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The Best Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

Vegetarian eating is associated with lots of health benefits. Why? Building the majority of your diet out of whole, fresh, plant-based foods helps you increase your nutrient intake, ensures you’re getting plenty of gut health boosting fibre, and helps fill you up on fewer calories.

At some point, however, many vegetarians become concerned about whether they’re meeting their protein requirements. Fortunately, with some careful planning and including the foods listed below, you can easily meet your protein needs while reaping all the benefits that vegetarian eating offers.

Vegetarian Protein Sources

1.  Lentils

18g protein per 1 cup

How can I add lentils into my diet?

  • Add 1-2 cups of lentils into your weekly curry or stew. You can try our Lamb and Vegetable Stew, minus the meat of course.
  • Sprinkle tinned lentils over salads. Jazz up the salad by adding ½-1 cup of lentils.
  • Add mashed lentils to shredded carrot and cabbage and shape them into patties. These patties can go a long way, from burger nights, to left-overs in a wrap, to using them as a meat ball replacement.


2.  Tofu

12g per 100g

How can I add tofu into my diet?

  • Add into the weekly stir-fry.
  • Marinade in your favourite sauces and lightly grill. Why not try a honey soy marinade by mixing: ½ cup soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic and ¼ cup honey? You could also re-use leftover tofu as a meat patty replacement on burger night.
  • Use silken tofu as a cream replacement when making mousse or custards.
  • Have tofu shish kebab night. Thread hard tofu, capsicum and cherry tomatoes onto a skewer and lightly grill.
  • Replace the bocconcini in a Pomodoro salad with grilled tofu, and voila! A little taste of Italy.


3.  Green Beans

9g per 1 cup

How can I add beans into my diet?

  • Add 1 cup of green beans into a basil and pea pasta or risotto.
  • Toss with garlic and olive oil and eat as a side dish.
  • Add 1-2 cups of green beans into a stir-fry.
  • Make a fresh salad and add green peas with orange zest and feta cheese.
  • Use as replacement for fried potato chips.


4.  Quinoa

8g per 1 cup, cooked

How can I add quinoa into my diet?

  • Make a quinoa and vegetable mix and stuff into a capsicum. This can easily be done by mixing 1 cup of cooked quinoa to a combination of your favourite finely sliced veggies, stuffing the capsicum and baking for 10-15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle ½-1 cup of cooked quinoa into salads. This will add a nice nutty flavour and texture.
  • Make fritters by mixing 1 cup cooked quinoa with shredded vegetables and shaping them. These are a great lunchbox filler item and are delicious served with natural Greek yoghurt.
  • Can be used as a replacement for white rice for an extra protein boost.


5.  Amaranth

8g per 1 cup

How can I add amaranth into my diet?

  • Can be made into a patty mixed with other shredded veggies and used in wraps, burgers and Turkish bread.
  • Stuff into vegetables, similar to the quinoa stuffed capsicum.
  • Can use as a white flour replacement in baking recipes or replacement for white rice.
  • Make into a porridge for a quick breakfast.


6.  Greek yoghurt

15g per 1 cup (170g)

How can I add yoghurt into my diet?

  • Add to oats, nuts, seeds and coconut for a delicious crunchy breakfast or snack.
  • Serve as a side to a spicy, vegetable curry.
  • Add garlic, lemon and herbs for a zesty dip with grainy crackers or vegetable sticks.
  • Add to berries, milk and blend for a thick smoothie.


7.  Eggs

14g per 2 eggs

How can I add yoghurt into my diet?

  • Scramble and add to grainy toast for breakfast.
  • Add lots of fresh vegetables and fetta and make an easy omelette for a quick, tasty meal.
  • Quiches and frittatas are fantastic packed with lots of vegetables and made in advance for a quick meal.
  • Boil and keep in the fridge for a delicious snack with vegetable sticks or smash with avocado and spread on a grainy cracker.


If you’re looking for more help with vegetarian meals or support in implementing strategies, need some extra inspiration, or would like some individualised advice on healthy eating, book in with one of the experienced dietitians at The Healthy Eating Clinic or call us on 6174 4663.