15 High Protein Vegan Lunch Ideas

These 15 high protein vegan lunch recipes could help maximize your plant-based protein


10 Minutes Read

Photo shows four colorful bowls of orzo, bean, and pesto salad on a table These vegan recipes include several staple high-protein plant-based ingredients - Media Credit: Plant Baes

Protein is an important part of any healthy diet, and these 15 high protein vegan lunch recipes are an easy way to increase nutrients without compromising on flavor.

Every single cell in the human body (an average of 28 to 36 trillion for adults) contains proteins. They’re found everywhere and are sometimes referred to as life’s building blocks. 

Read more: 15 Vegan Breakfast Ideas

According to Harvard’s Public Health School, at least 10,000 different proteins “make you what you are and keep you that way.” Protein itself is made from over 20 amino acids, which the body cannot store. Nine of them – the essential amino acids – must come from food.

A common misconception is that people following a plant-based diet need to carefully plan and combine foods in order to consume all of these amino acids. Instead, eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of plant-based whole foods will likely include adequate macronutrients. There are many plant-based protein sources, from complete proteins like tofu, tempeh, and quinoa, to protein-rich vegetables like broccoli.

While animal-derived foods are inarguably particularly dense in protein, plant-based diets typically provide more than enough – at least 10 to 15 percent of daily calories – thanks to staple ingredients like legumes, beans, nuts, vegetables, and meat alternatives.

Furthermore, replacing animal protein with plant-based sources has been found to have several potential or confirmed positive health outcomes, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. All the more reason to eat extra-proteinous plant foods.

Read more: Protein Found In Meat Linked To Increased Risk Of Arthritis

15 high protein vegan lunch recipes

These high protein vegan recipes are perfect for lunch, but with the addition of a side or two can easily be adapted for larger dinners. They range from salads and sandwiches to quiches and Buddha bowls, and each is easy to customize and make your own.

Gluten-free asparagus quiche

A vegan and gluten-free asparagus quiche
The Garden Party With a tofu-based filling and quinoa-flaxseed crust, this quiche contains plenty of protein

This quiche from recipe creator and owner of The Garden Party Rachel Steenland features a quinoa and flaxseed crust with a silken tofu filling, maximizing protein with the bonus of being gluten-free. The dish also includes asparagus, which happens to be in season through April and May, meaning it’s at its freshest and most nutritious.

Find the recipe here.

Quinoa and edamame salad

vegan easy quinoa and edamame salad made with cabbage, green onion, and sauce for a protein packed meal
Rise Shine Cook Edamame are soft, tender, and high in protein

Another one featuring quinoa, this quick and easy salad is extremely nutritious, as a single cup of quinoa contains around 8g of protein along with magnesium and iron. Meanwhile, edamame (young soybeans) contain about 18.4g of protein per cup.

The recipe’s creator Ashley Madden (owner of Rise Shine Cook) notes that this salad is nutritious, flavorful, and ideal “for vegans of all experience levels.”

Find the recipe here.

Read more: World Health Organization Calls For Experts To Design ‘Optimal’ Dietary Guidelines

Roasted squash and quinoa buddha bowl

vegan roasted butternut squash and quinoa bowl made with chickpeas spinach and an almond citrus sauce
Rise Shine Cook Quinoa bowls are a quick and easy way to make a filling and nutritious lunch

Buddha bowls (and microbiome bowls) are a simple and delicious way of maximizing nutrients for a quick lunchtime meal. This one from Rise Shine Cook features quinoa again but combines it with roasted squash, chickpeas, spinach, and an almond-citrus sauce.

Find the recipe here.

Vegan halloumi and pistachio salad

A bowl of vegan halloumi salad made with tofu
BOSH! In this recipe, BOSH! swaps traditional halloumi for a tofu version

BOSH! made this halloumi and pistachio salad by seasoning and roasting extra-firm tofu. It has that squeaky, salty, delicious flavor of halloumi with all of the benefits of tofu. (High protein content, low fat, plus calcium and manganese, to name a few.)

Find the recipe here.

High-protein vegan BLT

A vegan BLT sandwich made with a plant-based recipe
Nuts & Twigs Soy curls make for a high-protein vegan bacon

Regina Pearce of Nuts & Twigs uses “soy curls” for this fully stacked vegan BLT. Because soy curls are made using whole soybeans rather than processed, they retain all of their protein, fiber, and other nutrients. They also make for a top-notch meat replacement.

Find the recipe here.

Vegan shawarma

A soy curl shawarma made to a vegan recipe
Crow Moon Kitchen This recipe also uses soy curls for a meaty plant-based shawarma

Crow Moon Kitchen also uses soy curls for this plant-based shawarma recipe. Traditionally, shawarma involves thinly sliced meat stacked vertically onto a revolving spit and roasted. This dish involves simply browning the well-seasoned soy curls in a frying pan alongside onions and garlic. The proteinous, meaty texture of the soy curls makes for a nutritious and delicious plant-based spin on this classic Middle Eastern dish.

