Guide to Plant Based Protein

Looking for how to eat enough plant based protein? Here’s how to make filling, protein-packed meatless meals.

Eating protein is key for staying satiated and full. But how can you add protein to plant based meals? Alex and I have been eating mostly vegetarian and vegan meals for years. And we’ve run into the problem at restaurants where we’ll order a vegetarian or vegan entree. It will be absolutely beautiful, but have no plant based protein. Sadly, we’ll be hungry just hours later!

Luckily, there lots of options for adding plant based protein to your meals to make them filling and nutritious. It’s the most important thing we’ve learned about eating vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Best plant based protein foods

What are these plant based proteins? Here’s how to get protein into vegan and vegetarian recipes:

  • Legumes: Try lentils (red, green, brown, French), split peas, black-eyed peas, and beans (black, garbanzo / chickpeas, lima, navy, pinto, white, and kidney)
  • Whole grainsTry quinoa, barley, bulgur wheat, amaranth, millet, and brown and wild rice
  • Nuts and seeds: Try almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Soy: Soy based products like tofu and tempeh are rich in plant based protein; stick to 2 to 4 servings per week.
  • Veggies: Some vegetables have protein, but in much lower amounts than the foods above. Some higher protein veggies are corn, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes.

When you’re eating lots of protein from plants, it’s important to get a wide variety of protein sources. The point isn’t just to eat a can of black beans every day! Per the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, make sure to mix up your sources so no “essential” components of protein are missing.

If you eat a vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs, those foods are rich in protein as well, so you can keep these in mind to combine with the plant based proteins. Alex and I eat vegetarian recipes (and some seafood), so we mix all of these protein sources together in our recipes.

Note: Dairy, eggs, and seafood have the Vitamin B12, which is important for avoiding anemia and does not occur naturally in plants. If you eat a fully vegan or plant based diet, you may need to add a supplement (specifically vitamin B12) to make sure you receive all the nutrients required. Consult your doctor for more.

Related: What’s a Vegan vs Vegetarian Diet?

Wild Rice Soup Recipe | How to get protein as a vegetarian
Wild Rice Soup filled with vegetarian protein: wild rice, white beans, and blended cashews

Plant based protein recipes

Now that you’ve learned about the best plant based protein: want to see it in practice? All of our plant based recipes are designed to feature enough protein to keep you full throughout the day. Here are recipes that show that plant based protein in action!

Adding a handful of nuts or seeds to a meal does wonders to make it filling! Or add a dollop of peanut butter to your morning oatmeal (we do it every morning!). Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring these nutritious plant based protein bombs.

Recipes with Nuts & Seeds
Raw Falafel Buddha Bowls
Sweet Potatoes with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce
Vegan Sweet Potato Soup with Harissa
Mexican Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Vegan Corn Chowder (thickened with Cashew Cream)
DIY Instant Oatmeal
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans
Superfood Pecan Energy Bars
Cinnamon Pecan Muesli Recipe

Continue Reading

Foods like tofu and tempeh are actually incredibly tasty! According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It's likely to provide health benefits—especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat! Here are the most delicious to ways to do it.

Recipes with Soy Protein
Best Teriyaki Stir Fry with Tempeh
Easy Marinated Tofu
Spring Roll Noodle Bowl
BBQ Soy Curls (with Vegan BBQ Sauce)
Easy Vegan Korean Ramen
Tofu Scramble with Black Beans
Tofu Tacos with Chipotle Sauce
Thai Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing

Continue Reading
Plant based diet meal plan

Meal plans

Looking to incorporate recipes like these into your everyday life? Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about where to start. Here are a few meal plans that can show you what it looks like on a daily basis:

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.