16 low-carb, high-protein vegetarian recipes


Sometimes I wish I was the type of person who could just eat something without feeling like an easy-care eater. It would be a much easier tapas night out without asking for a gluten-free alternative or asking if there is soy in oil or a meatless version on the menu. But ultimately, after years of trial, error, biting, and swallowing, I learned what makes my body feel (and look) better. And as it turns out, it’s not a high-carb, high-fat carnivore-style meal. My body just craves low-carb, high-protein vegetarian recipes.

While there are definitely more options in the cafe and restaurant world these days, I prefer to cook at home and discover recipes that suit my nutritional needs (not to mention bespoke taste buds!). Which, admittedly, is still a bit of a challenge.

When asked to share my favorite low-carb, high-protein vegetarian recipes, I welcomed the opportunity to take a good look at my food archives. On my own home kitchen trip, I’ve found time and again that recipes often tick two out of three boxes: super low in carbohydrates and vegetarian, but little to no protein. Or they are vegetarians with a lot of protein but a total carbohydrate feast. Or a no-go combination for you as a non-meat eater: low in carbohydrates and high in protein, but meat-heavy. As I said, it’s a challenge, but a delicious one.

Before we get to the low-carb, high-protein vegetarian recipes that I found, I wanted to share a cheat sheet with some of my veggie protein sources:

Chickpeas: almost 11 grams of protein / 35 grams of carbohydrates per cup (cooked)

Paneer (an unaged Indian cheese made from sour milk and acid): 21 grams of protein / 3.5 grams of carbohydrates per 3.5 ounce serving

Tofu: 8 grams of protein / 3.5 grams of carbohydrates per 2 ounce serving

Black beans: 19 grams of protein / 40 grams of carbohydrates per cup (cooked)

Lenses: almost 18 grams of protein / approx. 40 grams of carbohydrates per cup (cooked)

Eggs: 6 grams of protein / 0.6 grams of carbohydrates per egg (cooked)

Tempeh, a fermented soybean product: 34 grams of protein / 13 grams of carbohydrates per cup

Halloumi, a salt cheese that originated in Cyprus: 7 grams of protein / 0 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving

With that in mind, here are my three out of three favorite recipes (you’ll see many of the proteins listed above) from around the internet. Think of: 1) high protein, 2) low carb, and 3) all vegetarian.

Tell us in the comments below what are some of your favorite veggie protein sources?

Paneer Tikka Kebabs

Why we love it: Do you think kebabs are just outside for the summer? Think again These paneer tikka kebabs are quick to put together, and the garam masala, cumin, and chili powder add a delicious, flavorful interest.

Ingredient of the hero: Paneer adds a protein punch.

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Healthy almond butter tofu pan from Minimalist Baker

Why we love it: Sure, every vegetarian has eaten quite a bit in the tofu pan, but marinating the tofu beforehand in a wonderful mixture of sesame oil, maple syrup, tamari, lime juice and almond butter is what distinguishes this dish.

Ingredient of the hero: The almond butter adds a rich earthiness.

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Frying pan cheesy chickpeas from What’s Gaby Cooking

Why we love it: This super easy recipe out there allll those pasta night vibes without the complex carbohydrate hangover.

Ingredient of the hero: The basil garnish at the end ensures the perfect portion of freshness.

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Vegetarian chilli with black beans and sweet potatoes

Why we love it: There’s nothing like a hearty chilli to warm your bones on a cold day. We love how the sweetness of honey and sweet potato perfectly complements the spicy kick of chili powder.

Ingredient of the hero: It’s all about the toppings. Stick with radish, grated cheese, avocado, and herbs if you want to keep the carbs updated.

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Curry lentil salad from Love and Lemons

Why we love it: A wonderful unexpected mix of lentils, paneer, cauliflower and fresh spinach, all topped with a spicy serrano chilli coriander lime dressing. It’s a far cry from the boring curry lentils you ate out of the Trader Joe’s bag.

Ingredient of the hero: The coriander-lime dressing brings the momentum.

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Salsa salad boats with black beans and pineapple

Why we love it: A high-protein, high-fiber meal, snack, or app, throw together a few simple ingredients like a can of black beans, red peppers, cilantro, and the key to the dish, sweet, juicy pineapple.

Ingredient of the hero: Adobo chipotle sauce gives the dish a smoky, spicy note.

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Stuffed sweet potatoes in autumn

Why we love it: Unlike your normally boring sweet potato recipes, this one from Camille really shines with the unique additions of goat cheese, pomegranate seeds and tahini sauce. And okay, sweet potatoes aren’t exactly the lowest in carbohydrates but with the high protein additions of chickpeas and tahini we decided this recipe needs a place on the list.

Ingredient of the hero: A squeeze of lemon just before serving – perfection.

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Spicy black bean soup from Cookie + Kate

Why we love it: The perfect comfort meal for a night that takes so little effort thanks to a reliable can of black beans.

Ingredient of the hero: A garnish of radishes just before serving ensures crunch without carbohydrates.

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Vegetable drawer goat cheese frittata

Why we love it: Breakfast: It’s no longer just there for breakfast. Satisfy your hearty meal cravings with this low-carb vegetable frittata for anything but the kitchen mixed with creamy goat cheese.

Ingredient of the hero: The unbelievable, edible egg: high protein, low carb at its best.

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Filled acorn gourd from Love & Lemons

Why we love it: Roasted acorn squash filled with earthy sage and rosemary as well as dried cranberries, walnuts, mushrooms and tempeh make this vegetarian dish an absolute eye-catcher.

Ingredient of the hero: Tempeh, a fermented soybean product that takes on the flavors of the dish. Great for anyone who wants vegan protein but isn’t into tofu.

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Roasted cauliflower and chickpea stew from a Mediterranean dish

Why we love it: This roasted cauliflower and chickpea stew is not a soup, not a chili. It’s calming, warming and oh so hearty for those nights when a green salad just isn’t enough.

Ingredient of the hero: A toasted nut garnish adds crunch and a bit of earthiness.

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Vegan Palak Paneer with curry tofu by Minimalist Baker

Why we love it: While this dish doesn’t come together as easily as throwing a few cans of beans and tomatoes together, it is well worth the extra effort.

Ingredient of the hero: Coconut milk is rich and creamy without dairy products.

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Red lentil soup with coconut curry

Why we love it: I tried this recipe for the first time during a Camille Styles regimen. Thanks to the protein-rich lentils, it’s hearty enough to fill you up.

Ingredient of the hero: The kale and the carrot. They make this soup feel like soup (rather than a large bowl of lentils).

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Spicy peanut soup with sesame halloumi from half-baked harvest

Why we love it: Another hearty soup thanks to a unique combination of peanut butter and halloumi that is filling and oh so easy to make.

Ingredient of the hero: Rich, creamy peanut butter adds a vegetarian protein punch.

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Delicata pumpkin salad with pistachios and marinated lentils from the Sprouted Kitchen

Why we love it: The perfect mix of warming spices (think cinnamon and chili powder) with a cooling salad base.

Ingredient of the hero: Roasted gourmet pumpkin – still warm from the oven. Heaven.

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Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowls from Love & Lemons

Why we love it: Imagine a bowl of rice and beans, but with the volume turned up. Cauliflower rice adds texture – minus all carbs – and black beans add protein and fiber, while the mango adds a touch of natural sweetness.

Ingredient of the hero: The creamiest vegan cashew green chili sauce is the kick here. We recommend doubling the recipe and keeping it in the refrigerator all week.

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