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Vegetarian Delight

These 7 nutrient-packed recipes
Make the ultimate vegetarian menu.

Power Plants: The Ultimate Muscle-Building Vegetarian Menu!

When you hear the words ''buff vegetarian,'' does anyone come to mind? It's more than possible to build lean muscle without eating meat. If it sounds crazy, keep reading.

When you hear the words "buff vegetarian," does anyone come to mind? How about former Mr. Universe Bill Pearl and six-time Ms. Olympia Cory Everson? These eye-popping physiques were both supported by a vegetarian diet.

It's more than possible to build lean muscle without eating meat. If it sounds crazy, keep reading.

Do you want to expand your grocery-shopping horizons, pack in new sources of high-quality nutrients, and still consume 150-plus grams of protein in one day? Well, you'll get all that and more from the meatless meal plan below.

So if your taste buds and food sensibilities are begging for a change? Ah! Not another chicken breast!? Why not try vegetarian for a day?

"A balanced selection of vegetables provides many of the nutrients your body requires every day."

You don't have to eat like a rabbit, and you don't have to commit to lifelong veggie-worship to take vegetarianism for a test drive.

It's all about complementary proteins and taking in all of your amino acids, minus the meat. But let's skip the science and get to the mouthwatering recipes, shall we?

Breakfast Tofu and Spinach Scramble

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pan on medium heat (less oil if the pan is non-stick). Throw in tomatoes, mushrooms, and 1 clove of garlic (crushed or chopped), and let everything cook until the mushrooms have softened, turning slightly golden brown.
  2. Turn the heat to low and throw in the tofu, a splash of soy sauce, splash of lemon, and your salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, letting some of the liquid cook off and the tofu to warm up.
  3. Turn off the heat and mix in the spinach.
  4. On the side you can add 1/4 cup of your pre-cooked quinoa. But before you serve the quinoa, here's an easy way to jazz it up for breakfast.

Sweet Cinnamon Quinoa (Side)

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Reheat your quinoa in the microwave (you can add a splash of soy milk, almond milk, or hemp milk if you want it to be more moist).
  2. Add the walnuts, blackberries, cinnamon and Stevia and mix it all together with a spoon.
  3. Serve warm!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (including quinoa on the side)
Amount per serving
Calories 418
Total Fat26g
Total Carbs29g
Protein31g
Fiber7.5g

Mid-afternoon Meal Greek Yogurt, Almonds, and Dried Apricot

Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of Greek Style Yogurt
  • 1-2 palm-fulls of raw or roasted Almonds (unsalted and unsweetened)
  • 1 palm-full of dried Apricot
  • 1 packet of Stevia (zero calorie sweetener) or a bit of agave or Honey
Directions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients and chow down!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount per serving
Calories 428
Total Fat23g
Total Carbs31g
Protein23g
Fiber5g

Lunch Portabella and "Sausage" Pasta with Spinach

Ingredients

Note: You can choose any whole wheat pasta that you'd like or even a specialty pasta such as pastas made with quinoa flour or brown rice flour. Read the nutrition label to understand how much pasta equals one serving.

Directions
  1. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil on medium in a large saute pan. When the oil is hot, place onion, mushrooms, and garlic in the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables start to shrink and/or brown a little bit.
  2. They shouldn't be cooked all the way through. Add your favorite cooking red wine (I found both Merlot and Cabernet to be good options for this meal) and the "sausage" to the pan.
  3. Cook all together until the alcohol has cooked out of the wine and little liquid remains. Add your spices to the pan, to your taste.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions, and then add your mushroom and sausage mix to the pasta. Mix well and place on top of a bed of fresh spinach.
  5. Drizzle with balsamic and eat up! I like this meal hot and cold.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount per serving
Calories 444
Total Fat16g
Total Carbs32g
Protein28g
Fiber15g

Snack Edamame, Hummus, Whole-grain Crackers

Ingredients
  • 3 ounces of fresh or boiled Edamame (immature green soybeans?Don't eat the shells!)
  • 2 or 3 tbsp Hummus
  • 1 ounce Whole-grain Crackers (usually between 7 to 10 crackers depending on the product, but my favorite is Kashi Heart to Heart Whole Grain)
Directions
  1. This one is simple: Hold, dip, munch. Construct an edamame and cracker tower with hummus as cement. Challenge yourself?how high can you stack?
  2. Annoy your cubicle buddies with the sound of crunching. After all, it's good for your health, and that's what matters.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount per serving
Calories 335
Total Fat16.5g
Total Carbs35g
Protein18g
Fiber10g

Dinner Meatless Nachos

Ingredients

Note: If you use canned beans for the convenience factor, make sure to rinse the beans in cold water and drain them before using.

Directions
  1. Mix the black beans and Gimme Lean Ground Sausage in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the bean and "sausage" mixture for 1-2 minutes until hot.
  2. Sprinkle with cheese and red chili pepper flakes if you're brave enough. Eat with tortilla chips!
  3. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the home-made guacamole recipe below for added flavor and a boost of healthy fats and protein from nutritious avocado and quinoa!
  4. Optional: Serve nachos on a bed of fresh spinach.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount per serving
Calories 410
Total Fat13g
Total Carbs45g
Protein31g
Fiber15g

Easy Guacamole (Side)

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Mix the avocado, quinoa, red onion, tomato, and cilantro together in a bowl. Add lime and your spices to taste!
  2. Refrigerate before serving, if desired.

