Home Recipe Roundup 23 Healthy High Protein Side Dishes We Love

23 Healthy High Protein Side Dishes We Love

Delicious and nutritious, these high-protein side dishes will keep you full for longer.

From paneer to cottage cheese, they’re healthy and easy to make.

Homemade Fried Chicken Wings with Green Onions
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Are you looking for a healthy yet tasty side dish to round out your meal? Do you want a protein-packed recipe that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! 

These high-protein side dishes will delight your taste buds and keep your tummy happy and full.

They’re all a cinch to make, so they’re perfect for busy weeknights. And most are even kid-approved.

Ready? Let’s get this show on the road!

20+ Best High Protein Sides to Pair with Any Meal

1. White Bean Salad

Who says salads aren’t filling? This white bean salad is as hearty as can be!

It’s a mix of white beans (obviously), celery, and green olives dressed with a vinaigrette that brings all the flavors together beautifully.

You can add canned tuna for an extra boost of protein and flavor, but it’s already tasty enough, in my opinion.

It’s not just high in protein, either, but also low in fat, making it an excellent choice for anyone watching their calorie intake. 

Mexican Bean Salad

2. High Protein Mexican Bean Salad

If you think it’s tough to get your daily dose of protein on a vegan diet, think again!

Add this bean and corn salad to your meal, and the problem is solved. 

This colorful bowl combines black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, corn, and peppers, tossed in a spice-forward vinaigrette.

It offers high-quality plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and a host of other vitamins and minerals. 

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Plus, it comes together in just 15 minutes, making it a tasty option even on days when you don’t feel like prepping food!

3. Edamame Mango Salad

Edamame is rich in protein, antioxidants, and fiber. So it makes a terrific side on its own.

But if you want to jazz it up, you have to try this bright and sweet mango salad.

There’s fresh basil, black beans, corn, garlic, and more! Seriously, it’s a powerhouse of tastes, textures, and colors.

Serve it with your next taco night or with grilled chicken. Yum!

4. Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese

This is such a clever recipe! I mean, who doesn’t love mac and cheese, amirite?

But instead of calorific cream, this version is chock-full of Greek yogurt, which we all know is a fabulous source of protein.

Serve this with fried chicken, Sunday dinner, or even as a late-night snack, and you can feel good about every last bite!

5. Balela Salad

Balela salad is a wonderful Mediterranean delight!

It’s packed with chickpeas, bell peppers, jalapeños, olives, tomatoes, and Mediterranean spices with a hint of lemon.

Its blend of flavors and textures makes it an absolutely delicious experience. 

A perfect snack or side dish to any meal, balela salad is light on calories but big on flavor. 

6. High-Protein Tomato & Basil Salad with Chickpeas

This tomato, basil, and chickpea salad is high in protein and extremely satisfying. 

The savory taste of garbanzo beans is complemented so well by the sweet tang of tomatoes. 

Meanwhile, a sprinkle of fresh basil adds an irresistible flavor that ties everything together. 

It’s a complete meal with plenty of protein and comes together quickly. Though it’s also ideal as a simple side dish to your favorite meat.

I’m thinking grilled chicken. Yum!

7. Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts, Parmesan & Lemon-Mustard Dressing 

Kale and Brussels sprouts are both pretty high in protein, and luckily, they come together in this delicious and nutritious salad that doesn’t taste “healthy” at all!

With plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, a bowl of this salad alone will keep you feeling full and happy! 

Crunchy kale and Brussels sprouts are complemented with toasted walnuts and salty Parmesan. 

Tossed with a creamy and tangy lemon-mustard dressing, this salad makes for an incredibly flavorful side dish any time of the day!

8. Pinto Bean Soup

This Mexican-inspired pinto bean soup is a warm and comforting dish sure to make your mouth water! 

It starts with tender potatoes, carrots, fire-roasted tomatoes, and of course, pinto beans.

Everything is simmered in a rich broth infused with just the right amount of spices. 

Filling and satisfying, this zesty soup perfectly combines Mexican tastes and textures that will tantalize any palate.

Serve it with grilled cheese for a yummy and filling lunch or dinner.

9. Barbunya (Turkish Style Borlotti Beans)

Turkish cuisine is well-known for its unique and delicious dishes – one of which is barbunya pilaki. 

The name translates to “bean in olive oil,” which perfectly sums up the stew’s key ingredients.

This Turkish specialty combines the delightful flavors of white beans, onions, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, olive oil, and sometimes garlic. 

It is typically served as a side dish with grilled meats or fish but can also be eaten on its own as a fulfilling vegetarian meal. 

And while it may take some time to prep, it’s absolutely worth it in the end! 

10. (High Protein) Crispy Rice Paper Rolls

Planning a fun takeout-at-home night? Try these crispy rice paper rolls on the side for a boost of protein!

They’re fully loaded with lean ground turkey, though you could use shrimp if you prefer.

From there, it’s a quick mix of veggies before going into the rice paper. Brush them with oil and bake until crispy.

