Performance

Meat-free meal ideas for fast recovery

Your body’s building blocks. Protein is a key fixture in the human diet—and we need a fair amount of it too.

There’s a misconception that vegetarian, and especially vegan diets are deficient in protein compared to the omnivores. But that’s just not the case.

Protein is made up of nine essential amino acids. These acids are essential for good health, however our bodies can’t synthesise them so we must find them in our food. Meat sources of protein and animal products such as dairy and eggs are called complete proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids.

But vegetarians and vegans don’t miss out. To help you hit your plant-based protein goals, we’ve curated a selection of tasty vegetarian and vegan recipes—packed full of nutrients and bursting with flavour.

So get your taste buds around these…

Suitable for vegetarians (V) | Suitable for vegans (VV)

Breakfasts

Greek Chickpeas on Toast (VV)

If you’re finding it hard to hit your protein goals, check out Ania’s authentic Greek for a whopping 30g per portion. The straightforward, 6-step recipe is ideal for a lazy breakfast, Sunday brunch or even a pre-prepared lunch.

Full the full recipe here.

Huevos Rancheros (V)

A classic Mexican brunch, Huevos Rancheros was the original fuel for rural Mexican farmers. This combination of chillies, eggs and tomatoes is the perfect ‘pick me up’ filling for a winning breakfast burrito!

With a weighty punch of protein, this is a perfect mid-morning recipe to help you recover after an early-morning exercise session. The tomatoes are rich in potassium, which helps your heart and muscles function effectively. While the are eggs packed with vitamins selenium and B12.

Find the full recipe here.

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Swiss Soaked Oats (VV)

Try saying Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner before breakfast!

An early pioneer of food science, Dr. Bircher-Benner believed food wasn’t just there to satisfy hunger, but instead sustenance and health.

Bircher’s namesake muesli has found its way back into fashion. And with good reason! Overnight, or soaked oats are not only fast and easy to prepare, but you can add your own flavours and toppings, and they’re ready and waiting as soon as you wake.

Find the full recipe here.

Kedgeree (V)

Introduced to the UK from India in the Victorian times, this vegetarian version ditches the fish in favour of chunky vegetables and creamy low-fat Greek yogurt. This recipe provides plenty of protein while keeping the calories a little lower than the original.

Greek yogurt is chock-full of casein (around three times more than Greek style). The protein releases slowly, and along with the fibre in brown rice this recipe will keep you feeling fuller for longer, replenish your energy and help you to recover from a hard hitting session.

Ingredients (serves four)

250g basmati rice
200g Greek yogurt
4 eggs
2 fresh bay leaves
1 lemon
1tbsp curry paste
1 onion
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
1 red chilli

Method

  1. Boil two large pans of water; one for the washed basmati rice and one for the boiled eggs
  2. Add the rice to one pan and cook as per the packet instructions—minus two minutes—and put the eggs, bay leaves and half a lemon in the other to simmer for seven to eight minutes
  3. When the rice is cooked, drain and set aside, and while it cools add a tablespoon of oil to a pan along with diced onion and finely chopped coriander stalks, and sweat slowly for five minutes or more. Reserve the coriander leaves for finishing the Kedgeree
  4. Once the eggs cooked, rinse them under cold water unto they’re cool enough to peel—discarding the bay leaves
  5. Now add the curry paste to the pan of sweated onions and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the rice and coole for another five minutes, stirring it through
  6. Lastly, fluff up the rice with a fork and squeeze in the juice of half the lemon. Season with salt and pepper and serve; topping with the coriander leaves, Greek yogurt and lemon wedges

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito (VV)

Described as smokey, saucy, flavoursome and FAST, these burritos tick all the nutritional boxes. At less than 450kcal per portion and packing 17g of protein, they’re a perfect brunch to rustle up in under 30 minutes!

Find the full recipe here.

Four Ingredient Hummus Toast (VV)

Sure, you could make your own hummus. But if you’re pushed for time and in need of a protein hit as you head out of the door in the morning, this super fast, savoury, four ingredient treat is all you’ll need!

Find the full recipe here.

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Lunches

Curried Tofu Scramble with Spinach (VV)

Totalling just 20 minutes to prepare and cook, this Tofu recipe provides a 34g hit of protein!

This recipe by vegan advocate and speaker Jolinda Hackett mixes subtle spices of curry powder and turmeric with the silky tofu and scrambled eggs.

Find the full recipe here.

Spicy Peanut and Quinoa Bowls (VV)

This spicy, sriracha topped lunchtime pick-me-up is great for all the meal planners out there..

Quinoa—which is actually a seed as opposed to a grain—is full of fibre, much more than most cereals and grains, and a great source of protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and ideal for both vegan and vegetarian diets.

Find the full recipe here.

Green Shakshuka (V)

Meaning ‘all mixed up’, this Shakshuka recipe is a fresh take on the traditional tomato dish.

This leafy Shakshuka by Clare Knivett, Food Editor of Jamie Magazine, serves up a healthy portion of spinach, rich in iron which helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body, and is a source of vitamins magnesium and K. These help convert the food we eat into energy, and keep bones healthy.

Find the full recipe here.

Lentil Tabbouleh with Yogurt (V)

The puy lentils in this recipe are a legume rich in protein and fibre—and low in fat too.

