10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans & Vegetarians

Are you considering following a vegan or vegetarian diet, but concerned about being able to get enough protein?

You’re not alone!

However, the truth is that many plant-based foods have enough protein to help you meet and exceed your daily protein needs! To help you get started, here are ten protein-packed foods you can easily incorporate into a plant-based diet!

1. Beans

Total Protein: 14 to 30 grams per 1 cup cooked

10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans & Vegetarians - Beans
Beans are a great way to get more protein in your diet without breaking the bank! They’re rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and iron. Soybeans contain a little over 30 grams of protein per 1 cup cooked, which is the most of any bean, while lima beans contain 14 grams of protein per 1 cup cooked. Most other beans, such as black, pinto, kidney and navy beans, sit around 15 grams of protein per 1 cup!

Beans can be consumed solo as a side dish or as an addition to salad or soup. They can also be blended into delicious vegetable dips, such as hummus, black bean and white bean dip.

2. Nuts

Total Protein: 2 to 7 grams per 1 ounce

10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans & Vegetarians - Assorted Nuts
Nuts are a great protein-packed snack for vegans and vegetarians. However, their total protein content can range, depending on the type of nut. For example, peanuts contain 7 grams of protein per ounce, which is the most of any nut, while macadamia nuts contain a little over 3 grams of protein per ounce. Other nuts, such as cashews, pistachios and walnuts, come in at around 4 grams of protein per one ounce.

Adding whole or chopped nuts to your favorite meals can boost the protein content of the meal and provide a dose of heart-healthy fats! Nuts are also a fantastic snack option since they are ready-to-eat and don’t need refrigeration. Eat them on-the-go or sprinkle them on top of your favorite meals for added crunch.

3. Hemp Seeds

Total Protein: 6 grams per 2 tablespoons

10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans & Vegetarians - Hemp
Hemp seeds are small but mighty when it comes to their protein content! Hemp seeds are unique in that they contain all of the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein.

You can sprinkle hemp seeds on top of toast, oatmeal, salads and many other types of foods for additional flavor and nutrients. They also make a great addition to any smoothie!

4. Chia Seeds

Total Protein: 4 grams per 2 tablespoons

10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans & Vegetarians - Chia Seeds
Like hemp seeds, chia seeds are a protein-dense, plant-based food option! They also contain other key nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Chia seeds can be sprinkled on top of your favorite meals or mixed into foods to thicken the texture. Add chia seeds to overnight oats or yogurt to create a thick and yummy breakfast bowl filled with fiber and protein!

5. Lentils

Total Protein: 9 grams per ½ cup

10 Best Plant-Based Protein Sources for Vegans & Vegetarians - Lentils
Like beans, lentils are filled with fiber. The fiber content helps keep you full and aids in digestion. Lentils are also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Lentils can be added to chilis, soups, salads and stews as a hearty and flavorful ingredient!

6. Quinoa

Total Protein: 8 grams per 1 cup

Quinoa is an excellent protein-rich seed to incorporate into a plant-based diet! Quinoa also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

Enjoy quinoa as a breakfast cereal by cooking it in your favorite plant-based milk alternative and topping with nuts and berries. Quinoa is also a great whole-grain substitute for refined carbohydrates.

7. Oats

Total Protein: 12 grams per 1 cup dry

Oats are rich in fiber, specifically soluble fiber, which has been known to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dry oats can be transformed into delicious breakfast bowls by either steeping the oats in nut-milk overnight or cooking in water. They can also serve as a protein-rich ingredient in home-made power bites. To make power bites, blend dry oats and mix with peanut butter, flax seeds and maple syrup!

8. Peanut Butter

Total Protein: 7 grams per 2 tablespoons

Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is full of heart-healthy fats, fiber and protein.

Peanut butter paired with produce makes for a well-balanced, protein-rich snack! For example, you can spread peanut butter on apples, bananas or celery. You can also melt peanut butter down and dip strawberries in it for a healthy, chocolate-strawberry-like snack.

9. Wild Rice

Total Protein: 6.5 grams per 1 cup cooked

Wild rice
Wild rice is not actually a type of rice. It’s a seed that’s harvested from aquatic grass! It has many health benefits due to its high nutrient and fiber content. These benefits may include reducing the risk of developing certain nutrition-related conditions, such as heart disease and type II diabetes.

Try using wild rice as a substitute for white rice in your favorite rice-based dishes, or add it to soups or salads for additional protein!

10. Nutritional Yeast

Total Protein: 4 grams per 2 tablespoons

Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated species of yeast that’s different from traditional baker’s yeast. Nutritional yeast is rich in vitamin B12, which is a vitamin that is often lacking in plant-based diets.

With a cheesy and nutty flavor, this powder can be a nutrient-rich alternative to your favorite fromage. Sprinkle it on top of cauliflower or popcorn for a cheesy, dairy-free touch!

All of the nutritional data for this article was sourced from www.myfooddata.com.

Share this Article

written by

James Gardikas

James Gardikas

Contributing Writer