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20 Minute High Protein Vegan Meals

There’s a misconception that you simply can’t get enough protein on a vegan diet.

That’s why I’m sharing three easy vegan meals that are not only packed with protein but also take just 20 minutes. Best of all, they’re big on flavor so you don’t have to sacrifice enjoyment!

For whatever reason, there are a lot of people who think that it’s impossible to get enough protein on a vegan diet. That eating plants means you can’t build muscle.

And to be totally honest, I get it. When I went vegan, I wasn’t sure where my protein would come from.

These days, I know better and I’m motivated by a different question: is it possible to make a meal that’s vegan, high in protein, and delicious in just 20 minutes?

I’ve concluded the answer is a resounding yes: you can have your gainz and eat well, too.

Which is why I’m proud to share these vegan high protein meals that take just 20 minutes to make but are flavor packed and fun. Each meal clocks in with over 30 grams of protein per serving!

Need more ideas for how to incorporate plant protein into your diet? Check out my roundup of The 5 Best Vegan Protein Sources!

three high protein vegan meals on a table

Watch the Video!

Over on YouTube, I cooked all three of these recipes. Check it out here:

High-Protein Vegan Meals EVERYONE Should Know
High-Protein Vegan Meals EVERYONE Should Know

Meal #1: Smashed Edamame Toast

Once you try this recipe, it might just become a meal prep staple in your household. It sits perfectly in the venn diagram of easy, wholesome, and tasty.

While I typically spread it on some whole wheat toast for quick but filling breakfast, there’s no need to stop there. It would make for a terrific topping on a salad or grain bowl, too!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Incredibly simple. With just a few ingredients and a food processor, you can prepare this dish in less than 10 minutes. How easy is that?
  • Crazy flavorful. Simple though it may be, this recipe is anything but boring. Creamy, rich and nutty with bold garlicky and slightly spicy flavors, I find it hard to believe anyone wouldn’t like this edamame spread. Lime juice and zest add a zingy, citrus-y brightness that will keep you coming back for more.
  • Breakfast for the week. This recipe makes a generous four servings. Make a batch on Monday morning and you’ll have breakfast for almost the entire week. The shelf life is great, too, so you could even eat it the following weekend.
  • Customize to your liking. Delicious on its own, this recipe is also easy to customize with some creative toppings. Sauerkraut is a great source of probiotics for gut health, while pickled onions provide a delightful tang. You can add hemp seeds or thinly sliced tofu for even more protein. And if you have any microgeens or thinly sliced salad greens hanging around your fridge, they’d be terrific on top, too.
edamame smashed toast with pickled onions and microgreens.

Protein sources in this recipe

There are three elements to this recipe and each contributes a significant amount of protein.

First, the edamame mash itself. Edamame is a protein powerhouse, contributing about 10 grams of protein per serving. Tahini is an underrated protein source; here, it adds about 3 grams of protein per serving. Finally, the half avocado adds about 1 gram of protein per serving.

Next is the multigrain bread. The precise amount of protein will vary by brand, but the brand I used (Silver Hills Bakery Hemptation) contains a whopping 6 grams of protein per slice, or 12 grams of protein in total. Dave’s Killer Bread is another good option.

Finally, hemp seeds are a fantastic protein source. Sprinkle them on sandwiches or salads for an extra protein boost. Here, they add about 5 grams of protein per serving.

Interested in more delicious edamame recipes? Make my easy Garlicky Sesame Edamame Salad!

