Whether you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into your diet, this list will serve as a helpful starting point. If you’re trying to eat less meat and animal products, plant proteins can provide the nutrients your body needs to stay active and recover from your workouts.
Keep the following ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator, and you’ll never have to stress over what to eat for your next meal. These vegan protein sources will serve as fuel for both your workouts and your everyday life.
Let’s get started!
10 Delicious Sources of Vegan Protein
1. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are an excellent source of protein and fiber for vegans. That’s why you see pea protein in so many plant-based protein shakes! Use your favorite type of bean to make tacos, quinoa bowls, burritos, wraps, and burgers!
Black beans and chickpeas contain about 39 grams of protein per cup, while kidney peas contain 43 grams, and lentils contain about 18 grams per cup.
You may never have guessed, but yes – vegetables contain protein! I went my whole life not knowing that vegetables such as kale and broccoli contain many grams of protein. Broccoli, for instance, has 17 grams of protein in 1 stalk, while kale has 2.9 grams of protein in 1 cup, and brussels sprouts contain 3 grams of protein in 1 cup.
3. Nut Butters
Peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter are tasty sources of protein that you can spread over bread and celery or into your overnight oats and protein shakes. Aim for nut butter that doesn’t contain sugar or other additives. You want the natural stuff in its purest form!
Almond butter contains about 3.4 grams of protein in 1 tablespoon, while peanut butter contains about 4 grams per tablespoon.
4. Tofu and Tempeh
Learn to love tofu – it serves as a wonderful meat substitute! Tofu easily soaks up flavor so use different seasonings, herbs, and sauces to replicate your favorite meals. Use tofu to make scrambled “eggs” – trust us, it’s delicious! One block of tofu contains about 36 grams of protein. Aim to buy the organic and Non-GMO kind, it’s actually very inexpensive!
9. Oats and oatmeal
Oatmeal gets a lot of credit for its ability to fuel workouts but did you know it also contains protein? Just one cup of cooked oatmeal contains 6 grams of protein. Throw some oats into a shake or smoothie and blend for a little boost of fiber and protein. Or, chop up some nuts and toss them into your cooked oatmeal for extra crunch and yes, protein!
5. Alternative Milks
You can find so many non-dairy milks such as almond, rice, coconut, hemp, soy, and flaxseed milk. Soy milk, though, has the most protein, coming in at 8 grams per cup. Use any of these milks in your protein shakes or smoothies for added texture and thickness.
Keep nuts in a small bag or container to curb your cravings throughout the day. Don’t go overboard, of course, as nuts as pretty high in calories. Cashews are a staple in vegan kitchens because they can be used to make a host of delicious sauces, dips, and non-dairy cheese! Cashews contain 5 grams of protein per ounce.
Toss some seeds in a bag with different nuts and you’ll get a big serving of protein. Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds can be added to oatmeal, salads, soups, and wraps.
One tablespoon of hemp seeds has 5.3 grams of protein; pumpkin seeds contain 5 grams per ounce, and chia seeds contain 4.7 grams per ounce.
Quinoa can be prepared for both savory and sweet dishes – it’s so versatile and easy to cook! Keep it on hand for your breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals. It contains about 8 grams of protein per cup!
Tahini isn’t as well-known as the other protein sources on this list. It’s actually made from ground sesame seeds and can be found in foods like hummus (yummm) and salad dressings. You’ll see tahini in a lot of vegan recipes on the web. One tablespoon of tahini contains 2.6 grams so try to incorporate it into your meals!