The yogurt topping adds an extra hit of protein to complete a flavoursome lighter lunch that ticks all the boxes…

Ingredients (serves four)

200g puy lentils
200g cherry tomatoes
8tbsp Greek yoghurt
6 spring onions
1 lemon
1 large bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large bunch of fresh mint

Method

  1. Rinse the lentils, then cook in plenty of salted water as per the packet instructions, then drain and set aside to cool
  2. Trim the green tops off the spring onions and discard, then finely slice along with the fresh herb leaves and half the cherry tomatoes
  3. Mix all the ingredients together with four tablespoons of light olive oil and the half of the squeezed lemon juice.
  4. Top with two tablespoons of Greek yogurt the other half of the lemon juice and a couple of shavings of lemon zest

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Vegan Omelette (VV)

An absolute classic and staple student lunch. Parred with a slice or two of toast, and packed full of your favourite vegetables, omelettes can cover all the nutritional bases—carbohydrates, fats and protein.

While the original can be veggie friendly, this seven ingredient base of silken tofu has takes out the eggs and puts a vegan spin on a fluffy, filling omelette.

Find the full recipe here.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup (V)

Sometimes a simple, comforting bowl of soup is all you need. But while soups are usually considered a low calorie, convenient lunch, this split pea soup recipe hits the spot in the protein stakes too.

Blogger Heidi, of 101 Cookbooks has a filling recipe you can prepare in advance and reheat when hunger hits—convenient for an office lunch!

Find the full recipe here.

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Dinner

Feijoada (V)

A staple in Brazil, Feijoada is traditional stew of Portuguese origin made with black beans and the cheaper cuts of beef and pork.

However, this meat-free alternative is bulked out with store cupboard staples, extra vegetables and sweet potatoes—a source of simple carbohydrates to help replenish energy expended during exercise. Served as a flavourful side or main meal, this Feijoada recipe hit all the right points…

Ingredients (serves six)

600g butternut squash
150g brown rice
100g okra
4 cloves of garlic
4 bay leaves
3 mixed-colour peppers
2tbsp natural yogurt
2 tomatoes
2 red onions
2×400g tins of black beans
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp smoked paprika
1 lime
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 red chilli

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6
  2. Halve and deseed the squash, then chop into 3cm chunks. In a large roasting tray, toss it with 1 teaspoon of oil, the ground coriander and season
  3. Do the same with the peppers, adding the paprika to the oil and place both trays in the oven for 30 minutes
  4. While the vegetables are in the oven, finely chop half of the onion and set aside. Roughly chop the rest of the onions and add to a large casserole pan, along with the crushed garlic, bay leaves and a splash of water to soften for 20 minutes, stirring regularly
  5. Tip in the beans, juice and all, then half-fill each empty tin with water, swirl and pour into the pan. Simmer until the time is up on the squash and peppers, then stir both into the pan
  6. Trim off the ends and finely slice the okra. Add it to the casserole pan and simmer for a further 20 minutes, or until the feijoada is dark and gnarly
  7. Meanwhile, cook the rice as per the packet instructions, then drain
  8. Deseed the tomatoes and finely chop along with the chilli and reserved onions, adding a tablespoon of oil and the lime juice. Finally, top with the yogurt and a little sliced chilli to serve

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie (V)

A healthy, hearty stew packed with heady vegetables and a rich, red wine gravy. This shepherd’s pie recipe from food editor of Epicurious, Melissa Roberts substitutes the mince with Seitan—made from the main protein found in wheat, gluten.

Low fat, and at around 75% protein, Seitan is lesser known meat alternative is particularly good in warm, comforting meal like this vegetarian shepherd’s pie.

Find the full recipe here.

Vegan Tacos (VV)

Who doesn’t like tacos at dinner time? These spicy vegan versions use jalapeño chiies and Soyrizo (soy chorizo) to pep-up the warm corn tortillas and refried black beans.

Think vegan tacos are all vegetables and tofu? Think again…

Find the full recipe here.

Italian-style Spaghetti Squash with Tempeh (VV)

An Indonesian soy-based staple source of protein, this recipe takes an Italian twist—meat free meatballs on a bed squash spaghetti in a tomato sauce containing an impressive 20g (or more) of protein per portion!

Ingredients (serves four)

400g tin of plum tomatoes
350g tempeh
100g baby spinach
4tbsp mirin
2tbsp tamari
2 cloves garlic
1 spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded
1 broccoli cut into florets

Method

  1. Marinade the tempeh with the tamari, mirin and crushed garlic for 30 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, roast the spaghetti squash halves in a large dish with 100ml of water in the bottom for 30—45 minutes. Once done, drain and turn the halves cut side-up to cool
  3. Drain and fry the tempeh in a heavy pan on a high heat with a tablespoon of oil until golden brown
  4. While the tempeh cooks, heat the plum tomatoes in a large pan, and add the broccoli, cooking until tender. Add in the spinach a few minutes before you’re ready to serve
  5. With a fork, scrape the spaghetti squash onto a serving platter or large plate. Turn in the hot tomatoes and broccoli and top with the tempeh

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Rocket and Eggs (V)

Perfect post-gym, the humble sweet baked potato and poached eggs is a protein packed backup plan for when you’re exhausted and just need flavoursome fuel, with little fuss.

The fontina cheese and eggs in this recipe are ‘complete’ proteins, containing all 9 amino acids your body requires to recover properly.

Find the full recipe here.

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