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14 protein-packed vegan recipes

by Genevieve Halbert

published on 23 December 2019

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.

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Chickpea Tikka Masala

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. 

Chipotle Mushroom and Black Bean Burgers with Peanut and Lime

Chipotle Mushroom and Black Bean Burgers with Peanut and Lime

Rukmini Iyer’s deeply flavoursome meat-free burgers are full of protein thanks to the black beans and peanut butter used to make up the patties. They also taste sensational, with chipotle mushrooms and tangy lime.

Butternut, Cashew, and Sage Pasta

Butternut, Cashew, and Sage Pasta

by Amelia Freer

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. 

Melissa Hemsley’s Parsnip Dahl Topped with Roasted Parsnips and Pink Pickled Onions

Melissa Hemsley’s Parsnip Dahl Topped with Roasted Parsnips and Pink Pickled Onions

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 and Dukkah

Roasted Squash, Crispy Lentils, Pomegranate and Dukkah

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. 

Soba Noodle Salad

Soba Noodle Salad

by Angela Liddon

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 incredibly tasty, with a sweet and tangy tahini dressing, and can be served hot or cold, making it an ideal packed lunch.

Crispy Tamarind Sprouts with Peanuts and Shallots

Crispy Tamarind Sprouts with Peanuts and Shallots

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. 

Spanish Chickpea and Almond Stew

Spanish Chickpea and Almond Stew

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.

Black Quinoa and Broccolini Salad

Black Quinoa and Broccolini Salad

by Jules Clancy

Quinoa is 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.

Rainbow Lentil Meatballs with Arrabbiata Sauce

Rainbow Lentil Meatballs with Arrabbiata Sauce

by DK Publishing

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.

Vegan West African Peanut Stew

Vegan West African Peanut Stew

by Rachel Ama

Nuts are an incredibly rich protein source, and the inclusion of peanuts in this West African stew not only boosts its nutritional value but also creates a deliciously rich and creamy texture. Served with fried plantain, this would make an impressive centrepiece to a plant-based dinner party. 

Meera Sodha’s Peanut Butter and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pad Thai

Meera Sodha’s Peanut Butter and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Pad Thai

from EAST

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.

EAST
From the book

EAST

Nadiya Hussain’s Avocado Pasta with Peas and Mint

Nadiya Hussain’s Avocado Pasta with Peas and Mint

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. 

Chia Chai Butternut Breakfast Pudding

Chia Chai Butternut Breakfast Pudding

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.

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