Protein Rich Food – Vegetarian Diet Plan, Indian Recipes

Alpa Momaya

February 2, 2024

Protein is considered to be the building block of the human body. The body needs protein-rich food to account for the daily wear and tear of muscles, to speed up recovery, and to gain strength.

Ideally, one’s pre and post-workout meals need to be rich in nutrients due to their role in the quick recovery of the body.

6 High Protein Rich Vegetarian Foods

While we know that meat and eggs contain a good amount of protein, there is a common misconception that a vegetarian meal plan comes up short in this regard. That is a myth, however, as veg food can be a great source too.

Although a lot of vegetarians turn to protein powder as their source of nutrients, we have put together a list of protein-rich foods for vegetarians to help them meet their daily requirements without any meat.

1. Chickpeas (Channa)

Chickpeas have a unique nutrition profile.100 g of boiled chickpea contains 164 calories and 9 g protein. Nearly 67% of its weight comprises carbs, while the remaining chickpea consists of protein and fat. 

Read more: Chickpeas Benefits – Nutrition, Weight Loss & Recipes

Did you know that one cup of chickpeas provides up to 40% of your required amount of daily fibre, 70% of folate and 22% of iron? In addition, they have a low glycemic index. It means that your body digests this legume slowly, which helps you feel full for longer and prevents spikes in blood glucose levels.

Protein in channa – 7.3 gm per 1/2 cup serving

2. Kidney Beans (Rajma)

Kidney beans are chock-a-block with protein, carbohydrates, and fibre. Paired with boiled or steamed rice, Rajma-Chawal is an all-time favourite dish in the Indian household.

Read more: Kidney Beans: Benefits, Nutrition, Recipes & Side Effects

Apart from being delicious, it’s a wholesome meal, which can be enjoyed in the form of a curry, as a topping in salads, in enchiladas, or in the form of spicy chilli.

Protein in Rajma – 7.5 gm per 1/2 cup serving

3. Milk

Drink milk regularly? If you do, you’re sure to do well on your protein test. Apart from being a rich source of protein, milk is rich in calcium and ensures good bone health, strong teeth, a healthy immune system, and glowing skin.

Avoid full-fat versions; look for skimmed options that have been fortified with vitamin D, and make the best of the protein in milk.

Protein in Milk – 8 gm per 1 cup serving

4. Cottage Cheese (Paneer)

Paneer is to India what cheese is to the rest of the world. High in casein, a slow-digesting dairy protein, paneer also offers you a good amount of calcium, keeps you fuller for longer, and helps burn more fat.

Read more: Is Cottage Cheese Good for Weight Loss?

Reason enough to have more? Add it to vegetable preparation, toss it into sauteed vegetables or eat as it is, and enjoy the benefits of protein in paneer.

Protein in Paneer – 14 gm per 1/2 cup serving

4. Lentils (Dal)

Indians can’t do without their dals, be it arhar, urad or moong. A part of almost every meal, lentils are an easy and inexpensive way of amping up your intake of protein, fibre, and essential minerals. Serve with a side of rice or roti for a complete meal.

Read more: Lentils: Health Benefits, Nutritional Facts, and Recipes

Protein in lentils – 9 gm per 1/2 cup serving

5. Green Peas (Matar)

Not many vegetables are as rich in protein as this winter staple. You get the protein and fibre from frozen green peas too, so go ahead and stash a bag in your freezer.

Make sure you pick up the bag and check how the peas have been frozen – if you can feel them, they’re good to go; if not, they have been thawed and refrozen into a big chunk. Try Matar Paneer to boost your protein intake.

Protein in Matar – 7 gm per 1 cup serving

6. Mixed Seeds

Seeds add crunch and quite a bit of protein to your meals. Choose from sesame, sunflower seeds, pumpkin, or poppy seeds – as they’re all high in protein and healthy fats.

Apart from salads, you can also add them to raita, cereal, or homemade granola.

Protein in Seeds – 5-7.3 gm per quarter-cup serving


10 Benefits of High Protein Rich Food

Due to its ability to assist the human body with quicker recovery, protein is considered an extremely important nutrient. Here are a few more reasons why you need to improve your intake of the nutrient.

1. Protein Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels

Among all macronutrients, protein is known to be the most filling, even if you consume less food. The macronutrient tends to reduce the ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels in the body while boosting levels of the peptide YY, which further helps an individual feel full.

