The Top 15 Vegan Protein Sources

Sarah Gaur

October 12, 2022

It might be challenging to eliminate meat and dairy from your diet. However, turning vegan is a choice. The worry that one faces is would I get enough nutrients from my diet? Contrary to popular belief, vegan diets can provide nutrients. But, on the other hand what becomes a problem is finding vegan protein sources. 

Studies show that the majority of vegan diets do not provide adequate protein. Research even suggests vegans be at extra risk of protein deficiency. Indeed, quite a few vegan foods do not contain enough protein. However, this is partially a misconception. There are many vegan foods rich in protein. Some provide complete proteins, which even  meats lack.

Why is Protein Important?

In all living organisms, proteins are the essential building blocks that serve as their structural framework. Protein is in each cell of the body. Essentially, a chain of amino acids forms a protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.. Protein is consumed for your body to repair itself.

The body requires protein to maintain health and function properly. More than 10,000 different bacteria reside in the body. These include your organs, muscles, tissues, bone, epidermis, and scalp. Additionally, protein is necessary for the processes that give you energy. Protein also helps carry oxygen throughout your blood.

It is important to incorporate appropriate protein sources in your diet daily. However, this is because protein aids your body in critical processes. For example, it aids in the maintenance of muscular mass.

Protein-Rich Vegan Foods

The Top 15 Vegan Protein Sources- HealthifyMe

When you think of protein, you may think of steak or chicken. However, if you are not a large meat-eater, you have choices. Therefore, you can ensure that you obtain the appropriate amount of protein for your body.

Certain plant foods have much more protein than others. Research indicates that diets rich in protein enhance muscular strength, sensations of fullness, and weight reduction.

Here are 15 vegan foods filled with protein:

1. Soy Products

Soybeans are considered a complete protein source. It indicates they supply your system with all the essential amino acids. For example, edamame, tofu, and tempeh are by-products of soybean.

Soy products generally contain 15-20 g of protein in every 100 g serving.

Additionally, edamame is high in folate, vitamin K, and fibre, which aid digestion. Tempeh is a source of probiotics. It is a fermented version of soybeans popular in Japanese cuisine. It also contains B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. As a result, soy products help you lose weight too!

2. Beans

Beans have a high protein content per serving. They come in multiple varieties, including kidney, black, pinto, chickpeas, lima mung, and fava.

Every 100 g serving of beans contains around 20g of protein.

Additionally, beans are high in complex carbohydrates. Beans contain fibre, iron, folate, phosphate, potash, manganese, and other beneficial plant chemicals.

Studies show that a diet high in beans aids in lowering cholesterol. They also manage blood sugar, lower blood hypertension, and belly fat.

3. Fruits & Vegetables 

While all vegetables and fruit have some protein, some contain more. In general, fresh fruits have less protein than vegetables. However, they provide around 2-4g of protein per 100 g serving. Protein-rich fruits include guava, cherimoya, berries cherries, peach, and banana.

Vegetables offer 5-6g of protein per 100 g serving. Some protein-rich veggies are broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichoke, potato, and sprouts. Sweet corn also contains a good amount of  protein.

4. Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is a plant protein with antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it is used to make meat alternatives. For example, mycoprotein is used to make  beef hamburgers, steaks, lamb chops, and fillet alternatives.

Mycoprotein products provide 15–16g of protein per 100-gram portion.

Mycoprotein also contains 5–8 g of fibre. Studies show mycoprotein has countless benefits. Additionally, it has minimal side effects. That makes it a perfect protein substitute for vegans.

5. Lentils

Lentils are a fantastic source of protein. They provide nearly 24g of protein per 100 g serving. As a bonus, lentils are an excellent source of fibre. As a result, they offer almost half the daily recommended intake in a 100 g dose.

The fibre in lentils supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. These bacteria assist in maintaining a healthy gut environment. Studies show lentils to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It even inhibits forms of cancer.

Lentils are a good source of folate, manganese, and iron. They also contain antioxidants.

6. Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast that has been deactivated and is commercially available as a yellow powder or flakes.

A 100 g portion of yeast contains nearly 50g of protein!

Additionally, enriched nutritional yeast is a good source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and B vitamins, including vitamin B12. Bear in mind, however, that not all varieties of yeast are for a nutritional purpose. Carefully read the label to identify.

7. Seitan

Seitan is a popular source of protein for a large number of vegetarians and vegans. It is composed of gluten, the primary protein found in wheat. Referred to as wheat gluten, it offers around 25g of protein per 100g serving.

