eggplant vegetarian toast

Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle can be onerous through record-breaking ice storms and Siberian-intensity windchill. Mid-winter blues can wreak havoc on our commitment to fitness and diet, ultimately undoing much of the payoff warm-weather workouts awarded us. Aside from self-driven exercise inspiration, making the effort to eat well during the dark months can make all the difference. There are a number of ways to keep yourself active this winter, including going out and dressing up, even in the bitter cold. Cooking warm, healthy meals is another way to keep yourself on track. These high protein vegetarian meals are high in calcium and protein, two essential energy-boosting nutrients. Swap another night of takeout for one of these rejuvenating recipes.

Nutty Quinoa Tofu Bowls

Serves 2

Protein: 43g

high protein vegetarian nutty tofu bowl

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup quinoa

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup broccoli florets

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 small diced bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

4 slices extra firm tofu, baked

2 tablespoons roasted peanuts

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 clove minced garlic


How it’s done:

Cook quinoa in water according to directions while heating olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add red pepper and cook until soft.

Set in a separate bowl and add broccoli to the skillet.

Cover and steam until broccoli is tender.

Combine broccoli and peppers in a separate bowl.

Mix peanut butter, lime juice, water, soy sauce, sugar, and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix soy sauce, syrup, olive oil, garlic, and pepper in a small baking dish.

Place tofu in the dish and let marinate for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu regularly.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place marinated tofu on baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until edges are dark.

Top each quinoa bowl with two slices of tofu and chopped peanuts. Serve warm and enjoy!


Cashew Noodles with Broccoli

Serves 4

Protein: 26 grams

Cashew Noodles vegetarian

What you’ll need:

5 cups broccoli florets

4 cups enriched egg noodles

3 tablespoons vinaigrette of choice

1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews


How it’s done:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add broccoli and cook until soft.

Set aside and return water to a boil.

Add noodles and cook through until soft. Drain well.

Put vinaigrette of choice, cashews, and 1/2 cup water into a blender and purée until smooth.

Return warm noodles to mixture and broccoli.

Cook over medium heat, tossing gently, until heated through.

Serve warm with tofu or other mixed vegetables if desired.


Zucchini Paneer with Chickpeas

Serves 4

Protein: 28 grams

Zucchini Paneer vegetarian

What you’ll need:

1 cup chopped tomatoes

4 medium cubed zucchinis

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons chopped ginger

1 chopped red onion

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 cup diced paneer

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup chickpeas


How it’s done:

Heat grapeseed oil in a large skillet.

Add onion, chopped ginger, and all spices.

Cook for three minutes. Add tomatoes, zucchini, and water.

Cook until zucchini is tender. Add garam masala and cover.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add remaining oil.

Fry paneer cubes until golden brown. Add to the zucchini and stir well.

Toss in cooked chickpeas and serve with rice of choice.


Mushroom and Black Bean Burger

Serves 4

Protein: 30 grams

Black Bean Burger vegetarian

What you’ll need:

2 cans seasoned black beans

1 cup sliced portabella mushrooms

1/4 cup vignette of choice

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/4 cup onion, grated

4 slices swiss cheese

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

1 cup spinach

1 large sliced tomato

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon chili powder


How it’s done:

Drain canned black beans and mash thoroughly.

Add bread crumbs, onion, egg, and chili powder to bean mixture.

Let sit for 5 minutes. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Make small patties from bean mixture and place the patties in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, flipping regularly.

Place cheese on each patty, and continue cooking until burgers are heated through.

Toast buns until golden.

Place patties on buns and top with tomato, spinach, mushroom, and vinaigrette.


Spinach, Mushroom, and Ricotta Grilled Cheese

Serves 2

Protein: 25 grams

Grilled Cheese vegetarian

What you’ll need:

1/3 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1/4 cup fresh spinach

1/2 cup mushroom of choice

1 tablespoon basil

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon black pepper

4 slices sourdough bread

1 tablespoon reduced-fat butter

1/2 cup reduced-fat alfredo sauce


How it’s done:

Fry garlic in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat.

Remove from heat and add ricotta, spinach, mushroom, pepper, and basil to the garlic.

Mix well. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter.

Divide the ricotta mixture in half and spread it on the unbuttered sides of two slices of bread.

Return the pan/skillet to the stove over medium heat and place the sandwiches in the pan.

Cook until cheese has melted and both sides are golden brown.

Sprinkle with extra seasoning and serve with Alfredo sauce.