If you’re looking to lose weight, try replacing some of the carbs and fats in your diet with protein. You can simply add a few extra bites of meat while making your rice serving smaller.

2. Protein Improves Heart Health

Higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure levels. This lowers the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

In a review of 40 controlled trials, it was found that a higher intake of the nutrient lowered systolic blood pressure by a reading of 1.76 mm of Hg, and diastolic blood pressure by a reading of 1.15 mm of Hg.

Besides lowering blood pressure, it has been found that a protein-rich diet can also lower LDL (or bad cholesterol) levels in the body.

3. Protein Makes Stronger Immune System

The body protects itself from various diseases with the help of antibodies.

These antibodies are specific protein types with the ability to detect foreign elements or antigens. The body produces antibodies to deactivate antigens.

4. Protein Boosts Metabolism

Eating food can temporarily boost the body’s metabolism because the body uses calories to digest and use the nutrients in the food. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food.

Since it has a much higher thermic effect than fats or carbs (20-35% as compared to 5-15%), protein intake will significantly boost the body’s metabolism. Some studies show that increased intake of the nutrient can result in 80-100 more calories being burned every day.

5. Protein Improves Bone Strength

Contrary to popular belief, most long-term studies suggest that protein can have major benefits for bone health. Consuming higher amounts of it can help maintain bone mass a lot better, while also helping lower the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

This specifically holds for women, who are at higher risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Eating plenty of protein-rich foods and staying active is the best way to prevent that from happening.

6. Protein Increases Muscle Mass and Strength

Protein is considered the building block of muscles. Consuming adequate amounts of it helps maintain muscle mass and promotes its growth while doing strength training.

If you’re physically active or trying to gain muscle, ensure you’re consuming sufficient protein. High intake can also help prevent the loss of muscle during weight loss.

7. Weight Loss Maintenance

While a high-protein diet may help an individual lose weight, the problem lies in maintaining one’s weight.

Studies have shown that a modest increase in protein intake can help with weight maintenance. According to one such study, increasing the nutrient intake from 15% to 18% of your calories helped reduce weight regain by 50%.

A permanent increase in your protein intake can go a long way in helping keep off the excess weight.

8. Protein Boosts Energy Levels

Protein also serves as a natural source of energy. Failure to consume a diet that would provide adequate energy to the body, as is the case during fasting or weight loss programs, would cause the body to use its functional protein to compensate.

Since there is no extra protein in the body, enzymes and muscles break down protein to yield amino acids to provide energy or synthesize glucose. This would ensure a continuous supply of glucose to the cells.

9. Protein Improves Healthy Skin

Protein provides strength to tissues that suffer from constant wear and tear, like skin. Collagen is a fibrous protein that is found in abundance, which provides the necessary strength to these skin cells.

The Healthy and youthful appearance of the skin, and the lack of wrinkles on it, largely depends on the levels of collagen present in the body.

10. Cell and Tissue Recovery

Cells and tissues must go through continuous renewal and recovery to maintain a perfectly healthy body. A constant supply of amino acids is a must for the formation of protein. This protein manufactures new cells and tissues, such as hair, skin, and nails.

The cells present in the skin, blood, and digestive system begin to perish after a couple of weeks. After this, the protein begins to create and replenish new and healthy cells to replace the deceased ones.

High Protein Rich Vegetarian Food – Indian Recipes

To help you increase your protein intake, we have put together a few recipes for you. Try these delicious dishes, and include them in your diet, to increase your daily intake of the nutrient.

1. Soya Matar ki Sabzi – Protein-Rich Food Recipes


  • Cooking oil – 1 tsp
  • Cloves – 2-3
  • Cinnamon – 1-inch
  • Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Onion chopped – 2 tbsp
  • Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Water – 0.5 cup
  • bay leaf – 1
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Ginger & garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Tomato  – 1 (chopped)
  • Green peas – 1/4 cup
  • Green chili – 1
  • Coriander leaves – 1 sprig
  • Nutrela Nuggets – 2 tbsp
  • Garam masala – ¼ tsp


  1. Make a paste of the tomatoes and green chilli.
  2. Boil the soya chunks, squeeze out the water completely, and keep aside.
  3. Boil green peas and keep them aside.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, and cumin seeds. Add onions and saute for a minute.
  5. Add ginger & garlic paste and saute well.
  6. Followed by tomato, green chilli paste, salt, turmeric, and chilli powder, and cook the mixture until the oil separates from it.
  7. Add the peas and soya chunks along with water. Cover and cook this mixture for around 6-8 minutes. Serve sprinkled with garam masala.

