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10 high protein vegan recipes | VegNews

10 high protein vegan recipes |  VegNews

Current marketing trends place far too much emphasis on protein. The fact is that a vast majority of Americans get a lot of this macronutrient, regardless of what diet they follow. However, there are situations where certain individuals may need to pay a little more attention to their protein intake. Athletes need more protein than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle – about 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight as opposed to the average 0.8 grams/kg. Other health concerns or goals can also increase a person’s daily protein quota over a period of time. Vegan meals can contain protein just as much as animal meals, and these meals can be more varied than scooping plant-based protein powder all over the place (although that works, too). All your plant-based protein questions are answered here, plus 10 high-protein vegan recipes to help you hit your macros every day.

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Can vegans get enough protein?

Most vegans don’t have to worry about getting enough protein. All whole foods naturally contain protein, so if you’re eating a mostly whole-foods, plant-based diet and getting enough calories for your needs, you don’t have to crack numbers — you’re getting enough protein without thinking about it. For those who do like the quantitative aspect of nutrition, the protein requirement is quite easy to calculate. The USDA recommended daily allowance is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To calculate your protein requirement, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, and the result is the number of grams of protein you need each day. For example, a 130-pound woman should aim for 46.8 grams of protein per day and a 170-pound man should aim for 61.2 grams of protein per day. Note: This formula is intended for the “average” person – someone who works out occasionally, but not at high intensities or most of the week. Those who are more active — who exercise at moderate to high intensity at least four days a week — should aim for 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Here’s a general guideline: To really optimize performance, a plant-based dietitian can help match your exact protein needs based on your activity level.

Given this average daily protein requirement – between 47 grams and 61 grams – it is not difficult for vegans to get enough protein naturally. Let’s say you enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with a dollop of nut butter every morning. The soy or pea milk with which you cook the oatmeal contains eight grams of protein. Half a cup of oats contains five grams of protein. And the tablespoon of peanut butter provides another four grams of protein. In total, that’s 17 grams of protein just for a morning meal. Add in lunch, dinner and snacks and you’re well into the protein comfort zone.

Where to get vegan proteins?

This must be repeated: all whole foods contain a certain amount of protein. Yes, there are drastic differences in protein content between foods, but technically there is protein in every food. If you were to eat just 2,000 calories of broccoli each day, you’d still be getting 146 grams of protein. (Please, don’t really try to eat 2,000 calories of broccoli — we’re just using this example to prove a point.) Vegetables also contain protein, and there’s no need to rely on animals for their protein content.

Common sources of vegan protein include nuts and seeds, grains, beans and legumes, seitan, plant-based protein powder, soy or pea milk, and plant-based meats. There is a wide variety to choose from, which makes the vegan diet anything but dull and boring.

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Protein-rich vegan food

First, let’s define what high protein means. There’s no technical or legal definition for high-protein—that’s why you see it slapped on just about every food product—but for our sakes, we’re setting the bar at eight grams per serving. Why? The dairy industry touts cow’s milk as a high-protein food, and a cup of cow’s milk (as well as pea or soy milk) contains eight grams of protein. So anyone who claims eight grams isn’t high in protein can take that with the dairy marketing giants.

Plant-based meats have set a new bar for protein-rich plant foods. Conventional vegan burger patties and other beef alternatives offer up to 20 grams of protein, and plant-based butchers outnumber store-bought options with protein numbers in their high 20s. For example, The very good butcher Ribz has a whopping 27 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. At just 150 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, this nutritional profile is unmatched when compared to cow- or pork-based ribs, which contain over 230 calories, 17 grams of fat and 18 grams of protein.

Vegan protein powder can also provide a significant protein boost. Most brands range from 18 grams to 30 grams of protein per serving. In a pinch, adding a scoop to a smoothie or bowl of oats can pretty much guarantee you’ll hit your protein quota.

Whole plant-based protein sources include tofu, quinoa, lentils, soy and pea milk, and peanut butter. Yes, while other nuts and butters contain moderate amounts of protein, old-fashioned peanut butter reigns supreme with this macronutrient.

