5 protein-packed plant-based recipes

Amy Wood - Nutritionist | 23 Sep, 2022

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Every year, more and more of us are introducing plant-based meals into our weekly rotation. Whether it be for health, environmental or animal welfare reasons, studies continue to reveal the benefits of eating more plant foods. However, many people have reservations about trying a meal without meat or dairy due to the assumed lack of protein.

Well, I'm here to tell you there are loads of tasty, plant-based protein sources, and it's easy to incorporate them into your diet. So whether you've been vegan for years, or you're just curious to try cooking a meatless, dairy-free meal for the first time, I've put together 5 tasty plant-based recipes that don't sacrifice protein OR flavour!

Vegan tacos

Black bean & sweet potato tacos with creamy avo

Serves 2 - 556 kcals per serving

Kcals 556
Fat 16.1g
Sat fat 4.3g
Carbs 82.8g
Sugar 15.9g
Fibre 19.2g
Protein 19.8g
Salt 1.4g

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Ingredients

  • Low-cal cooking spray
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 heaped tbsp soya yoghurt alternative
  • 4 mini tortilla wraps
  • 1 tin sweetcorn, drained
  • Fresh coriander, to serve

Method

  1. Pierce your sweet potato several times with a fork. Precook by baking in the centre of an oven at 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6 for 30 minutes. Alternatively, microwave for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into small cubes.
  2. Place a large frying pan coated with low-cal cooking spray over a medium-high heat. Tip in the cubed sweet potato and cook for around 10 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until golden.
  3. Add the pepper and the beans, then stir in the spices, oregano and garlic powder, along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the beans have heated through and everything is nicely coated in the fragrant seasoning.
  4. To make your creamy avocado, simply scoop out your avocado into a bowl and mash well. Tip in the soya yoghurt and stir to combine. Season as desired.
  5. Heat your mini tortillas according to packet instructions. You can use a frying pan, a hot grill or even the microwave.
  6. Now it's time to assemble. Take one of your tortillas and top first with the potato-bean mix, then some sweetcorn. Add a few dollops of creamy avocado, then top with fresh coriander and serve warm.

Teriyaki tofu

Crispy teriyaki tofu

Serves 2 - 488 kcals per serving

Kcals 488
Fat 9.3g
Sat fat 1.4g
Carbs 85.7g
Sugar 11.8g
Fibre 6.5g
Protein 19.6g
Salt 0.97g

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Ingredients

  • 200g extra firm tofu
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tsp reduced-salt soy sauce
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • Low-cal cooking spray
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 150g basmati rice
  • 160g broccoli florets
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • Sesame seeds, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Wrap the tofu block in kitchen towel and sandwich between two plates for 30 minutes to press out the moisture.
  3. Cut the tofu block into 1-inch cubes. Place in a bowl with 1 tsp of the soy sauce and sesame oil and stir in. Sprinkle on the cornflour to coat. This is the key to a crispy texture.
  4. Spread the tofu cubes on the baking parchment and pop the tray in the oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook your rice according to packet instructions. Put your broccoli in to steam or boil for around 5 minutes, depending on your texture preference.
  6. To make the teriyaki sauce, add the garlic to a pan coated with low-cal cooking spray over a medium heat. Fry off until starting to turn golden, then add in the remaining soy sauce and the rice vinegar. Finally, tip in the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  7. Serve your rice in warm bowls topped with the tofu, then a drizzle of teriyaki sauce and garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds.

Beetroot chickpea burger

Beetroot & chickpea burgers

Serves 4 - 419 kcals per serving

Kcals 419
Fat 12.8g
Sat fat 2.1g
Carbs 60.1g
Sugar 10.3g
Fibre 11.6g
Protein 16.5g
Salt 0.95g

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Ingredients

  • Low-cal cooking spray
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium beetroots, grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 10g nutritional yeast
  • 4 chives, chopped
  • Few sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • Few sprigs fresh basil, chopped
  • 20g rolled oats
  • 40g wholemeal flour
  • 4 seeded buns
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 small avocado, sliced
  • 4 tbsp burger relish

Method

  1. Spray a medium frying pan with low-cal cooking spray and place over a medium-high heat. Tip in the onion and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes under soft and golden. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add the chickpeas, beetroot, paprika, salt and pepper. Pulse gradually to form a paste – there should still be some texture to it.
  3. Tip the mixture into a large mixing bowl along with the cooked onion and garlic mix, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, fresh herbs, oats and flour. Mix together using your hands to create a 'dough-like' consistency.
  4. Mould the mixture into 4 large patties. Place a large frying pan coated with low-cal cooking spray over a high heat. Fry off the patties for 3-4 minutes each side.
  5. Serve inside the buns with some rocket, tomato, avocado and a tablespoon of relish.

Sweet potato fritters

Sweet potato fritters with mint yoghurt dip

Serves 2 - 240 kcals per serving

Kcals 240
Fat 5.8g
Sat fat 0.9g
Carbs 43g
Sugar 11.7g
Fibre 7.1g
Protein 6.5g
Salt 1.67g

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Ingredients

  • Low-cal cooking spray
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1 small or ½ large red onion, diced
  • 60g kale, finely chopped or blitzed in a food processor
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 60g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 50g plain soya yoghurt alternative
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1 handful coriander leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp honey

Method

  1. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Coat with low-cal cooking spray. Add the sweet potato, onion and kale. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until the onion and sweet potato are golden.
  2. Tip the cooked vegetables into a bowl with some salt, pepper, the flour and spices. Stir together to form a mouldable mixture, adding more flour or water depending on the consistency.
  3. Form six thin, round patties. Place your frying pan back on the heat with the olive oil. Fry the patties until golden, around 3-4 minutes each side. Serve warm.
  4. To make your dip, add the soya yoghurt, mint, coriander, garlic, lemon juice, honey, and a little salt and pepper to a food processor. Blitz until smooth.
Creamy spaghetti

Creamy mushroom spaghetti

Serves 4 - 478 kcals per serving

Kcals 478
Fat 17.7g
Sat fat 3.2g
Carbs 54.3g
Sugar 4.1g
Fibre 10.4g
Protein 21.9g
Salt 0.71g

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Ingredients

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 250g silken tofu
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 300g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g spinach, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Place your cashews in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the cashews and tip them into a blender or food processor. Crumble in the tofu, then add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, reserving a couple of basil leaves. Blend until smooth.
  3. Cook your spaghetti according to packet instructions, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  4. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the olive oil. Tip in the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden brown. Add in the spinach and stir frequently for a further minute until the spinach wilts.
  5. Drain your spaghetti and then return it to the hot pan. Tip in your creamy sauce and stir well to coat, leaving the pan over a low heat to warm the sauce through. Splash in a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen if needed.
  6. Stir in the mushrooms and spinach until well combined, then serve garnished with some more fresh basil leaves.

Nutritionist Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition has a keen interest in the relationship between diet and health. Having been published in the European Journal of Nutrition, Amy is passionate about making evidence-based nutrition accessible to everyone and helping others to adopt a food-focused approach to taking control of their health.

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