An ideal vegan lunch should include these 4 essential food categories:
Vegetables rich in protein, such as tempeh, beans, tofu, seitan, etc. (if you are not gluten sensitive!)
Leafy and salad vegetables, such as spinach, chard, kale, etc.
Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa
The following nutritious recipes will give you plenty of energy when it’s time to recharge your batteries in the middle of the day!
Vegan Bean and Potato Quesadillas
Each quesadilla contains nearly 16 grams of protein.
- 6 flour tortillas
- 2 medium-sized russet potatoes
- 1 can refried beans
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 medium-sized white onion
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp. tamari
- A pinch of taco seasoning
- 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
- Boil the potatoes.
- Caramelize chopped white onion in a large skillet on medium high. You can add a bit of water to prevent it from sticking to the skillet and burning. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic to the pan and sauté. Add tamari and spinach, and sauté until wilted.
- Cook beans as per instructions and add a pinch of taco seasoning for extra flavor.
- Once potatoes are cooked, mash them and add yeast, salt, pepper and mix them until smooth and creamy.
- Place another skillet on the stove and heat it up. Place a tortilla over it. Apply a layer of potato mash and beans over the tortilla. Add spinach and onion mixture on top.
- Place another tortilla on top. Heat both sides until brown and crispy.
- Repeat for all tortillas.
- Serve with a dollop of Cashew Sour cream (recipe given below).
Cashew Sour Cream
100 grams of cashews contains nearly 18 grams of proteins.
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked in ½ cup warm water for 30 minutes
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. lemon/lime juice
- Pinch of sea salt
- In a high speed blender/food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
- Let it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator.
- Serve on quesadillas and other recipes.
Protein Rich Bean and Pasta Soup
100 grams of beans contain 6 grams of protein. You can prepare a large batch of this soup to use on evenings when you are too tired to cook. You can also carry it in an air tight spill proof container to work.
- 2 chopped onions
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 2 medium-sized chopped tomatoes
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. tomato puree
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. chopped rosemary, basil, and parsley
- 200 grams cannellini beans soaked overnight (or use canned ones)
- 200 grams red beans (soaked overnight or use canned beans)
- 3 liters or 10 cups vegetable stock
- 200 grams soup pasta
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil for garnish.
- In a large saucepan, fry the onions, tomatoes, and garlics for 10 minutes.
- Drop in chopped tomatoes, puree, sugar, rosemary, basil, parsley, beans and stock. Simmer for an hour or until beans soften (reduce cooking time if you are using canned beans).
- Blend in a liquidizer. Add the pasta and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper and taste test. Serve hot garnished with chopped basil.
Moroccan Chickpea Salad
Chickpeas are very high in protein and we recommend keeping canned chickpeas in your pantry for quickly whipping up delicious recipes. 100 grams of chickpeas give you 19 grams of protein. You can use them to make patties, soups, stews, curries and several other delicious recipes.
- 2 cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 2 ½ tbsp. vegetable/olive/canola oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. curry powder/taco seasoning/Moroccan seasoning
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 3 large tomatoes diced
- ½ red onion diced
- 50 grams Arugula leaves
- Vegan cheese crumbled for garnishing (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250 °F.
- In a shallow baking tray, spread the chickpeas and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Let it cool.
- To make the dressing: In a bowl, add lemon juice, taco seasoning, olive oil, sugar and whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl, transfer the cooled chickpeas and add the arugula leaves, diced tomatoes and onions. Drizzle with the dressing when ready to serve. Crumble vegan cheese on top for extra flavor.
Veggie Burger with Black Bean Patties
Burgers are classic American foods and for vegans this protein rich variant is ideal for satisfying those cravings and also for meeting nutritional needs. The following recipe contains 6-8 grams of protein per burger.
- 1 hamburger bun torn in pieces (plus 2-3 more for making the burgers)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil (divided)
- 2 tsp. chopped garlic
- 1 can black beans (washed)
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- ¾ tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. oregano
- Pinch of salt
- Crumble the bun in a processor. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add a tablespoon of oil, garlic and beans in the processor and pulse a few times to make a thick paste. Transfer to the bowl containing the bread crumbs.
- Add the lime zest, chili powder, oregano and salt.
- With oiled hands, shape the above mixture into 4, 3-inch patties. If the patty is crumbling, add a bit of cornstarch.
- Heat a skillet and add a tablespoon of oil. Fry the patties on both sides until cooked (Cook for 3 minutes on each side).
- Serve in a bun with ketchup, some vegan cheese, tomato slices, avocado slices and onion rings.
Nutty Mushroom Vegan Risotto
Making risotto should not be a daunting task but you certainly need patience for it. If you are dreaming of a creamy risotto recipe that is packed with protein, then this is it. Just do not cut corners and follow it to the T. Note that ¼ cup uncooked Arborio rice yields 4 grams of protein. This recipe uses 1 cup of Arborio rice.
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 10 oz. thinly sliced wild mushrooms (any variety).
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme (leave some for garnish)
- ¾ cup shallots
- 1 cup Arborio rice or Hinode white medium grain rice.
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 oz. hazelnuts (toasted, skinned and chopped coarsely)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegan butter and vegan cheese (optional)
- Cashew nut pieces for garnish.
- In a large pot, simmer the vegetable stock.
