Top Protein Sources for Vegetarian and Vegans

21 Top Protein Sources for Vegetarian and Vegans

Veganism can be practiced for a variety of reasons, including health, animal welfare, and religious beliefs. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claimed in 2016 that a vegetarian or vegan diet could meet all of the nutritional needs of adults, children, and those who were pregnant or breastfeeding.

Even yet, those who do not consume meat or animal products may have a tougher time acquiring adequate-protein, critical vitamins, and minerals. Protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12, which persons on an omnivorous diet acquire from animal products, must be planned ahead of time.

Plant-based meals can provide high levels of protein and other nutrients while still being lower in calories than animal goods.

Soybeans and quinoa, for example, are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine necessary amino acids that humans require. Others are deficient in certain amino acids, making a diversified diet essential.

The following foods are rich in protein per serving and are healthy plant-based foods:

Top Protein Sources for Vegetarian and Vegans

1. Edamame, Tofu, And Tempeh

Soy products are one of the most protein-dense foods in a plant-based diet. The amount of protein in soy depends on how it is prepared:

The protein content of firm tofu (soybean curds) is roughly 10 g every 12 cup.

8.5 g protein every 12 cup of edamame beans (immature soybeans)

Each 12 cup of tempeh has roughly 15 g of protein.

Tofu absorbs the taste of the dish in which it is cooked, making it a flexible complement to any meal.

Tofu may be used in a beloved sandwich or soup as a meat alternative. Tofu is used as a meat alternative in some cuisines, such as kung pao chicken and sweet and sour chicken.

These soy products are also high in calcium and iron, making them healthy alternatives to dairy products.

2. Lentils

Whether red or green, Lentils are high in protein, fiber, and essential elements like iron and potassium.

The protein content of cooked lentils is 8.84 g per 12 cups.

Lentils are an excellent protein option in your lunch or supper routine. They may be used to boost the protein content of stews, curries, salads, and grains.

3. Chickpeas

Cooked chickpeas are substantial in protein, with 7.25 grams every 12 cups.

Chickpeas may be eaten hot or cold, and there are many recipes for them online. They may be used in stews and curries, or baked in the oven after being flavored with paprika.

Hummus, which is produced from chickpea paste, may be used as a healthy, protein-rich substitute to butter on a sandwich.

4. Peanuts

Peanuts are high in protein, contain healthy fats, and may help with heart health. They have about 20.5 grams of protein every 12 cup.

Peanut butter is particularly high in protein, at 3.6 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a nutritious full-protein snack.

5. Almonds

Almonds include 16.5 grams of protein in a 12 cup serving. They also contain a lot of vitamin E, which is beneficial to the skin and eyes.

6. Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue or green algae containing around 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. Iron, B vitamins ” but not vitamin B-12 ” and manganese are among their minerals.

Spirulina is sold as a powder or a supplement online. It goes well in water, smoothies, and fruit juice. It may also be sprinkled on salads or snacks to boost the protein content.

7. Quinoa

Quinoa is a high-protein grain that is also a complete protein. Per cup of cooked quinoa, there are 8 grams of protein.

Other minerals included in this grain include magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese. It’s also quite adaptable.

Quinoa may be used as a pasta substitute in soups and stews. It can be served as a side dish or as the main entrée.

8. Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is a protein derived from fungi. The protein content of mycoprotein products is roughly 13 g per 12 cup serving.

Mycoprotein-based products are frequently sold as meat alternatives and come in the shape of “chicken” nuggets or cutlets. However, many of these goods include egg white, so consumers should read the labels carefully.

Only a tiny percentage of people are allergic to Fusarium venenatum, the fungus that produces the Quorn mycoprotein brand. If you have a history of mushroom allergies or have a lot of food allergies, you might want to look for an alternative protein source.

9. Chia Seeds

Seeds are low-calorie foods that are high in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart. Chia seeds provide 2 g of protein per tablespoon and are a complete protein source.

Make a pudding with chia seeds by soaking them in water or almond milk and then adding them to a smoothie or sprinkling them on top of a plant-based yogurt.

Chia seeds may be found in various supermarkets, health food stores, and on the internet.

10. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds, like chia seeds, are a complete protein. Hemp seeds have a protein content of 5 grams per tablespoon. They’re comparable to chia seeds in that they may be utilized in the same way. Hemp seeds are also available for purchase on the internet.

11. Beans With Rice

Rice and beans, on their own, are protein-deficient foods. This traditional dinner may supply 7 g of protein per cup when eaten combined.

Serve rice and beans as a side dish, or make a delicious, protein-packed entrée by combining rice, beans, and hummus and spreading it over Ezekiel bread, which is produced from sprouted grains.

12. Potatoes

Each serving of a big baked potato has 8 grams of protein. Other minerals found in potatoes include potassium and vitamin C.

2 tablespoons hummus makes a tasty snack that’s healthier than butter-covered potatoes and higher in protein. Hummus has roughly 3 g of protein in two tablespoons.

13. Protein-Rich Vegetables

Protein may be found in a variety of dark-colored leafy greens and vegetables. These foods alone do not provide enough protein to satisfy daily requirements, but a few veggie snacks can help to boost protein consumption, especially when coupled with other protein-rich meals.

  • Broccoli has roughly 4 grams of protein in a single medium stalk.
  • Kale has a protein content of 2 g per cup.
  • 3 g protein per 5 medium mushrooms
  • Try a salad with baby greens and quinoa sprinkled on top for a protein-packed supper.

14. Seitan

Seitan is a complete protein prepared by combining wheat gluten and a variety of spices. People with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should avoid it because of the high wheat content. For others, it might serve as a high-protein, low-fat meat replacement.

Seitan becomes a complete protein source with 21 g per 1/3 cup cooked in soy sauce, which is high in the amino acid lysine.

15. Ezekiel Bread

Traditional bread is nutrient-dense, but Ezekiel bread is nutrient-dense as well. Barley, wheat, lentils, millet, and spelt are used to make it. Ezekiel bread is an excellent option for bread fans looking for a healthier alternative to toast or sandwiches.

Each piece of Ezekiel bread has 4 grams of protein. Toast Ezekiel bread and cover it with peanut or almond butter for even more protein.

16. Grains

Protein Sources for Vegetarian and Vegans
Nataša Mandić/Stocksy United

Grains are mostly carbs, but they also include a significant amount of protein. For example, a half-cup of oats delivers 5 grams of protein to your morning meal. 5 to 6 grams are also added by a quarter cup (uncooked) of barley or quinoa. Teff, millet, amaranth, and other ancient grains are also excellent choices for adding variety to your diet.

17. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein and B vitamins, and it’s the hidden ingredient in many vegan “cheese” recipes. Two grams of protein are added to your meal by sprinkling one spoonful on top.

18. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds aren’t just a simple source of satiating protein; they’re also nutritious powerhouses, including over half of the daily required magnesium intake and immune-boosting zinc, plant-based omega-3s, and tryptophan, which can help you fall asleep more easily.

19. Cashews

Cashews include 20 percent of the needed magnesium consumption and 12 percent of the recommended vitamin K intake – two critical bone-building minerals.

20. Butter beans

Butter beans include the amino acid leucine, which may play an essential role in healthy muscle synthesis in older persons and satisfying protein.

21. Soybeans

A modest piece of edamame (or cooked soybeans) delivers a massive protein punch, making it the healthiest snack ever.

Vegetarians and vegans should also consider the following dietary factors.

Aside from protein, there are a few additional nutrients you’ll want to be sure you’re receiving enough of if you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Consult your doctor or a nutritionist to ensure that your diet contains sufficient levels of:

  • Vitamin B12.
  • Calcium.
  • Iron.
  • Zinc.
  • Vitamin D.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids.

If you want a meat-free diet, be confident that you can receive the nutrients your body requires with little forethought and dedication.


Veganism or vegetarianism needs some forethought. People who forgo animal products, on the other hand, may consume balanced meals that maintain a healthy body and minimize the risk of certain diseases with the correct protein-based plant food.

Vegan or vegetarian diets may lack several key elements, necessitating the use of dietary supplements or learning how to incorporate particular foods that are high in these nutrients. It is crucial to examine dietary quantities with a doctor or nutritionist.

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