Dessert Protein Pudding or Low-Carb Smoothie

Ingredients
  • Your favorite high-quality Protein Powder in your favorite flavor.
  • A liquid: Choose ice to blend with your shake, or you can use water, Soy Milk or almond milk.

Tips: To make protein pudding, start with a very small amount of liquid and mix the protein powder and liquid together until it forms a pudding like texture. Casein protein or protein blends tend to work best for the pudding effect.

You can also add a bit of almond butter, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, nuts, or blueberries to make a fancy dessert.

You can even add almond or peanut butter to your protein smoothies for a boost of healthy fats and a creamy texture.

If you choose to include a high-protein dessert, you'll add between 130 and 200 calories to your day, and 1 scoop of most protein powders includes at least 20 grams of protein!


Total for Meal
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (Entire Meal)
Amount per serving
Calories 2260
Total Fat120g
Total Carbs176g
Protein154g
Fiber53g

The Take-Home Lessons

There you have it?1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for someone weighing 154 pounds. If you want more or less protein?or if you're trying to get below 2200 calories?this meal plan can be easily modified.

Here are some ideas: Scramble egg whites and add them to your lunch and dinner. Add whey protein to your Greek yogurt. Use two scoops of protein powder instead of one, or add in another protein shake with water sometime during the day?perfect for a post-workout meal.

On the other hand, you can always cut down the portions of meals, leave out the quinoa for the day and drink an extra protein shake instead, or skip the guacamole.

Remember that you're not baking a souffle here. It's not food science. You can replace any ingredients you don't like with ones that you do. Mushrooms gross you out?

Try grilled zucchini or asparagus. You won't always get the same nutrient breakdown, but the calorie count should be close enough to keep you on track with your fitness goals.

Vegetarians can't build muscle? Think again.


Related Articles

About The Author

After going through her own transformation, Jessica now leads an even healthier fit lifestyle with the hopes of giving back to others...

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Comments

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adrianoelmexi

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adrianoelmexi

Cool . Great ideas for ingredients and what not for us vegetarians

Jan 6, 2012 10:09pm | report
 
taurus12

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taurus12

thanks for the ideas! seems hard to find vegetarian meals for trying to build muscle

Jan 20, 2012 1:15pm | report
 
corymarsh

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corymarsh

Greek yogurt is the best for sure!

Feb 10, 2012 11:09am | report
 
SNAKE-MAN

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SNAKE-MAN

great will try to get some of that food..... good stuff

May 25, 2012 5:25pm | report
 
benstopper

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benstopper

I love this article... It's an interesting read for sure.

I am a meat eater and none of those dishes in the article sounds as tasty as a giant steak or an entire chicken. None-the-less, some very good ideas.

Sep 6, 2012 1:46am | report
 
sculptedleslie

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sculptedleslie

This article is great! As a newcomer into the world of overall body fitness I'm excited to know that I can build muscle while continuing to be a vegetarian as I have been my whole life.

Oct 29, 2012 6:53pm | report
 
bjtin

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bjtin

Mmmm, those look yummy! Can you suggest a menu plan that has no soy in it? What can I use to replace the soy (tofu, soybeans, etc)? What ingredients should I leave out to keep my calorie intake down to 1400-1600 calories? I'm looking to build lean mass and get a 6-pack. Oh, and I'm a beginner :) Thanks!

Mar 9, 2013 2:22pm | report
 
bermm08

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bermm08

Pudla is a great high protein substitute for eggs that a lot of vegans use. It is basically chickpea (garbonzo) bean powder. There are a ton of pudla recipes online that suggest making it pancake style, but it works great scrambled too! If you can't find it in stores amazon carries Bob's Mill brand that I recommend.

Apr 28, 2014 12:04am | report
kandorean

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kandorean

This menu is A , I'm doing the Six Week Shortcut to Shred by Jim Stoppani together with this menu every day. I get my macros so easy that I can't thank you enough. When Dinner (chips & guacamole) is the favorite plate, I can't start my day without my breakfast (Tofu & Spinach). Today I will start my fourth week following this menu & the exercise program and feel great!

May 2, 2013 9:58am | report
 
dshah202

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dshah202

Good menu, but ummm I'm pretty sure that Sausage is meat!

Jul 1, 2013 12:25pm | report
 
bioniceve

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bioniceve

Thank you! I am just starting to learn body building and am a vegetarian. I can use all the advice I can get!

Sep 26, 2013 7:16pm | report
 
davenov2013

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davenov2013

Have one concerns :
1) Breakfast Lunch has oil menus is that ok to have?
2) In dinner instead of prescribed menu what if go with boiled vegies like mashroom etc?

Nov 12, 2013 4:06am | report
 
anthonykelsey

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anthonykelsey

WTF SAUSAGE IS PORK 90% of the time unless otherwise stated SO NO SAUSAGE ITS NOT VEGAN. plus i just hate pork so i just dont eat it

Mar 25, 2014 7:34pm | report
 
JDa617

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JDa617

The "Gimme Lean Ground Sausage" is by lightlife, its actually vegetarian.

Mar 27, 2014 10:30am | report
 
JDa617

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JDa617

You can get the vegetarian sausage in the vegetarian section in the grocery store.

Mar 27, 2014 10:35am | report
 
JPatR

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JPatR

I'm going to give this a go for the day. Getting tired of meat all the time. Great recipes, thank you.

Apr 20, 2014 7:39pm | report
 
Hpuri

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Hpuri

Where is the Sugar intake in these recipes?

May 15, 2014 12:04pm | report
 
andreo

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andreo

Thanks, i was looking some good ideas for vege.

Jun 10, 2014 12:20pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 18 of 18 Comments

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