Nutrition Breakdown (100 g):

  • Calories – 79.3
  • Protein – 6.6 g
  • Fat – 1.8 g
  • Carbs – 9.4 g
  • Fibre- 4.1 g

2. Paneer Tikka – Protein-Rich Food Recipes


  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Chili powder – 0.5 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Curds (cow’s milk) – 3/4 cup
  • Ginger & Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
  • Green Chilli – 1 (chopped)
  • Pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • Fennel seed powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Chickpea flour (besan) – 1/3 cup
  • Oil – 4 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Paneer (Cow’s) – 200 grams (cubed)
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp


  1. Take curd in a bowl and whisk it well.
  2. Add chilli powder, cumin seed powder, ginger and garlic paste, chilli, fennel seeds powder, pepper powder, besan, 1 tsp oil, and salt, and mix well.
  3. Marinate the paneer pieces in the curd mixture for at least an hour.
  4. Brush a non-stick grill pan with oil and place the paneer in it. Cook on both sides, and baste with oil if needed, till it turns brown.
  5. Serve hot with sliced onions, lemon, and green chutney.

Nutrition Breakdown (100 g):

  • Calories – 204.6
  • Protein – 10.7 g
  • Fat – 15 g
  • Carbs – 7 g
  • Fibre- 1.5 g

3. Grilled Tofu – Protein-Rich Food Recipes


  • Firm tofu – 1 block (drained)
  • Lemon juice – 1/4 cup
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs (chopped)
  • Minced garlic – 2 cloves
  • Cayenne pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • Chili powder – 2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1 tsp


  1. Slice the tofu, lengthwise, into 4 thick slabs, or cut it into cubes and thread on skewers.
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, coriander leaves, garlic, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a bowl.
  3. Brush the tofu with the marinade.
  4. Now, cover the tofu and refrigerate for about 15 minutes to an hour.
  5. Grill the tofu on a lightly oiled griddle until done, while brushing occasionally with the marinade for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Nutrition Breakdown (100 g):

  • Calories – 94.7
  • Protein – 6.8 g
  • Fat – 6.8 g
  • Carbs – 3.6 g
  • Fibre- 0.9 g

High Protein Rich Food Diet Plan

While diet plans are meant to be balanced in nature, we can also design them to improve the intake of a particular nutrient. This high-protein diet plan will help increase the protein content in the body.

6:00 AMLukewarm Amla Water (1 glass)Soaked Walnut (4 pieces – half of one)
6:30 AMBanana (1 small – 6″ to 6-7/8″ long)
7:00 AMSoya Milk Unsweetened (200 ml)
9.00 AMSprouted Cheela: 2 PiecesApple Almond Chia Seeds Smoothie with low-fat Milk (1 glass)
11.30 PMButtermilk: 1 glass
12.45 PMLettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Carrot & Beetroot Salad (1 bowl)
1.00 PMQuinoa Pulao with Tofu and Spinach (1 bowl)Mixed Vegetable Raita (1.5 katori)
4:30 PMGreen Tea With Cinnamon (1 cup)Low Fat Paneer (0.5 cup, cubed)
8:15 PMTomato, Cucumber, & Carrot Salad (1 katori)
8:30 PMMultigrain Roti (2 pieces)Soya Matar ki Sabzi (1.5 katori)
10:30 PMJasmine Green Tea without Sugar (1 cup)
  • Start your day with soaked walnuts and lukewarm amla water
  • Eat sprouts cheela, and apple almond chia seeds smoothie for breakfast
  • For lunch, eat a bowl of quinoa pulao with tofu and spinach, accompanied by 1.5 katori of mixed vegetable raita
  • Two pieces of multigrain roti, and 1.5 katori of Soya Matar ki Sabzi should make up your dinner
  • End your day with a cup of Jasmine Green Tea without sugar

Following this diet plan will help one go a long way in improving their protein intake. You can find a balanced, 7 days diet plan.


It is extremely important to ensure your protein consumption is maintained, and the daily requirement is met.

