20 Ways to Add More Protein Into Your Diet as a Vegetarian
Creative ways to include more vegetarian protein sources
Whether you’ve been eating a vegetarian diet for a while or are just wanting to include more vegetarian foods that are high in protein, this list is for you! We’ve included 20 fun and creative ways to include more vegetarian protein sources in your regular eating.
Keep reading for a quick summary of vegetarian protein sources and some ways to include them in meals and snacks!
Vegetarian Protein Sources
- Nuts, seeds & nut butter: almonds, pecans, pistachios, sunflower, chia, sesame, flax, pumpkin, walnuts, cashews, hemp hearts, hazelnuts
- Soy: tofu, tempeh, edamame
- Beans: kidney, lima, pinto, black, white northern, cannellini, beans in tomato sauce
- Peas & Lentils: chickpeas, split peas, black-eyed peas, lentils, bean-based dips & hummus
- Cheese* & vegan cheese
- Cow’s milk* & soy milk
- Yogurt* & soy yogurt
- Meat alternatives: veggie ground round, textured vegetable protein, veggie burgers/hotdogs/deli meats
- Seitan: a dough made from gluten that simulates the texture of meat when cooked
- Nutritional yeast: has a slightly cheesy flavour. With 8g protein per 2 Tbsp, nutritional yeast can be a great way to add additional protein to your meal.
*for lacto-ovo vegetarian eating
High Protein Vegetarian Meal & Snack Ideas
Smoothies can be an easy on-the-go meal or snack idea. Add Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, soy protein powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts, nut butters, or silken tofu to your favourite smoothie recipe to pump up the protein and make a more satisfying and filling snack. Try this delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie or this Monster Smoothie Recipe.
Greek yogurt is higher in protein than other yogurts and is a great way to include a source of protein in your breakfast or snack. As an alternative to dairy, you can choose a soy yogurt product instead. Top with nuts or seeds (my favourites are hemp hearts and walnuts) to give some crunch and additional protein.
Add protein to the pancake mix with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. Top with slivered almonds or your favourite nut butter for additional protein! Here’s a delicious recipe to try: Banana Raspberry Protein Pancakes.
A great meal prep breakfast for those busy on-the-go mornings! Vegetarian protein sources you can include are Greek yogurt, chia seeds, soy milk, nuts, and nut butters. Try our Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats, Chocolate Monkey Overnight Oats, or Dairy-free Overnight Oats and let us know what you think!
Shakshuka is a delicious mix of tomatoes, onions, spices, and poached eggs and is often served for breakfast or brunch. Add a can of cannellini beans to this delicious dish to pump up the plant-based proteins, like in this Smoky White Bean Shakshuka recipe.
Another quick and easy lunch or dinner. Add black beans, lentils, or veggie ground to a tortilla wrap with cheese and pan fry until perfectly golden brown. Here’s a recipe to try, Easy Black Bean Quesadillas.
Salads don’t just need to be leafy greens and vegetables! Add in some nuts and seeds for crunch or cooked beans, chickpeas, edamame, or lentils for a protein-loaded salad! Try our Barley & Lentil Salad, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, or Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad for some tasty and satisfying ideas!
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
A spin on chicken salad sandwich or egg salad sandwich. Packed with plant-based protein and fibre, this is a great high protein vegetarian meal! Try out the recipe, Vegan Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Avocado.
Power bowls are so versatile and can take on many different flavour profiles! Choose your favourite grain/starch (rice, quinoa, potatoes, etc.), add some colourful vegetables, and then load up with different proteins like tofu, edamame, seitan, beans, chickpeas, lentils, seeds, or veggie meat alternatives. Check out our Healthy Power Bowls blog or our Greek Tofu Power Bowl recipe for some ideas to get you started!
Creating a balanced snack (carbohydrate + protein) is a great way to optimize energy, manage hunger, and ensure you’re getting enough protein throughout the day. Some vegetarian protein sources that you can include in your snacks are nuts, seeds, trail mix, energy bites, roasted chickpeas, edamame, hummus dip with pita chips, or Greek yogurt with nutty granola. Try out our Roasted Chickpea Recipe with 5 Flavour Options and Nutty Chocoholic Balls!
Black Bean & Chickpea Dips
Hummus with pita chips, warm black bean dip with tortilla chips, or a white bean dip all are delicious high protein snacks to try! Here’s a great Creamy Hummus and Spicy Black Bean Dip to try!
Baking can be a surprisingly fun way to add extra vegetarian proteins! Add nuts and seeds to muffins, cookies, like these Apple Cinnamon Oat Breakfast Cookies, or breads like this Best Ever Banana Bread. You can also try incorporating beans, like in these Flourless Black Bean Brownies.
Nutritional yeast has a slightly cheesy flavour and can be added like parmesan to things like popcorn, pasta sauces, risotto, or scrambled tofu, like in this Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito Recipe.
A versatile foundation for many different dishes! You can add a plant-based protein like lentils, beans, nuts/seeds, or veggie ground. Try out this Spinach Feta Pasta with pine nuts or this Butternut Squash Pasta using cashew nuts to make a creamy sauce!
A super quick and easy go-to meal when you’re short on time. Include cubed tofu, seitan, or nuts as protein sources. Our Tofu, Vegetable, and Peanut Stir-fried Rice recipe is a great place to start!
One of my personal favourites and go-tos. I love using strips of pan-fried tofu and have recently started using smoked tofu – delish! And a peanut dipping sauce is a must, in my opinion! Try this Shrimp Salad Rolls (sub tofu in for the shrimp for a plant-based option) or Tofu Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce.
Soups, Stews & Chilli
All of these are often some combination of grains/starches, vegetables, and protein. A great balanced meal! To add some vegetarian protein sources, try out foods like beans, lentils, chickpeas, seitan, or veggie ground. Some recipes to start with are Spicy Red Lentil and Havarti Soup, Hearty Manitoba Vegetable Soup, and Black Bean Vegetarian Chili.
Get creative with your taco fillings and try out some vegetarian protein options like black beans, lentils, tofu, or seitan! Our Vegetarian Tacos and Tofu Tacos with Pineapple Pico De Gallo recipes can get you started!
Mix in some veggie ground, tofu, beans, or lentils to the stuffing mixture and you’ve got yourself a high protein vegetarian meal! These Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers use pinto beans and this Tofu and Rice Stuffed Peppers recipe uses extra-firm tofu.
Vegetarian curry recipes are delicious and can be packed with plant-based proteins like lentils, tofu, or paneer cheese. Try out this Red Lentil Curry recipe!
With some new ideas in your meal planning kit, you’ll feel confident in planning and including more vegetarian protein sources in your regular eating. Let us know your favourites in the comments below!
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Carlin has a natural knack for connecting with people and making them feel at ease. She is known for her bright smile, sincere care, and infectious enthusiasm when working with clients. Carlin is passionate about supporting clients in their health journey, goals, and making peace with food and their body. She believes strongly in empowering people to make lasting change that suits their needs and lifestyle.