Just about everything has protein — fruits, veggies, grains and even green salads. So whether you’re looking to eat less meat or go full-time veg, it’s easy to find delicious ways to replace meat with healthy vegetarian protein.

Probably the simplest way to “beef” up a meal is to think of any dish where you would normally add meat or poultry (soups, pastas, salads, etc.), and just swap out the meat and replace it with your favorite beans or lentils.

You can also sprinkle some nuts or seeds over any dish for added protein. Nuts and seeds add amazing flavor and heart-healthy fats to any meal.

Easy Substitutions for Meat

  • In place of chicken, hearty-up a salad with a healthy dose of garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), and throw in some kalamata olives for a nice punch of flavor. Sprinkle sunflower or sesame seeds over the top for crunch.
  • Healthy vegetarian protein

    Hummus and falafel (Photo: Robyn Mackenzie)

    Satisfy a burger craving with a bean burger or some yummy felafel (usually made from chickpeas). These veggie versions are just as hearty as a beef burger, but with way more fiber and only a fraction of the fat and cholesterol.

  • Instead of adding chopped meat or sausage to pasta dishes, stir the sauce with white beans, cannellini beans or great northerns. It tastes amazing!
  • Hearty soups and stews are a perfect way to get some bean protein. And instead of croutons, I love to sprinkle almonds or hazelnuts over the top just before I serve it. The nuts don’t just add crunch – they also pack some major flavor.
  • Black, pinto or kidney beans are the obvious choice for a veggie burrito or taco, but any bean will taste great. You can also swap out the sour cream for guacamole to keep it vegan.
  • Lentils pack a ton of protein are not only crazy delicious; they’re also incredibly versatile. For added flavor, cook them in veggie broth instead of water and toss in some sauteed onions or garlic. Serve them over quinoa, brown rice or any whole grain, then add your favorite vegetables. Yum!

Share it!