30 High-Protein Meals That Aren’t Boring Steak and Potatoes
Maybe you’re feeling hungry an hour after dinner. Maybe you’re hitting the gym more often. Whatever the reason, you want to add more protein to your diet. You came to the right place: These 30 high-protein meals all have at least 20 grams of the good stuff (and none of them are boring old steak and potatoes).
1. Cast-Iron Pork Chops with Cacao-Spiced Rub (24g protein)
Pork has a reputation for being boring and dry; these chops are anything but. They're salted 45 minutes before they're cooked, which makes the texture of the meat buttery smooth. The easy spice rub is pretty damn versatile, too. Serve it with a salad at lunch or dinner to keep it keto, or substitute mashed potatoes.
2. Chicken Thighs with Pancetta and Green Olives (55g protein)
If you cook your chicken thighs low and slow, you’ll get crispy skin and juicy, tender meat every single time. But crispiness aside, these thighs pack a serious punch of flavor, thanks to salty pancetta, briny olives and only *three* other ingredients. It just takes 50 minutes to make, so we'd add this to your dinner rotation with a side of white rice, stat.
3. Alison Roman’s Swordfish with Crushed Olives and Oregano (30g protein)
Know someone who doesn’t like fish? Serve them this 30-minute meal and you’ll totally change their mind. Swordfish is really meaty with minimal fishiness, making it a great starting place for newbies. Might we suggest grilling and devouring alfresco with a glass of white wine?
4. Spicy Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup (31g protein)
Cold and flu season has nothing on this immunity booster. It's great to sip on for lunch or to have as an anti-inflammatory late night snack. We love this soup for its simplicity, but it’s also totally customizable: Add rice or pasta, or switch out the greens. You’re the chef.
5. Honey Mustard Sheet-Pan Chicken with Brussels Sprouts (31g protein)
Sticky, sweet and spicy? Sign us up. This sheet-pan meal will wow the entire dinner table—and most importantly, leave you with minimal cleanup. The sprouts get super brown and caramelized in the savory pan juice, so much so that your kids won't mind actually eating them.
6. Salmon Noodle Bowls with Chili-Yuzu Relish and Pickled Radishes (36g protein)
Make the toppings ahead of time for a meal-prep masterpiece. We're talking quick-pickled radishes, honey-soy dressing and chili-yuzu relish (aka the best part) on a bed of tender egg noodles. You'll be the envy of the office break room at first bite.
7. Aran Goyoaga’s Niçoise Salad (20g protein)
Everyone should have a classic Niçoise salad recipe to rely on. This one is quick, hearty and easy to scale up or down, as well as a bit reinvented. Fried capers and dill offer an herbaceous, briny quality you won't find in traditional recipes. It's destined for your annual summer picnic.
8. Veggie Banh Mi Bowls with Crispy Tofu (23g protein)
Proof that you don’t need meat to make a satisfying, high-protein meal—thanks, crispy tofu. Use cauliflower rice if you're having a bowl for a light lunch, or swap in quinoa or brown rice to make it more filling. Oh, and go HAM on the sriracha aioli.
9. Pan-Seared Scallops with Citrusy Corn Succotash (22g protein)
Scallops feel fancy but they’re surprisingly easy to make. And they’re nutritious to boot: Three ounces have 20 grams of protein and less than 100 calories. The corn succotash screams summer to us, but you can totally substitute canned corn in the off-season. Whip this up on date night for an impressive dinner for two.
10. Low-Carb Zucchini Enchiladas (33g protein)
These enchiladas have a secret: They’re actually zucchini boats stuffed with beans, shredded rotisserie chicken and tons of gooey cheese. Who needs tortillas anyway? The best part about this recipe is how easy it is to experiment: Use ground turkey, make it vegetarian, substitute salsa verde—the enchilada is your, uh, oyster.
11. Immune-Boosting Turmeric Golden Milk Daal (30g protein)
Lentils are one of our go-tos for a meatless main that still has tons of protein. This spice-heavy bowl has lots of ginger, cinnamon and garlic for the ultimate comforting meal. The garlic is left to sit for 20 minutes after being cut, creating an enzymatic reaction that boosts its antiviral properties. We recommend indulging on a gray winter day when you could use a cozy pick-me-up.
12. Buffalo-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (28g protein)
If we’re being honest, these had us at buffalo (and herb ranch dressing). But the make-ahead, meal-prep-friendly aspect seals the deal. You can cook the sweet potatoes up to five days ahead if you store them in the fridge. Then just reheat and stuff before serving. Why not whip them up on game day?
13. Dorie Greenspan’s Sheet-Pan Balsamic Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Mushrooms (48g protein)
One-and-done dinners can also be really elegant, like this saucy stunner. Even better, it requires just 15 minutes of prep and is super easy to clean up. The sheet-pan makes this dish great for serving crowds, but we also wouldn't complain if we were served this instead of turkey on Thanksgiving (ya know, if your family swings that way).
14. Sticky Asian Meatballs with Udon Noodles (33g protein)
If we could eat meatballs every day, we would, and this twist on a classic would definitely be in our rotation. Made with ginger-scallion pork, the meatballs are covered in a salty-sweet glaze made from hoisin sauce, garlic and honey. So, give spaghetti night a rest; we have a feeling your kids definitely won't mind.
15. Chicken with Feta Cheese, Dill, Lemon and Harissa Yogurt (56g protein)
Admit it: Chicken dishes can get a little boring. But this one-skillet wonder is an exception. It's joined by lots of exciting toppings and a harissa yogurt dressing that’s *chef’s kiss*. We'd serve it over rice or with a Greek side salad.