To push them over the edge, make a spicy, protein-packed peanut butter sauce too. Delish!

11. Butter Bean Mash

Need a protein-filled mashed potato alternative for Sunday dinner? How about butter beans?

They’re packed with goodness, super mashable, and look almost like the real deal.

Featuring beans, onions, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, and paprika, they’re soft, smooth, and great with juicy pork chops!

12. High Protein Caprese Pasta Salad

Even if you don’t need a high protein side, this dish will be a hit at your next backyard bash.

Not only is it gluten-free and vegan, but it’s also bright, fresh, and oh-so-tasty.

The key is to use chickpea pasta. It’s available in most supermarkets and gets the job done.

Add some pesto, fresh mozzarella, and plenty of juicy tomatoes, and you’re all set.

13. Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed acorn squash is an easy and tasty way to make a vegetarian meal

Imagine an oven-roasted acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, cranberries, pepitas, and seasonings. 

The quinoa-cranberry-pepita combination provides a satisfying mix of nutty flavor and crunch, while the seasonings bring out all the flavors. 

The result is an aromatic dish you’ll crave again and again.

14. Low Carb, High Protein Make-Ahead Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini isn’t known for its high protein content. But when you add eggs and egg whites, it quickly becomes super nutritious.

I love these fritters because they give you veggies and protein in one crunchy and tasty bite.

Serve them for breakfast with chicken sausage and eggs or for dinner with salmon. You’ll love them either way!

15. Eggplant Chickpea Stew

Eggplant chickpea soup tagine is an exquisite blend of rich Moroccan flavors. 

The textures and flavors of eggplant, chickpeas, and spices combine to create a soup you’ll get hooked on after the first spoonful.

Perfect as part of a larger meal or as a hearty and satisfying stand-alone dish, this stew will deliver rich flavors and nourishment right to your plate. 

16. Marinated Tofu Salad

Even if you’re not a vegan, this tofu salad is a fantastic side dish to help boost your protein intake.

Tofu is a protein powerhouse, after all. And in this dish, it acts almost like croutons!

You’ll marinate the tofu in a mix of soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce.

Then, bake or fry it until it’s crispy. Finally, top the whole dish off with a creamy tahini dressing, and you might forget this is a side!

17. Garlic Paneer Recipe

Make your next Indian feast one to remember with these scrumptious garlic paneer bites.

They’re spicy, crispy, and great alongside any curry dish. And they’re loaded with protein for good measure!

Serve these instead of, or with, rice to make your meal a little healthier.

18. Pea, Zucchini and Pesto Orzo/Risoni

Pea, zucchini and pesto orzo is a delicious combination of flavors and textures. 

The peas bring a nutty sweetness, while the zucchini adds a savory earthiness to the dish.

Meanwhile, the protein-rich orzo provides an al dente texture that balances out the softer vegetables. 

It’s wholesome, delicious, and super easy to prepare. That makes it the ultimate high-protein side dish!

19. Instant Pot Refried Beans

Take your next taco Tuesday up a notch with these homemade refried beans. They’re high in protein and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Serve them as a dip, or add them to your fajitas. They can even go in a taco salad if you like.

Plus, it’s no secret that cooking anything in an Instant Pot is a cinch. 

So if you’re looking for an effortless vegan fix, this should be your go-to. 

20. Seared Halloumi with Tomato and Fresh Herbs

This almost looks too good to eat, don’t you think?

But between the crispy cheese, vibrant herbs, and juicy tomatoes, you’ll have to hold me back – I might eat the whole dish!

Halloumi is another terrific cheese with plenty of protein. It’s slightly salty and grills like a dream without melting.

Make this for your next BBQ, and everyone will want the recipe!

Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings on a tray with lime wedges

21. Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Chicken wings might not be your first choice for a side dish, but hear me out!

They’re juicy, meaty, and have the most heavenly crispy texture. Plus, you can make them in all different flavors to complement your entree.

I happen to think this recipe goes best with fish dinners. But you can serve a bowl with burgers and hot dogs too.

Chicken Waldorf Salad with Grapes, Apples, Walnuts and Lettuce

22. Chicken Waldorf Salad

Chicken salad is another dish you might not think about as a side, but it actually pairs well with many dishes – especially BBQ dishes.

And thanks to the lean chicken breast and Greek yogurt, it’s overflowing with protein!

Serve this instead of potato salad, and you’re good to go!

23. Cottage Cheese Salad

Anyone trying to up their protein intake needs a list of cottage cheese recipes.

This stuff is a goldmine for healthy dishes because it’s low in fat and calories, high in protein and calcium, and can be used in sweet and savory recipes.

This salad is rich, creamy, and effortless to whip up. Serve it instead of fatty potato salad with everything from chicken to pork.

23 Healthy High Protein Side Dishes We Love

Delicious and nutritious, these high-protein side dishes will keep you full for longer. From paneer to cottage cheese, they’re healthy and easy to make.


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  • Prep a delicious high-protein side dish in 30 minutes or less!
High Protein Side Dishes

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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