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These Dinners All Have Tons Of Protein And No Meat

All with over 20 grams of protein per serving.

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A lot of people think that a high-protein diet has to consist of an endless supply of chicken breasts, steak, and ground turkey. 💪

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But plant-based proteins can actually provide a ton of protein too (and are often cheaper!)

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Since finding those high-protein meals is often the hardest part, we put together 7 high-protein, meat-free options that can feed a family of four for under $15.

So whether you're fully vegetarian, looking to switch things up in the kitchen, or just want to save a few bucks on your next grocery bill, we've got you covered.

But before getting started, we turned to a professional to figure out just how much protein we actually need.

Marie Molde, a registered dietitian for Datassential, said there's no one-size-fits-all magic protein number. "It depends on who you are and what your goals are," she told BuzzFeed Food. "If you're sedentary, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day is a good baseline." (As an example, she notes that for a 150-pound female, this translates to 54 grams per day.) "The RDA can be increased depending on personal goals, whether that’s building or maintaining muscle, promoting healing from injury, or supporting weight loss," Molde said.

With that in mind, we made sure all of the recipes below contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving.

We calculated an estimated amount of protein per serving using this helpful tool and went ahead and assumed you had a few pantry staples like oil, vinegar, and spices when calculating prices from Amazon Fresh.

1. High-Protein Buddha Noodle Bowl

Taylor Miller / Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

Soba noodles are gluten-free noodles made from buckwheat flour — and they're loaded with protein and fiber. A cup of edamame also packs 17 grams of protein. But watch the noodles when you're cooking them: Although hearty, these noodles can overcook very easily. As soon as you strain them, rinse them under cold water to get rid of the sticky coating and prevent them from getting mushy.

Amount of protein per serving: about 21 grams

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HIGH-PROTEIN BUDDHA NOODLE BOWL

Serves 4 / Serving Size: About 1 cup of noodles (with toppings)

INGREDIENTS

1 package (9.5 ounces) soba noodles ($3.36)

¼ cup sesame vinaigrette, store-bought ($2.49)

4 large eggs ($2.05)

1 cup shredded red cabbage ($1.79)

Half a cucumber, thinly sliced ($0.50)

1 cup shelled edamame ($2.12)

1 avocado, sliced ($1.50)

3 green onions, thinly sliced ($0.89)

White sesame seeds, optional

Total Recipe Cost: $14.70

Cook soba noodles in boiling, salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Immediately drain and run under cold water. Transfer cooked noodles to a large bowl and toss with sesame vinaigrette. Reserve.

Meanwhile, place cold eggs in boiling water for six minutes. Immediately transfer to an ice bath, peel under running water, and reserve.

To serve, divide noodles among four bowls. Top each portion with ¼ cup shredded cabbage, 5 slices of cucumber, ¼ cup edamame, ¼ of the sliced avocado, and a cooked egg. Season avocado and egg with salt and pepper and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds (optional).

2. One-Pan Caprese Pesto Quinoa Skillet

Taylor Miller / Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

We made a quick DIY pesto by pureeing basil + olive oil + lemon, but you could easily sub in the store-bought kind. If the store-bought variety is too thick to coat the quinoa, simply thin it out with a few tablespoons of olive oil. We used fancy tomatoes from the farmer's market, but a standard beefsteak or roma would work just as well.

Amount of protein per serving: about 20 grams

ONE-PAN CAPRESE PESTO QUINOA SKILLET

Serves 4 / Serving Size: about 1 cup of cooked quinoa

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups white quinoa, dry ($3.88)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on top

½ cup fresh basil, plus more for garnishing ($1.99)

2 tablespoons lemon juice ($0.50)

3 garlic cloves, peeled ($0.69)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 large tomatoes, sliced into ¼ inch slices ($2.56)

1 ball (8 ounces) fresh vegetarian mozzarella, sliced into ¼ inch slices ($2.99)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Total Recipe Cost: $12.61

Combine quinoa, 3 cups of water, and a pinch of salt in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until liquid is completely absorbed, about 15 minutes. As the quinoa is cooking, combine olive oil, basil (with stems), lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, and pepper in a blender and purée until smooth. Pour mixture over cooked quinoa and stir to distribute. Arrange slices of tomato and mozzarella over top and season with additional salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Place under broiler until cheese is melted, about five minutes. As skillet is cooking, heat balsamic vinegar over high heat in a medium pan. Reduce by half and let cool. Garnish skillet with fresh basil and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

3. Falafel Waffles With Greek Salad

Taylor Miller/ Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

These waffles get a double dose of protein thanks to a smart batter made with chickpeas, and Greek yogurt dipping sauce. If you don't have a waffle maker, form the dough into ½-inch thick pancakes and cook in an oiled skillet over medium heat. They might not be as fun as waffles, but they'll taste just as good.

Amount of protein per serving: about 87 grams

FALAFEL WAFFLES WITH GREEK SALAD

Serves 4 / Serving Size: 1 waffle

INGREDIENTS

2 cans (30 ounces) chickpeas, drained ($2.24)

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, large stems removed, divided ($0.89)

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh dill, large stems removed, divided ($2.19)

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, large stems removed, divided ($0.79)

5 garlic cloves, minced, divided ($0.69)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1¼ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided

1 teaspoon lemon zest ($0.50)

1 large egg ($2.05)

¼ cup all purpose flour

1 large seedless cucumber ($0.50)

1 cup Greek yogurt, plain ($1.49)

2 tablespoons lemon juice ($0.50)

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved ($2.00)

Total Recipe Cost: $13.84

Combine chickpeas, ½ cup cilantro, ½ cup dill, ½ cup parsley, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (but not sticky). Transfer to a bowl and add egg and just enough flour to hold it together. Cook in an oiled waffle maker until browned, about four minutes. Reserve.