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Smashed Edamame Toast

4.9 from 102 votes
Move over smashed avocado toast because smashed edamame toast is just as good and packed with protein! Ready in 10 minutes, versatile to use, and unbelievably delicious.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dip
Cuisine: Asian-inspired
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (56g) tahini
  • 12 ounces (340g) shelled frozen edamame, defrosted (Note 1)
  • ½ of a medium ripe avocado
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (Note 2)
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • ½ to 1 serrano pepper roughly chopped (Note 3)
  • 1 big handful of cilantro leaves and tender stems remove thick stems
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil more to taste
  • 1 large lime zested and juiced
  • Kosher salt to taste

For Serving

  • 6 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • Sauerkraut or pickled onions (optional)
  • 8 slices seeded or sprouted multigrain bread (toasted, if desired)

Instructions

  • Add the tahini, edamame, avocado, soy sauce, garlic, chile pepper, cilantro, sesame oil, and lime zest and juice to a food processor. Start blending until it turns into a chunky dip. Season with salt to taste as needed.
  • Toast your bread of choice. Smear a generous amount of the edamame smash onto each slice of bread.
  • Top with hemp seeds and sauerkraut or pickled onions, if desired.
  • Store leftover spread in an airtight container in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. The green color will fade but it will still taste good.

Notes

General Notes:
One serving of the edamame mash itself contains approximately 18-20 grams of protein. To reach 30 grams of protein per serving, serve over two slices of seeded or sprouted multi-grain toast and top with 1 1/2 TBSP hemp seeds. 
Nutrition values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to brand and product availability and food preparation. 
Note 1: You can also find refrigerated edamame at some grocery stores, like Trader Joe’s.
Note 2: Use tamari to keep this recipe gluten-free.
Note 3Remove membranes for mild heat. If you can’t find serrano peppers, use a jalapeño.

Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 665mg | Potassium: 790mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 213IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 8mg

Meal #2: Tofu Noodle Bowl with Almond Butter Sauce

I swear I could eat this every week. Delicious, easy, and wholesome? Sign me up.

The key ingredient is five-spice powder. It adds a lovely warmth and complexity that will keep you coming back for more.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Anything but boring. This is a creamy, indulgent noodle dish that tastes nothing like what you’d imagine a “high protein meal” would taste like. Rather, it seems like something you might order from that new Asian fusion restaurant that just opened up.
  • Customize to your heart’s content. While the ingredients call for whole wheat spaghetti, don’t feel constrained; this would be terrific with a variety of noodle shapes. Broccoli could easily be swapped out for snap peas or bok choy. And peanut butter would definitely work in place of almond butter.
  • Lots of time-saving shortcuts. This recipe uses super-firm tofu (which doesn’t need to be pressed like firm or extra-firm tofu). It also calls for pre-cut broccoli florets should you want to avoid spending time chopping. If you wanted to save even more time, make a double batch of the almond butter sauce; the next time you make this dish will be that much easier!
high protein tofu noodle bowl with almond butter sauce.

Protein sources in this recipe

With an astounding 37 grams of protein, this recipe has everything you need to help you get ripped, beefy, burly, hunky, and/or swole.

A block of super firm tofu provides 19 grams of protein per serving all on its own.

Whole wheat pasta adds 7 grams of protein per serving and broccoli adds another 2.5 grams.

Meanwhile, almond butter provides 7 grams or protein per serving. Finally, sesame seeds shouldn’t be overlooked – they provide 1.5 grams of protein per serving in addition to their delightful signature nutty crunch.

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Tofu Noodle Bowl with Almond Butter Sauce

4.9 from 113 votes
Meaty five spice-flavored tofu crumbles are tossed with whole wheat noodles, broccoli, and a creamy Asian-inspired almond butter sauce. Over 30g of protein and ready in 20 minutes!
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian-inspired
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 2

Ingredients

Tofu Crumbles

  • 8 ounces (227g) super firm tofu (see Note 1)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice

Noodles & Broccoli

  • 4 ounces (113g) whole wheat spaghetti or similar noodles/pasta
  • 3 cups (180g / ~ 6) ounces broccoli florets (see Note 2)

Almond Butter Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons almond butter (creamy variety) (see Note 3)
  • ½ tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan chile flakes or red pepper flakes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water more as needed

