Get plenty of protein, healthy fat, and fiber in these delicious meatless meals.
Toby Amidor, MS, RD 1 / 11
The winning combo for fat loss is regular exercise and eating the right food. Although this may not sound too complicated, many guys still struggle to lose weight—even the ones who work out regularly. If you can relate, it's time to do an honest analysis of your diet. Does it include fat-fighting foods that are high in fiber (like beans, lentils, quinoa), healthy fat (like avocado and nuts), and protein (like tofu, beans)? Those are the nutrients that will help keep you satisfied which minimizes mindless snacking throughout the day. While you may turn to meat or fish, you can actually get all of those macros through plant-based foods, too. Here are 10 vegan recipes that have plenty of fiber, healthy fat, and protein to help you shed fat.
Farro is an ancient whole grain that has a pleasant chewy texture and a nuttier flavor compared to brown rice. One cup of cooked farro contains 220 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein, making it a great choice for a vegetarian burger. Combined with white beans, these burgers provide 11 grams each of muscle-building protein and fiber that will help keep you satisfied.
Ingredients: ¾ cup uncooked farro 3 cups water 1 teaspoon reduced sodium vegetable broth base One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained (liquid reserved), or 1 ¾ cups cooked 1 medium onion, finely diced 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms 1 cup grated carrots (2 medium) ¼ cup chopped walnuts ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 1/3 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats ½ cup whole grain bread crumbs 1 teaspoon low-sodium herbal seasoning blend ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon turmeric Pinch of sea salt, optional 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Ten 1 ½ ounce whole grain buns 10 lettuce leaves 3 medium tomatoes, sliced into 20 slices 2 avocados, sliced into 20 slices
1. Place the farro in a pot with the water and broth base. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cook for 35-40 minutes, and drain any leftover liquid. 2. Place the cannellini beans in a mixing bowl and mash slightly with a potato masher, until thick and lumpy. Mix in the cooked farro, onions, mushrooms, carrots, walnuts, oregano, chives, oats, bread crumbs, herbal seasoning, black pepper, turmeric, and sea salt, if desired. Combine the ingredients using clean hands, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved bean liquid to make a thick yet moistened mixture that sticks together. Chill for about 1 hour. 3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Form patties out of ½ cup of the bean mixture with your hands, mashing the ingredients together so that they do not crumble. Carefully place 3 to 4 patties at a time into the hot oil and cook for 6 minutes on each side, turning carefully. Repeat, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with each batch of patties, until all the patties are done. 4. Serve each patty with 1 bun, 1 lettuce leaf, 2 tomato slices, and 2 avocado slices.
Nutrition Information (per serving 1 patty, bun, and lettuce leaf, and 2 tomato and avocado slices each) Calories: 354; Total Fat: 15 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 11 grams: Carbohydrates: 50 grams; Sugar: 6 grams; Fiber: 11 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 378 milligrams
Ingredients: Tofu Bowl 2 cups cooked brown rice 1 cups shredded carrots 2 cups spinach leaves 2 cups broccoli florets 2 teaspoons olive oil or additional sesame oil, divided 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed, if using canned) Salt and pepper 16 oz extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
Peanut sauce 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce ¼ cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cube tofu and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. If you aren't using a non-stick baking sheet, lightly spray with cooking spray. Remove from oven and place in a shallow bowl. 2. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup, chili garlic sauce, peanut butter) until creamy and smooth. Add ½ of the sauce to the tofu bowl and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 3. Toss the broccoli with 1 teaspoon sesame or olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until just tender. 4. Heat remaining olive or sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, in batches, along with the marinating sauce until crispy and golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. 5. To assemble, divide the brown rice among 4 bowls, top each bowl with ¼ cup shredded carrots, ½ cup spinach leaves, ¼ broccoli, ¼ cup garbanzo beans and a few pieces of tofu. Drizzle with remaining peanut sauce.