Meanwhile, grate half of the cucumber and combine it with yogurt, remaining minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and season to taste with salt. Reserve.

Slice remaining half of cucumber and toss with cherry tomatoes and remaining 1 tablespoon each of cilantro, dill, and parsley. Season with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Serve each waffle with ¼ cup of tzatziki and ¼ cup prepared salad.

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4. One-Pot Tuscan White Bean Stew

Taylor Miller/ Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

Chickpea pasta — which you can find in most grocery stores or online — often packs at least double the protein and fiber as traditional pasta. We used this brand, but If you can't get a hold of it, feel free to use whole wheat pasta.

Amount of protein per serving: about 59 grams

ONE-POT TUSCAN WHITE BEAN STEW

Serves 4 / Serving Size: about 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ($0.69)

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes ($0.98)

4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth ($1.99)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup dried chickpea pasta, shells ($2.95)

1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained ($0.89)

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, roughly chopped ($2.49)

Toasted bread and shaved vegetarian parmesan to serve, optional ($1.99+ $2.99)

Total Recipe Cost: $14.97

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes (with juice) and continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth, salt, pepper, and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook until pasta is tender, about 10 minutes. Add white beans and kale and stir to wilt. Serve with toasted bread and garnish with parmesan cheese.

5. One-Pan Vegetarian Breakfast Enchiladas

Taylor Miller / Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

These cheesy enchiladas — stuffed with a high-protein mix of black beans and eggs — prove that breakfast-for-dinner recipes are the best kind of recipes. (They also reheat well, and make great leftovers.)

Amount of protein per serving: about 50 grams

ONE-PAN VEGETARIAN BREAKFAST ENCHILADAS

Serves 4 / Serving Size: 3 enchiladas

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced ($1.99)

1 cup frozen or canned corn, thawed/drained ($0.85)

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, divided ($0.89)

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained ($0.99)

2 cups shredded chihuahua or Mexican cheese blend, divided ($2.50)

5 large eggs ($2.05)

12 small corn or whole wheat tortillas ($1.10)

2 cups salsa verde, store-bought ($2.17)

5 thinly sliced radishes ($1.26)

Total Recipe Cost: $13.80

Preheat oven to 350° F. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add diced jalapeño and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add corn, salt, and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro. Cook, stirring often, until corn begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add black beans and 1 cup of cheese. Reserve. Place skillet back on heat and add eggs and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until scrambled, about two minutes. Add eggs to corn and black bean mixture. Distribute filling among 12 tortillas and roll into tight cigar shapes. Line a 9x5-inch baking dish with rolled tortillas and top with salsa verde and remaining shredded cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and melted, about 35 minutes. To serve, garnish with remaining cilantro and radishes.

6. Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad

Taylor Miller / Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

Using tin foil to divide your sheet tray lets you bake the chickpeas and sweet potatoes at the same time. It makes the chickpeas addictively crunchy and gives the rice bowl lots of texture.

Amount of protein per serving: about 25 grams

ROASTED SWEET POTATO AND CHICKPEA SALAD

Serves 4 / Serving Size: about 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch thick half-rounds, skin-on ($3.91)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained ($1.12)

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

4 cups baby arugula ($3.99)

½ cup crumbled feta ($2.69)

½ cup pomegranate seeds ($2.00)

¼ cup roughly chopped mint ($1.20)

Total Recipe Cost: $14.91

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potato slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place on one half of a sheet tray divided with tin foil. Toss chickpeas with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon chili powder and place on other half of sheet tray. Place sheet tray in oven and bake until potatoes are tender and chickpeas are golden, about 20 minutes. Cool completely and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare balsamic vinaigrette by combining remaining ¾ cup olive oil with balsamic vinegar and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper (if making ahead of time, give it a stir before serving). In a large bowl, combine arugula, feta, pomegranate seeds, mint, roasted sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Dress, to taste, with balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.

7. Burrito Bowl With Roasted Chickpeas

Taylor Miller / Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

Don't skip out on sautéing your chickpeas. It transforms the bland legume into an addictively crunchy topping that gives this rice bowl a pop of texture.

Amount of protein per serving: about 68 grams

BURRITO BOWL WITH ROASTED CHICKPEAS

Serves 4 / Serving Size: About 1 up of rice (with toppings)

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups brown rice ($1.06)

¼ cup lime juice, divided ($0.50)

½ cup chopped cilantro, divided ($0.89)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained ($1.12)

½ teaspoon chili powder

8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved ($2.00)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion ($0.75)

Half a jalapeño, seeded and minced ($1.99)

1 cup plain Greek yogurt ($1.49)

1 cup romaine lettuce, shredded ($1.99)

1 avocado, sliced ($1.50)

1 lime, cut into wedges ($0.25)

Kosher salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

Total Recipe Cost: $13.54

Place rice, 3 cups of water, and a pinch of salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover with a lid. Cook until water is completely absorbed, about 25 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice and ¼ cup chopped cilantro to rice and gently stir with a fork. Reserve.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add chickpeas. Cook, stirring constantly, until browned and crunchy, about five minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and chili powder. Reserve.

Combine cherry tomatoes, red onion, minced jalapeño, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve.

Combine greek yogurt and remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice and season to taste with salt. Reserve. To serve, fill four bowls with 1 cup of rice each and top with ¼ cup pico de gallo, ¼ cup lime crema, ¼ cup shredded romaine, ½ cup toasted chickpeas, a quarter of the sliced avocado, and a lime wedge.

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