Finishing

  • A light drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted white or black sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil for the pasta. When it’s boiling, salt generously.
  • Cut the tofu into 4 slabs. Squeeze out as much water as you can. Crumble tofu into small pieces, about the size of a blueberry. Transfer to a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices. Sprinkle over tofu and gently toss with your hands to coat.
  • Cook the tofu. Heat the oil in a medium or large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tofu and spread out in a single packed layer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes undisturbed. Flip and continue cooking for a total of 10 to 12 minutes, stirring only every 2 minutes, until most of the tofu is browned.
  • Cook the pasta and broccoli. While the tofu is cooking, cook the pasta according to package instructions for al dente. About 3 minutes before the timer is done, add the broccoli and cook until the pasta is al dente and the florets are bright green and crisp tender. Drain and rinse under cool water to bring to room temperature.
  • Make the sauce. Meanwhile, stir together the almond butter, agave, vinegar, soy sauce, and chile flakes. Add a bit of water to thin out.
  • Toss cooled pasta and broccoli with the almond butter sauce. Add in the tofu crumbles. Drizzle very lightly with toasted sesame oil and garnish with sesame seeds.

Notes

General notes
To make this within 20 minutes, you’ll need to multitask! While the pasta water boils, crumble the tofu. While the tofu cooks, cook the pasta and broccoli, and make the sauce. 
Nutrition values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to brand and product availability and food preparation. 
Note 1. Super firm tofu is also sold as “high protein” tofu. It has very little water in it so it doesn’t need to be pressed. If you’re using extra-firm tofu instead, you’ll need to press it for 10 minutes. 
You can also use this method with tempeh, which is even higher in protein. Crumble it into very small pieces. Toss with spices, then pan-fry using the same method until golden brown and a bit crisp. Finish with a little soy sauce to balance the bitterness.
Note 2. Buy pre-cut broccoli florets to keep this a 20-minute meal.
Note 3. Feel free to use peanut butter instead if you love peanut butter.

Calories: 719kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 1125mg | Potassium: 876mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Vitamin C: 123mg | Calcium: 362mg | Iron: 9mg

Meal #3: Garlicky Quinoa and Lentils with Ricotta

I am not someone who typically loves quinoa. I’d much rather cook rice, farro, or almost any other grain for that matter.

But I’ve been smitten by this dish. It’s easy to put together and so satiating. And most importantly, it tastes great!

Olive oil toasted garlic chips and crunchy pepitas with coriander are bright, bold, and zesty, and infuse so much flavor into plain quinoa and lentils. Meanwhile, tofu-based signature ricotta adds a creamy mouthfeel and indulgence.

Tips for making this recipe

  • All the base components in this dish are some shade of beige, which is not the most appetizing. To add some color, top it with some pickled onions and parsley.
  • After cooking the quinoa, spread it out on a sheet pan for the best texture, so it doesn’t clump or get mushy. 
  • This recipe uses pre-cooked lentils. I prefer the ones sold in the refrigerated section rather than canned lentils (more soupy). If you have the time, cook your own lentils. They’re super hands off and easy in the Instant Pot.
  • If you don’t love lentils, feel free to substitute with canned chickpeas. They don’t have quite as much protein but they’ll still do the trick, especially in combination with our other high protein ingredients.
lentil quinoa bowl with pickled onions and garlic pepitas.

Protein sources in this recipe

This recipe provides a whopping 33 grams of protein per serving. As with the other recipes here, several components contribute.

Among grains, quinoa is one of the best protein sources among grains. Per serving, it provides 8 grams of protein in this recipe.

Two of the ingredients in the tofu ricotta provide a significant amount of protein: tofu (of course) and nutritional yeast. Together, they provide about 10 grams of protein per serving.

I love pepitas because of their crunch and flavor, but they’re a terrific protein source, too. They add 5 grams of protein per serving.

Finally, lentils are a wonderful protein source, here they provide 10 grams of protein per serving.

Big Vegan Flavor

Techniques and 150 recipes to master vegan cooking.

