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Vegetarian Meals for Protein

julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
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Good Morning! I have recently transitioned to vegetarian diet, and I am having trouble with meal plans that have enough protein. I have protein powder but I don't want to rely on only shakes for protein. If anyone has any meals or suggestions that will allow me to still get a good amount of protein, please share! As of now, I am doing protein shakes and eggs in my day to hit that protein goal, but I honestly cannot stand my protein powder, I need to switch but I don't want to waste it so I'm trying to embrace it first. I use the vegan veggie patties so those are not high protein, but I have never tried cooking tofu and tempeh, I would like to try. Any snacks or recommendations are welcome!
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Replies

  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 5,782Member Member Posts: 5,782Member Member
    Tofu is ok as a substitute for chicken in many chicken based recipes. (I say OK as a meat eater who sometimes eats veggie meals, I still prefer Chicken but I use it more regularly as an alternative to Paneer in Indian dishes).

    Other good veggie sources of protein are:
    • Cottage Cheese
    • Yoghurt
    • Protein Milk
    • Cheese
    • Chickpeas
    • Spinach
    • Quinoa
    • Beans
    • Edamame
    • Chia Seeds

    Perhaps consider trying different protein powder samples, they vary vastly in taste and consistency.







  • cmdullnig22cmdullnig22 Posts: 1Member, Premium Member Posts: 1Member, Premium Member
    I’ve also had a hard time finding plant based foods with enough protein that aren’t also packed with fat or sugar. I currently can’t get to my protein goal while staying under my fat limits without protein powder.
    The best food I’ve come across though are non-fat Greek yogurt, riced cauliflower, broccoli, and various beans or lentils.
    I’ll be following this post to see if anyone has a golden recipe!
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    Tofu is ok as a substitute for chicken in many chicken based recipes. (I say OK as a meat eater who sometimes eats veggie meals, I still prefer Chicken but I use it more regularly as an alternative to Paneer in Indian dishes).

    Other good veggie sources of protein are:
    • Cottage Cheese
    • Yoghurt
    • Protein Milk
    • Cheese
    • Chickpeas
    • Spinach
    • Quinoa
    • Beans
    • Edamame
    • Chia Seeds

    Perhaps consider trying different protein powder samples, they vary vastly in taste and consistency.







    Thank you! I like hearing other people's insight and recipes, as the internet is not consistent with some things. My biggest concern is I see protein as the main part of the meal, so it's an odd transition since the veggie patties are not packed with protein, yet they stand in as protein. I'll find some recipes with these things, thanks again!

  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    I’ve also had a hard time finding plant based foods with enough protein that aren’t also packed with fat or sugar. I currently can’t get to my protein goal while staying under my fat limits without protein powder.
    The best food I’ve come across though are non-fat Greek yogurt, riced cauliflower, broccoli, and various beans or lentils.
    I’ll be following this post to see if anyone has a golden recipe!

    Thank you! Same issue over here. Waiting on the golden recipe!
  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Posts: 4,797Member Member Posts: 4,797Member Member
    How much protein are you shooting for in a recipe? I just made a seitan dish with 26 grams per serving.

    The seitan recipe I use contains 50 grams of protein per 8 oz.
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    How much protein are you shooting for in a recipe? I just made a seitan dish with 26 grams per serving.

    The seitan recipe I use contains 50 grams of protein per 8 oz.

    Please share, I've never heard of seitan!
  • jgnatcajgnatca Posts: 14,386Member Member Posts: 14,386Member Member
    My favourite way to prepare Tofu.

    https://pin.it/gsr7acfw6h2ow6

    Sometimes I just bake the wedges and serve with something else.
  • jgnatcajgnatca Posts: 14,386Member Member Posts: 14,386Member Member
    A chickpea casserole that adds dairy protein for an extra boost.

    https://pin.it/vamvnbntbao2t3
  • jgnatcajgnatca Posts: 14,386Member Member Posts: 14,386Member Member
    I like my lentils spicy.

    https://pin.it/4wopvalsj6zihl

    To increase the protein serve with a dollop of Greek Yogurt.
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    It's a meat analogue made from vital wheat gluten. (Not a good idea for people with gluten issues, but it's closer to meat in texture than tofu would be.)

    It's sold ready-made in some health stores, but not the ones near me. So to make my own I start with a recipe from the 1,000 Vegan Recipes cookbook:


    1.75 cups (210 grams going by the label on the Bob's Red Mill bag) vital wheat gluten (USD says it's 212. I weigh out 210 and figure that the 'lightly floured surface' adds a couple of grams anyway.)
    0.25 cups nutritional yeast
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1/4 tsp sweet paprika
    1 tbsp olive oil
    3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
    1 2/3 cups (400 mls) water

    I pulse the flour, nutritional yeast and spices in the food processor, then add the wet ingredients and process for a minute to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface, knead about 2 minutes and divide into 4 equal pieces.

