If you’re a week into Veganuary 2024 and have already had to deal with the age-old “but where do vegans get their protein?” question, you’ll be pleased to know there are a wide range of high protein vegan meals you can make. This high protein pepper pasta is just one example.
Despite what many people think, there are many plant-based protein sources. Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and various types of beans, are among the most protein-rich plant foods. They also provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame are also excellent sources of protein and are hugely versatile.
The below vegan pasta recipe, which comes from plant-based recipe developer Madeleine Olivia, contains silken tofu and butter (lima) beans for its protein kick. It only takes 30 minutes to make, meaning it’s a perfect weeknight meal.
What is silken tofu?
The addition of tofu in a pasta sauce may at first seem unusual – but silken tofu is used in a wide variety of sauce recipes to give them a creaminess and extra boost of protein.
It’s a type of tofu characterized by its soft, smooth, and custard-like texture. It differs from regular tofu in its higher moisture content and delicate consistency. Made from soy milk, silken tofu is undrained and unpressed, resulting in a silky, almost jelly-like texture.
When pureed, silken tofu can seamlessly integrate into a variety of sauces, adding a creamy texture without the need for dairy products.
High protein pepper pasta recipe
- 350-400 g pasta (you can opt for high-protein legume pasta for additional protein, and to make it gluten-free, if you like)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or used
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 450 g roasted red (bell) peppers (you can buy these in jars), drained and roughly chopped
- 1/2 tin butter (lima) beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 tsp chilli (hot pepper) flakes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 100 ml vegetable stock
- Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 350 g packet of silken tofu
- Nutritional yeast or vegan cheese, for sprinkling on top
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and stir. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 8–10 minutes and cook the pasta until al dente, or according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, add the oil to another large pan over a medium heat, throw in the chopped onion and gently fry for 5–10 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the chopped peppers, butter beans, chilli flakes, oregano and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, heating through for around 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon zest and juice, then transfer the sauce to a blender with the silken tofu and blitz until smooth. Alternatively, use a handheld blender. Return the sauce to the pan.
- Once the pasta is ready, drain, saving a ladleful of the pasta water. Add the pasta and pasta water to the sauce and mix through. The pasta is perfect as it is, or with a yummy sprinkle of nutritional yeast or vegan cheese.
This recipe was republished with permission from Make it Vegan by Madeleine Olivia, published by Hardie Grant. You can buy the book now.