Protein-Filled Plant-Based Lunch Recipes - dummies

Protein-Filled Plant-Based Lunch Recipes

By Marni Wasserman

Lunch recharges you after a busy morning and sets the tone for the rest of the day. You want to make sure it’s balanced, varied, and filling enough that it lasts until snack time. If you feel like you need some extra protein in your plant-based diet, try the following lunch recipes.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Dressing (see the following recipe)

1 cup quinoa

1-1/2 cups water

Pinch sea salt

1 cup chickpeas

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

2 cups spinach, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

  1. Rinse the quinoa and strain it through a fine mesh strainer.

    Add the rinsed quinoa to a pot and heat over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated and it smells kind of nutty. Add water and a pinch of sea salt, bring to a boil, and cover.

  2. Lower the heat and simmer the quinoa for 12 to 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

  3. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand for 2 minutes. Then remove the quinoa and spread it out to cool.

  4. Place the quinoa into a bowl and combine with chickpeas, onions, parsley, mint, spinach, cucumber, and tomatoes.

  5. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture and gently stir from the bottom up.


1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dry basil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

1 teaspoon honey or coconut nectar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Combine all the ingredients until well mixed.

Per serving: Calories 192 (From Fat 81); Fat 9g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 108mg; Carbohydrate 24g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 6g.

Rinse the quinoa well in Step 1 to make it easier to cook and eat. Then dry toast the quinoa to create a better consistency and prevent the quinoa from sticking while it’s cooking in Step 2.

If tomatoes aren’t in season, swap them out for shredded or chopped carrots. Or, try using tahini instead of Dijon mustard in the dressing for a different tabbouleh experience.

Kale and Cabbage Slaw Salad

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 10–12 servings

1 head red cabbage

2 carrots

1 beet

1 head fennel

1 bunch kale (about 3 cups)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 to 4 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons raw honey or coconut nectar

2 tablespoons hempseeds

  1. Shred the cabbage, carrots, beet, and fennel in a food processor with a shredding blade, or use a mandolin, or hand slice into thin strips.

  2. Remove the stems from the kale, and then chop the kale into thin strips or bite-sized pieces.

  3. In a mixing bowl, mix together the olive oil, apple-cider vinegar, lemon juice, and raw honey or coconut nectar to make a vinaigrette.

  4. Combine the vinaigrette with the shredded vegetables and toss until the cabbage and kale are well-coated.

  5. Allow the salad to marinate in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes.

  6. Mix in the hempseeds just before serving.

Per serving: Calories 178 (From Fat 117); Fat 13g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 58mg; Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 4g.

This salad can be consumed right after it’s tossed together, but it will taste better and be easier to chew when it marinates longer. It also tastes great the next day!

Instead of olive oil, try hemp, pumpkin, or chia oil for variety and a boost of omega-3 fatty acids. You can add sliced avocado on top of this salad to give it a nourishing boost.

If you are using lacinato kale (dark kale), the stems are much softer and can be chopped into this salad. However, most other varieties such as curly kale or red Russian will need the stems removed.