    Make a simmering liquid from 2 quarts (slightly over 2 litres) water, 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce and 2 cloves crushed garlic. Just put it all in a large saucepan. Then add the dough. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Recipe says to turn the pieces occasionally; I usually get sidetracked and forget. Never ruins anything.

    When the hour is up, turn off the heat and let the seitan cool in the liquid. At this point, you can either use it right away, refrigerate it for a week in a tightly-sealed container with some of the simmering liquid (Ziploc bags totally count!), or freeze it up to 3 months. One batch gets you 2lbs worth.

    Nutrition:

    The recipe I did today is Seitan with Spinach and Sun-dried tomatoes.

    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 lb seitan cut into 1/4" strips
    salt and pepper to taste
    3 cloves minced garlic
    3 cups fresh baby spinach (weighed out, I used 145 grams)
    4 oil-packed sundried tomatoes (about 30 grams) cut into 1/4" strips
    1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives cut in half (about 75 grams)
    1 tbsp capers
    1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

    In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the seitan, season with salt and peppr, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side.

    Add the garlic and cook for one minute to soften. Add the spinach and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes). Stir in remaining ingredients plus additional salt/pepper to taste if needed. Cook about 5 minutes.

    Nutrition per serving:

    This was extremely helpful, I'm adding this to my shopping list and giving it a try, thank you so much for making this so easy and detailed!
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    jgnatca wrote: »
    My favourite way to prepare Tofu.

    https://pin.it/gsr7acfw6h2ow6

    Sometimes I just bake the wedges and serve with something else.

    Thank you! I've been wanting to try tofu!
  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Posts: 4,797Member Member Posts: 4,797Member Member
    You're welcome! Hope you enjoy!
  • grimendalegrimendale Posts: 1,900Member Member Posts: 1,900Member Member
    There are a lot of options depending on what you like. For lunch, I like worthington's deli slices, tofurky deli slices, or sweet earth slices (all around 100-150 calories, all around 11-14g protein). Eggs and cheese are good sources as well, assuming you're ovo/lacto veg. Chickpeas can be a decent source (i.e. falafel, hummus or a salad). I'm a big fan of the beyond burgers (even my meat-eating wife likes them), which are 20g protein for 270 calories, and taste a lot like a traditional burger, which is nice. Morningstar veggie crumbles take the place of ground beef in pretty much any recipe (I use them often for chili or tacos), and at 20g protein for 160 calories, they're a pretty good option. I wouldn't worry too much about going over on your fat macros. A lot of veg*ns are low on dietary fat, so getting enough is a good thing. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about my protein anymore, and I'm generally somewhere between 50-100g protein a day without difficulty, so it's definitely doable. My diary is public if you want to look through for ideas, etc.
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    grimendale wrote: »
    There are a lot of options depending on what you like. For lunch, I like worthington's deli slices, tofurky deli slices, or sweet earth slices (all around 100-150 calories, all around 11-14g protein). Eggs and cheese are good sources as well, assuming you're ovo/lacto veg. Chickpeas can be a decent source (i.e. falafel, hummus or a salad). I'm a big fan of the beyond burgers (even my meat-eating wife likes them), which are 20g protein for 270 calories, and taste a lot like a traditional burger, which is nice. Morningstar veggie crumbles take the place of ground beef in pretty much any recipe (I use them often for chili or tacos), and at 20g protein for 160 calories, they're a pretty good option. I wouldn't worry too much about going over on your fat macros. A lot of veg*ns are low on dietary fat, so getting enough is a good thing. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about my protein anymore, and I'm generally somewhere between 50-100g protein a day without difficulty, so it's definitely doable. My diary is public if you want to look through for ideas, etc.

    Wow, very helpful, thank you! I never knew morningstar made crumbles, and I never even thought about tofurkey, thanks a lot!
  • lynn_glenmontlynn_glenmont Posts: 5,988Member Member Posts: 5,988Member Member
    How much protein are you shooting for in a recipe? I just made a seitan dish with 26 grams per serving.

    The seitan recipe I use contains 50 grams of protein per 8 oz.

    Please share, I've never heard of seitan!

    A company called Upton's Naturals makes a pretty good seitan "bacon." I am not vegetarian, and I like it. No, it's not identical to bacon, but it's smoky and cooks quickly and easily, and it has 15 grams of protein per 100-calorie serving. I like it for weekday breakfasts when I don't have time to cook real bacon, and during Lent.


    And this isn't much of a recipe, but my favorite evening snack when I need to bring protein levels up is plain greek yogurt mixed with cheese powder of the sort people put on popcorn. The brand of cheese powder I'm using now has 2 grams of protein per 25 calorie (7 g) serving -- I typically use about four servings of cheese powder (100 calories, 8 grams of protein) and 3 or 4 oz of yogurt (I like it really thick, bordering on a paste), for about another 100 calories and about another 12 g of protein. Altogether about 200 cals for 20 g of protein in a savory, cheesy snack. If you make it less thick (less cheese), the protein-to-calorie ratio goes up a bit.
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    How much protein are you shooting for in a recipe? I just made a seitan dish with 26 grams per serving.

