5 High Protein Meals You Need in Your Life if You're Vegetarian

Begin a vegetarian or vegan who loves their protein intake can prove to be a challenge for some. However, with sufficient research and planning, a vegetarian diet should have no problem providing you with all the nutrients you need, even with a strict workout routine. Take a look at our list of 5 high-protein, vegetarian alternatives that you didn’t know you needed in your life!

High Protein Ingredients

The following ingredients have been proven to be high in protein and can be included and combined in many meals to provide you with all the nutrients you need. Experiment and try different combinations with your meals!

  • Tofu

  • Beans

  • Lentils

  • Quinoa

  • Eggplant

  • Mushrooms

  • Cauliflower

  • Tempeh

  • Seitan

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

1. Spicy Garlic Soy Tofu

With approximately 10 grams of protein per half-cup, tofu is a great soy-based meat alternative. It soaks up the flavour of what it’s cooked with really well, and it’s low in fat too!

1. Place the chilies, ginger, sesame seeds, salt and garlic in blender and pulse 3 or 4 times, or until coarse paste forms.
2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-low heat; add spice paste. Fry for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, pepper powder and tofu cubes.
3. Toss well to coat, cooking for about 2 minutes or until tofu turns slightly golden and crispy.
4. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/spicy-garlic-soy-tofu/17158/#touOYoMk40PLi1Te.99

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

2. Black Bean and Corn Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Bun

With a patty crafted from black beans, this burger is packed with protein. The addition of a sweet potato bun is perfect for those looking to go grainless!

1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Brush the sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Lightly oil the grill grates. Arrange the sweet potato rounds on the grill, cover with the lid and cook until there are nice grill marks and the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 8 to 12 minutes per side. Set aside to cool completely. (These "buns" can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.)
2. Meanwhile, mash the beans and corn in a medium bowl until the beans form almost a paste. Add the cheese, 3 tablespoons of the cornmeal, the egg white, scallions and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Form the mixture into 4 patties about 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes up to overnight.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons cornmeal onto a plate. Dredge both sides of the patties in the cornmeal. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake until the burgers reach an internal temperature of 165ºF, about 5 minutes.
4. Brush 4 of the grilled sweet potato slices with some of the mayonnaise. Put the lettuce leaves and burgers on the remaining 4 slices, and sandwich together.

Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/black-bean-and-corn-veggie-burger-with-sweet-potato-bun/20185/#ZvhL2cUKW2rqlLU5.99

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

3. Greek Salad and Mushroom Souvlaki

This fully vegan, meatless alternative is rich in omega-3s with flaxseeds and walnuts. The addition of dairy-free tofu provides a protein packed meal, perfect for a light snack or lunch.

Tofu Feta (make 1 day ahead)
1. Remove the tofu from the packaging and drain the excess water.
2. Cut it lengthwise in half, then into strips, and then cut the strips into cubes.
3. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a glass storage container that has a fitted lid. Submerge the tofu cubes in the mixture, place the lid on the container and refrigerate it.
4. It is preferred to marinate the tofu at least overnight as it gives it a stronger flavour, but you could do it as for as short as 3 hours.

Creamy Cucumber Dressing
1. Make the dressing ahead of the mushroom walnut patties and leave it the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad.
2. You can either whisk all these ingredients together until combined or blend them in a blender for a creamier, smoother dressing.

Mushroom Walnut Patties (makes 8 patties, 2 per serving)
1. In a small bowl whisk together ground flax and water. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow it to thicken.
2. Heat a pan to medium and sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms in 2 teaspoons of oil for approximately 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking add in fresh thyme.
3. Put the sautéed mushroom mixture in a food processor along with the thickened flax mixture, walnuts, flour, tamari, tomato paste, parsley, onion powder, cumin, ground mustard, smoked paprika, sage, pepper, and salt. Process the mixture until a smooth pâté-like consistency is formed.
4. Form 2 ½-inch-wide x ¼-inch-thick patties with the mixture using your hands. You may need to dampen your hands with a little bit of water to keep the mixture from sticking.
5. You can either bake the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes at 375°F and flip them half way through or pan fry them.
6. To pan fry, heat a large pan to medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, place the patties in the pan and fry for 1 to 2 mins a side until golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the patties in the pan. Depending on the size of your pan you may want to only do 2 to 3 at a time. Add more oil to the pan for the next batch.

Greek Salad
1. Assemble the salads starting with a bed of arugula and add in olives, halved cherry tomatoes, and top with thinly sliced onions.
2. Place warm mushroom walnut patties on top of the salad.
3. Crumble tofu feta on top and drizzle with the creamy cucumber dressing.
4. Garnish with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/vegan-greek-salad-with-mushroom-souvlaki/15207/#W67ktFB2tC0YP0TP.99

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

4. Vegan Meatballs with Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

This meatless alternative with tofu and vegetable protein rivals the classic version with it’s high protein count. The oven-baked tomato sauce provides a tasty bed, perfect for a cold Winter’s day.

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Arrange the tomato quarters on the baking tray and top with the sliced onion & garlic and the oregano. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and sugar and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 40 minutes, until the onions and garlic just begin to brown a little. Once cooled slightly, place everything in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth (there is no need to strain). Chill the sauce until ready to serve, and reheat over medium heat, adjusting seasoning if needed.

1. For the “meatballs”, pour 1 ½ cups of boiling water over the TVP and bulgur, stir and cover with plastic wrap until the liquid has absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in the tofu, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, soy sauce and vinegar. Shape the “meatballs” and set them on a parchment-lined baking tray.
2. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add a little oil. Sear the “meatballs” for about 3 minutes on each side (you may have to do this in batches) and then return then to the baking tray. Oven roast the “meatballs” at 350ºF for about 20 minutes, to heat them through and soften the onion, then serve with the heated sauce.

Read more at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/vegan-meatballs-with-oven-roasted-tomato-sauce/13672/#p2be7A07ad6QT2fL.99

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

Photo courtesy of Food Network.

5. Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Curries make a great meatless-Monday alternative. With six cups of vegetables and lots of red lentils, this curry is a perfect for the cold season and packed with proteins.

1. In a pot bring rice, water, and vegan butter to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover the pot with a lid and cook for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a large, deep pan heated to medium, add 2 Tbsp of coconut oil and cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric, chili flakes, and garam masala. Toast the spices for 6 minutes until fragrant.
3. Lower the heat so the spices don’t burn and add minced garlic, ginger and onions, and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently until the onions are translucent and soft.
4. Add another Tbsp of coconut oil and all your veggies and cook for 8-10 minutes until they just start to get soft, but are still bright in colour.
5. Add lentils and stir frequently for another 5-6 minutes, allowing the lentils to toast up and absorb some moisture.
6. Bring the heat back up to medium and gradually stir in vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.
7. Add coconut milk, lime juice, sea salt, ground pepper and any frozen vegetables you want to add. Stir well to combine. Cover with a lid and cook for another 20 minutes.
8. Serve over rice and garnish with a dollop of coconut yogurt and finely chopped chives.