5 Affordable, Protein-Packed Plant-Based Dinner Recipes to Cook Now
Want to ramp up your protein intake on a plant-based diet and feed the whole family delicious meals that don't break the bank? These five inventive recipes are chock full of plant-based protein and will leave you and everyone you cook for–vegan or not–wanting seconds. And because these dishes ring in for just dollars, you'll be able to dole out second helpings and make big batches for leftovers later in the week.
1. Chickpea Chana Masala
Chana masala is also great as a leftover meal. This is because the longer the spices have to mingle with the rest of the ingredients the more infused the dish becomes, often making curry more flavourful than the day before! This recipe is also extremely easy to make only takes about 30 minutes, so if you are ever in a rush for a satisfying, protein-filled meal then this vegan Chana Masala has got you covered.
Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min
Total Time: 30 Min
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ Tsp Ground Ginger, or 1 Tsp grated fresh ginger
- ½ Tsp Ground Coriander
- ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds
- ½ Tsp Ground Cardamom
- ½ Tsp Ground Turmeric
- ¼ Tsp Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 15 oz Canned Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 15 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 Cup Veggie Broth, or water
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Fresh Cilantro for garnish
- In a large pan, heat up your oil over medium heat. Add your onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until onions are caramelized. Stir occasionally.
- Add your ground ginger, coriander, fennel seeds, cardamom, turmeric, pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Mix until combined and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add your chickpeas and diced tomatoes, stir until evenly mixed. If your mixture seems a little thick, add in 1 cup of veggie broth or water. Stir until combined and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickens. Simmer time is crucial for the spices to mingle with the rest of the ingredients, which will give you a more flavourful chana masala!
- Add salt, pepper, and any other spices to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over a bed of basmati rice and vegan naan. Enjoy!
Calories 532, Total Fat 17.7 g, Sat. Fat 2.3 g, Sodium 236 mg, Total Carbs 74.8 g, Fiber 21.1 g, Sugar 16.5 g, Protein 23.6 g
2. Vegan Chili
This recipe is perfect if you have some veggies in your fridge you’re trying to get rid of. Whether it’s mushrooms, celery, bell peppers, etc., just toss it in your chili and you’re good to go. The recipe uses three types of beans: kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans but you are more than welcome to use whatever beans you want in your chili. You can even toss in some crumbled tempeh or vegan “beef” crumbles to get more of a meatier chili. Think of this recipe as a basic chili recipe that you can customize into whatever you want.
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hour, 20 Min
Total Time: 1 Hour, 35 Min
Yields 8-10 Servings
- 4 Tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 Large Yellow Onion, diced
- 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 8 oz Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 2 ½ Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- ¼ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 28oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 28oz Canned Crushed Tomatoes
- 7 Oz Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, canned *optional
- 2 Dried Bay Leaves
- 14oz Canned Kidney Beans drained and rinsed
- 14oz Canned Chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 14oz Canned Black Beans drained and rinsed
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up your oil over low heat. Add your onions and garlic and stir around cooking it for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add your mushrooms and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until mushrooms soften and onions start to brown.
- Add your cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, salt, and smoked paprika. Stir and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add your canned diced tomatoes and canned crushed tomatoes. If you are using the Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, add this in at this step. Stir it all together until evenly mixed. Cover and let it simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Once 1 hour has passed, add the drained and rinsed kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans. Stir it in until evenly combined. Cover and let it simmer for additional 10 minutes or until beans are heated through. Ladle it into a bowl and serve with some fresh herbs, a slice of your favorite bread, and enjoy!
Calories 599, Total Fat 5.4 g, Sat. Fat 0.8 g, Sodium 292 mg, Total Carbs 106.6 g, Fiber 29 g, Sugar 16.7 g, Protein 36 g
3. Kale and Chickpea in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce
This Chickpea & Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce recipe checks everything you look for in a healthy vegan meal: The ingredients are simple whole foods, the method is easy, it’s high in plant-based protein, and it’s loaded with greens. Serve it over a bed of rice, with some pasta, or with a few slices of a baguette.
Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 35 Min
Total Time: 45 Min
Yields 6 servings
- 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
- 28 Oz Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, crushed by hand
- ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 Tsp Chili Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 4 Oz Kale, roughly chopped
- 28 Oz Canned Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Fresh Parsley
- Vegan Parmesan
- In a large skillet or pan, heat up your extra virgin olive oil over low heat. Add your garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes over low heat, or until it slightly starts to brown.
