7 Vegetarian, High-Protein Meals That Are Easy to Make

If meat supplies at your supermarket are running low, try these alternatives.

By Melanie Haid
Your Video is Loading

Quarantine Dishes You Can Cook With Canned and Boxed Goods (1:12)

If you’ve noticed the lack of chicken and other meat on the shelves recently at the grocery store, you’re not alone. Factories and meat processing plants across the country are facing a shortage of workers and have had to close some facilities, due to employees testing positive for COVID-19. While these production issues don’t mean meat is completely unavailable, it does mean that there may be less shipments and higher prices in the coming weeks. But don’t panic; you can still make quality meals for yourself and your family that are vegetarian and high in protein.

While vegetarians and vegans are used to getting protein from non-animal sources, for the large majority of Americans who consume meat, making “meatless Mondays” a multi-day event might seem daunting. The shortage is expected to continue for weeks or months until the pandemic slows down, so this might just be a part of the “new normal” we all have to get used to. Try out vegetarian-based cooking with these protein-packed recipes that are easy to make at home.

Black Bean Veggie Burger

If you’re craving burgers this summer but are limited on ground beef or turkey, try making meatless patties instead. Black beans are a common swap for meat because they give a hearty and robust flavor that’s also high in protein. This recipe uses black beans and rice to create solid patties that can be baked in the oven and on the table in 30 minutes. You can serve these with all your favorite summer BBQ fixings.

Egg & Grain Bowl

Eggs are a decent source of protein, giving you 6 grams (or 12% of your daily need) per egg. Pair that with a superfood grain like farro, which also gives you 6 grams of protein per serving, and you can create a filling and hearty lunch or dinner option. This recipe from Half Baked Harvest includes heart-healthy avocados too. If you don’t like farro, you can swap another healthy grain like quinoa or brown rice. If you’re looking for a low-carb option, add in your favorite leafy greens instead.

Vegetarian Chili

Chili is the ultimate one-pot meal to feed a crowd. This vegetarian chili recipe packs all of the flavor of regular meat-filled chili using healthy beans, hearty vegetables (including sweet potatoes!), and flavorful spices. This delicious alternative can be made in under an hour. Get creative with your toppings and try out items like avocados, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), shredded cheese, cilantro, and even crushed tortilla chips.

Jackfruit BBQ Sandwiches

If pulled pork is a favorite around the house, but you can’t find pork shoulder, try jackfruit as a substitute. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit with a meaty texture that’s commonly used as a shredded meat substitute. Try using jackfruit to make BBQ sandwiches with coleslaw. Pair your jackfruit dinner with quinoa and black beans for even more protein. You can buy jackfruit in a can at stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, check your local grocery store as well. If you have no luck in stores, you might also be able to order it with online grocers or sites like Amazon.

Bean & Veggie Frittata

A frittata is an easy recipe that actually makes a great family dinner. The best part is you can customize it with your favorite beans and veggies. This chickpea and leafy greens frittata recipe from Epicurious is loaded with 28 grams of protein per serving and can be made quickly on weeknights. This recipe has plenty of green options that work so you can pick and choose based on what you can find in stores. With flavors like onions, curry powder, and red pepper flakes, you’ll love this delicious one-skillet dinner idea.

Zucchini Lasagna

Lasagna is a perfect dish to make in bulk and freeze for when you need a quick meal. Make this zucchini lasagna from The Conscious Dietitian. It’s low-carb because it uses zucchini instead of lasagna noodles (however, you can use regular noodles if you want pasta in your dish). The recipe swaps ricotta cheese for cottage cheese, which has up to 25 grams of protein in just one cup.

Tofu Stir Fry

Tofu is one of the most popular vegetarian protein substitutes. This stir fry recipe from Simply Vegan Blog is great to keep bookmarked because it uses minimal ingredients for a sauce as well as a ton of vegetables. If you don’t have the veggies on the list, try experimenting with what you do have lying around in the fridge.

Related: 

5 Common Recipe Substitutions If You're Missing Crucial Ingredients

10 High-Protein Foods You Should Be Eating

4 Surprising Health Benefits of Jackfruit (Plus What to Do With It)

Article written by Melanie Haid