Enjoy the nutrient benefits, even if you are a vegetarian, simply by eating the 7 high-protein foods mentioned above. As a non-vegetarian, you can learn how to increase your protein intake while keeping your fat consumption low.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How do vegetarians get enough protein?

A. Vegetarians can get protein by making smart preparation choices of combining Lentils with Grains (as this results in a complete protein), by selecting high-protein foods like Paneer, Tofu, Legumes, Peas, and whole pulses.

Q. Which fruit has the most protein?

Avocado and guava are considered to have a decent amount of protein, i.e. 100 grams of these fruits consists of 3 grams of protein.

Q. Do vegetarians lose weight faster?

No evidence backs up the statement that vegetarians lose weight faster than individuals who consume meat. The focus should be to consume a balanced diet, rich in protein-based food, to lose weight.

Q. Which Dal is high in protein?

All dals are considered to be high in protein. A 100 g of cooked dal consists of 5 g of protein.

Q. Which vegetable has the most protein?

Green peas have 7.2 g of protein per 100 grams making them a protein-rich vegetable.

Q. Are oats high in protein?

Yes, oats are a protein-rich food. Every 100 grams of oats contains 13.6 grams of protein. So, you can add oats to fulfil your protein requirement for the day.

Q. As a vegetarian how can I get 75 grams of protein a day?

You can divide your breakfast, lunch and dinner accordingly to receive the appropriate amount of protein. Peanut butter whole wheat bread is ideal for breakfast, you can have sauteed vegetables with quinoa or sprouts pulao for lunch and for dinner prepare a  millet paneer khichdi.

Q. Is peanut butter high in protein?

Yes, peanut butter is an excellent source of plant-based protein. 1 tbsp of peanut butter contains 4 grams of protein.

Q. Are apples high in protein?

No apples are high in protein. 1 medium apple provides 1 gram of protein.

Q. What is the best source of protein for vegetarians?

Pulses and dals, seeds and nuts, low-fat dairy products and tofu are good sources of protein for vegetarians. They are safe to consume daily and vegetarians can include them in their everyday diet plan.

Q. Is Mushroom high in protein?

1 cup of mushroom, in pieces and slices, contains 2.2 grams of protein making it a decent source of protein for vegetarians.

About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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68 responses to “Protein Rich Food – Vegetarian Diet Plan, Indian Recipes”

  1. Any substitute of soy products for hypothyroidism patients .Your plan is very good but as I am a hypothyroidism patient I cannot eat soy nd soy products.

    • You can still eat small amounts of soy as long as they are consumed AT LEAST 4 hours after / before your thyroid medication

  2. Hi there, This post is really helpful. I experience a few challenges in High protein Veg Food. For me your content is really helpful. Thanks a bunch for sharing such insightful content!!! Soy is my favorite.

  3. Very complete article!! And this is very helpful about veggie protein.
    Thank you for sharing amazing article.

  4. I was searching for this kind of article finally found. I was unable to find out the veg protein sources and diet plans before. I will try this from now. Thank you so much

  5. Thank you for the well-explained information. It’s really helpful that there are articles like this to help how we handle it, Keep sharing.

  6. Hi! Thanks for sharing this nutritious blog with us! I think for all the vegan people around there it will be a great collective list for their healthy diet plan…

  7. Timepass is not a post, I am getting to learn a lot from your post you have written, you should keep writing similar posts in your life even further.

  8. It is a great post for all who are health-conscious and vegetarian. I have started following a diet plan you have shared. I appreciate your knowledge. Indian vegetarian food has lot of resources and great taste.

    • Hi Marie.. We are so grateful for your kind words. Thanks for sharing your feedback with us. Keep following our blogs.

    • We really appreciate you taking the time out to share your experience with us. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  9. Thanks for sharing this. A good protein diet is important especially if you are working out. Thanks for sharing this recipe I’ll try to add this variation for my diet. Here’s another article about diets.

  10. Hello.This article was really fascinating, particularly because I was investigating
    for thoughts on this subject last Sunday.

  11. Hello Neha!
    Nice article. I am a regular long distance runner and an aspiring triathlete. As per my training requirements for lean muscle structure, I need about 90-95 gms protein per day (as per my weight). Is it really necessary to buy expensive whey proteins every month, or can I attain the 90gm requirement through food? I am a non-vegetarian. My trainer also told me that soya protein is no good!…is this true?
    Look forward to your views. Thanks a lot! Much appreciate.

