Whether you’re a vegetarian or you just enjoy eating meatless one or two days a week; it’s extremely important to make sure that you’re getting enough protein to support the needs of your body. Protein is vital for building and maintaining muscle, fighting off disease and keeping energy levels high, so you can stay alert throughout the day.

Top Protein Sources for Vegetarians and recipe ideas

I have not adopted a full vegetarian diet, but I do enjoy eating plant-based about 85% of the time. Since I’ve been incorporating quite a bit of strength training in my workouts and focusing on toning and building muscle; it is of really important that I’m getting the protein that my body needs. On average, women need about 46 grams and men need about 56 grams of protein daily. This may seem like a really high number, but if you’re implementing the right foods (such as, these Top Protein Sources for Vegetarians) into your diet, you can easily reach your protein goals.

Top Protein Sources for Vegetarians and recipe ideas

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Eggs are probably my very favorite high-protein food. Eggs always give me a morning boost and keep me fueled until lunch. There are many ways to vary your egg meals- mix it up with omelets, quiches, poached, hard-boiled, scrambled or sunny-side-up eggs. {Recipe} for my favorite and VERY easy omelet dinner… or breakfast… or lunch.

Mushroom Spinach Omelet

My favorite high-protein snack is cottage cheese. It’s also great for adding flavor to recipes or you can hide it in creamy dishes. You can also sub it out for ricotta cheese or sour cream in certain dishes too. I love adding fresh fruit and cinnamon to my cottage cheese bowl for a sweet treat. I also commonly use it as a dip for crackers or chips. You should definitely try my {recipe} for Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal. The added cottage cheese gives this baked oatmeal the cheesecake flavor!

Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal

Of course, I have to mention quinoa! It’s the perfect complete protein for vegetarians or anyone looking to increase their healthy proteins. Quinoa is not only high in protein, but also low in cholesterol and a good source of iron and fiber. I love adding quinoa to my salads and soups or chili. In this {recipe}, I added quinoa to my kale salad and topped it with a lovely Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

Blackberry Quinoa Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Nuts and seeds are a handy grab-n-go snack. They also make a wonderful topping for salads, yogurt and oatmeal. Ounce for ounce, nuts are one of the highest and healthiest sources of protein in the plant world, and they contain many essential amino acids. Peanuts and sunflower seeds lead the pack with 8 grams of protein in a 1/4 cup serving; almonds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds aren’t too far behind with 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. Other high-protein nuts are walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts (filberts), pistachios and cashews. (source of info) Try this {recipe} for a protein boost, that’s a treat too.

Almond Butter Snack Balls

Beans are part of the legume family, which also includes peas and lentils. There are many different types of beans and they are all highly nutritious. Beans are a low-fat, cholesterol-free food, rich in many minerals including folic acid, iron, potassium and magnesium. They are high in fiber and protein as well. Some types of beans have more protein than others, but beans for the most part are considered a high-protein food. (source of info) I make this {recipe} for vegan chili all of the time. It’s easy and delicious… I actually had it for lunch today!

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Boy do I love me some Greek yogurt! And it packs as much as double the protein as regular yogurt. It’s the perfect snack; tasty, filling and low-calorie. Greek yogurt is great on its own, with fruit or as a substitute for sour cream and mayo. This {recipe} is one of my favorites on the blog and includes plenty of creamy Greek yogurt.

Chopped Southwestern Tuna Salad

Did I say eggs were my favorite meatless source of protein? Oops…. I totally forgot about nut butter. Use nut butter on your morning toast, drizzled over apple slices, added to your oats and/or blended into smoothies. Not only does it taste amazing, it’s a healthy fat that will keep you satisfied long after you’ve finished your meal. Use this {recipe} to make your own homemade coconut cashew butter… it’s so easy!

Coconut Cashew Butter

Something to think about….

Are you a meat-eater or primarily a plant-eater?

What’s your favorite plant-based protein source?

What plant-based protein sources did I leave out, that you love?

Thanks for reading!