Looking for vegan recipes high in protein? Healthista shares five of their favourite protein-packed recipes from Gaz Oakley’s new cookbook Plants Only Kitchen
Contrary to popular belief vegan recipes are actually pretty straight-forward and can be filled to the brim with protein.
Tofu, tempeh, lentils, chickpeas, beans, oats and quinoa are all examples of vegan friendly foods that are jam packed with protein.
Young chef Gaz Oakley started Avant-Garde Vegan on Instagram in 2016. Since then he has amassed an estimated 1.4 million followed across YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
Following the success of his first two books, Vegan 100 and Vegan Christmas, Gaz has released his third book Plants Only Kitchen with the aim to create tasty recipes that are simple to make.
The recipes include protein-packed options as well as gluten-free options that can be made as quickly as 15 minutes.
So without further ado, Healthista wanted to share our five top picks of protein-packed vegan recipes from Gaz Oakley’s new cookbook. Happy vegan cooking…
Protein-packed vegan recipes #1 BBQ Black Bean Burger
Cooks in 45 mins
- 5 spring onions (scallions), roughly chopped
- 1 red (bell) pepper, roughly chopped
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 x 400-g (14-oz) can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
- 1 x 400-g (14-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp shelled hemp seeds (optional)
- handful of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 5 tbsp buckwheat flour, plus extra for dusting
- 4 toasted burger buns
- fried Plantains
- BBQ sauce
- crispy fried onions
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
2. Add the spring onions (scallions), red (bell) pepper and mushrooms to your blender, then blitz until everything is finely chopped. Alternatively, you can just finely chop everything by hand.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a low heat, add a little oil, then when hot, add the chopped vegetable mixture. Sauté everything for 2–3 minutes, or until softened.
4. Meanwhile, put the drained chickpeas (garbanzos) and black beans into a mixing bowl and give them a pat dry with kitchen paper as best as you can.
5. Add the chickpeas and beans to the blender with the sautéed vegetable mixture, as well as the hemp seeds, coriander (cilantro), BBQ sauce, lime zest and juice and seasoning. IMPORTANT! Pulse the blender no more than 3 times, if you overblend you will turn the mixture into a purée, resulting in mushy burgers.
6. Once pulsed, put the mixture into a mixing bowl and add the flour. Using your hands, lightly work the mixture together. Again, if you overmix you’re going to have a mushy burger, so gently work it together.
7. Add a little more flour if your mixture feels too wet; if not go ahead and form the mixture into patties. You should get about 4 burgers. Lightly flour your hands in-between forming each burger.
8. Once you’ve formed your burgers, place them onto the lined baking sheet. You can bake them immediately if you like, but I prefer to get them golden in the pan first. Add a touch of oil to a non-stick pan placed over a medium heat and fry the burgers on each side for 2–3 minutes.
9. Once coloured nicely, place the burgers back onto the tray, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
10. Prepare your garnishes while the burgers are in the oven.
11. Serve the burgers in a toasted bun with lettuce, fried plantains, cress, tomatoes, some extra BBQ sauce and crispy fried onions.
Protein-packed vegan recipes #2 Simple Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese
Cooks in 45 Mins
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 4 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 2 x 400g (14oz) cans chopped tomatoes
- 240ml (1 cup) vegan-friendly red wine
- 2 x 400-g (14-oz) cans cooked green lentils, drained
For the ‘parmesan’ topping:
- 3 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 400g (14oz) spelt spaghetti or other egg-free pasta, cooked according to packet instructions
- fresh basil leaves
Generally, dried pasta is egg-free, so vegan-friendly, but be sure to check the packaging. Choosing wholewheat or spelt options will make a pasta dish more nutritious.
1. Add the onion, celery, garlic and carrot to a blender and blitz until everything is finely chopped.
2. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil to the pan, followed by the blitzed vegetables. Sauté for 4–5 minutes or until softened, then add the mixed herbs, tomato purée and seasoning.
3. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the miso, chopped tomatoes and wine. Turn the heat down to low and place a lid on the pan. Allow the sauce to simmer away for 20 minutes.
4. Add the lentils, and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, to make the ‘parmesan’ topping, blitz together the toasted almonds with the nutritional yeast until the mixture resembles a fine crumb.
6. Serve the Bolognese with spaghetti, a sprinkle of the ‘parmesan’ topping and some fresh basil.
Protein-packed vegan recipes #3 Tempeh Bacon Bagels
Tempeh is one of my favourite vegan protein sources, try to find an organic version if you can.
Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans, and because the whole bean is used, the protein content is high and the flavour is maximized. This quick ‘bacon’ glaze will take your tempeh to the next level.
Cooks in 15 mins
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 x 200-g (7-oz) block of tempeh, thinly sliced widthways
- 12 cherry tomatoes, on the vine
For the sticky glaze:
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 drops of liquid smoke (optional) 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 4 wholemeal bagels, toasted fresh spinach leaves
- vegan cream cheese
- tomato ketchup
- sprinkling of mixed seeds
1. Mix together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Place a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Add a little oil, followed by the tempeh slices. Cook the tempeh for 3 minutes on each side, brushing with the glaze on both sides.
3. Once the tempeh bacon is caramelized and sticky, remove from the pan and set the slices aside to crisp up.
4. Give the pan a quick wipe with kitchen paper before adding a touch more oil, then the cherry tomatoes. Just let them slightly blister in the pan for a couple of minutes.
5. Serve the tempeh bacon in toasted wholemeal bagels with the blistered tomatoes, some fresh spinach, vegan cream cheese, ketchup and a sprinkling of mixed seeds.
Note: Liquid smoke is a great flavour enhancer. It adds a rich BBQ, smoky flavour to dishes.
Protein-packed vegan recipes #4 My Dad’s Potato Chilli Bake
My dad’s go-to vegan bake really reminds me of home and my family – I had to include it. It’s a protein-packed dish that can also be served for meal prep.
Cooks in 90 mins
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 x 400-g (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 240ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
- 1 x 400-g (14-oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 x 400-g (14-oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium Maris Piper potatoes, sliced into very thin discs
- 1 courgette (zucchini), thinly sliced
- 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- steamed greens
1. Place a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat and add the oil. When hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot and chilli. Sweat this mixture for 3–4 minutes.
2. Add the cumin, cinnamon, paprika, oregano and seasoning to the dish and cook for a couple more minutes.
3. Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock, bring the liquid to a simmer, then add the beans and give everything a good stir.
4. Let the chilli bubble away for 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
5. After 20 minutes of cooking the chilli, turn the heat off.
6. Carefully layer the potato, courgette (zucchini) and tomato slices on top of the chilli, alternating between the three and overlapping each slice. Once you’ve covered the entire top of the chilli, pop the lid on the dish or cover it with foil.
7. Pop the chilli into the oven for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid or the foil.
8. After a total of 45 minutes in the oven, remove the chilli bake. It should be golden and the potato slices should be a little crisp on top.
9. Serve with some lovely steamed greens.
Protein-packed vegan recipes #5 Peanut-Crusted Tofu Bites
Jazz up your tofu by encrusting it in miso and peanuts. The fillets can be served with a dipping sauce as a snack or as part of a meal. They go great with rice or noodles. Make sure you use an extra-firm tofu for real meatiness.
Cooks in 60 mins
- 2 x 280-g (10-oz) blocks of extra-firm tofu
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- juice of 1 lime
- pinch dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried garlic
- 75g (3/4 cup) shelled roasted peanuts, blitzed to a crumb
- side salad
- dipping sauce of your choice
1. First up, drain and pat dry the tofu using kitchen paper. Cut the blocks into slices.
2. Mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce or tamari, lime juice, chilli flakes and dried garlic.
3. Using a pastry brush, brush the peanut butter mix over each piece of tofu. If your mix isn’t brushable, add a couple of tablespoons of water.
4. Once the tofu blocks are coated, individually dip each piece into the peanut crumb and make sure they are nicely coated.
5. Once you’ve coated all of the tofu, place the pieces onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
6. Place the tray into your freezer for 20 minutes and preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
7. Remove the tofu from the freezer. Place a dry non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat and, when hot, lightly colour the coated tofu for around 2 minutes on each side.
8. Once golden, place the tofu back onto the baking sheet and then into your preheated oven for 15 minutes.
9. Serve your peanut-crusted tofu with a side salad and dipping sauce of your choice. I like to use Sriracha.
Gaz Oakley is passionate about vegan cooking after becoming a chef at the age of 15. Inspired by a healthier lifestyle he decided to change his diet and go vegan.
Using the techniques he learned working as a professional chef, he started creating innovative vegan dishes.
His third book Plants Only Kitchen is available to buy now.