16. Meal-Prep Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccolini (31g protein)
That sad salad that never fills us up has no idea what’s coming. Make a batch for the week with this 35-minute recipe that'll snap you right out of your lunch rut. Hot take: Whip up a batch of the honey-sesame sauce for the kids to dip their precious chicken nuggets into.
17. Firecracker Chicken with Rice (43g protein)
We’re suckers for a healthy-ish spin on a takeout favorite. Brown sugar is what makes the chicken sticky, while sriracha gives it heat. Stick with steamed rice or swap in saucy lo mein noodles. Best part? This dinner only takes 35 minutes to make from start to finish—swoon.
18. Slow-Cooker Pasta e Fagioli Soup (21g protein)
We left the meat out of our easy version of this Italian soup for a vegetarian-friendly meal that’s still satisfying. And trust us, you won't miss it. The white beans, vegetables and fresh herbs make it super flavorful and aromatic on their own. Pack some in a thermos for an office lunch or cuddle up to a bowl in the evening instead.
19. Salmon Bowl with Farro, Black Beans and Tahini Dressing (59g protein)
Not only is this dish overflowing with healthy ingredients, it’s also satisfying (sup, omega-3s?) and full of different textures. The farro alone could do a good job of keeping you full, but the smoky salmon is sure to help. And don’t even get us started on the delicious turmeric-tahini dressing. Bring it to work for lunch, but we've also been known to wolf down a plate post-workout, too.
20. Keto Sheet-Pan Chicken and Rainbow Veggies (31g protein)
File this under Easiest Ways to Feed Four. Even if you’re not on the keto diet, you’ll appreciate that it requires practically no thought or dishes. (Plus, it’s a great way to clean out your fridge, thanks to all those veggies.) If you insist on a grain, pasta or rice will pair just fine. Or, you can cut everything up and toss it in a salad instead.
21. Turmeric White Fish with Peanuts and Chili-Lime Cucumber (25g protein)
When it comes to high-protein meals, fish often gets overlooked in favor of a big, juicy steak. This spicy 45-minute dish is about to change that. It's Vietnamese-inspired (hence the fish sauce, red chili and toasted peanuts) and bursting with flavors that can accommodate any firm white fish you have. Have it for a light lunch before hitting the gym.
22. 20-Minute Paleo Egg Roll Bowls (21g protein)
Wonton wrappers: Who needs ’em? The important stuff is on the inside, like the saucy ground pork, shredded cabbage and minced ginger. We like eating it straight from the bowl—no rice necessary. But if your kids really want it wrapped up and you don't have wonton wrappers on hand, try scooping the filling into a tortilla or wrap and pressing or grilling it shut.
23. Sticky Orange Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Fennel (41g protein)
The Asian-inspired marinade doubles as a sauce, so you have one less step to worry about. It takes about two hours to come together due to the marinating time, so we'd whip this up for Sunday dinner (or whenever your schedule allows). Feel free to swap fennel for bok choy, green beans, edamame or whatever wilted veggies you're eager to rescue from the trash.
24. Sheet-Pan Persian Lemon Chicken (43g protein)
With a simple yogurt sauce and not one but two types of potatoes, this dish is making all our meal-prep dreams come true. Better yet, it'll only cost you 50 minutes and one dirty sheet pan. The chicken is loaded with Persian flavors, like sumac, cardamom and pomegranate. Between the greens, spuds and chicken, it's balanced as is—no additional sides required.
25. Chickpea and Vegetable Coconut Curry (26g protein)
Make this Thai-inspired dish on a Sunday and reap the rewards (read: leftovers) all week. The chickpeas will keep you full (steamed rice can help with that, too), while the veggies give you the energy and nutrients you crave. Better yet, it only takes a half-hour to make. Pre-yoga dinner, anyone?
26. Zucchini Noodle Pad See Ew (28g protein)
We’re sorry, but as much as you’d like to, you just can’t realistically order takeout for dinner every single night. This lightened-up dish is the next best thing, starring pretty zoodle ribbons instead of carby noodles. Want to make it vegetarian? Just skip the beef—the eggs and cashews still pack a protein punch.
27. Ina Garten’s Updated Chicken Marbella (60g protein)
Even the Barefoot Contessa wants to up her protein game. Luckily, she has this updated classic to get her (and us) there. Chalk its bold flavors up to olives, capers, prunes and a shocking head and a half of garlic. Serve them with mashed potatoes, polenta or couscous.
28. Vietnamese Shrimp in Coconut Caramel Sauce (21g protein)
Caramel sauce on shrimp? Believe it: The sweet-savory flavor profile is positively mind-blowing. It's made by reducing coconut water into a syrupy sauce, then adding fish sauce, coconut oil, garlic, shallot and seasonings. Don't knock it 'til you try it (we're betting even your pickiest little eater can get on board).
29. Easy One-Pot Lentil Kielbasa Soup (34g protein)
This Ayurveda-approved stew stars smoky Polish sausage, earthy lentils and tender veggies, like carrots and celery. Bitter broccoli rabe offers complexity (and green) to the dish, too. Pro tip: It tastes even better if you make it a day ahead, so whip up a batch over the weekend and sip on it for lunch all week.
30. Bruschetta Chicken (42g protein)
A dusting of Parmesan makes this low-cal, low-carb skillet taste indulgent even though it isn't. The tomato topping is super light and fresh, made with red onion, garlic and basil. Yep, we’re cooking it on repeat—especially during tomato season. Want a shortcut for busy weeknights? Start with jarred bruschetta instead of making your own.