Therefore, it is one of the most protein-dense plant foods accessible. Seitan is also a rich source of selenium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus 

8. Seeds & Nuts

Foods such as nuts, seeds, and their derivatives are protein-dense foods. Nuts that you must include are peanuts, cashews, and almonds etc. In addition, sunflower, chia, pumpkin, hemp, and flax seeds are high in protein. 

One hundred grams of seeds provides 21-23g of protein, depending on the type. 

Nuts and seeds are rich in fibre and good fats and iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and B vitamins. Moreover, they contain antioxidants and a variety of other helpful plant constituents.

9. Oats

Consuming oats is a delicious and straightforward approach to boost protein intake in any diet. A 100-gram portion of oats contains around 13g of protein on average.

Furthermore, oats are high in magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate. They aren’t complete proteins. Although oats may not contain all essential amino acids, they have a better quality protein than other regularly eaten cereals such as rice and wheat.

10. Plant-Based Milk

Soy Milk and Almond Milk are two varieties of vegan milk. They’re excellent for vegans to eat. However, this is because they’re sourced entirely from plants. Plant-based milk is often rich in vitamins and minerals too. Therefore, it is an excellent substitute for dairy milk for lactose intolerant individuals.

Plant-based milk contains around 3g of protein in every 100 g serving.

It also has a significant amount of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. So, just like regular milk, plant-based milk has several similar benefits.

11. Grains

Grains have always been an excellent source of proteins. For people who don’t consume meat, grains are the perfect substitute. In addition, certain kinds of grains contain more protein than others.

The most protein-rich grains are

Amaranth and Quinoa

They are gluten-free grains and provide around 4g of protein in a 100 g serving. Moreover, both amaranth and quinoa are complete proteins. They contain each of 9 essential amino acids.

Amaranth and quinoa include a high concentration of complex carbohydrates, fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.


It is an ancient grain and is a rich source of proteins. Additionally, ancient grains such as einkorn, barley, sorghum, and farro are beneficial. Spelt has around 6g of protein for every 100 g serving. Therefore, it is a more protein-dense grain than other ancient grains.

Spelt has an abundance of minerals, including phosphorus, fibre, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Additionally, this supplement contains B vitamins, zinc, and selenium. It also has complex carbohydrates,

12. Green Peas

Green peas provide 5.3g of protein in every 100 g. That is more protein than in 100 g dairy milk. Additionally, one serving of green peas provides over 25% of your daily fibre, thiamine, folate, manganese, and vitamin A, C, and K requirements.

Green peas also include significant amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and numerous other B vitamins.

13. Hemp & Chia

Hemp and chia are both seeds. Therefore, these deserve a special mention over other seeds. Their high-quality protein content warrants this.

Chia seeds come from Salvia, a plant native to South America. They are high in protein and include various vitamins and minerals. They contain almost 17g of protein in a 100 g serving. These seeds are rich in iron, calcium, selenium, and magnesium. In addition, they contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other helpful plant chemicals.

The Cannabis sativa plant produces hemp seeds. They contain 31.6g of protein in every 100 g serving. In addition, hemp seeds are rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. Furthermore, they contain an adequate amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio recommended for human health.

Studies suggest that the lipids included in hemp seeds may help decrease inflammation and improve symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and certain skin diseases.

14. Wild Rice

Unlike white rice, wild rice does not have its bran removed. Therefore, this is beneficial nutritionally since bran includes fibre and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Wild rice is a great source of vegan protein.

A cooked 100 g portion of wild rice can give you 4g of protein. Wild rice has roughly 1.5 times the protein of other forms of long-grain rice, such as brown rice and basmati.

15. Spirulina

Spirulina is a kind of blue-green algae. It is a form of seaweed. One hundred grams of dried spirulina can offer nearly 58g of protein! Additionally, spirulina includes significant magnesium levels, riboflavin, manganese, and potassium. It also contains most other minerals required by the body, like fatty acids.

According to research, phycocyanin found in spirulina has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer capabilities. Studies also indicate that ingesting spirulina has various health advantages. For example, it helps you with a more robust immune system, lowers blood pressure and improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Protein Deficiency

Just one week of not consuming enough protein affects the muscles and joints. Over time, a protein deficiency may result in muscle loss, reducing strength, making it more challenging to maintain balance, and slowing your metabolism. Additionally, it may result in anaemia, which occurs when your cells do not get enough oxygen, resulting in fatigue.

Kwashiorkor and marasmus are the most frequent disorders caused by protein deficiency. Kwashiorkor is a protein deficiency disorder characterised by oedema and enlargement of the liver. Additionally, fatty infiltrations occur. The condition happens because of protein shortage as a result of decreased protein consumption.

