Counting Macros

5 Plant Based Meal Ideas For Macro Dieting

Here are five plant-based meal ideas you can use when macro dieting or counting macros as a vegetarian, vegan, or someone who is just trying to reduce reliance on animal protein.

When people eliminate animal products from their diets, it can be challenging to balance macros because plant-based nutrition tends to be more carb dominant making it difficult to reach protein goals. 

Luckily, because of the rising popularity of eating a plant-based diet, more and more brands are developing products with this in mind. 

One of my favorite of these foods is legume-based pasta. This pasta tastes like traditional pasta but is much higher in protein. Learning to use such foods really helps with getting that protein in and makes macro balancing a lot easier. 

I’ve divided these meals up into 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners.

Macro Diet Plant-Based Breakfast Idea

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa is better than oatmeal because it is higher in plant-based protein and it contains complete protein which is a protein that contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body. 

It’s super simple to make and you can cook the quinoa ahead of time in big batches to quickly use throughout your week. I’ve been a fan of red quinoa lately but feel free to experiment with different types. 

The Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup high protein plant-based milk like the Ripple brand

The Directions:

Just simply combine all the ingredients. Quinoa breakfast bowls can be served hot or cold. If you want it hot, heat it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

Feel free to experiment with your own mix-ins like different kinds of fruits, seeds, and nuts. 

The Macros:

Calories: 453

  • Carbs: 62.5 grams (*about 44.5 net carbs)
  • Fat: 15.2 grams
  • Protein: 17.9 grams
  • Fiber: 25.7 grams*

Vegan Macro-based Lunch Ideas

black beans and rice vegan

Black Beans & Wild Rice

This is a staple of vegetarian cooking. This meal offers complete protein, healthy carbs, and keeps you feeling satisfied. 

Many cultures make this dish with different seasonings but this one is Brazillian inspired. 

The Ingredients (makes two servings)

  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

The Directions:

Cook the rice as directed to make 2 cups of cooked wild rice (You can use ready-rice too). In a small saucepan combine all the other ingredients and simmer until the onion and pepper are soft. (about 10 minutes). Serve half the black bean mixture over 1 cup of rice. 

The Macros:

Calories: 400

  • Carbs: 76.5 grams (*about 64 g net carbs)
  • Fat: 1.5 grams
  • Protein: 18.3 grams
  • Fiber: 17.1 grams*

Bean Salad with Whole Grain Crackers

Here’s another easy protein-packed vegan lunch idea that’s easy to make and delicious. 

You can also eat in on a bed of spring greens or use gluten-free crackers instead. 

The Ingredients (makes 5 servings)

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can of red beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 can of green beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

The Directions:

Drain and rinse all the beans and place them in a mixing bowl. Dice and add the onion and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serve each serving with 4 whole-grain crackers like the Milton brand

The Macros: (per serving w/crackers)

Calories: 389

  • Carbs: 65 grams (*about 55 g net carbs)
  • Fat: 10.6 grams
  • Protein: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 14 grams*

Plant-Based Dinner Ideas for Macro Counters

Legume Pasta with Vegan Marinara Sauce

legume pasta and red sauce plant-based

This super quick meal uses that pasta that I talked about earlier and offers a dinner rich in plant-based protein in about 15 minutes. 

The Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (dry weight) legume pasta.  (I like the ZENB brand)
  • 3/4 cup vegan marinara (red sauce). (I like the ZENB brand here too because they use whole vegetables and add other vegetables to their sauce instead of just tomatoes. )
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan (the VioLife brand was used for macro calculations)

The Directions:

Cook the pasta as directed for about 8 minutes. While that’s cooking heat the sauce and grate the cheese. Drain the pasta, top it with the sauce, and add the grated vegan parmesan.

ZENB has a lot of pasta varieties and sauces. You can explore their offerings on their website here.  

The Macros:

Calories: 575

  • Carbs: 78.5 grams (*about 70 g net carbs)
  • Fat: 22.2 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Fiber: 10.5 grams*

Seitan Red Curry with Wild Rice

Seitan is made from concentrated wheat protein and is a great way to boost the protein of plant-based meals. Combining it with rice delivers all the amino acids that your body needs.

The Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 4 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 red bell peppers sliced
  • 1 medium onion sliced.
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste (or to taste)
  • 8 ounces of sliced white mushrooms
  • 16 ounces prepared seitan
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

The Directions:

Cook the wild rice as directed to make two cups of cooked rice. In a large pot cook the coconut oil, peppers, and onion on medium heat until the veggies are softened. Add the curry paste, seitan, and mushrooms and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the fish sauce and serve over the wild rice. 

Feel free to experiment with your own vegetable mix-ins. 

The Macros: (per serving) 

Calories: 460

  • Carbs: 54.5 grams (*about 48 g net carbs)
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Protein: 39.2 grams
  • Fiber: 8.9 grams*

It can be hard to come up with plant-based meal ideas especially if you’re new to this way of eating or if you are new to counting macros.

These five vegan meals will help you get started and give you more delicious and healthy recipe ideas to have in your arsenal. 

Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, is an expert macros coach, and the author of The Macro Solution. If you need personal help reaching your weight loss/fitness goals see his nutrition & macros coaching options. Follow Ted on Instagram
Last Updated: June 10, 2021

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