- Add your crushed tomatoes, fennel seeds, chili pepper flakes, and salt. Stir until combined. Cook and let it simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you don’t want your sauce to be spicy, you can omit the chili pepper flakes.
- Add your kale to the sauce and stir it into the sauce until it wilted. Stir in your chickpeas until evenly mixed and cook for 3-5 minutes, until chickpeas are heated through.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan. Serve over a bed of rice, pasta, or eat as is with a side of sliced baguettes. Enjoy!
Calories 592, Total Fat, 17.4 g, Sat. Fat 2.2 g, Sodium 537 mg, Total Carbs 86.5 g, Fiber 24.2, Sugar 15g, Protein 27g
4. Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Lentils are such an excellent source of protein, are easy to cook, and can be super versatile in different recipes. Given that acorn squash is in season right now, we're bringing you a Vegan Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe for a festive lunch or dinner dish.
This recipe is packed with protein, loaded with hearty veggies, and high in fiber thanks to the acorn squash. Not only is this meal nutrient-dense, but it is also very easy to make! If you want to make this recipe even easier than it already is, you can use canned lentils instead of cooking dried lentils from scratch. I would recommend using brown or green lentils rather than any red split lentils as split lentils tend to turn mushy.
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 45 Min
Total Time: 60 min
Servings: 4 Stuffed Squashes
Vegan Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 Acorn Squashes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for brushing squash
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 8 oz White Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Medium Zucchini, cubed
- 1 Medium Carrot, diced
- 1 ½ Cooked Lentils
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
- ½ Tsp Dried Parsley
- ½ Tsp Dried Rosemary
- 1 Handful Spinach
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 425F and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut your acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Brush some oil on your acorn squash, being sure to brush the scooped out section as well. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top and place your squash on the baking tray, cut side down. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until fork-tender.
- While your squash is baking, prepare the filling by heating up your olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add your onions and saute for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add your mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and slightly brown.
- Add your zucchini, carrots, lentils, garlic powder, oregano, parsley, and dried rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes or until carrots and zucchini begins to soften. Add a large handful of spinach to the pan and cook until spinach is wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove your squash from the oven and carefully flip them over with some tongs. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Spoon in the lentil filling into your squash. Garnish with some pumpkin seeds, flaky sea salt, and fresh herbs. Serve right away and enjoy!
5. Tofu Teriyaki
Before I went vegan, my favorite dish to eat was chicken teriyaki. Luckily, I can still enjoy the same tastes in a plant-based dish because chicken teriyaki is such an easy recipe to veganize! All you need to do is swap out the chicken for tofu; the sauce is already vegan friendly, for the most part-- watch out for teriyaki sauces that have honey in it and/or Worcestershire sauce, which are both not vegan. Here, we replicated the classic marinade with none of the animal products.
I love this recipe, because even though it is extremely easy to make it’s still very flavourful and delicious. If you like your teriyaki sauces a bit on the sweeter side just add a bit of brown sugar at a time until you get your desired sweetness. This recipe also calls for an ingredient called Mirin, which is a Japanese rice wine that is different from rice wine vinegar. If you don’t have this ingredient you can omit it and still get a delicious sauce.
Easy Tofu Teriyaki
- 2 Blocks Extra Firm Tofu
- ½ Cup Cornstarch
- ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- ½ Cup Tamari or Soy Sauce
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Fresh Ginger, grated
- ½ Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
- 3 Tbsp Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)
- ¼ Cup Water
- 3 Tsp Cornstarch
- Drain and press your tofu to release some of the water. Cut your tofu in cubes and set aside. In a shallow dish or Ziploc bag, add your cornstarch, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined. Coat your tofu in the cornstarch mixture. If you’re using a Ziploc bag, all you need to do is put all your tofu in the bag with the dry ingredients and gently shake it until all your tofu pieces are coated.
- Heat up about 2-3 Tbsp of oil in a large pan. Tap off any excess cornstarch from your tofu, and fry your tofu for about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown on all sides. Remove your tofu from the pan and onto a plate. Set aside as you make the sauce.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add all your teriyaki sauce ingredients and whisk until all combined. Bring to a boil then bring down to a simmer for 3-5 minutes or until you reach your desired consistency, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the saucepan off the heat and add your cooked tofu into the sauce. Toss your tofu in the sauce until each piece is coated.
- Serve with some rice, your favorite veggies, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!