Garlicky Quinoa and Lentils with Ricotta

4.9 from 79 votes
A super quick yet flavor-forward quinoa and lentil bowl featuring two superstar condiments: creamy tofu "ricotta" and crunchy, garlicky spiced pepitas. A great option for meal prep!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 3

Ingredients

Quinoa

  • 1 cup (175g) uncooked quinoa

Ricotta (Note 1)

  • 1 14-ounce (400g) block of extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup (20g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium lemon, zested, and 1 tablespoon juice, plus more taste

Garlicky Pepitas

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • ½ cup (70g) pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ to teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Flaky sea salt

Finishing

  • 1 ½ cup (175g) pre-cooked / steamed lentils
  • Pickled onions or sauerkraut for topping (optional; see Note 2)

Instructions

  • Make the quinoa. Bring 1 ¼ cups of water (300 mL) to a boil in a medium saute pan. Once boiling, add a pinch of salt and the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the liquid has evaporated and quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Open the pot and fluff with a fork. Rinse out the pan if you’d like to save dishes and use again in step 3.
    Optional: For the best texture, if you have time, transfer quinoa to a sheet pan and spread out in an even layer.
  • Make the ricotta. Meanwhile, drain the tofu and dab away some excess water with a dish towel. Crumble the tofu into a food processor bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper, olive oil, and lemon zest and 1 TBSP lemon juice. Blend until creamy and smooth. Taste for seasonings, adding more lemon or salt as needed.
  • Make the spiced garlicky pepitas. Return the saute pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Once warm but not hot, add the garlic. Shake the pan often and use a spatula to separate the slices, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the coriander and pepitas, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. If the garlic starts to brown, take the pan off the heat for a bit or lower the heat. In the last 30 seconds, add the red pepper flakes and a big pinch fo flaky sea salt. Take off the heat to prevent garlic from browning.
  • To assemble, add quinoa and lentils to a bowl. Add several dollops of ricotta. Pour spiced garlicky pepitas on top along with seeds.

Notes

General notes:
To make this within 20 minutes, you’ll need to multitask! While the quinoa cooks, make the ricotta and garlicky pepitas. 
Nutrition values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to brand and product availability and food preparation. 
Note 1: Tofu ricotta serves about 5, so you’ll have leftovers. Use it in other grain bowls, salads, or as a toast spread. 
Note 2: If you have pickled onions or anything pickled/fermented in your fridge like saurekraut, it makes a great topping!

Calories: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 578mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 12mg

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4.93 from 102 votes (44 ratings without comment)

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163 comments on 20 Minute High Protein Vegan Meals

  1. Skye

    4 stars
    Made the edamame smash toast and the tofu almond noodles! The toast was great (minus cilantro for me)! A bit chunky but I did not find that a problem. I think pickled onions would have been ideal but sauerkraut was good too! The noodles I need to try again as we made too many noodles and too little sauce… Which is our fault so want to try again, but it did have a nice flavor! I do think more spice would be nice though so will add more red pepper flakes next time to balance the almond, as I expected a stronger flavor.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We appreciate the honest feedback, Skye. Glad to hear the recipes went well for you overall!

  2. Randi

    2 stars
    The nutrition information is only available in the first recipe. Can you fix the link?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sorry about that, this is a limitation with our theme. We know this can be frustrating, so we put together a PDF with the nutrition facts you can view here: https://rainbowplantlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Nutrition-info_-20-Minute-High-Protein-Vegan-Meals-1.pdf.

  3. Dee

    4 stars
    Tried the edamame toast and the noodles. The edamame was good but needed some liquid to get a creamy texture which left it kind of bland. Could try adding more oil but the recipe already has plenty of fat in it. The noodles were good but the sauce was very bland to my taste buds, even the flavorful tofu couldn’t make up for that. Perhaps it would be better with peanut butter. Managed to improve it somewhat by adding a lot more red pepper and hot sauce.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Dee, we appreciate the honest feedback. We hope you’re able to try more RPL recipes and enjoy them!

  4. Nikhita

    5 stars
    The smashed edamame is a game changer! It was absolutely delicious with sourdough bread grilled up in a pan with olive oil. Added a thick slice of heirloom tomato and arugula on top with Aleppo pepper. Fantastic summer recipe!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Nikhita, that combo sounds fantastic! Thanks for the review :)

  5. Jess

    5 stars
    I’ve only made the lentil, ricotta and quinoa bowl but the spiced pepitas and ricotta recipe are FIRE. I love the corrinader seeds 😋 I never would have thought of using them like that!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Woohoo, we’re happy to hear it, Jess :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Maggie

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I had to simplify without tamari and used avo oil instead of sesame. I’m sure those two ingredients would be awesome and I’ll definitely make this again.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Maggie!

