There are so many delicious plant-based ways to eat your protein, and these vegetarian lunch ideas will get you off to a good start.
Veggie Power Bowl
PHOTO: LOVE & ZEST
Stay fueled for the afternoon with this veggie power bowl. Not only will you get protein from the tofu, quinoa, and cashews, but this meal serves up additional health benefits thanks to the dried Montmorency cherries—better heart health, faster post-workout recovery, and improved sleep.
Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Quiche
PHOTO: HUNGRY HOBBY
Eggs are a strong source of protein, dishing out 6 grams in just one large egg—so long as you eat the yolk. Don’t discount a quiche as a lunchtime meal. Kelli Shallal, R.D., C.P.T., owner of Hungry Hobby, created this dish and it’s a great make-ahead option for busy schedules. Adding vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower increases the fiber quota too, so you’ll stay full until dinner.
Tofu Banh Mi Wrap
This slimmed-down take on this Vietnamese sandwich uses tofu instead of pork, and flatbread instead of regular bread. The lighter version packs some serious protein—7 grams from the tofu and about 12 grams from the flatbread—making this a high-protein power lunch.
Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
PHOTO: RDELICIOUS KITCHEN
If you’re hankering for pasta come lunchtime, Julie Harrington, R.D., culinary nutrition consultant at RDelicious Kitchen, suggests swapping out plain old pasta for chickpea pasta to up the protein intake. “Chickpeas are high in both protein and fiber, which helps you feel full and can curb those afternoon snack cravings,” she says.
Edamame Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing
PHOTO: EUPHORIA NUTRITION
“This quinoa salad contains 14 grams of protein from the black beans, edamame, and tofu,” says Charlene Pors, R.D., owner of Euphoria Nutrition. That’s 28 percent of your daily recommended amount. And since this salad is loaded with fiber-packed ingredients like spinach, tomatoes, and carrots, “it will surely keep you fueled and full until your next meal is served,” she says.
Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Sweet Apple Slaw
PHOTO: NUTRITION À LA NATALIE
Chickpeas are packed with protein, yes, but they’re also a great source of folate—and that’s good for maintaining heart health, says Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., owner of Nutrition à la Natalie. Bonus: The sandwich is ready in minutes thanks to the help of a food processor.
Red Lentil Chili in an Acorn Squash Bowl
PHOTO: SHAW’S SIMPLE SWAPS
Lentil chili is a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and folate, says Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., R.D., nutrition communications consultant at Shaw’s Simple Swaps. “By placing this chili in an acorn squash bowl, you also amp up your vegetable intake.”
Sweet Potato Pinto Bean Burrito
PHOTO: TRIAD TO WELLNESS
“The pinto beans in this burrito add a boost of protein and extra flavor to the mashed sweet potatoes,” says Tracee Yablon Brenner, R.D., nutrition director of Triad to Wellness. “You’ll also get fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which makes the ingredient an ideal plant-based protein source to include in a daily diet.”
Spinach and Red Pepper Cheese Frittata
PHOTO: SARAH KOSZYK
This frittata is an excellent source of vegetables and protein, with more than 11 grams, says Sarah Koszyk, R.D., author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year. You can include almost any vegetable combo you like, but this recipe uses spinach and red pepper. Pair it with a side salad for even more produce.