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10 protein-rich vegan recipes

1 High Protein Vegan Quinoa Hemp Tabouli

Combine a high-protein grain-like quinoa with an equally robust seed-like hemp and you have a high-protein grain-and-herb salad like tabouli. Spoon this onto warmed pita bread or stash it in a Mediterranean-inspired Buddha bowl for added texture, flavor and nutrition.
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2 Vegan and Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Dessert shouldn’t be the meal you rely on to meet your protein goals, but a high-protein candy can’t hurt. These fudgy brownies deliver a moderate amount of protein, not just from black beans, but quinoa flour and a healthy dose of chia seeds and walnuts. Wash one with a glass of chilled soy milk and your humble dessert has the protein equivalent of a small meal.
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3 Vegan Sticky Sweet Char-Shu Tofu

The protein content of tofu varies depending on the tofu variety — silken tofu weighs about four ounces, while extra-firm tofu hovers around nine ounces. Grab a protein-rich tofu, such as Wildwood, and you’ll consume more than 14 grams per serving. The point is that tofu is naturally high in protein, but sometimes we crave a preparation outside of our everyday scramble or airfryer technique. These seared slices of tofu are bold in flavor and high in protein. Go ahead, have seconds.
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4 Chocolate Vegan Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl

En route? Dilute this protein-packed banana, plant-based chocolate protein powder and creamy peanut butter smoothie bowl with a little extra soy or pea milk for a slurpable breakfast or post-workout pick-me-up. No matter how you take it, the protein count will be in double digits.
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5 High-protein oatmeal-raisin cookie dough

Sweet enough for dessert, but healthy enough for an afternoon snack. This no-bake cookie dough relies on chickpeas and vegan protein powder to provide a powerful protein boost. Don’t like raisins? Use mini vegan chocolate chips instead.
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6 Vegan Applesauce Muffins

A full two cups of chickpeas are mixed into this mildly sweet muffin recipe, but don’t worry — you won’t be biting into whole or partially intact beans. The garbanzos provide a significant amount of protein without altering the flavor, and an added six tablespoons of sunflower butter provides a slightly nutty yet allergen-friendly flavor. Make a batch and freeze the leftovers for protein-rich snacks or breakfasts that you can reheat and enjoy on the go.
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7 Beefy Vegan Tempeh & Broccoli

While we wait for chains like Panda Express to offer a plant-based Beef & Broccoli option, this meaty tempeh version will do just fine. Tempeh is a long-standing vegan protein source made from fermented soybeans. A three-ounce serving clocks in at 18 grams of protein. Pair that with a hefty serving of broccoli and you’ve got yourself a protein-rich meal that will clear the itch for takeout at the same time.
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8 Vegan Pumpkin Sage Pasta With Blackened Tempeh

Yes, tempeh provides a solid amount of plant-based protein, but to really boost the nutrition, choose a bean-based pasta like Banza. A sensible two ounce serving packs in an impressive 11 grams of protein thanks to its chickpea flour base. Think of this comforting meal as a grown-up version of mac and cheese with hot dog slices.
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9 Roasted Baked Beans With Tempeh

After you’ve been vegan for a while, you’ll realize that the main course doesn’t have to provide most of your protein. Sides can be more than enough to provide essential nutrients as well as satiety. Pair these slightly spicy, perfectly sweet and meaty baked beans with steamed kale, potato salad, and blackened corn on the cob for a tantalizing meal made from the best sides.
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10 Vegan White Bean & Pozole Verde

Seitan stands for traditional animal products in this belly-warming pozole. The meaty bits made from vital wheat gluten provide the much needed texture and chew to this hearty stew plus 18 grams of protein. Combine that with a can of creamy and protein-rich white beans and eat this soup as a meal.
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To learn more about vegan nutrition, read:
Getting Calcium Through a Vegan Diet?
How do you get iron on a vegan diet?
I Tried Plant-Based Whole30 and Here’s What Happened

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