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8 Easy High-Protein Plant-Based Meals You Can Make in Your Instant Pot

Emily Laurence

Emily LaurenceFebruary 6, 2020

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Photo: Moon and Spoon and Yum

When trying to focus on plant-based eating, getting enough protein is often a top concern. Sure, you’ve probably heard that foods like tofu, beans, and chickpeas are good sources of the nutrient, but the advice often stops there. What’s less clear is how to cook with them in ways that actually gets you excited about meal time.

But this is another cooking problem your Instant Pot can handle with ease. The multi-cooker makes quick work of the conundrum, helping to clear your mind (and schedule) so you can focus on things that are on your metaphorical plate, not your actual one.

Of course, the proof is in the pudding. Rounded up here are eight plant-based high-protein meals, all that make good use of the Instant Pot. Bookmark it so that’s it’s handy for when you need it during meal prep planning or busy weekdays.

8 vegetarian high-protein meals you can make in your Instant Pot

vegetarian chili high-protein meals
Photo: Well-Plated by Erin

1. Vegetarian chili

Because chili often uses a base of beans, it’s one of the best high-protein plant-based meals there is. Besides the beans, this recipe also calls for quinoa, sweet potatoes, and red bell peppers, all of which are good sources of fiber, too. Not only will feel powered up, your gut will be pretty darn happy, too.

high-protein meatless meatloaf
Photo: Food Faith Fitness

2. Meatless chili

Another way to make a meatless chili? With an alt-meat substitute, of course. Vegan “beef” products have become increasingly popular recently, available at virtually any supermarket. Of course the key to nailing the chili taste is by incorporating tomato paste and a few key spices into your recipe. Another reason this dish is full of protein: it’s loaded with kidney beans.

high-protein dal
Photo: Contendeness cooking

3. Instant Pot dal

This Indian-inspired meal is cheap, healthy, and of course, full of protein. (You can thank all the red lentils for that.) Other than the beans, the only ingredients this recipe calls for are vegetable broth, tomatoes, minced garlic, onions, and sesame oil. (Although if you want to add some kick, feel free to throw some cumin, ginger, and chilis in there.) The Instant Pot cooks it all up in 10 minutes.

tofu masala
Photo: Cook with Manali

4. Instant Pot tofu tikka masala

Another Indian-inspired meal to make using your Instant Pot is this tofu tikka masala. Made with coconut milk, ginger, onion, garlic, and tomato, literally every part of the curry is good for you, and of course the tofu ensures it delivers on the protein front. Pair with rice for a delicious, well-rounded meal.

smoky tofu instant pot
Photo: Full of Plants

5. Smoky tofu quinoa biryani

Besides being a great plant-based protein source, another reason tofu is so great to cook with is because it takes on the taste of whatever other ingredients you pair with it. Marinated in liquid smoke, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, and a few other key spices, the tofu in this dish is bursting with flavor.

pea soup
Photo: Provision Curry

6. Split pea soup

Peas may be small, but they’re full of protein—which is why pea protein has become a big trend in the last few years. What’s so great about making soup in the Instant Pot is that it tastes like the core ingredients have been soaking up the flavors of the spices for hours, but this dish only takes a fraction of one to make.

high-protein instant pot stew
Photo: Carve Your Craving

7. Chickpea vegetable stew

Stew is super versatile, so if there’s anything sitting in your crisper knocking on death’s door, you can throw it in your Instant Pot when following this recipe. Like all legumes, chickpeas pull double-duty, a good source of both fiber and protein. There’s a reason why healthy food brands are experimenting with even more ways to use ’em.

pinto beans instant pot
Photo: Moon and Spoon and Yum

8. Pinto bean chili with millet

Plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free—this recipe checks all the boxes. In the Instant Pot, the pinto beans take on the flavors of the other ingredients they’re cooked with, namely cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, red chili flakes, and paprika. The end result is the perfect combo of sweet and spicy.

Here’s what you need to know about protein bars:

If you’re new to plant-based eating, here are some tips. And if you eat meat, here’s the most ethical way to do it.

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