High Protein Vegan Meal Prep (Dietitian Written Guide + Recipes)

Why is high protein vegan meal prep important? How do I do it? What are great recipes I can try?

If you have these questions, this guide is for you. As a credentialed nutrition expert (Hi! I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) and vegan, I’ll give you the information you need to know about high protein meal prep for fully plant based eaters.

Let’s go!

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Disclaimer: This post is not providing personal dietary or medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before adding a supplement or making major dietary changes. See our Disclaimers for more details.

Text reads: High Protein Vegan Meal Prep dietitian written guide and recipes. Picture includes meal prep containers on a counter each with something different. 1. rice 2. peppers chopped 3. quinoa. 4. beans. 6. sauce.

Understanding Protein Needs For Vegans

Vegans should make sure they are getting enough protein. That sounds pretty obvious, but knowing where protein comes from on a vegan diet can be a learning curve. So let’s talk about it!

First off, protein is a very broad term. In more nerdy terms- our bodies actually need amino acids. Amino acids are structure that come together to form proteins.

There are both essential and non essential amino acids. Essential means, we can’t manufacture them in our bodies. So to get enough, we have to consume enough.

The 9 essential amino acids are(1):

  • Lysine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Tryptophan
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Valine
  • Histidine

These amino acids are found in various amounts in plant based foods.

Proteins are the building blocks that support various functions of the body including: muscle growth and repair, hormones, and immune system function(2).

How Much Protein Do Vegans Need?

As a general guideline, the RDA (recommended dietary guidelines) for adults aged 19-50 years old is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (3).

However, the RDA is based on nitrogen balance studies that included animals and their byproducts as food. Since vegans do not eat animals or their secretions, this gets a little tricky!

To help account for some of these factors – including the lower protein digestibility from vegan sources of protein, some healthcare professionals recommend a higher amount of protein. A common one being 0.9 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adults(4).

Still, the amount of protein that you need as a vegan is variable and depends on a variety of factors including:

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Whether you are male or female
  • How active your occupation is
  • Activities outside of your job.
  • Life stage
  • Medical conditions

Work with your doctor and Registered Dietitian to understand your unique proteins needs.

What Vegan Foods are High in Protein?

Remember: all plant foods have some amount of protein, with the exception of extracted oils. Still, some are exceptionally low, like fruit, and others are known for their protein.

You’ll probably recognize these vegan foods as having a good dose of protein:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • Peas
  • Extra firm tofu (high protein)
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Seitan (high protein)
  • Vegan protein powders (high protein)
  • Vegan burgers with at/over 10 grams of protein per serving (high protein)

Note that i put “(high protein)” after some of these examples!

That’s because some vegan foods are particularly high in protein.

In the U.S., a food “high” in a nutrient has at least 20% of the RDI (reference daily value) (5). That would be about 10 grams of protein per serving.

In short, there will be foods that are low in protein – like fruit, foods that have decent amounts of protein, like black beans, and foods that are exceptionally high in protein, like seitan (you can learn more about high protein vegan foods here).

The Pros and Cons of Meal Prep

Meal prep has some pros and cons to it!


  • Save time (by prepping ahead)
  • Save money (buying in bulk, not getting takeout etc)
  • Takes the guess work out of what to make
  • May stick with dietary goals better


  • Can feel monotonous – especially when not planned well
  • Lack of variety (if not planned well again).

All in all, it’s probably best to go with what you can stick to in a sustainable way.

And remember, if you try meal prepping and you don’t love it, you aren’t married to it!

Maybe you decide to only do it in busier seasons of life, or on a certain day of the week. Working with a Dietitian can be helpful to figure out how to make sustainable choices.

High Protein Vegan Meal Prep (3 Easy Steps)

Text reads: High protein vegan meal prep (3 steps) 
The steps are summarized (also are written in the bottom text).

Step 1: Plan For Healthy Meals

First things first: it’s time to brainstorm what you are going to make!

Keep it simple by keeping these categories in mind for balanced meals (and don’t forget to consider what you’ll actually eat!):

  • Protein rich food: examples of vegan protein – beans, seitan, tempeh, tofu
  • Carbohydrate rich source: Examples – quinoa, whole grain oats
  • Veggies/fruit – they come packed with nutrition and antioxidants)
  • Fat rich source: Examples- nuts and seeds ( they help with absorption of nutrients)

Here’s an example of a protein rich meal you could prep ahead of time:

  • Tempeh (high protein)
  • Quinoa (higher carb + protein)
  • Cucumber, tomato, lettuce, mango (veggies and fruit)
  • Peanut based sauce and sunflower seeds (fat source + protein)

Don’t forget about including calcium rich sources like calcium set tofu too!

Step 2: Cook/Bake/Chop Ingredients

Now that you know what you are making this week, it’s time to start prepping!

Set aside a day of the week to cook the things that can keep in your fridge for a few days. For example, you could make a big batch of quinoa and have it ready for your work week.

However, If you are pre chopping veggies to pair with the quinoa, perhaps you want to prep those every couple days because they are more likely to spoil if you only do it once a week.

