You know the feeling. You spent your weekend inhaling one too many slices of pizza for dinner, capped off with bagels smothered in cream cheese for breakfast, and now your body is practically begging you to give the carbs a break. So, what's for dinner? A meal that’s high in protein. It’s just that we’re a little sick of eating grilled chicken with steamed broccoli every night. Not that we don’t love chicken (we do!), but when it’s nested on our plates at least four times a week, our taste buds get tired. It’s time to pull out of the Perdue rut and find out just how tasty a high-protein dinner can be.

So what exactly counts as "high protein"? While the FDA defines it as anything with more than 10 grams, we asked registered dietitian Elizabeth Jarrard to weigh in—she suggests aiming higher. With new research that recommends splitting your intake throughout the day, Jarrard suggests getting closer to 20 grams for a meal.

If that sounds intimidating or impossible—we’re about to put your fears at ease. Check out these 25 high-protein recipes, each packing in at least 20 grams per serving. We're even including meatless options for our veg-loving friends. 

Turkey

Photo: Peanut Butter and Fitness

This is essentially an easy Thai-style stir-fry, but it’s so much cuter tucked into lettuce wraps. The recipe uses powdered peanut butter for its sauce, but go for the real stuff if that’s what you have—the protein count won’t change much.

Protein per serving: 40 grams

Photo: Ambitious Kitchen

Need a chili recipe to keep in your back pocket for those big gatherings and game nights? This one just might be your winner. It’s full of lean turkey meat and has a super-rich flavor filled with spices and tomatoes. It also doesn't require hours in a slow cooker.

Protein per serving: 30 grams

Photo: Love and Food For Eva

When both turkey and quinoa are involved, you know there won’t be any shortage of protein in your meal. Oh, there’s also a generous sprinkle of cheese on top of each serving, giving you some seriously power-packed peppers.

Protein per serving: 36 grams

Photo: The Garlic Diaries

There’s something about a warm salad that makes it feel more like a proper meal, and this one is especially filling from all that turkey. Plus if you’re still getting used to kale, it goes down much easier when cooked and topped with Parmesan shavings.

Protein per serving: 32 grams

Photo: Slim Sanity

Store-bought marinara sauce and canned tomatoes make this pasta-but-not-really-pasta dinner a total snap to put together. But the onion, turkey, and optional spices have the end result tasting super fresh, as if it took you hours to cook. Ladle it onto spaghetti squash for a lighter alternative that still satisfies the craving for noodles.

Protein per serving: 28 grams

 Turkey Marinara Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

If stuffed peppers aren’t your thing, try putting your Italian-inspired turkey mix into Portobello caps instead. The 'shrooms are actually a surprising source of protein compared to other veggies—not to mention they make perfect big shells for plenty of that marinara-soaked meat.

Protein per serving: 33 grams

Photo: Good Life Eats

Yet another super-stuffable veggie, zucchini makes for fantastic “boats” to spoon your Mexican-spiced turkey and salsa into. Top it with all your favorite fixin’s and think of it as a lower-carb taco.

Protein per serving (2 boats): 27 grams

Beef/Pork

Photo: Fox Valley Foodie

Steak and peaches aren't an obvious match, but that doesn’t mean they don't make a delicious combo. Piled on top of spinach and garnished with pecans and blue cheese crumbles, the combination gives you a surprise in each bite. 

Protein per serving: 27 grams

Photo: Well Plated

Don’t let the longer cook time throw you off here—most of it is spent letting the meat marinade. You just need to step in for the last 30 minute to throw it, along with the veggie packs, on the grill. Piece of cake (er, steak?).

Protein per serving: 33 grams

Photo: Chef Savvy

Enjoy Thai takeout with a fraction of the oil, sugar, and sodium with this homemade sesame beef recipe. Ready in less than 20 minutes, it’s even faster than delivery! Serve on top of brown rice to make it a full meal. 

Protein per serving: 23 grams

Photo: Sweet Peas and Saffron

This is a pretty flexible recipe as far as vegetables go—use up whatever is in your fridge to sauté along with the pork. Anything will go well with the fragrant lemongrass and ginger. While you do need fish sauce for the dish, it’s usually easy to find in the grocery store.

