Indy Style

30-Minute Vegetarian Protein Recipes

30-Minute Vegetarian Protein Recipes

You’ve probably heard that you should incorporate more plant proteins into your meals for better health. But what does that leave you to actually cook? Michelle Dudash, registered dietitian, chef, and author of the new Clean Eating for Busy Families, revised & expanded, shares her recipes from the book to help you do that. 

30-Minute Vegetarian Protein Recipes

1. Aim for some protein in all of your dishes, not just center of plate.
Yes, it is possible to get enough protein with plant-based foods. But you need to reimagine your plate. Instead of just a slab of meat, find ways to sneak in protein in different ways to all recipes.

For example, pistachios added to salad.

2. Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad with Spinach, Grapes & Pistachios
This salad contains 12 grams of protein per cup. Made with whole-wheat orzo, which is a tiny pasta shape. Whole-wheat flour is higher in protein than refined flour, containing 7 g protein per cup. A cup of spinach contains 2 g protein.

Pistachios contain 6 g protein per 1/4 cup. While all nuts contain at least 1-2 grams protein per serving, pistachios are among the highest in protein.
Michelle works with Wonderful Pistachios and loves using the no-shell variety in recipes. They are so easy to sprinkle into recipes. Pistachios are also a good source of fiber, which is another benefit of most plant-proteins, since many Americans fall short in meeting daily fiber requirements. Yet fiber is important for helping you feel fuller longer and is good for digestive health and much more.

3. Buckwheat Noodle Bowl with Edamame & Ginger
Made with pantry ingredients Michelle always recommends keeping on hand, like frozen, no-shell edamame and buckwheat noodles, which are both rich in protein, 

Way less expensive than takeout noodle bowls and much healthier, too.

Husband-approved vegan dinner!

For more recipes, go to

30-Minute Vegetarian Protein Recipes

Whole-Wheat Orzo Salad with Spinach, Grapes & Parmesan

The beautiful balance of sweet, sour, and salty tastes comes through in this simple salad.
You might want to make a double batch and enjoy leftovers the next day, since hearty spinach stands up to the light lemon vinaigrette. You may use cooked freekeh in place of orzo, if you wish.

1 cup (220 g) dry whole-wheat orzo
2 tablespoons (28 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups (60 g) roughly chopped baby spinach
1 1/4 cups (188 g) halved seedless red grapes
1/2 cup (60 g) diced celery
1/4 cup (30 g) shelled Wonderful Pistachios, chopped once through
1/4 cup (25 g) thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup (20 g) shaved or thinly sliced Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons (28 ml) lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir in orzo, add 1 pinch of salt, and boil for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente. Drain in a fine colander and pour onto a large plate. Drizzle on 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil, separating orzo into sections with a spoon to speed cooling to room temperature.

Toss together in a medium bowl the cooled orzo, remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of oil, spinach, grapes, celery, pistachios, scallions, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

Eat immediately or chill until ready to serve, up to 2 days.

Total Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes • Yield: 4 servings, 1 cup (approx. 223 g) each

Per serving: 345 calories; 12 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 12 g Protein; 51 g carbohydrate; 6 g dietary fiber; 4 mg cholesterol.

Recipe Notes
•    Find orzo in the kosher or rice (even though it’s wheat pasta) section of the grocery store. You can substitute regular orzo or barley cooked according to the package directions if whole-wheat orzo is unavailable.
•    If you are using a colander with large holes, line the bottom with a coffee filter or cheesecloth to prevent the orzo from falling through.

30-Minute Vegetarian Protein Recipes

Buckwheat Noodle Bowl with Edamame & Ginger
Get your Zen on with this Japanese-inspired dish. Your well-stocked “clean” kitchen will
likely have all of these ingredients on hand for a quick, one-pot dinner.

1 tablespoon (15 ml) high-heat oil like avocado, rice bran, or canola oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely shredded (about 2 cups, or 220 g)
4 scallions, green parts diagonally cut into ¼-inch [6 mm] pieces, white parts chopped, divided
5 thin slices peeled gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, smashed with side of knife
5 cups (1.2 L) organic or reduced sodium vegetable broth
2 (3.5-ounce, or 100 g) bundles dry buckwheat (soba) noodles
1 1/4 cups (148 g) frozen shelled edamame
1 sheet roasted nori (optional, found in Asian food section), cut into bite-size strips
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons (25 ml) tamari (or soy sauce)

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add carrots, white parts of scallions, gingerroot and garlic and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil on high heat. Add noodles and bring back to a boil. Add edamame and maintain a low boil for 5 minutes until noodles are al dente. Stir in the nori and tamari.

Recipe Notes
•    When reheating leftovers, pour in a bit more broth for a soupy consistency.
•    You can get away with using only 4 cups (1 L) of broth if you’d like the finished dish to have a thicker consistency.