Find the recipe here.

Bean, orzo, and pesto salad

Photo shows four colorful bowls of orzo, bean, and pesto salad on a table
Plant Baes Beans, broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes make for a nutritious and colorful salad

This Plant Baes recipe takes under 30 minutes to make but combines beans, broccoli, and orzo, a wheat-based pasta that itself contains 6.4g of protein per 100g. You could also work in some additional protein by swapping store-bought feta (which is typically made using potato starch and coconut oil) for this homemade version made with macadamia nuts.

Find the recipe here.

Mediterranean chickpea stew

A Mediterranean chickpea stew, a healthy vegan weeknight meal
World of Vegan This stew is quick and easy to make

This Mediterranean stew from World of Vegan is created around the mighty chickpea, which includes approximately 15g of protein per cup along with folate, copper, iron, and zinc, as well as plenty of fiber. Chickpeas are also cheap, readily available, and excellent for absorbing flavors in dishes of all kinds. (You can also prep and cook this stew in 15 minutes.)

Find the recipe here.

Tempeh and apple slaw sandwich

Photo shows a sandwich cut in half to reveal its filling of fresh apple slaw and thick pieces of marinated tempeh
Happy Skin Kitchen Tempeh is a particularly nutritious way of eating soybeans

For this recipe, Happy Skin Kitchen marinades tempeh in a BBQ sauce before combining it with a sweet apple slaw. Tempeh is a particularly nutritious way of eating soybeans, and along with plenty of protein (a whopping 19g per 100g), it also includes prebiotics and probiotics which promote gut health.

Find the recipe here.

Vegan halloumi salad

A high protein vegan halloumi salad made with tofu
Lizzie Mayson In this recipe, tofu once again makes for a high-protein substitute for traditional halloumi

Another vegan halloumi-style dish, this salad includes BOSH!’s tofu-based replacement for the Cypriot cheese. Sear it in a hot griddle pan to give it that authentic striped appearance, and serve with pearl barley for a mild, nutty flavor and a few grams of additional protein.

Find the recipe here.

Baked potato topped with BBQ lentils

Photo shows two baked potatoes topped with BBQ lentils and a drizzle of sriracha mayo
Vegan Richa Top these baked potatoes with BBQ red split lentils

This recipe from Vegan Richa’s Instant Pot Cookbook takes just 20 minutes to prep and uses mostly simple, staple ingredients. It’s also packed with both protein and flavor. It combines red split lentils (7.3g per 100g) with white potato (3 grams per medium potato), as well as mushrooms (3.1g per 100g), and tops it off with DIY sriracha mayonnaise.

Find the recipe here.

Spicy BBQ tofu bowls

Photo shows a tofu and broccoli bowl served with rice and chopsticks
Tofu and broccoli is high in protein and a Chinese takeout staple

Herbivore’s Kitchen has created a quick and nutritious lunch that can be ready in under 30 minutes. It pairs tofu with broccoli, a classic, delicious, and high-protein combo for a quick fakeaway-style dish. Top with green scallions (spring onions in the UK), sesame seeds, and additional sriracha to taste.

Find the recipe here.

Vegan microbiome bowl

A vegan microbiome bowl made with gut-friendly ingredients
Carleigh Bodrug This bowl features a range of gut-friendly ingredients as well as plenty of protein

This recipe from Carleigh Bodrug – aka Plant You – is from her new cookbook Plant You: Scrappy Cooking. It aims to boost your gut bacteria through fiber and fermented ingredients, but it also includes broccoli, hemp hearts, firm tofu, potatoes, and quinoa, all of which are excellent sources of plant-based protein.

Find the recipe here.

Vegan lentil salad

A vegan high protein lentil salad
The Garden Party Lentils are packed with plant protein and fiber

Colorful, delicious, and nutritious, with plenty of protein, this recipe from The Garden Party is a great lunchtime dish by itself or as a side to something more substantial. It uses canned lentils of any kind, but you could prepare and substitute dried for extra fiber.

Find the recipe here.

High protein vegan mac and cheese

Four dishes of meal prepped high protein vegan mac and cheese with greens ontop
Plant Baes This high-protein mac-and-cheese is ideal for meal prep

Each serving of this dish by Plant Baes contains approximately 40g of plant-based protein, most of which is in the sauce itself thanks to the potato, cashew, and red lentil blend that makes it. Serve with dark greens for some additional nutrients.

Find the recipe here.

Become A Plant Based Chef with our 1000+ recipes! 🥦

We know it can be hard to keep cooking up tasty, exciting meals. So we thought of them for you! Browse our selection of vegan recipes below.

© 2024 Plant Based News is a mission-led impact media platform focused on elevating the plant-based diet and its benefit to human health, the planet, and animals. | Plant Based News Ltd, PO Box 71173, London, SE20 9DQ, United Kingdom.