- In another pan heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and add mushrooms. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add sprigs of thyme and sauté some more. Set aside. We will be adding it to the risotto once it is nearly cooked.
- In another pan, add remaining oil and drop in the shallots. Sauté until translucent. Add rice and cook until it is coated with oil. Add wine and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Now begin adding the stock, ½ cup at a time. Stir frequently and keep adding some more as it gets evaporated. Continue stirring and adding stock.
- Taste the rice for doneness – it should be al dente consistency. Add the remaining stock if needed. The entire process should take 15 to 20 minutes.
- Now add the mushrooms and hazelnuts and stir gently to combine. Add salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and add vegan butter and vegan cheese if desired.
- Garnish with thyme and nuts (optional). Serve hot.
Broiled Tofu Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
This Tofu salad has nearly 17.2 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 clove of garlic – minced
- 3 tbsp. light soya sauce
- 2 cups firm tofu chopped in cubes
- 4 cups mixed salad greens
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups strawberries – chopped
- 1 can of mandarin oranges – drained
- ½ lb snow peas – halved
- ½ cup toasted nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts)
- ½ cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing
- In a pan, add soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic. Toss in the tofu and mix to coat evenly. Set aside for an hour.
- Turn on broiler and place the coated tofu close to it and broil for 6-8 minutes. It should remain crisp and white in color.
- Prepare the salad by mixing salad greens, oranges, nuts, spinach and peas. Toss with the vinaigrette and add the broiled tofu on top.
Vegetable Broth with Tofu and Noodles
With nearly 18.2 grams of protein, this protein rich broth will keep you full for a long time.
- 2 large carrots – chopped
- 2 celeries – minced
- 1 medium-sized onion – chopped
- 1 cup snow peas – snapped
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic – minced
- 3 tbsp. dry sherry
- 2 tbsp. grated ginger root
- 4 cups homemade vegetable stock
- Pinch of salt
- 4 oz. thin soba noodles
- 8 oz. broiled or smoked tofu cut in cubes
- 4 scallions – diced
- In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat some oil, add carrots, celeries, onions and mushrooms (do not add snow peas and scallions) and fry on high heat. Reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes till all vegetables are brown.
- Add sherry and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add broth, salt and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, covering the pan.
- Drop in the peas and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Prepare noodles as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Add the tofu, noodles, and scallions to the broth. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.
Vegan Slow Cooker Chili
27.6 grams of protein in this recipe!
- 1 can chili beans – drained and rinsed
- 12 oz. fat free soy crumbles
- 28 oz. canned tomatoes (low sodium, whole)
- 1 medium-sized green pepper – seeded and chopped
- Chili powder as per taste
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 tbsp. minced onions
- 1 cup chopped avocados for garnish
- In the slow cooker add all ingredients except avocados.
- Set the cooker on high and cook the chili for 4-6 hours (or on medium for 8 hours until thick).
- Garnish with chopped avocado and enjoy.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
This gluten free, vegan salad contains nearly 10 grams of protein per serving.
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 30 oz. canned black beans – drained and rinsed
- 4 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups washed quinoa
- 1 (medium sized each) red, yellow, and orange bell peppers – chopped
- 1 bag frozen corn thawed
- 1 bunch cilantro – cleaned and washed
- In a bowl, add the lime juice, salt, pepper and cumin. Whisk. Slowly add oil and whisk to form an emulsion.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine beans, red wine vinegar, and bell peppers. Season and set aside.
- To cook quinoa, boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Add the washed and dried quinoa. Cover and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Place cooled quinoa in a salad bowl. Fluff with a fork. Add the beans and pepper mixture and the corn, and drizzle the dressing over. Mix well. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- The salad is delicious when eaten immediately but may be refrigerated for a couple of days.
Brown Rice with Tofu and Black Beans
Tofu and beans are very high in protein. Both of these add to the high protein content of this recipe to give you a whopping 50 grams of protein per serving.
- 1 cup firm tofu – defrosted and cut into cubes
- 2 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
- ½ cup black beans – rinsed
- 2 tsp. sesame oil or peanut oil
- 2 tbsp. chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, and cashew nuts)
- 1 sliced green onion
- 2 cups brown rice
- Cook the brown rice as per package instructions.
- In another medium-sized saucepan, heat oil, add tofu, and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add vinegar, green onions, beans, and hoisin sauce. Drop in the nuts and stir. Pour over brown rice. Mix well and serve.
High Protein Bean Burrito
A single burrito is packed with 18.2 grams of protein.
- ½ cup cooked black beans – low sodium variety
- ½ tsp. taco seasoning
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- ½ onion – finely chopped
- One 8-inch whole wheat flour tortilla
- 1 oz. Vegan cheese
- 3 tbsp. chopped tomatoes – divided into 2 parts for garnish and cooking
- 1 tbsp. chopped lettuce
- 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp. salsa
- In a saucepan, heat some oil and add garlic.
- Add onions and fry until brown.
- Add tomatoes and fry until cooked.
- Drop in the beans and cook for a few minutes. Season and taste to adjust salt. Stir in taco seasoning. Mixture should be dry.
- On a skillet, heat up one tortilla until lightly brown. Turn to fry the other side and add prepared beans on one half of the tortilla.
- Add the remaining tomatoes, lettuce, vegan cheese and cilantro.
- Roll the burrito and serve immediately with salsa.