The Five-Day Vegetarian Meal Plan For Muscle Gain

Man stir-frying vegetables in a wok in a home kitchen
(Image credit: 10'000 Hours / DigitalVision / Getty Images)

If you follow a vegetarian diet and frequent the weights room in your gym, there’s one question you probably get asked time and time again: “How do you get your protein?”

While lean meats and fish are great sources of protein, it’s a myth that all vegetarians are deficient in this essential macronutrient, according to Ian Marber, nutrition therapist and resident nutritionist at BOL Foods. “Despite the ever-increasing interest in plant-based diets, there’s still a lingering misunderstanding about how much protein a good vegetarian diet might supply, and if it’s high enough in quality and amount to achieve muscle hypertrophy,” says Marber.

With a bit of meal planning, there are plenty of ways to hit all your nutrition goals on a vegan or vegetarian diet, says Marber. “It can be achieved quite easily, in a way that doesn’t mean you are tied to the kitchen prepping every meal, but instead enjoying easily available ready meals and snacks that deliver protein, flavor and convenience as well as food made at home.”

Plus, most plant-based sources of protein will also help you get more fiber, phytonutrients and complex carbs into your diet. That said, eating for muscle gain is important and you want the effort you put in at the gym to pay off. So, how much protein do you actually need to eat in order to build muscle?

“Protein requirements vary but the general rule of thumb is that to achieve growth when training, protein intake needs to be 1.4-2.2g protein per kilo of bodyweight, depending also on existing muscle mass, gender and type of training,” says Marber. “For someone weighing 80kg, muscle growth would be optimized by aiming for around 112-176g protein a day.” 

According to Marber, you should also aim to incorporate different sources of protein into your diet. “Variety is key here, to ensure that the full range of amino acids are eaten, allowing the body to combine the eight essential amino acids into the remaining 14,” he says. 

To help you get started, Marber has put together a five-day plan featuring protein-rich vegetarian meals that are easy to make at home and provide around 175g of protein a day. The plan features some products from BOL—Marber is speaking to us on behalf of BOL, after all—but keen readers will note we’ve already featured BOL in our favorite healthy ready meals.


Breakfast: BOL Hazelnut Latte Power Shake, or a homemade protein shake made with vegan protein powder

Snack: Two plums with a palmful of almonds

Lunch: Chickpea and vegetable curry with quinoa

Snack: Two oatcakes with hummus

Dinner: Grilled tempeh with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli and topped with pumpkin seeds


Breakfast: Coconut yogurt, blueberries and toasted, flaked almonds

Snack: Edamame beans

Lunch: Mixed bean salad with quinoa, avocado and a tahini lemon dressing

Snack: Carrot sticks with hummus

Dinner: Black bean and vegetable enchiladas with a side of brown rice


Breakfast: Porridge oats with raisins and a tablespoon of crunchy almond butter stirred in

Snack: Rice cake with smashed avocado and chili flakes

Lunch: BOL Red Pepper, Tomato and Lentil Power Soup

Snack: Oatcakes with hummus

Dinner: Stir-fried tofu with vegetables and wholewheat noodles


Breakfast: Vanilla Oat and Almond BOL Power Shake

Snack: Rye cracker with butter bean mash spread

Lunch: Lentil soup with wholegrain bread

Snack: Banana and cupped palmful of walnuts

Dinner: Grilled seitan skewers with quinoa and roasted vegetables


Breakfast: Soy yogurt, almond butter and mixed berries

Snack: Chia seed pudding

Lunch: BOL Indian Black Daal

Snack: Protein energy balls

Dinner: Baked tofu with stir-fried vegetables and brown rice

Ian Marber headshot
Ian Marber

Ian Marber is one of the best-known and well-regarded nutrition therapists in the UK. He is a best-selling author, an award-winning health writer and a consultant, having worked with more than 15,000 clients, and is known for his practical and balanced approach. Marber has published 13 books about nutrition, and is a regular contributor to The Times and Telegraph newspapers, The Spectator magazine and broadcast news channels.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.