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!

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.

Smashed Edamame Toast

5 from 24 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 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
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.

Tofu Noodle Bowl with Almond Butter Sauce

5 from 32 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 mins
Cook Time: 14 mins
Total Time: 18 mins
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, toasted sesame oil, 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.

Garlicky Quinoa and Lentils with Ricotta

5 from 18 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 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
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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32 comments on 20 Minute High Protein Vegan Meals

  1. Lynn

    Hi Nisha – just a quick note to let you know that the nutrition information appears not to be functioning on your site. Thanks for your great recipes and guidance!

  2. Lydia

    5 stars
    I made all three of the recipes, and all were amazing! These are now staples I cook all the time. The Tofu ricotta I also use with noodles and tomato sauce, or put on top of salads – so much flavor!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome to hear you’re a fan of each of the recipes, Lydia! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Meg

    5 stars
    OMG the tofu in the tofu noodle bowl is highly addictive, have made 3x in 3 weeks. I added a little togarishi seasoning. Made it for a dinner party with nonvegetarians and it was a hit with them too!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing this recipe with others, Meg! Lovely to hear it’s been a hit :)

  4. s

    5 stars
    I made the noodle one and it was very quick and refreshing. Added some sesame seeds and bean sprouts too for extra crunch.

  5. Novella Long

    5 stars
    We’ve tried the Almond Butter Noodles and Garlicky Quinoa & Lentils and we absolutely LOVE both! For the tofu ricotta and the garlicky pepitas, any recommendations on how to store leftovers and for how long? I love the tofu ricotta and pepitas on toast, so I’m thinking about just keeping some on hand for breakfast and snacks. :)

  6. Lilian

    5 stars
    Made the edamame and avo toast and it was delicious – will be making regularly. We also topped with a squeeze of sriracha as an additional ode to avo on toast. Am keen to try the noodles next – thankyou for great recipes!

    1. Hannah @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lilian, thank you so much for your kind review! A squeeze of sriracha never hurt anyone :)

  7. Kelly

    5 stars
    Omg that edamame blend for the toast is SO good! This might just become a dip I bring to parties in the future. Can’t wait to eat it for lunches this week!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Kelly, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  8. Krista

    5 stars
    I have only tried the Garlicky Quinoa and Lentils with Ricotta so far, but it was even better than I expected. I like that these recipes are very versatile as well as delicious.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re happy to hear it, Krista! Thanks for trying the recipe!

  9. MG

    5 stars
    We just finished eating the Tofu Noodle Bowl with Almond Sauce for dinner…and my husband and I both agree it was a 10/10! I wasn’t in a hurry so I didn’t follow the order of the steps to keep it within 20 minutes, but it was super easy and definitely full of flavour. This will be added to my list of go-to recipes (many of them from this blog) which is saying a lot for a non-vegan household. Nisha, your recipes never let me down and I really appreciate all your hard work! Thank you 😊

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      So awesome to hear you’re such a fan of the recipes, MG! Thanks for trying them out :)

  10. Monica

    So, I’ve flirted with becoming vegan for years, but recipes just seemed kind of blah. They were good, but not ‘OMG’ good. Most of the time they were lackluster. I started by making your red lentil curry and I’ll tell you what… it was an astounding hit! I serve it whenever I have company over. I tried the Endemame smash today and was just blown away by how much I loved it. I forgot the peppers and will add them next time as I can totally imagine the flavor they will add. I did make it and then store it overnight to let the flavors meld a little and it worked perfectly. I thought it was a little too strong when I first tasted it, but by the next day it was a whole new flavor. Tonight we are trying the noodle recipe on this page. Can’t wait! Thank you for all these wonderful recipes. You have a fan for life! Monica

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Monica, we’re thrilled to hear you’re enjoying the recipes :) Thank you for sharing!

      Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  11. Sophie

    5 stars
    Dear Nisha,
    again you proofed to me that you are beyond any doubt my absolute favourite vegan cook! I came home from a very exhausting work trip and I remembered your edamamae avocado dip.. I was only missing one ingredient. so I tried it out just now and it’s AMAZING again. your recipes are just on a different level and surprise my so often. thank you! you saved my evening, I was craving sth easy and healthy and absolutely delicious and now I have it. ❤️

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Aw, we’re so happy to provide the delicious recipes, Sophie! Thank you so much for trusting them each time :)

  12. Sherry Mace

    5 stars
    They look awesome and yummy!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Sherry!

  13. Joni

    5 stars
    I’ve been upping my workouts in frequency and intensity which feels fabulous, but I found I flagged in energy in the middle of the day. I suspected I needed more protein in my diet, so yesterday I made the Tofu Noodles – amazing! The best part was it really did only take 20 minutes. Good thing, because I was hungry. We scarfed it down, I made sure I got every smidge of sauce in the bowl. Then for dinner, I turned around and made the edamame toast. The portions are so generous, I only needed half and covered two toasts. (I’m having it again for breakfast!)
    Yes, the noodles have a lot of calories, I was taken aback a bit. So filling, though, and solved the middle of the day doldrums. I was surprised I could consume that many calories and still stay well under my daily maximum.
    Love these recipes, thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re happy to hear you’ve been enjoying the recipes, Joni! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Tetiana

    5 stars
    I made the quinoa recipe and it came out quite delicious. I did not have lentils and ended up using chickpeas which I sauteed with garlic, shallots, coriander and cumin. I love your recipes but majority of them are time consuming if you count the cleanup time so would love to see more quick healthy recipes for dinner/lunch.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Lovely to hear you enjoyed it, Tetiana! Part of the reason we did this recipe is because we know people are looking for quick and easy meals. This definitely won’t be the last time you see a video or recipe for a meal done in 30 mins or less!

  15. Helen

    5 stars
    Made the tofu noodle bowl with the almond butter sauce after watching Nisha’s video yesterday (so good!). Phenomenal! I think you could put some of that sauce on tree bark and it would still taste good.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      What a compliment, Helen, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  16. Rene

    I prepared the tofu/broccoli noodle dish. It was delicious 😋 I love the short, easy to prepare dishes. My husband loved it too.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Rene, we’re thrilled to hear you two enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  17. Angela

    5 stars
    l made the edamame spread. It’s delicious!!
    I didn’t have any avocados on hand so I used a splash of avocado oil for the flavor and added creaminess. But I’m sure it would have been just as delicious without the avocado oil.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Angela!

  18. Georgie

    The nutritional information is only available for the Tofu Noodle Bowl with Almond Butter Sauce, but the calories per serve are shockingly high. Larger serves are clearly a way to get more protein, but many people are looking for high protein meals with reasonable calories.

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