Step 3 (Optional): Portion Out Your Servings (Grab and Go)

Want to make things super convenient? Portion out your meal prepped recipes ahead of time!

I like to use glass Tupperware, like these – so that they can be heated up in the same container.

10 Delicious Vegan Recipes You Can Add to Weekly Meal Prep

Need some plant based inspiration? These meal prep recipes help make going vegan that much easier!

Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Vegan Chili
What's easier to meal prep than a slow cooker recipe?
Get cooking
a glass mug of chili, cut peppers and spring onions on a cutting board

Protein Powered Pasta Dishes

Spaghetti with Vegan Ragu
It's like spaghetti bolognese, veganized!
Take me to the recipe
A bowl of pasta with tempeh sausage and olives on top
Creamy Chickpea Pasta with Veggies
Chickpea pasta ups the protein in this dish!
Bookmark this recipe here

Vegan Black Bean and Sweet Potatoes Skillet Meal

Vegan Sweet Potato Kale Hash
Break out the big skillet and prep an entrée that will last up to 3 days in the fridge (if it won't get eaten up before then;) )
Snag this recipe
sweet potato has with greens and black beans in a large skillet.

Grab and Go Protein Packed Salad

Vegan Chickpea Salad
The chickpea and edamame duo really make the protein pop in this salad!
Get the recipe here

Protein Filled Soup

Mexican Garbanzo Bean Soup
You can make this soup as spicy as you want, and it freezes well!
Get simmering
a bowl of Mexican garbanzo bean soup with a spoon in it

Asian Inspired Flavors

Curried Power Bowl
Spice up your week with this Indian inspired entrée.
Check out this recipe
vegan curry on a bed of lettuce in a beautiful platter
Sticky Tempeh Bowl
Tempeh is the protein packed star in this recipe. You can even freeze this colorful meal for another time!
Get the recipe here
A dish with sesame topped tempeh on a bed of rice and broccoli to the side

Air Fryer Tastyness

Marinated Tempeh (Air Fryer Recipe)
The air fryer helps to speed up this protein rich tempeh that can be paired with endless possibilities!
The recipe is over here
Picture of marinated tempeh

A Protein Packed Side Dish To-Go

Vegan Bean Salad
Some things taste even better when it's kept cold in the fridge and eaten the next day, like this bean filled salad!
Snag this recipe
vegan bean salad in a bowl with crackers beside it.

High Protein Vegan Meal Plan (Examples)

Please note, these are just examples, and are not meant to tell you what you must eat!

Also, the protein counts are approximates and were calculated with Cronometer.

Breakfast: Protein Packed Overnight Oats (25 grams of protein)

  • 3/4 cup of oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Toppings: 1 cup strawberries, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, ~a couple teaspoons protein powder mixed in ( I use Complement’s unflavored protein powder (sometimes)) .

You can prep a big batch of this ahead of time by soaking the oats, plant based milk and chia seeds overnight. Then stir in some protein powder for extra protein.

Lunch: Bean salad and “snack” board (30 grams of protein)

You can prep the hummus and bean salad (like the one mentioned in the recipes section) ahead of time, and pre chop the veggies in advance!

Supper: Seitan Veggie Stir-fry with Quinoa (25 grams of protein)

  • 2 ounces of seitan
  • 3/4 a cup of cooked Quinoa
  • Peppers, kale, broccoli, onions
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame seeds

You could prep the stir-fry in a huge plan and have it ready to go for that week!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some high protein meal prep ideas if I’m gluten free?

Some tasty high protein options without gluten include super firm tofu and edamame. Carbohydrate rich gluten free sources like quinoa pair nicely. Don’t forget to add some color with fruits and/or veggies and a gluten free fat sources, like peanuts sprinkled on top. Make sure that you read the labels to make sure these foods do not have any gluten. Seitan is one high protein food that has gluten and is not suitable for gluten free diets.

How can I make meal prep faster?

There are several “hacks” you can use to make meal prep faster such as:
-using frozen fruits and veggies
-meal prepping with a partner
-Using an air fryer as applicable
I spoke with Ashley Kitchens from Plant Centered Nutrition all about vegan meal prep and she shares some of her hacks- so check that out here!

What happens if I don’t want to eat the meal that I meal prepped?

Sometimes this happens! First of all, it’s helpful to ask yourself this question in the planning phase: am I gong to be interested in eating this for the next few days? If not, maybe you make a smaller batch, or potentially freeze leftovers for another time!

I hope you found this article helpful and that you have some free vegan plant based meal inspiration to share! What are easy vegan recipes you love to prep? Let me know in the comments!
And while you are here, you might enjoy reading some other vegan nutrition topics including:
High Calorie Vegan Food
Are Vegans Skinny?
Plant Based Diet Books
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3 thoughts on “High Protein Vegan Meal Prep (Dietitian Written Guide + Recipes)”

  1. This is such a great resource and recipe ideas! I am not vegan or a vegetarian but I try to limit my meat intake to once a day or once every few days by incorporating beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, buts, seeds, and tofu. Thanks for compiling this list.

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