    The seitan recipe I use contains 50 grams of protein per 8 oz.

    Please share, I've never heard of seitan!

    A company called Upton's Naturals makes a pretty good seitan "bacon." I am not vegetarian, and I like it. No, it's not identical to bacon, but it's smoky and cooks quickly and easily, and it has 15 grams of protein per 100-calorie serving. I like it for weekday breakfasts when I don't have time to cook real bacon, and during Lent.


    And this isn't much of a recipe, but my favorite evening snack when I need to bring protein levels up is plain greek yogurt mixed with cheese powder of the sort people put on popcorn. The brand of cheese powder I'm using now has 2 grams of protein per 25 calorie (7 g) serving -- I typically use about four servings of cheese powder (100 calories, 8 grams of protein) and 3 or 4 oz of yogurt (I like it really thick, bordering on a paste), for about another 100 calories and about another 12 g of protein. Altogether about 200 cals for 20 g of protein in a savory, cheesy snack. If you make it less thick (less cheese), the protein-to-calorie ratio goes up a bit.

    Thank you so much! I definitely want to look into preparing meals with seitan and tofu, I hope it works out lol!
  • yasmine_ahyasmine_ah Posts: 28Member Member Posts: 28Member Member
    I'm going to repeat some of what others have said, but there are loads of ways to get protein on a vegetarian diet!
    Main meat substitutes: Tofu, seitan, tempeh (tasty marinated in something like teriyaki sauce). Soy curls are interesting.
    Dairy sources: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese in general, milk, eggs.
    Other: Lentils, Edamame (!!!), beans, nuts, wild rice, quinoa, whole grains.
    Some vegetables are relatively high in protein as well like peas, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn...

    It's pretty easy for all those things to add up to a lot of protein!

    Then of course all the fake meats. I like morning star (especially their "chik'n" items), Quorn products, Tofurkey lunch meat, Field Roast (very high protein, their sausages are quite tasty!) and Gardein. Trader Joes has some nice ones too like their orange "chicken." Beyond and Impossible burgers are pretty realistic. You mentioned veggie burgers not being high in protein, but a lot of them can be, just shop around for the right ones. Usually if it's a proper veg patty it's less protein.

    Meal ideas that incorporate some protein: Chili with a variety of beans and meat crumble, spaghetti w/sausage ( gimmie lean lightlife brand is good), asian style bowls with tofu, greek bowl with falafel, Indian style curry with chickpeas, Mexican bowls with plenty of beans, bean salads, power bowls, lentil soup~ There are tons of great blogs and youtube channels with lovely recipes, feel free to message me if you want some specific recs!

    Here is one recipe I've been enjoying lately: https://www.delishknowledge.com/peanut-tofu-buddha-bowl/

    Hope that helps! :)
    edited April 5
  • julieweberrjulieweberr Posts: 11Member Member Posts: 11Member Member
    yasmine_ah wrote: »
    I'm going to repeat some of what others have said, but there are loads of ways to get protein on a vegetarian diet!
    Main meat substitutes: Tofu, seitan, tempeh (tasty marinated in something like teriyaki sauce). Soy curls are interesting.
    Dairy sources: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese in general, milk, eggs.
    Other: Lentils, Edamame (!!!), beans, nuts, wild rice, quinoa, whole grains.
    Some vegetables are relatively high in protein as well like peas, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn...

    It's pretty easy for all those things to add up to a lot of protein!

    Then of course all the fake meats. I like morning star (especially their "chik'n" items), Quorn products, Tofurkey lunch meat, Field Roast (very high protein, their sausages are quite tasty!) and Gardein. Trader Joes has some nice ones too like their orange "chicken." Beyond and Impossible burgers are pretty realistic. You mentioned veggie burgers not being high in protein, but a lot of them can be, just shop around for the right ones. Usually if it's a proper veg patty it's less protein.

    Meal ideas that incorporate some protein: Chili with a variety of beans and meat crumble, spaghetti w/sausage ( gimmie lean lightlife brand is good), asian style bowls with tofu, greek bowl with falafel, Indian style curry with chickpeas, Mexican bowls with plenty of beans, bean salads, power bowls, lentil soup~ There are tons of great blogs and youtube channels with lovely recipes, feel free to message me if you want some specific recs!

    Here is one recipe I've been enjoying lately: https://www.delishknowledge.com/peanut-tofu-buddha-bowl/

    Hope that helps! :)

    extremely helpful, thanks a lot!
  • whoami67whoami67 Posts: 30Member Member Posts: 30Member Member
    You could try something like this: https://ohsheglows.com/2019/03/07/meal-prep-week-long-power-bowls/

    Quinoa is a higher protein grain, and make sure you include some lentils, black beans or other legumes, a little bit of nuts or seeds, maybe some hummus. You could even add some diced tofu, although I'm very anti-soy so I wouldn't do that.

    All those smaller amounts of protein in each ingredient should add up to a very decent amount in the whole power bowl.
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