Ingredients: One medium-size cauliflower, cut into three to four, 1-inch-thick whole slices (about 6 ounces per slice), plus remaining florets 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided 1 clove garlic, minced One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 3/4 cup marinara sauce Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Instructions: 1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet, and brush the “steaks” and florets with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Roast until lightly caramelized and the cauliflower is almost cooked through, about 18 minutes. Gently flip over each “steak” and floret and brush with 1 more teaspoon of the oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper, and roast until well caramelized and the cauliflower stems are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a medium-size skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic, and cook 30 to 60 seconds, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant. Mix in the beans, marinara sauce, and the remaining ½ teaspoon thyme, and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through and bubbly, about 5 minutes. 4. Top the cauliflower with the beans and serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese as desired.
Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 375 F. While the oven is warming up, scrub the sweet potatoes well with water until clean. (I like to use a veggie brush and a little vinegar). 2. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Allow them to bake for about 40 minutes, or until soft. 3. While the potatoes are roasting, wash the veggies. Dice the zucchini, onions, peppers, and tomato. 4. First sauté the garlic and onions until the onions are translucent. Then add the peppers and zucchini. Continue to sauté until the veggies are cooked to desired texture. Add in the spices and mix until veggies are coated. 5. If using canned beans, strain off the liquid and rinse. Then add the beans to the skillet. 6. If using the meatless chorizo, add this into the skillet too. If it’s not already crumbled, crumble it with your spatula while it is cooking. (I do this by slicing it with the spatula until it’s the size that I want). 7. Once the veggie mix and the sweet potatoes are finished. Slice the potatoes open with a knife. Mash the inside of the potato to make sure it is cooked thoroughly. Then load the potatoes with the veggie mix. Top with diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, avocado/ guacamole, and salsa.
A cassoulet is a French bean stew that is filled with pork sausage and high fat braised meats. This vegan version is much lighter than its traditional French counterpart providing about 530 calories, 27 grams of protein, and a whopping 20 grams of fiber.
Topping 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup vegan breadcrumbs 1 small garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped Pinch each of salt and pepper
Casserole 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil Pinch each of salt and pepper 1 ½ cups of thinly sliced onions 2 zucchini, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon dried herbs de Provence 1 bay leaf 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only 1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes Pinch each of salt and pepper 2 (19 oz) cans of white beans (Cannellini, Navy or Great Northern), drained and rinsed 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 cup baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
Polenta 4 cups water 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions: 1. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the breadcrumbs and garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir until combined and crumbly, mix with the parsley and then set aside. 2. Return the pot to the low heat, add in a teaspoon of oil and then add in the onions. Sauté over low heat until caramelized and golden, about 20-25 minutes. Add in the zucchini and cook 2 minutes, until lightly golden. Add in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the herbs, bay leaf, thyme, and the tomatoes with their juice, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. 3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, add in the white beans and balsamic, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. 4. Meanwhile, bring the polenta water to a boil in a small saucepot. While whisking gently, pour in the polenta in a steady stream and whisk until thickened. Reduce the heat to low for about 30 minutes, whisking very hard every 5-10 minutes to make sure you get all the bits off the corners and bottom of the pan. Add in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. 5. Five minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir the spinach leaves into the cassoulet until wilted. Then divide the polenta between four bowls, top with the bean cassoulet and a generous sprinkling of garlic breadcrumbs.
These killer beet balls can be served on whole grain hoagie rolls, or save a few calories and serve over carb-free spaghetti squash. Make a cashew-based (vegan) cheese sauce to drizzle over the beet balls—it adds both healthy fat and protein.
