Total time: 35 minutes

This vegan mac and cheese has a super-high protein count thanks to the chickpea pasta and added chickpeas. The jalapeños also give it a deliciously spicy kick.

2. High-protein veggie burgers

high-protein vegetarian dinners
Photo: Full of Plants

Protein: 39 grams per serving
Total time: 2 hours

Is it grilling season yet? These high-protein veggie burgers are made from red kidney beans, texturized vegetable protein (TVP), and a handful of different spices.

3. Pesto spaghetti with vegan meatballs

Photo: Vegan Richa

Protein: 24 grams per serving
Total time: 50 minutes

Switch up your typical spaghetti recipe for this protein-packed pesto version. Between the sauce and the meatballs—which are made from walnuts and chickpeas—you're taking in 24 grams of protein per serving.

4. The ultimate protein-packed vegan cesar salad

high-protein vegetarian dinners
Photo: Delish Knowledge

Protein: Up to 28 grams per serving
Total time: 40 minutes

This vegan caesar salad has the same great taste as the original, but it contains a whole lot more protein thanks to tempeh bacon bits, crispy chickpeas, and a cashew-based dressing.

5. Moroccan-spiced vegan shepherd's pie

Photo: A Saucy Kitchen

Protein: 25 grams per serving
Total time: 45 minutes

Comfort food, but make it healthy and high protein. This Moroccan-spiced vegan shepherd’s pie has a creamy lentil base topped with sweet potatoes.

6. Almond butter tofu stir-fry

high-protein vegetarian dinners
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Protein: 23 grams per serving
Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Who can resist a quick and easy stir-fry? This protein-loaded recipe only requires nine ingredients, including tofu, almond butter, and green beans.

7. The ultimate vegan protein burrito

Photo: Blissful Basil

Protein: 22 grams per serving
Total time: 40 minutes

Chipotle has nothing on this wholesome burrito that contains 22 grams of protein from quinoa, black beans, and hemp seeds.

8. Mongolian seitan beef 

high-protein vegetarian dinners
Photo: Yup, It's Vegan!

Protein: 29 grams of protein per serving
Total time: 30 minutes

This vegan beef made from seitan will fool you into thinking you're eating the real thing. Serving alongside broccoli and rice for the ultimate healthy dish.

This vegetarian Bolognese is loaded with healthy plant-based ingredients:

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