Vegan protein sources that will make you forget about meat
“You’re vegan? But where do you get your protein?”
As a vegan, who hasn’t been asked this on more than one occasion. It’s a common misconception that because vegans don’t eat or use anything from an animal that they don’t get enough nutrients – and protein seems to be a big one.
It’s time to break the myth and look at some of the easiest ways to get protein into your vegan diet.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils make up a majority of a vegan’s diet. Low in fat yet high in protein, beans, and lentils are versatile and filling additions to any meal.
Let’s look at protein per 100g of beans: chickpeas (garbanzo beans) 19g, kidney beans 24g, lentils 9g, pinto beans 21g, and everyone’s favorite refried beans 5g. In most cases, 100g doesn’t even come up to a cup in volume, so you’re really packing in a protein punch.
Beans and lentils can be used in so many recipes. You don’t need to just have a side of smokey black beans, though that is delicious! From chilis and curries to soups and stews, baked beans, and the staple of any vegan’s diet: hummus.
Experiment and have fun with beans and lentils to create meals that you truly enjoy.
We’re not including hemp seeds with the seed category because these little crunchy seeds, also known as hemp hearts, are in a league of their own because of the Omega content. It’s recommended to eat three heaped tablespoons a day to get a whopping 10 grams of protein.
Not only are these tasty seeds full of protein, but they’re also bursting with Omega 3 and 6, and magnesium.
To include them in your diet, we like to sprinkle them on yogurt, cereal, in smoothies, soups, or pretty much any savory food. Because these seeds are higher in fat and calories, it’s important to watch your intake and enjoy as part of a balanced diet.
Nuts, nut butter, and seeds
The protein in nuts and nut butter is another reason you’ll often see vegans snacking on these tasty and crunchy morsels. We’ve not included peanuts in this category because peanuts are actually a legume, closer related to lentils than almonds.
Per 100g, almonds top the protein ladder at 21g with cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pistachios all averaging around 15g each.
Of course, you can snack on nuts and spread nut butter on your favorite bread, eat with a spoon, or dip an apple in them, but you can also include them in creative cooking. Chopped nuts can complement a curry or salad while soaked, blended cashews can make a convincing cheese substitute and even a cheesecake.
Seeds are like protein magic. It’s time to start sprinkling these health nuggets on everything because they average 25g of protein per 100g. Yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, lasagne, pasta, salads – literally, everything.
Another suggestion is to pick your favorite nuts and seeds and mix them up with some dried fruit such as goji berries or cranberries, cacao nibs, roasted edamame beans, and a sprinkle of salt for your own tasty trail mix.
Quinoa is a current health buzzword and not without good reason. This ancient grain (actually a seed, but let’s not get pedantic) is so tasty and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Coming in at 8.6g protein per cup, and remaining lower in fat, you’ll be able to enjoy quinoa in your diet every day.
Replace other grains such as rice or buckwheat or simply create new dishes using quinoa. It makes a delicious stuffed pepper filling and is also great in salads. It has a slightly nutty flavor but will take on any spice or seasonings you use to create unique dishes.
Who doesn’t love oats? They’re so delicious – warming in winter as cooked oatmeal, cool in summer as overnight oats, and perfect anytime as granola bars.
With 17g of protein per 100g of oats, you can get well on your way to your daily protein goal with just your breakfast – especially if you top with seeds and nuts.
It’s time to load up on broccoli. This nutritional powerhouse is packed with vegetable protein, virtually fat-free, and has more Vitamin C than an orange – and that’s just in 100 grams of these delicious green trees.
Broccoli deserves to be your favorite vegetable, it does so much for your body. Include in stir-fries, soups, side dishes, curries, and more. Enjoy in copious amounts because you can’t overdose on broccoli!
Seitan is considered one of the “weirder,” however, totally delicious vegan protein sources.
Seitan is made from vital wheat gluten, similar in texture to flour, that can create mock meats. It has a whopping 76g of protein per 100g of flour. There are hundreds of recipes floating around the internet these days to create imitation delicacies such as boneless chicken wings, ribs, pot roast, deli slices, bacon, and more. If you can dream it, you can do it with seitan.
Tofu and edamame
The soybean also called an edamame bean, is a marvelous little bean with 36g of protein per 100g. Edamame beans are eaten whole, roasted, on salad, as a snack. They’re delicious, crunchy, and leave you wanting more.
Tofu is created out of the soybean and comes in a block. There are a few varieties, namely silken and firm. Silken is good for desserts and curries because it breaks down easily and can create a pasty texture. The firm is great for including in stir-fries, curries, baking in cubes, and you can also crumble it down to make a really yummy scrambled egg replacement.
Vegan protein powder
Of course, if you’re still struggling to get enough protein into your diet, there’s a huge range of vegan protein powders. Just like with animal-based protein powders, you’ll need to try some to see what you like and gives you the texture and flavor you want. You’ll be able to use protein powders in all the ways you normally would: shakes, bakings, pancakes, and you can also add unflavored powders to soups.
There we have it! The best sources of protein to support a vegan diet. Now that you know what works, check out our menu to see the ways we use protein-rich ingredients to create the meals you want to deliver right to your door.