  7. Maya

    3 stars
    Im very conflicted about this review. While the recipes of tried had an amazing flavour. After both looking at the nutritional values of this website (in the pdf) and my fitnesspal data. I’d unfortunately won’t consider any of these recipes as high protein as non of them has more than 30% of its calories originate from protein. In fact non of them surpasses 23%. That means while they do contain the amount of protein stated, they are very high on calories and therefore inefficient.
    Maybe consider experimenting with some other ingredients like yuba or textured soy protein? In my opinion it would be ok for the dish to be slightly less rich and more lean if it means I could use any of this meals as the major protein sources in my meals, as it stands they can only be used as sides, And make a different vegan main (I’ve been vegan for more than 15 years now, so I don’t supplement my protein intake with Tuna or eggs).
    I understand not every recipe creator is able to do so, but when a meal is labelled as high protein I do expect it.

  8. Era

    5 stars
    the edamame spread is D E L I C I O U S!!!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Era, thank you so much for your kind review!

  9. Flavia

    5 stars
    For the edamame spread, I skipped the cinlantro and it came out feeling a bit dry, not as mushy as it looks in the picture. Any thoughts on what I can use instead of cilantro? Or how can I make less dry (not sure if the cilantro was at fault here).

    I also tried the tofu noodles, and that was aaaamazing!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Flavia, the cilantro should not affect the texture. A ripe avocado and smooth, runny tahini are what help bind this, so those are key. Our favorite tahini brands include Soom Foods, Seed + Mill, and Ziyad’s tahini. You can also blend in a bit of olive oil to give it a smoother texture. Hope that helps!

  10. Hilary

    5 stars
    Very tasty noodles with tofu. I used peanut butter as that is what I had and no broccoli as I didn’t have any!! My husband and I enjoyed it very much and it filled us up after running!, Great easy recipe, thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Hilary! It makes us happy to know that you and your husband enjoyed the recipe.

  11. June Marie Freeman

    I have been searching for a recipe I saw you make with broken up tempeh and cannot find it anywhere!! And no place to type in “tempeh” for a search! Help! Thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi June! On the top right of rainbowplantlife.com there is a search bar you can use to search for recipes! Are you referencing the tempeh kecap by any chance? Or tempeh tacos? We hope it’s one of those!

  12. Greengenesisbd

    Very good article post. Thanks Again. Keep writing.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Happy you enjoyed it!

  13. Adrian Munoz

    Hello – is there no nutrition information for the other recipes other than the first one?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Adrian, sorry about that, this is a limitation with our theme. We know this can be frustrating, so we put together a PDF with the nutrition facts you can view here: https://rainbowplantlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Nutrition-info_-20-Minute-High-Protein-Vegan-Meals-1.pdf

  14. Coby

    5 stars
    I made the tofu noodles with almond butter sauce and oh.my.word! It was incredibly delicious! The five spice powder really added a great flavor to it all. I can’t wait to make this again!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Coby, Thank you so much for such a fantastic review! Appreciate you taking the time!

  15. GRETA HIGH

    5 stars
    I’m not vegan but I love veggies and like to try vegan recipes fairly often. This is the best meal I have EVER made. It was just a big ol’ bowl of comfort. I made the lentils from dried lentils in my instant pot, and threw the quinoa in the rice cooker. I happened to have some salt and vinegar pepitas on hand, so I used those, but only had half of what the recipe called for, so I used roasted pecans as well. I didn’t have any pickled onions unfortunately (LOVE them though), so I instead garnished the dish with lots of fresh cilantro, basil, and parsley I had on hand. It was soooo delicious. Next time I will defintely double it up so we have leftovers! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Greta, Thank you so much for such a fantastic review! Appreciate you taking the time!

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