    • Hi Deb,
      It is not necessary to get your protein from whey protein only. If you are a non vegetarian and can include high biological value protein from lean meats and eggs, that will suffice too. Complementary protein from cereals and pulses in your main meals will add on to your protein. Whey is generally good post a workout or run and provides protein which is absorbed directly. You can include egg whites as well as post workout foods. Regarding soy, soy has a lower biological value than whey protein and whole eggs and so not valued by many but it is still a complete protein from plant sources. It can be used along with other protein sources to meet your daily requirements.
      Hope this answers your query.
      Also, We really appreciate you taking the time out to share your experience with us. Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂

  12. hi miss neha, am still unable to gain much muscle…seriously man, is it possible for a vegie guy to gain heavily!!

  13. Mam,i need 212g protein,318g carbs and 79g fats per what can i add to my diet to maintain the above requirement.
    pls suggest me mam

    • Hi Rahul,

      Your diet needs to be planned in order for you to get the required amount of nutrients. There is no ready foods which can give you the mentioned amount of nutrients. If you are looking for some help with respect to a personalised diet, our coaches at HealthifyMe will be able to assist. Please download teh HealthifyMe app and reap teh benefits of personalised services.

      Hope this helps you!

  14. Comment:hey i wnt to knw how cn i make my body build up my weight is too less how to gain weight without fat give me d name of food which i hv to include in my daily diet plz help yarr

    • Hi Rahul,

      Your situation calls for expert help and a personalised diet and wprkout plan. The best way you can get access to this is by downloading the HealthifyMe application and our certified diet and fitness coaches will be more than happy to assist you.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Very good article written by Naha Jain. She has summarily given 7 high class Indian vegetarian proteins. A good article to read and adopt for Indian as well as world veggies ! ( Mandira Bhattacharjee (alongwith my husband RJ Bhattacharjee), from Kolkata, India.

  16. Thanks for sharing this useful information.The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly.

  17. Hi
    Can you please give me a full day high protin low catb diet plan (Vegetarian) .Around 1200 calories

    Thank you.

    • Hi Jigar,

      Please download the HealthifyMe App and get easy access to personalized diet and workout plans.

    • Hi Amit,

      Please download the HeathifyMe app to get easy access to personalized diet and workout plans.

  18. hii mam I wana get 60 grm protein frm my diet so what should i eat??? I can’t eat egg becoz my hv another issue with egg, plzzz do suggest me

    • Hi Rahul,

      Here are a few vegetarian sources of protein that you can consume, dals, lentils, sprouts, milk and its products, soy products, mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, hummus, and nuts.

  19. Hi in my case my kidney is loosing protein approx 1300-1500 and dr recomend me to take protein in
    My daily routein so pls suggeat me that how and how much in which way i can take protein

    • Hi Deepika,

      You must consume at least minimum 0.7 to 0.8 g per kg body weight high quality protein like milk and its products, lean portions of meat, soy products, etc.

  20. Hi Neha…
    Being a vegan it’s really difficult for me to fulfill my daily requirement of protein, precisely my protein intake has be 160 grams.
    I am trying my level best to achieve it but can’t cope up with my hectic schedule. How many meals should I make in order to fulfill my daily need.
    Regards: Dheeraj Sharma

    • Hi Dheeraj,

      Ideally, you should have a minimum of 6 – 8 meals in a day, including your pre and post workout meals. You can fulfil your daily protein intake by consuming products made out of soya, like soya chunks, soya bean curd or tofu. You may also substitute normal milk with almond or peanut milk. If needed you can also take protein supplements that do not contain dairy.

    • Hi Mamta,

      Please download the HealthifyMe app and enjoy a 7-day free trial. This will also enable you to schedule a free consultation call with a diet coach, who will help you.

      Looking forward to hearing back from you.

    • Hi Akash,

      Please download the HealthifyMe app and enjoy a 7-day free trial. You will also be able to free consultation call with a diet or fitness coach. They will be able to help you with your protein intake.

    • Eat 8 chapati per day 3 morning , 2 lunch time nd 3 in dinner one chapati contain 3 gm of proteins , total 24 gm and eat 100 gm of soyabeans dal , 35 gm proteins, 35 +24 =59 gm of proteins

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