Inform your mum or auntie that you’ve gone vegan and there is a 99% chance that they will ask, with great concern: “But are you getting enough protein??” The idea that plant-based diets are automatically lower in certain nutrients is a common one – protein, for many people, is synonymous with meat, fish, and eggs, and if your New Year’s resolutions involve hitting the gym and building some muscle, forgoing animal products might seem like even more of a challenge. The good news is that some of the richest protein sources out there include legumes, grains, nuts, and vegetables, and with the right recipes you won’t miss out on essential nutrients (we can’t promise your mum will be convinced, though).
David and Stephen Flynn (the twin brothers who make up cookery duo The Happy Pear) are committed fitness fanatics and they're evangelical about plant protein. This vegan twist on the classic chicken tikka masala is deliciously creamy and can be ready in just 15 minutes; perfect for a post-gym feast.
This healthier take on a creamy pasta sauce makes for a tasty and substantial midweek supper. The cashew nuts give the dish a rich texture, while also providing a powerful protein hit.
Get your copy of Simply Good For You here.
Protein-powered lentils take centre stage in this wintery dahl, topped with roasted spiced parsnips and pickled red onions. Melissa recommends making this at the end of the weekend with any leftover root veg that didn’t make it into the Sunday roast. Freeze any leftovers easily for a healthy midweek dinner when you haven't got time to cook.
Roasted Squash, Crispy Lentils, Pomegranate & Dukkah from The Roasting Tin Around The World by Rukmini Iyer
Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, plant-based protein and fibre, and they take centre stage in this traybake dinner. Crisped up in the oven with tender veggies, and topped with crunchy dukkah, pops of pomegranate and a creamy vegan yoghurt dressing, this is a megamix of texture and flavour.
The soba noodles and crispy tofu in this dish are both protein-dense ingredients, making for a light-feeling but substantial salad. It's also incedibly tasty, with a sweet and tangy tahini dressing, and can be served hot or cold, making it an ideal packed lunch.
Get your copy of Oh She Glows Every Day here.
Nuts, pulses, and leafy green veg are among the top vegan protein sources, and this Indian street food dish from The Green Roasting Tin combines all three. The crispy sprouts with roasted chickpeas and salted peanuts make for a flavourful and easy midweek meal.
Get your copy of The Green Roasting Tin here.
This substantial and nutritious winter supper from Melissa Hemsley's Eat Happy is full of the warming flavours of Spain. It's made with mostly store-cupboard ingredients, so it can be whipped up in no time, and it's guaranteed to bring a little sunshine to a chilly weekday evening.
Get your copy of Eat Happy: 30 Minute Feel-good Food here.
Yes, quinoa is worth all the hype! It's an exceptionally nutritious grain, containing high levels of vitamins and minerals, as well as double the amount of protein contained in rice. In this simple, 5-ingredient recipe, black quinoa is mixed with broccoli and almonds to make a superfood salad that's ideal for lunchboxes.
Get your copy of Five Ingredients, Ten Minutes here.
A real crowd-pleaser of a dish, this vegan meatball recipe uses lentils as a filling and hearty substitute for meat. Served with egg-free spaghetti and fiery arrabbiata sauce, this is vegan comfort food at its best!
Get your copy of There's a Vegan in the House here.
Nuts are an incredibly rich protein source, and the inclusion of peanut in this West African stew not only boosts its nutritional value, it also creates a deliciously rich and creamy texture. Served with fried plantain, this would make an impressive centrepiece to a plant-based dinner party.
Get your copy of Rachel Ama's Vegan Eats here.
Peanut Butter and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pad Thai from EAST by Meera Sodha
Another tasty, peanut-packed recipe, this pad thai from Meera Sodha's EAST provides extra protein in the form of pan-seared tofu and purple sprouting broccoli. It's a quick and easy alternative to takeaway noodles and, unlike your standard takeaway, it will leave you feeling truly nourished.
Get your copy of EAST here.
It might come as a surprise to some, but the humble green pea is one of the best plant-based sources of protein. This pasta recipe from Nadiya's Family Favourites incorporates plenty of peas, along with a no-cook creamy avocado sauce.
Get your copy of Nadiya's Family Favourites here.
For a supercharged make-ahead breakfast, try Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley's overnight butternut squash and chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are full of protein, fibre, and omega-3, making this pudding an ideal way to start the day.
Get your copy of The Art of Eating Well here.