Whether you’re a paid-up lentil eater, a recent convert to the green side or simply looking to add a little colour to your diet, eating vegan shouldn’t mean missing out on muscle. These high protein vegan recipes have been crafted to help you hit your macros at breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. Bring on the plant-based power.
1. SPICED SEITAN BALLS
32 grams of protein! A whopping 18g more protein than Hungry Jack’s Chicken Royale
The “meatiest”-tasting of all the faux meats, seitan packs more protein per kilojoule than beef and is now widely available. These savoury balls mean you won’t miss mince.
• Seitan, 200g
• An onion, diced
• Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed
• Baharat spice mix, 1tbsp
• Flour, 2-3tbsp
• Breadcrumbs, 75g
• Vegetarian suet, 2tbsp
• Cavalo nero, 100g
• Can of mixed beans
1. Made from gluten protein, seitan is devilish only to coeliacs and has a good macro profile. Dice it, then blitz in a food processor. Fry the onions and garlic until soft, then add the spice and seitan. Cook for a few minutes, then remove and cool.
2. Combine the seitan with the flour, breadcrumbs and suet, plus 2-3tbsp of water, and shape into 12 “meat” balls. Bake for 10 minutes at 180ºC.
3. Sauté the cavolo nero (full of anti-inflammatory carotenoids) with the beans, extra Baharat spice, salt and pepper. Serve with the meatballs and a squeeze of lemon juice or flatbread and rice if you crave something a little more filling.
RELATED: A Lazy Guy’s Guide To Meal Prep
2. TURMERIC TOFU SCRAMBLE
29 grams of protein! 2.5g more than KFC’s Original Fillet Burger
Think eggs are a premium protein source? Well, they are – but this low carb scramble cracks out even more of it than an omelette, along with every amino acid
your muscles hunger for. It’s no yolk.
• Firm tofu, 1 block
• Turmeric, ¼tsp
• Black salt, small pinch
• Garlic powder, small pinch
• Portobello mushrooms, 2, roasted
• Cherry tomatoes, handful, roasted
• Avocado, ½, sliced
1. Sure, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, but a scramble? That’s very simple. What’s more, a single serving of tofu dishes up around 40 per cent of your RDI for calcium, important for fat loss. Combine with the seasoning and mash with a fork.
2. Spread the tofu onto a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes at 160ºC. Meanwhile, grill or fry the mushrooms – a rare plant source of muscle strengthening vitamin D – and tomatoes with a light drizzle of oil and some salt and pepper.
3. Plate up with the avocado for a protein-rich breakfast containing next to no carbs and a healthy hit of satiating fats.
3. CHIRASHI GRAIN BOWL
33 grams of protein! More than a Grill’d Simply Grill’d Burger
A virtuous bowl of grains and green veggies can serve up just as much protein as your standard tupperware chicken breast, as this Japanese-style dish demonstrates.
• Quinoa, 100g (or swap for brown rice)
• Pearl barley, 50g
• Lentils, 50g
• Broccoli florets, 8
• Salad leaves, handful
• Sesame salad dressing
• Tofu, 70g, diced
• Edamame, 60g, cooked
• Avocado, ½, smashed
• Pickled red cabbage, 150g
• A carrot, thinly sliced
FOR THE MISO EGGPLANT
• An eggplant, diced
• White miso paste, 15g
• Mirin, 20g
• Sugar, 10g
• Soy sauce, 10g
1. Before quinoa bowls became a wellness cliché, they were a Japanese lunchtime staple. Sauté the eggplant, then add the miso, mirin, sugar, soy and a dash of water. Simmer until soft.
2. Cook the grains and fibre-rich lentils as per pack instructions. Steam the broccoli. Dress grains and leaves and fill the bowl.
4. “SNICKERS” PROTEIN BAR
21 grams of protein! 7g more thanOporto’s Chicken & Cheese Burger
Need your fix on the go? bounce back faster post training with a vegan bar containing quick-acting carbs and muscle-repairing amino acids.
• Almond milk, 320ml
• Vegan chocolate protein, 300g
• Raisins, 250g
• Ground almonds, 180g
• Coconut oil, 150g
• Dark chocolate, 300g
• Almond butter, 50g
• Flaked almonds, 60g
1. Blitz almond milk, protein, raisins, ground almonds, coconut oil and dark chocolate in a processor.
2. Transfer to a tray and set in the fridge for 20 minutes. Spread on almond butter. Melt the rest of the chocolate and drizzle over, followed by the flaked almonds. Set it in the fridge, then slice into bars.
5. RASPBERRY & CASHEW SHAKE
26 grams of protein! 2g more than Red Rooster’s Hellfire Burger
Keep things simple with a shake or smoothie you can throw together in seconds. With a full meal’s worth of protein, this recipe will ensure your training sessions are fruitful.
• Coconut milk, 330ml
• Natural Fitness Food vegan coconut protein, 35g
• Frozen raspberries, 50g
• Cashew butter, 15g
1. Chuck the milk in first, so the powder doesn’t clump.
2. Add the protein powder, berries and cashew butter.
3. Blitz, stir, blitz again and drink it down for a quick, filling breakfast or the perfect recovery drink.
6. NUTTY STUFFED SQUASH
17 grams of protein! 4g more than the McDonald’s Hamburger
Elevate your veg from carby side dish to a gluten-free main event with a few high-protein upgrades.