Protein per serving: 27 grams

Photo: The Fit Blog

It doesn’t take much to whip up this amazing fajita filling of beef strips, sliced peppers and onions, and a good dash of cumin and chili powder. It’s so flavorful that it doesn't even need the tortillas. 

Protein per serving: 30 grams

Photo: A Healthy Life For Me

Searing pork chops in balsamic vinegar gives them a naturally sweet glaze—no sugar or syrup needed! Serve with a simple side salad for a protein-rich meal that’s quick enough for a weeknight but also presentable enough to serve guests.

Protein per serving: 35 grams

Seafood

Photo: Avocado Pesto

Stuffing a delicious filling into an avocado shell will never get old, especially when that filling involves a savory mix of tuna, black beans, and the avocado meat itself. Spruced up with cilantro, lime, and jalapeno, it’s like guacamole with the volume turned way up. 

Protein per serving: 29 grams

Photo: Dishing Out Health

“En papillote” is just a fancy way of saying “in parchment,” which is exactly how this fish is cooked. It’s a lot easier than it sounds; just seal the fillets and vegetables in the paper “bag,” and once it’s baked, slice it open and dig right in.

Protein per serving: 35 grams

Photo: Avocado a Day Nutrition

Cod is a mild-tasting fish, but when it’s topped with a wine-kissed tomato sauce and a smattering of olives, it goes from meh to mouthwatering. Get this Mediterranean meal on your table in just 20 minutes.

Protein per serving: 30 grams

Photo: Eat Spin Run Repeat

You could always sear salmon fillets and squeeze some lime over them, but getting those same flavors and protein-packed nutrients in patty form is so much more fun. Plus, it barely requires any more time, thanks to the food processor and the oven doing most of the work for you.

Protein per serving (2 cakes): 32 grams

Photo: Kendra's Treats

Made out of the limited ingredients the blogger had in her fridge, this recipe may not be traditional, but it definitely proves that getting creative can be worth it. The slightly sweet, slightly spicy shrimp and shredded cabbage duo makes for servings that are huge in volume but won’t weigh you down.

Protein per serving: 25 grams

Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats

If you’re making a mahi mahi burger, it only makes sense to pair it with other tropical-style flavorings. This recipe goes for Cajun seasoning, lots of lime juice, and—wait for it—slices of grilled pineapple to really make you feel like you’re eating it beachside.  

Protein per serving: 34 grams

Meatless

Photo: Dishing Up the Dirt

You’ll need to eat two of these eggplant halves to make a full (and exceptionally protein-packed) meal, but we’re guessing that won’t be hard to do. The fluffy couscous, perfectly charred veggies, and thick tahini drizzle may even have you reaching for a third helping.

Protein per serving (2 halves): 26 grams 

Photo: Vegan Does It

Tofu’s more fermented cousin, tempeh, is the protein star of these bowls. Doused in a lower-sugar, homemade teriyaki sauce and tossed with steamed veggies and edamame for more heart-healthy soy, it’s the perfect speedy dinner for those long weeknights. 

Protein per serving: 20 grams

Photo: Recipe Runner

Not just a brunch item, this make-ahead quiche works great for an evening meal too. Cottage cheese is the secret ingredient here, stepping in for some of the higher-fat cheeses while hiking up the protein count. 

Protein per serving: 22 grams

Photo: Well and Full

A meatless entrée salad with more than 20 grams of protein seems like a needle in a haystack, but we’ve found one. Quinoa and three types of beans come together to make it happen, while a sprinkle of chili-roasted almonds add some healthy fats for better nutrient absorption. 

Protein per serving: 30 grams

Photo: Smart Nutrition

Every layer of this Parmesan is bursting with protein: from the tofu slices, to the quinoa used for dredging them, to the cheese chunks on top. Serve this to tofu haters so you’ll never have to hear them complain again. 

Protein per serving: 23 grams

Photo: Toaster Oven Love

Egg salad is great, but for an even higher-protein salad to put in your sandwich, this chickpea and edamame mix does the trick. Taking only 15 minutes to assemble, this recipe was born to be included in your lunchtime rotation. 

Protein per serving: 22 grams

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