Instructions: For the Beet Balls 1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Using shredder attachment, shred beets in food processor. Switch to metal blade and add shredded beets and onion quarters to the bowl. Pulse. (Alternatively, finely dice onions and beets). 3. Add oats, tofu, and spices. Pulse until tofu is evenly incorporated. 4. In a large mixing bowl, combine lentils with the mixture from the food processor and stir until well-mixed. 5. Form mixture into balls (about 2 tablespoons) and place them on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. 6. While balls are baking, gently warm marinara sauce in a saucepan on the stove and make cashew cheesy sauce.
For the Cashew Cheese-ish Sauce 1. Combine the lemon juice, cashews, water, and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Stuff baked balls into each hoagie. Top with spoonfuls of marinara and a drizzle of cheesy sauce.
Beans are considered a vegetable, protein, and are a good source of fiber. They help you feel full for a reasonable amount of calories. To add even more fiber to this meal, serve over brown rice or quinoa rather than white rice.
Instructions: 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. 2. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through peanut butter). Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. 3. Serve over rice.
Pasta can absolutely be part of a fat fighting meal, especially when it’s whole wheat. Fiber, found in both whole grains (like whole wheat pasta) and vegetables help fight hunger while providing antioxidants and minerals like potassium which help with muscle contractions.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoon olive oil 12 oz. whole wheat penne pasta 1 small onion, diced 4-6 garlic cloves, minced 8 oz portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets 6 oz dry white wine 6 oz mushroom stock (mushroom bouillon cube or vegetable broth could also be used) ½ cup diced sundried tomatoes ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 (15 oz) cans of cannellini beans ¼ cup nutritional yeast, optional
Instructions: 1. Bring a 6-8 quart pot of salted water to a boil. 2. Add 1-teaspoon olive oil and pasta, stir and cook until done. Drain and set aside. 3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of olive oil and diced onion and sauté until translucent. 4. Add minced garlic, mushroom and broccoli. Cook until soft, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes. 5. Add the white wine, mushroom broth, sundried tomatoes and red pepper flakes to the saucepan. Bring to a boil. 6. Let simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, stirring occasionally. If the mixture is thick add up to ¼ cup of water. 7. Add cannellini beans and the pasta to the liquid. Combine together. 8. Add Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, if desired, and season with sea salt and pepper. 9. Serve warm.
Recipe and photo by Tracee Yablon Brenner, RDN, CHHC and Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN, CDN of Triad to Wellness.
Meatless Black Bean Chili
Vegetarian chili is brimming with protein and fiber. However, if you’re using canned foods like beans and corn, choose “no added sodium” varieties or rinse well before using. Research shows that rinsing beans can help decrease the sodium by up to 40-percent.
Instructions: 1. Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat. Add onions, cook and stir until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. 2. Add the seasoning, then stir and cook for 1 minute. 3. Add the beans, broth, tomatoes, and corn; stir well to combine. 4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 5. Serve with optional toppings, if desired.
Whip up a batch before hitting the gym (it only takes 20 minutes) and place in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick and easy post-workout snack or dessert that will help keep your body’s metabolism going strong. Note that they do contain a slightly higher amount of sugar than many packaged bars, but that sugar is coming from the dates in a natural form. Still, if you're watching your sugar intake, indulge in one after a workout when your metabolism is still revved, or save it for a dessert.
Skill level: Beginner Serves: 12 Start to Finish: 20 minutes, plus refrigeration or freezing time Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 10 minutes
Ingredients: 2 cups rolled oats ¼ cup vanilla protein powder (I like Sunwarrior Classic Plus) ½ cup natural peanut butter 10 medjool dates, pitted 7 tablespoons water 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life)
Instructions: 1. In a food processor, blend the oats into a fine meal. 2. Add the protein powder, dates and peanut butter; blend for 30-45 seconds. 3. Add the water in 2-3 tablespoon increments, pulsing until combined. 4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in chocolate chips. 5. Line an 8x8 (or 10x6) inch baking pan with parchment paper. Transfer ingredients to pan and press down firmly with a spoon or spatula until it is in a smooth, compact, even layer. 6. Freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Slice into 12 bars and serve! Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 10 days