If you’re strictly following a plant-based diet, you may be curious about the best sources of protein to keep your body fueled and thriving. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious options available.
Here are the best plant-based protein sources for you
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a popular soybean protein source. It is a good source of plant-based protein, with about 8 grams per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Tofu is incredibly versatile and can be marinated or grilled for added flavor in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to soups. It’s also high in iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids our body requires. It’s also gluten-free and high in fiber, making it an excellent choice for plant-based eaters. Quinoa, which contains approximately 8 grams of protein per cup (185 grams), can be used as a base for salads, stir-fries, or as a side dish. Its nutty flavor and satisfying chewy texture made it popular among health enthusiasts.
Lentils are legumes that are high in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, such as green, brown, and red, and can be used in a variety of dishes, like soups, stews, salads, and curries. With approximately 9 grams of protein per half-cup (cooked), lentils are a cost-effective and sustainable protein source that can help keep you full and satisfied.
Peanuts are not only a tasty and filling snack, but they are also a good plant-based source of protein. They have approximately 7 grams per ounce (28 grams). Peanuts are delicious on their own, in trail mixes, or as a base for nut butters. They are also high in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, making them an excellent addition to a vegan diet.
Almond is another high-protein, high-nutritional-value food that can be easily added into a vegan diet. It’s a great source of plant-based protein, containing approximately 6 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams). Almonds can be eaten on their own, combined with oatmeal or yogurt, or ground into almond butter. They are also high in healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants.
Seitan is a protein-rich food made from wheat protein. It is also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten. It has a chewy texture similar to meat, making it a popular choice among vegans seeking a meat-like experience. Seitan is one of the most protein-dense plant-based options, containing approximately 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Seitan can be grilled, sautéed, or stir-fried to add a hearty and satisfying texture to your dishes.
Beans such as black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas, are an affordable and nutritious source of plant-based protein. With about 7-9 grams of protein per half-cup (cooked), beans can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to chili, or mashed to make bean dips. They are also high in fiber, iron, and other essential nutrients, making them a great addition to a well-rounded vegan diet.
Hemp seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses high in protein, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients. They have about 10 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons (30 grams) and can be sprinkled on top of salads, blended into smoothies, or used as a base for plant-based protein bars. With its long list of nutritional content, this plant-based protein source serves best for vegans looking to diversify their diet.
This nutrient-dense blue-green algae is a complete protein, having all the essential amino acids. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, Spirulina is a superfood that can be added to smoothies, salads, or used as a natural food coloring agent. With 4-6 grams of protein per tablespoon, Spirulina’s unique flavor profile and vibrant green color make it a creative and nutritious addition to a vegan diet.
Buckwheat, despite its name, is not a type of wheat and is gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for those who have gluten sensitivities or allergies. It is a versatile grain-like seed that is high in protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium and manganese. Buckwheat can be used in a variety of dishes, including porridge, salads, and as a rice or pasta substitute. It adds depth and heartiness to meals with its nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture.