More Protein, Please

12 easy ways to eat more protein on a meat-free diet.

New to a meat-free diet? Or maybe you've been vegetarian or vegan for some time, but still struggle with ways to get enough protein. It's not as hard as you think! With a little know-how, you can sneak plant-based proteins into every meal. Start with these suggestions:

  1. Skip the carbs, and snack on protein-rich munchies. Try roasted chickpeas, edamame (whole soybeans), roasted peanuts, and raw nuts.
  2. Purée coconut milk, almond butter, and cashew butter with honey and cocoa powder, and freeze in an ice cream maker for a protein-packed, fudgy ice cream treat.
  3. Use hemp or rice protein powder instead of flour to make waffles, pancakes, and baked goods. Instead of eggs, use flax as a binder.
  4. Make a simple cream sauce by whisking cashew butter with vegetable stock, garlic, and minced parsley. Toss with cooked rotini.
  5. Crumble tempeh (fermented soybean protein) into pasta sauce or soups, or wherever you'd use hamburger meat.
  6. Purée cooked black beans and add to brownies. For blondies or light-colored muffins or cakes, use cooked, puréed chickpeas.
  7. Sprout sunflower seeds and add them to salads. Soak raw seeds overnight in filtered water to cover; drain, and let sprout for 24-48 hours.
  8. Add ground flaxseeds to muffins, waffles, breads, or cookies for a protein boost and added omega-3 fats.
  9. Make a protein-packed pudding. Purée silken tofu with cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla extract.
  10. Eat lentils more often-they're fast-cooking and easy to use. Add to soup, toss in salads, and stir in cooked rice.
  11. Spread sandwiches and wraps with hummus instead of mayo. Purée hummus with roasted red pepper or chipotle peppers for added zing.
  12. If you tolerate gluten, seitan (wheat protein) is a great substitute for sliced deli meat. Use it in wraps or sandwiches for an easy lunch.

Editors' note: Missed an issue of the magazine? See all of our 2014 articles and recipes, including one for Coconut Red Lentil Soup.