Top Vegan Protein Sources for a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
These are the best vegan protein sources to add to any diet, plant-based or otherwise. From beans and legumes to meat substitutes to whole grains, you might be surprised by many tasty ingredients can provide all the protein you need.
If you follow a plant-based diet, chances are you’ve been asked the constant question: How do you get enough protein??
We’ll we’re here to put an end to the questioning. It’s much easier than you might think to pack your diet with more than enough protein than you need. And the best part? Every bite is as––or more––delicious as a steak!f
Let’s run down the list of the best vegan protein sources you can start adding to your diet today.
Whole Grains and Cereals as a Vegan Protein Source
The first plant-based protein powerhouse on our list is, as you might guess, whole grains. These are whole, unrefined cereals that include:
- Rolled oats
- Brown and wild rice
When purchasing any of the grains listed above, always opt for whole-grain. Avoid grains labeled pearled, cracked, or “quick”, as all of these terms indicate some amount of processing. When grains are processed, they lose important nutrients, including protein.
For the most bang for your buck from a protein perspective, ancient grains like spelt and teff should be at the top of your list. Per cooked cup, both of these grains offer at least 10 grams of protein.
Not far behind, quinoa offers up to 9 grams per cup. What’s more, quinoa contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
Finally, and most importantly to us, one cup of dry old-fashioned oats packs 12 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber, making this mighty grain a serious nutritional powerhouse. Oats are an impressively healthy part of any diet, plant-based or not.
Soy As An Important Vegan Protein Source
Next up is soy, and all it’s many, many iterations. From fresh edamame beans to tofu, which itself comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, there are dozens of ways to enjoy soy protein. And even more tasty ways to prepare it.
The least process form of soy is edamame, which are the bright green soybeans that are easy to find in the frozen section of most grocery stores. They are a complete protein source. and they’re easy to add to salads, soups, or simply sprinkled with salt for a healthy snack.
1 cup of shelled edamame beans packs an impressive 17 grams of protein. In addition, you’ll enjoy iron, calcium, vitamin K and fiber with each bite.
Tofu, the familiar cousin of soybeans, is made by pressing bean curds into a solid block. It’s a mild-tasting vegan protein source that’s easy to dress up in your favorite sauces, seasonings, and cooking techniques.
Tofu offers 20 grams of plant-based protein per cup.
A firmer product than tofu, tempeh is another soy-based meat substitute. It’s made by fermenting soybeans and has a signature crumbly, meaty texture. Each cup of tempeh offers a whopping 31 grams of vegan protein.
Legumes and Beans as Powerful Plant-Based Protein Sources
You can’t leave out beans and legumes in this list of superfoods for plant-based eaters. Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, and other kinds of legumes offer up to 15 grains of protein per cup. And that’s not to mention all of the fiber, iron, and complex carbs they contain.
Lentils, in particular, are plant-based protein rockstars. One cup of cooked lentils packs 18 grams of protein. And they’re so easy to cook with! Crisp them up in a hot pan or simmer them into a bowl of brothy curried lentil soup. However you prepare them, sit back and enjoy the influx of plant-based protein.
At the end of the day, there’s a long list of healthy vegan protein sources to choose from. It’s not difficult to pack your diet with a few servings of any of the ingredients listed above; in fact, it can be delicious! Enjoy these fiber and protein-packed grains, beans and meat substitutes and there will be no need to worry about your protein intake!