10 Muscle Building Plant Based Foods with Recipes

10 Muscle Building Plant Based Foods with Recipes

It is no surprise that consuming meat delivers rich, muscle building protein into your system. Yet, with studies continually showing health dangers or factory farming risks you may be trying to slow down your meat consumption. 

Incorporating plant-based options into your diet is proving over and over to be a smart move. However, you may be concerned that you are not going to obtain enough protein or, more importantly, the nine essential amino acids for a complete protein source as you would in a cut of beef or poultry. 

Fortunately, there are many products and recipes that will bring you comparable or exceeded protein compared to meat. This way you can give your system a chance to catch up, as meat, especially meat combined with carbohydrates like a burger bun, takes an enormous amount of energy to digest. Eating plant-based in between will enable you to gain significant nutrients (some not found in meat) as well as a solid dose of protein and some other potentially unexpected benefits too.

These 10 muscle building plant-based foods can easily be added to your diet. Try to replace at least one or more meat meals per day and see if your energy, stamina, strength and other functions improve. Twenty-one days of more plant-based than meat consumption will help you determine muscle building, toning, rapid repair and possibly other health benefits as well.

Use this meat protein comparison reference for the plant-based info below:

  • 3 ounces of pork 22 grams
  • 3 oz of steak 26-28 grams
  • 3 ounces of skinless chicken 28 grams

Quinoa and Pinto Beans

Similar to the consistency of rice, quinoa (keen-wah) is a high protein, non-gluten, amino acid packed ancient grain. One cup offers about 8-9 grams of protein. Add in one cup of pinto beans (22-24 grams) and you’ll be consuming upwards of 30-34 grams of plant based protein with complete essential amino acids in one sitting.

Pinto Keen-Wah

2 cans Goya pinto beans

1 cup quinoa



Olive oil

Grape tomatoes (optional)

Jalapeños (optional)

Cook quinoa until fluffy. In a medium pot on a low flame, sauté half a cup of olive oil with cut onions, jalapeños (optional) and pressed garlic. Once slightly brown, gently add beans and slowly mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place quinoa in a wide bowl, top with beans, add four or five halved cherry tomatoes (optional). Serve. 

Amaranth, Chia, Hemp

Mixing Amaranth, Chia, and Hemp together with pure raw honey as a binder offers a sweet power up muscle snack perfect before a workout.

These seeds and grain (amaranth aka pseudo cereal) hold the following complete proteins:

  • Amaranth – 1 cooked cup equals 9 grams of protein
  • Chia – 2 tablespoons equals 4 grams of protein.
  • Hemp – 3 tablespoons of raw, un-hulled hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein.

Honey Poppers

1/2 cup amaranth (cooked)

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

3 tablespoons of raw hemp seeds

1/4-1/2 cup of raw honey depending on consistency

Pour all into a bowl, except for the honey. Make sure your hands are washed or wear gloves. Begin adding honey and mixing with one hand. Once the mixture has a good solid consistency (not too dry or wet), roll into balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy these sweet energy muscle building poppers any time of day, particularly about one hour before a workout.

Whole Wheat & Peanut Butter

Coming in at a whopping 14 grams of complete protein, high grade peanut butter on whole wheat bread is a solid sandwich. Don’t get tricked into the excess oil, sugar and salt content of processed peanut butter brands but instead spend your hard earned coin on some quality stuff. Freshly pressed peanuts into butter is optimal and many good mom-n-pop health food stores carry a peanut butter maker. However if that’s not possible, there are excellent natural options including some from the big peanut corporations as well which can suffice.Your whole wheat bread should also be high standard containing no corn syrup, high fructose, or other unnecessary fillers.

Like the energy poppers above, a peanut butter sandwich offers a good jolt of muscle building nutrition. Try this recipe for a tasty take on the classic peanut butter sandwich. Note: Two tablespoons of peanut butter is recommended which contains

Nuttin’ Bananas Honey

Creating a peanut butter sandwich can be sanctimonious to some. However, if you’re willing to try something new, add a few slices of organic bananas and a drizzle of raw honey to your sandwich. This is the Nuttin’ Bananas Honey sandwich. You will receive muscle building plant protein from the plain peanut butter and whole wheat bread but when you add bananas the potassium will assist in muscle repair. Raw honey is good for too many things to list and will slightly sweeten up your sandwich (as long as you don’t load too much on). Agave, stevia, and monk fruit are good sweetener alternatives.

Note: Keep your banana slices thin and few and your honey drizzle minimal. Warming the wheat bread to a pre-toast crunch makes for the perfect edible canvas.

3 Meat Substitutes

Tofu and edamame (soy beans) are great options for meat substitutes that absorb savory flavors and offer good comparable texture. There is also the brand Quorn, a micro-protein that makes everything from chicken tenders to burgers. All of these bring the complete protein and amino acids for optimal muscle building.

These 10 muscle building plant-based foods will enable you to choose non-meat options when you want to mix it up or jump into a total plant-based diet. To learn more about the power of plant-based options check out the movie ‘Game Changers’ for an eye opening look at elite athletes switching and succeeding without meat.