Switching over to a vegan diet can be intimidating. The list of foods to avoid is long, leaving you to wonder whether you’re still getting all of the components of your diet that your body requires. Many people think that vegan meals don’t have enough protein in them to fulfill their needs. But, when you look at the nutrition facts on plant-based foods, you find that they actually have plenty of protein to keep you healthy and strong.
The following vegan meals are especially high in protein and easy for anyone to make at home.
Black Bean Tacos
Everyone knows how to make tacos or burritos, and they can easily be made vegan. My recipe for vegan black bean tacos is below. This yields six tacos, which is enough for two people.
6 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked black beans
2 whole bell peppers, sautéed
1 cup pico de gallo
Method: Preparation for this one is as usual; just fill your taco shell with your preferred toppings. If you are making your own pico de gallo, I usually use one large ripe tomato, half of a small red onion, and some salt and pepper. But there’s no shame in buying premade pico from your favorite market.
A meal consisting of three of these tacos has about 26 grams of protein. That’s more than half the daily protein that an average woman needs (46 grams) and almost half the daily protein that an average man needs (56 grams).
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
Quinoa is a popular grain because it has more protein per cup than most other grains. Chickpeas are also an excellent source of protein, with 15 grams per cup. The following recipe makes enough quinoa salad for two people.
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 raw bell pepper, diced
1 large raw carrot, diced
½ cup diced cucumber
Oil & vinegar dressing
Method: This recipe is also easy to prepare and personalize. If you don’t care for cucumber, bell pepper or carrots, you can substitute them with any veggie of your choice. Add as much or as little oil and vinegar dressing as you wish.
One serving of this dish has a grand total of 21 grams of protein, more than enough for a meal that constitutes about one third of your daily calories.
Tofu Stir Fry
Tofu is exceptionally high in protein, with an impressive 36 grams per block. If you like making stir fry but usually make it with meat, you can easily substitute tofu to lower your cholesterol and saturated fat intake, while still getting plenty of protein. Below is my stir fry recipe, which feeds two people.
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 block extra firm tofu, chopped into ½ inch cubes
½ cup diced onions
½ cup sliced zucchini
1 sliced carrot
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
Soy sauce, to taste
Method: It’s best to prepare stir fry in a wok, but if you don’t have one, you can use a large frying pan.
- Start by sautéing the onions, carrots and zucchini (or any veggies you prefer) for about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, tofu and as much soy sauce as you desire.
- Cook for another two minutes, then add the rice and more soy sauce, if you like.
- Cook for a final two minutes.
One serving of this dish has a healthy 24 grams of protein.
When you do the math, you find that there is plenty of protein in plant-based dishes. As a bonus, plant sources of protein have little to no fat and do not raise cholesterol. Try one of these recipes for lunch or dinner this week!