17 Tasty Recipes Packed With Plant Proteins
Harness the (delicious) power of plants.
Let me be totally honest with you — I’m not a vegetarian, and I can’t typically make it through the day without rummaging through my cheese drawer. That being said, love plant-based proteins, and I always try to incorporate them into my diet. I keep a healthy stash of quinoa, lentils, chia seeds, flaxseed, beans and nuts to accompany whatever fresh veggies I have on-hand. I also love pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chickpeas, wild rice, edamame and farro. The difficult thing is turning these nutrition powerhouses into delicious meals. That’s where these 17 recipes — including options for breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner — come in handy.
Quinoa Avocado Toast
Avocado and quinoa combine for a satiating, protein-packed toast topper that’s sure to jumpstart your day.
Get the Recipe: Quinoa Avocado Toast
Orange and Pepita Granola
Pumkin seeds and almonds are the star of this nutritious, homemade cereal.
Get the Recipe: Orange and Pepita Granola
Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal
I’ll bet you’ve never thought of eating quinoa for breakfast — especially disguised by the scrumptious flavors of banana bread. This concoction's so delicious, even the kids will be on board.
Get the Recipe: Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal
Kale and Chickpea Salad
Looking for a salad that will actually stay with you? Thanks to the protein profiles of chickpeas and kale, this one’s your match. I’m giving it bonus points for the Brussels sprouts, which provide additional protein.
Get the Recipe: Kale and Chickpea Salad
Winter Grain Salad
Winter Grain Salad
Try this healthy yet hearty dish packed with greens, squash, fresh herbs and a punchy vinaigrette that can be served as a main dish or a side dish at a big holiday feast. [Get the recipe>>](http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/entertaining/winter-grain-salad?syc=applenews_hgtv-christmas-dinner-recipes-for-the-novice-host)
Make the base of this salad with the protein pal of your choice: quinoa, farro or bulgar wheat. Then revel in the utter greatness of this recipe, which includes edamame, greens and squash (all protein sources!).
Get the Recipe: Winter Grain Salad
Farro Spoon Salad
Farro and sunflower seeds provide plant-based protein in this light, refreshing salad, which features zesty lemon vinaigrette.
Get the Recipe: Farro Spoon Salad
No-Bake Energy Bites: 5 Ways
The base for all five variations of these energy bites includes chia seeds, ground flaxseed and peanut butter, all sources of protein that give you — you guessed it — energy.
You've probably gathered by now that chickpeas are a great source of plant protein. Chickpeas equal hummus. Homemade hummus equals better hummus.
Get the Recipe: Homemade Hummus
Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars
You’re going to thank me for this one around 3 p.m. when the protein power of nuts and seeds courses through your body like a shot of espresso.
Get the Recipe: Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars
Turkish Red Lentil Soup
Where are my lentil ladies and gents? This soup’s for you.
Get the Recipe: Turkish Red Lentil Soup
Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Looking for a healthy dish that plates beautifully for guests? These protein-and-nutrient-stuffed beauties will do just the trick.
Get the Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup
Leftover Turkey Soup with Kale
Add bacon to a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until brown. Drain the bacon and remove all but 1 teaspoon of rendered bacon fat. Add the olive oil and the onion. Cook the onion for 3-5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more or just until the garlic is slightly softened and fragrant. Add about a cup of chicken stock and use the edge of a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining stock, beans, turkey, kale, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking the soup at a simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and serve warm with a sprinkling of the crisp bacon bits.
Obviously, this option isn’t vegetarian, but if you eat meat, this recipe is a must-try. The flavor is spectacular, and cannellini beans and kale deliver a powerful protein punch.
Get the Recipe: Turkey, White Bean and Kale Soup
Five Bean Soup
Beans are one of my favorite, healthy go-tos, and as such, so is bean soup. This vegetarian option combines all the benefits of five different types of beans — and if you need more convincing, check the price of beans at the supermarket. (They’re a budget-friendly buy!)
Get the Recipe: Five Bean Soup
Instead of Sugary Cereal...
Create custom, wholesome smoothie bags to keep in your freezer. When you're ready for a fresh treat, just dump a bag of frozen goodness in your blender, add 1-1 1/2 cups liquid and blend away. Your morning smoothie prep (and calorie intake!) just got cut in half.
Instead of Fried Eggs & Bacon...
Up your intake of nutrients and protein with this superfood salad. Warm and comforting, this kale and egg salad is a mouthwatering alternative to your regular Sunday brunch order.
Instead of Store-Bought...
Bring the best flavors of the garden together with fresh, homemade salsa! For this crowd-pleasing recipe, combine flavors of juicy tomato, spicy jalapeno, onion, garlic and cool cilantro.
Instead of Potato Chips...
Indulge your love of crunch with this recipe for smoky sweet potato chips. Packed with a blast of flavor that's even more addictive than regular chips, these crisps are all the deliciousness without any of the guilt.
Instead of Drive-Thru Breakfast...
Arm yourself with a breakfast that delivers protein-packed staying power to get you through the morning. These egg and garden veggie muffins are super easy to make ahead of time, low carb and allow you to skip the drive-thru line in the AM. Pair with a slice of whole-wheat toast and a glass of milk and enjoy.
Instead of Buffalo Wings...
Reach for this recipe when the cravings for deep-fried chicken just won't quit! You'll love our Buffalo Brussels sprouts because they have the crunch and heat of chicken wings, but with a fresh, veggie-lovers twist.
Instead of a High-Calorie Salad...
Sit down with this fresh, nutritious, two-minute meal. Toss baby spinach with sliced strawberries, almonds, Parmesan cheese and chopped white onion. Finish off with a poppy-seed dressing and say buh-bye to fast food salads for good.
Instead of Potato Skins...
Serve your guests grilled avocados piled high with bright and fragrant ceviche. These savory snacks are so good, they'll trick your brain into thinking you're eating sinful potato skins.
Esker Grove, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Keep an eye on Esker Grove at the Walker Art Center, a 2017 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. Here, chef Doug Flicker experiments with duck with yaki onigiri and mussels with octopus and pimenton, although comforts such as grilled cheese and a corned beef sandwich can also be found. Brunch earns rave reviews, where you’ll find French toast with duck confit, semolina porridge and homemade maple doughnuts.
Instead of Pizza...
Indulge in guilt-free spring flavors with our favorite garden-fresh quiche. Make this delicious brunch staple with yummy leeks and dill, paired with eggs, Parmesan and ground black pepper.
Instead of Chips & Dip...
Opt for satisfying eggplant chips with cilantro pesto. This variation on the classic standby offers a beautiful color and a sweet flavor that pairs seamlessly with fresh, cilantro pesto. A word that comes to mind? Yum.