All of the Protein, None of the Meat: 10 Delicious, FILLING Vegetarian Dinners

It’s no secret that there are tons of beneficial reasons to forgo eating meat for dinner. Not only can it help reduce our chances of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity, going meatless for just one meal a week can actually help reduce our individual carbon footprints and conserve resources, like fossil fuels and fresh water.

Of course, one of the main questions people have when dropping meat is how to replace the protein meat adds to their diet? Can you really feel full eating only salads? Well, for one: if you think vegetarians only eat salads, you’re missing out! For another, there are plenty of foods that supply just as much – if not more – protein to the body as meat; foods like beans, nuts, certain vegetables, you get the idea.

And if you’re ready to take that meat-less plunge, we’ve got ten protein-packed vegetarian dinners to get you started!

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1. 15-Minute Sesame Soba Noodles

Prep Time: 10 min     Cook Time: 5 min     Yields: 2 servings

What You’ll Need:

8 oz soba; ¼ cup rice wine vinegar; 2 tbsp soy sauce; 1 tbsp sesame oil; 1 tbsp sugar; 1 clove garlic, pressed; 1 tbsp grated ginger; 2 green onions, thinly sliced; 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves; 1 tsp sesame seeds; 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced lengthwise for serving


Soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour, have 6 grams of protein per serving. Throw in the hard-boiled egg and you’ve got a quick, protein-packed meal for two!


2. Brinner Enchiladas w/ Ranchero Sauce

Prep Time: 10 min     Cook Time: 25 min      Yields: 8-10 enchiladas

What You’ll Need:

2 tbsp oil; 1 med potato, shredded; 6 eggs, whisked; ½ tsp salt; 14 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed; 1 recipe ranchero sauce8-10 tortillas; 1 cup shredded cheese; 3 tbsp chopped cilantro


The eggs and beans in these breakfast-for-dinner enchiladas pack a protein punch. And if you have any leftovers, they’re the perfect (and delicious) next-morning breakfast burrito!


3. Crock Pot Low-Carb Lasagna

Prep Time: 30 min      Total Time: 3-4 hrs      Yields: 6 servings

What You’ll Need:

2 med zucchini; 1 med eggplant; kosher salt; 16 oz tomato-based pasta sauce; 1 med red onion, diced; 16 oz low fat cottage cheese (1%); 2 large eggs; 8 oz part-skim shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese (or both!), divided (about 2 cups); parmesan cheese, freshly chopped basil or parsley (for serving)


Since this recipe swaps veggies for pasta, this recipe is gluten-free in addition to vegetarian! The protein you’re getting is coming from the cheeses, so if you want to take this recipe a step further and go vegan, make sure to substitute another protein.


4. Healthier Egg Salad

Total Time: 15 mins     Yields: 3 servings

What You’ll Need:

4 hard-boiled eggs & 2 hard-boiled egg whites; ¾ cup diced celery (about 3 med stalks); ¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt; 1 tsp dijon mustard; ½ tsp kosher salt; ¼ tsp black pepper; 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill


They’re called classics for a reason – and this classic recipe’s a bit healthier than your grandma’s egg salad! It swaps mayo for Greek yogurt and on a sandwich, with tons of greens, it makes quite the filling dinner.


5. Huevos Rancheros Sheet Pan Nachos

Prep Time: 20 min     Cook Time: 15 min     Yields: 6 servings

What You’ll Need:

13 oz bag tortilla chips; 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed; ½ red onion, thinly sliced; 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered; 1 cup frozen corn, thawed; 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese; 1 tbsp olive oil; 4-6 eggs; sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, salsa, and sour cream (for serving)


The original recipe calls for pork sausage, but with the eggs, beans, and cheese, it’s got plenty of protein even without the meat!


6. Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 5 min     Cook Time: 25 min     Yields: 4 servings

What You’ll Need:

4 med sweet potatoes; 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained; ½ tbsp olive oil; ½ tsp cumin; ½ tsp coriander; ½ tsp cinnamon; ½ tsp paprika; pinch of sea salt or lemon juice (optional)

For Sauce:

¼ cup hummus; 1 tbsp lemon juice; ¾-1 tsp dried dill (2-3 tsp fresh); 3 cloves garlic, minced; water or unsweetened almond milk to thin; sea salt to taste (optional)

Toppings (optional):

¼ cup cherry tomatoes, diced; ¼ cup chopped parsley, minced; 2 tbsp lemon juice; chili garlic sauce


This meal is totally savory, totally filling, and totally vegan – and all in 30 minutes! Perfect for those chilly or busy (or chilly, busy) nights!


7. Spicy Kimchi Quinoa Bowls

Prep Time: 3 min     Cook Time: 10 min     Yields: 2 servings

What You’ll Need:

2 tsp toasted sesame oil;  ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated; 1 tsp minced garlic; 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled; 1 cup kimchi, chopped; 2 tsp kimchi “juice”; 2 tsp gluten-free tamari; 1 tsp hot sauce (optional); 2 cups kale, finely chopped; 2 eggs; ¼ cup sliced green onions (optional garnish); fresh ground pepper (optional garnish)


This dinner is not only filling (eggs and kale make great protein options), it’s great for your digestion! Kimchi is full of the good bacteria that our bellies love because it helps keep them regular and healthy!


8. Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

Prep Time: 25 min     Cook Time: 5 min     Yields: 6 servings

What You’ll Need:

6 oz soba or spaghetti noodles; 2 cups frozen organic edamame; 10 oz (~3 cups) sugar snap peas or snow peas; 6 med carrots, peeled; ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro; ¼ cup sesame seeds

For ginger-sesame sauce:

¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce; 2 tbsp peanut or extra-virgin olive oil; 1 sm lime, juiced; 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil; 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar; 1 tbsp white miso; 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated; 1 tsp chili garlic sauce or sriracha


This fresh, filling, springtime recipe is full of edamame, which is packed with 17 grams of protein per cup!


9. Taco Grain Bowl w/ Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas

Yields: 2 servings

What You’ll Need:

15 oz can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed; a serving for 2 of grains (quinoa, rice, barley, etc.), cooked; vegetable broth; ¼ tsp coriander; ¼ tsp chili hot sauce; 1 tsp chili powder; ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder; ⅓ tsp cumin; ⅓ tsp garlic salt


cheddar cheese, grated; avocado, sliced; tomatoes, diced; fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped; lime wedges; plain Greek yogurt


This versatile recipe is the perfect filler for a grain bowl edition of Taco Tuesday!


10. Veggie-Loaded Egg Bake

Prep Time: 20 min     Cook Time: 45 min     Yields: 10-12 servings

What You’ll Need:

2 tbsp oil; 8-10 mushrooms, sliced; 2 tsp minced garlic; ½ red onion, diced; 2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped; 20 oz shredded potatoes, thawed; 10 eggs; ⅓ cup half and half or milk; ¼ cup hot sauce; salt and pepper; 1 cup shredded cheese


Another breakfast for dinner treat, or save this delicious recipe for a protein-packed brunch!


What are some of your favorite meatless, protein-packed meals or snacks? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments!

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