Trying to bump up your protein intake? You might want to help yourself to some more veggies.
You might not think of broccoli or carrots as protein powerhouses, but plenty of vegetables serve up more protein than you might expect. And when you pair them with other ingredients—like nuts, seeds, beans, or cheese—they can start to pack a serious protein punch.
Skeptical? That’s totally understandable. But after you take a look at these tasty veggie dishes, you just might change your tune. Each one delivers at least 6 grams protein per serving (which is what you’d find in a large egg), and some have far more! Meeting your daily muscle-fueling quota just got easier—and even more delicious.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH PEANUT NOODLES
There aren’t too many spaghetti squash dishes out there that are loaded with protein. But thanks to the spicy peanut butter-based sauce and chopped nuts, this recipe from Eat Within Your Means sure is. Altogether, this mouthwatering noodle bowl packs a whopping 20 grams of the muscle builder per serving.
ROASTED BROCCOLI SALAD WITH PINE NUTS, RAISINS, AND FETA
Broccoli florets have more protein than you might expect—a 1-cup serving delivers almost 3 grams. For an even bigger boost (and far more flavor), try adding some salty feta crumbles and crunchy pine nuts like the Yummy Beet. Now, you’ve got a tasty side dish with 10 grams of protein per serving.
SPICY + SWEET MAPLE CARROTS WITH CRISPY LENTILS
Maple-roasted carrots and onions aren’t exactly major protein players on their own, but when you pair the sweet veggies with lentils, you get a meatless entrée that serves up 12 grams of satiating protein. Thanks, With Food and Love!
CAPRESE WHITE BEAN SALAD
Wondering how you can turn a simple tomato salad into a protein powerhouse? Throw in some other Italian-inspired ingredients like mozzarella pearls and canned white beans, à la Jess and Frank of the Inquiring Chef. The combo adds up to a delicious side salad that serves up 11 grams protein per serving, or a light main with 22 grams of protein per serving.
KALE, POMEGRANATE & PECAN SALAD
Yup, it’s possible to make a high-protein salad without meat. Just combine kale and pomegranate seeds with pecans and some crumbled feta cheese, like Erin of Well Plated. With 8 grams of protein per serving, it’s satisfying enough to work as a filling snack between meals. Top it with a small piece of chicken or a few tablespoons of chickpeas to transform it into a meal.
WHITE BEAN SLOW COOKER MASHED POTATOES
Yes, potatoes are technically a vegetable—and they’re surprisingly high in protein, with 4 grams per medium spud. Mash them with white beans instead of the usual butter or cream like Cotter Crunch, and you’ll bump up the protein content to 9 grams per serving. Pretty impressive for a starchy side dish, no?
ROASTED BALSAMIC BEET, GOAT CHEESE, AND PISTACHIO SALAD
Sweet roasted beets tossed with tangy balsamic vinegar make for a majorly delicious side salad. And when you throw in some crumbled goat cheese and chopped pistachios, you get one that also happens to provide 6 grams of protein per serving. Clearly, Danae of the Recipe Runner knows what she’s doing