• A butternut squash
• Lemon juice, a squeeze
• A leek, finely chopped
• Celery, 3 stalks, chopped
• Mushrooms, 300g, chopped
• Chickpeas, ½ a tin, drained
• Tamari, 1tbsp
• Cooked chestnuts, large handful
• Tomato purée, 4tbsp
• Dried thyme, ½tsp
• Smoked paprika, 1tsp
• Cayenne powder, ½tsp
• Greens, to serve
1. Slice vertically, scoop out pulp and rub with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Heat oil then sauté leek and celery for two mins. Add shrooms, chickpeas and tamari for five mins. Add chestnuts, purée, herbs and spices. Simmer for five mins. Stuff squash with the filling. Bake at 180ºC for 30 mins. Serve with collard greens.
7. TEMPEH “BLT”
30 grams of protein! 14g more than a Hungry Jack’s Cheeseburger
Crispy bacon has long been the “gateway meat” for lapsed vegetarians, but this smoky slice will stop temptation from touching you. That it’s healthy, too, is just a bonus.
• Tempeh, 100g, sliced
• Tamari, 1½tbsp
• Liquid smoke, 2tsp
• Sourdough bread, 2 thick slices
• Light vegan mayonnaise, 2tsp
• Hot sauce, 1tsp
• Avocado, ¼, mashed
• A vine-ripened tomato, thinly sliced
• Salad leaves, handful
1. For a sandwich you can pig out on – minus said swine – opt for tempeh. Marinate it in tamari and liquid smoke for a bacony flavour.
2. Fry until crispy in hot oil. Add a dash of marinade and sizzle for a few minutes.
3. Toast the bread – sourdough and tempeh are fermented, making this a weight-loss ally. Mix mayo and hot sauce and slather over one side, mashed avo on the other. Layer with the tempeh, tomatoes and leaves.
8. BLACK BEAN CHIMICHANGAS
24g of protein! 3g more than Hungry Jack’s Tendercrisp Classic
Stripping the meat out of this tex-mex classic doesn’t mean ditching protein – or flavour. This hot take has your post-gym nutrition wrapped up.
• A red onion, finely sliced
• Garlic, 2 cloves
• Ground cumin, 3tsp
• Chipotle in adobo, 1tbsp
• Small potato or sweet potato, diced and cooked
• Black beans, 400g can, drained
• Coriander, handful
• Wholegrain tortilla wraps, 2
• Vegan sour cream, 2tbsp
1. Soften the onion, then add the garlic and spices, followed by the potato. Fry until crispy.
2. Tip in the black beans and stir for five minutes until warmed. Mash the beans and potatoes then add coriander.
3. Pile it on your tortillas. Fold into a tight parcel, then press on a hot, lightly oiled pan until crispy. Serve with vegan sour cream. Hot sauce optional.
RELATED: Why Vegans Live Longer
9. PANCAKES WITH CREAMY KALE
23 grams of protein! That’s 7g more than a McDonald’s Fillet-o-Fish
Protein pancakes reinvented: rather than splicing its flour with whey, this recipe mixes powdered quinoa and chickpeas for more fibre and b vitamins.
• Quinoa, 150g, uncooked
• Chickpea flour, 70g
• Kale, handful, destalked
• Spring onions, handful, sliced
• Small zucchini, grated
• A red chilli, sliced
FOR THE SAUCE
• Tahini, 250g
• Shelled hemp seeds, 120g
• Juice of a lemon
• Date syrup, 1tbsp
• Onion powder, 1tsp
• Ginger powder, 1tsp
• Olive oil, 4tbsp
1. Blend the quinoa – rich in magnesium, for muscle function – with 230ml of water and a pinch of salt, then add the chickpea flour and blend again.
2. Shred kale and massage with a pinch of salt then combine with the onions and grated zucchini. Whisk sauce ingredients and drizzle over veg.
3. Fry pancake batter in batches flipping until golden. Top veg with chilli.
10. BBQ TOFU & RAINBOW SLAW
27 grams of protein! Equal to a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger
Meat-eaters might mock its plain taste, but tofu is a succulent flavour sponge if used correctly. This recipe will send any residual doubt up in flames.
• Fresh firm tofu, 750g
• Barbecue spice rub, 50g
• Barbecue sauce, 100ml
• A carrot, peeled and grated
• A small beetroot, peeled and grated
• Red onion, ½, finely sliced
• Red cabbage, ¼, finely sliced
• A red chilli, finely sliced
• Orange juice, 50ml
• Maple syrup, 1tbsp
1. Season your tofu well and it’ll serve up as tasty a protein hit as any chop, with minimal fat. Slice into 12 strips and dip in the rub. Bake on a rack for 45 minutes at 170ºC until the tofu firms up, turning once.
2. When cool, stick tofu on skewers and brush one side with sauce. Caramelise under the grill for five mins, brush the other side and repeat
11. PB AND BEAN BROWNIES
19 grams of protein! 3g more than a Hungry Jack’s BBQ Cheese Burger
Dairy-free desserts needn’t be a compromise in terms of moisture or moreish flavour. And they don’t have to be all that sinful, either: these brownies are laced with healthy plant proteins.
• Black beans, 300g, cooked
• Rapeseed oil, 250ml
• Vanilla essence, splash
• Peanut butter, 100g
• Soft brown sugar, 420g
• Plain flour, 120g
• Baking powder, 20g
• Cocoa powder, 120g
• Dark chocolate, 120g
• Sea salt, pinch
• Blueberries, handful
• Soy yoghurt, to taste
1. These brownies are blended with protein- and fibre-rich black beans, which will steady your blood glucose, despite the added sweetness. They also offer a great replacement for eggs. Blend together the beans, oil, vanilla and the peanut butter – an excellent source of copper, the fat-burning mineral – with 200ml water until smooth.
2. Sift the dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then add the wet mix to form a batter. Transfer to a tray lined with baking parchment and bake at 180ºC for 25-30 minutes.
3. Once the brownies have set in the middle (test them with a knife), serve them warm, topped with berries and a large dollop of yoghurt. Indulge with impunity.