Severe protein deficiency in children may result in oedema, fatty liver, skin deterioration, increased infection severity, and stunted development. While real insufficiency is uncommon in industrialised nations, insufficient consumption may result in muscular atrophy and an increased risk of bone fractures.

Therefore, you need protein in your diet. Vegan or not, protein is the building block of life. Without it, we are nothing!


It is a general misconception that vegans don’t have sources for proteins. In some ways, a vegan diet is better for the body. There are many good sources of proteins out there. Each one of them has more benefits than just benefits.

Some are complete proteins, and some have antioxidant and anticancer properties. In addition, some have essential vitamins and minerals. Therefore, we recommend a protein-rich vegan diet for optimum health and a happy life.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can vegans eat for protein?

A. There are many choices available for vegans for protein. Beans, lentils, seitan, peas, oatmeal are great additions to a vegan diet. In addition, soybean products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame are excellent vegan protein sources.

Q. How do vegans eat enough protein?

A. Vegans’ protein sources include nuts, peanut butter, beans, grain, and lentils. In addition, there is a high amount of protein in non-animal products such as tofu and soymilk. Vegans must consider consuming a sufficient amount of “complete proteins.” A complete protein includes all of the acids your body needs to function correctly.

Q. What is the highest plant protein source?

A. Soy and soy products are rich in high-quality, high quantity protein. Soy products also have complete proteins. Complete proteins provide all nine essential amino acids.

Q. Which fruit has the most protein?

A. Guava is the fruit with the most amount of protein. Guava contains 2.6 g of protein for every 100 g serving. Its protein is high quality and nearly 10% of the recommended daily intake (RDA).

Q. Does broccoli have protein?

A. Broccoli has a relatively high protein content, accounting for about 29% of its dry mass. It also contains essential whole proteins. However, 100 g of broccoli has just 3 g of protein because of the high water content. Therefore, broccoli has more protein than the majority of veggies. 

Q. What are some signs that you aren’t getting enough protein?

A. Sickness, fatigue, receding hair, fragile nails, and dryness are all symptoms of protein deficit. Vegans and vegetarians are more prone to suffer from protein insufficiency. However, this is because vegan diets are generally deficient in good-quality proteins.

Q. What vegetables have more protein than meat?

A. Generally, vegetables don’t have more protein than meat. However, black beans, Lima Beans, and Quinoa are high protein vegetarian sources. Edamame also contains good quality protein in high quantities.

Q. Are chickpeas a complete protein?

A. No. Chickpeas are not complete proteins. Chickpeas do not contain all nine amino acids that a complete protein has. They especially lack sulphuric amino acids. As a result, they cannot be considered complete proteins.

Q. Does quinoa have protein?

A. Yes, quinoa contains a good amount of protein. It has around 4.5 g of protein for every 100 g serving.

Q. Do lentils have complete protein?

A. Lentils have several essential amino acids. However, they do not contain all nine. Hence, they’re not complete proteins, and neither do they contain any.

Q. Does avocado have complete protein?

A. No, Avocados have many proteins but do not possess every amino acid essential for the body’s protein synthesis. Therefore, they’re not complete proteins.

Q. Can vegan protein help you lose weight?

A. Studies have shown that a diet rich in plant-based protein is beneficial for weight reduction. In addition, plant-based protein aids in the development and maintenance of lean muscle, the maintenance of good metabolic function, and the suppression of irritating hunger sensations.

Q. What vegan foods help lose weight?

A. While most plant-based meals will aid in weight reduction and the elimination of belly fat, several are particularly effective in this regard: cherries, broccoli, quinoa, black beans, and dates, to name a few examples.

Q. Which vegan protein is best for weight loss?

A. Pea protein is a vegan protein derived from yellow peas high in amino acids. Because it is hypoallergenic, it is excellent for those who have food allergies or intolerances to certain foods. In addition, Pea protein might help you lose weight by allowing you to eat less and enhancing your metabolism to lose extra weight faster.

Q. Why am I gaining weight as a vegan?

A. The carbohydrate content of many meat substitutes (Quinoa, beans, and lentils, for example) is substantially higher than the protein content. Therefore, eating higher calories than the system can utilize leads to weight gain over time. Therefore, this is irrespective of whether the calories originate from carbs, protein, or fat.

About the Author

A nutritionist by profession and a writer by passion, Sarah holds an MSc. in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics from Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences, Pune. She believes in changing lives, one meal at a time with a holistic approach towards overall healing. Her mission is to modify the nutritional habits and behaviors of our next generation to optimize their long-term health and reduce the likelihood of metabolic diseases. Apart from working, she loves to sing, swirl scribble and spread smiles.

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