Yes, you read that right. Despite the widespread myth that only animal products contains proteins, this important macronutrient in actually abundant in a plant-based diet. In this article you’ll find out that the best vegan sources of protein are legumes, nuts and seeds.
Since we couldn’t find a comprehensive list with all the high protein vegan foods, we decided to create it! So next time someone tells you that you can’t have enough protein on a vegan diet, just print the table below and slap their faces with it 🙂
In fact, it’s a very good idea to print that table or save it on your phone so you can use it next time you go shopping for groceries. The good thing about those vegan sources of protein is that they’re actually pretty cheap and you can find them everywhere – no need to go to fancy health shops.
Most non-vegans quickly point out that “vegan protein is incomplete”. But what’s the difference between complete and incomplete proteins anyway?
On a molecular level, protein is made up of amino acids. Each amino acid has a particular function in the body. Besides being the ‘building blocks’ for protein, they also produce neurotransmitters (that affect mood and sleep cycle) and play a vital role in maintaining the blood pressure, metabolism and healthy nerves – just to name a few. As you can see, amino acids are pretty important and you need all of them.
They are divided into two categories:
– Non-essential amino acids. These are the amino acids which are produced by the body.
– Essential amino acids. Not produced by the body – need to be ingested through your diet.
We say that a source of protein is COMPLETE if it provides all the essential amino acids. On the other hand, if the food only provides some of the amino acids, it’s considered INCOMPLETE.
However, recent studies have shown that you don’t need to consume all the amino acids at the same time – as long as you ingest them throughout the day (or even throughout the week!)¹
So answering the question:
Yes, some vegan sources of protein are not complete BUT you can combine them on your day-to-day to get all the amino acids you need. So you really shouldn’t worry about the amino acids as long as you are eating a healthy and varied diet. In theory, if you ONLY ate beans, you would miss out on some amino acids… But who does that? In real life you’ll end up eating other complementary sources of protein and your diet will have all the essential amino acids.
Practically every food you eat has at least a little bit of protein, but we decided to only include the ones with the highest rates on our list – so these are the BEST vegan sources of protein. If you are trying to increase your daily intake of protein on a plant-based diet, this list will be very helpful. And if you still don’t know how much protein you need to eat, read this post first (How Much Protein Do I Need?)
So there you go, check the table below to see the amount of protein per 100g for each food.
|FOOD||PROTEINS PER 100G|
|Hemp Seed||32 g|
|Peanut Butter||25 g|
|Wheat Germ||23 g|
|Pumpkin Seed||19 g|
|Cashew Nuts||18 g|
|Sunflower Seed||17 g|
|Oat Bran||17 g|
|Chia Seed||16 g|
|Lupini Beans*||16 g|
|Brazil Nut||14 g|
|Pinto Beans*||9 g|
|Black Beans*||9 g|
|Macadamia Nut||8 g|
|Kidney Beans*||7 g|
|Mung Beans*||7 g|
|Navy Beans*||6 g|
|Green Peas*||5 g|
As you can see, it’s not hard to obtain a decent amount of protein as a vegan. Just make sure to include plenty of nuts, beans and seeds on your diet and you won’t have to worry about proteins.
Now for the rush-through and hectic days when you can’t take out the time to cook or go grocery shopping, it is always a good idea to have a back-up supply of vegan protein powders. Don’t think of supplements as a substitute for a healthy diet, but instead an easy hack for when you’re pressed for time. Not to mention they’re delicious!
Well.. at least some of them are. As you probably know, most vegan protein powders taste like dirt. That’s why we created the VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER GUIDE. Make sure to read it before buying!
Vegans are often labeled as people who ‘self-deprive’ themselves from a healthy and balanced diet, but this myth has been debunked over and over again. Yet, many people still believe that you can’t find good vegan sources of protein – but we hope that our list of high protein vegan foods can prove once and for all that you can find all the protein you need on a vegan diet – and you don’t even need to consume protein powders if you don’t want to.
Now that you know the amount of protein in the food you eat, you can play around with it and easily meet your protein needs. And if you want to know how much protein you need, check this other article.
I hope you have a great time exploring the foods from this list, and if you have some nice recipes including those high protein vegan foods then PLEASE share with us on the comments below!
Thanks for visiting us and have a good reading 😉
PS: In case you’re looking for a reliable and inexpensive kitchen scale, take a look at this one. It will come in handy!
¹ Young VR, Pellett PL. (1994). Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr;59(suppl): 1203S-1212S
PS: Check out this new Vegan Cookbook with muscle gaining recipes!