Best Protein Sources For Vegans And Vegetarians

What Do Vegetarians Eat For Protein?

A common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they may be deficient in protein. Many experts agree that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can provide all the necessary nutrients. For example, black beans contain more protein than chicken. Spinach, seitan, lentils, broccoli, tofu, and beans are among the plant-based foods that will provide protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

tofu salad

Plant Foods With A High Protein Content Per Meal

Seitan Protein for vegetarian

Seitan is a regular source of protein for many vegans and vegetarians. It is derived from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Unlike many fake soy-based slices of meat, it looks and feels like meat when cooked. Also known as wheat gluten, it contains about 25g of protein per 100 grams 3.5 ounces. This makes it the richest source of plant protein on this list.

Seitan is a good source of selenium and contains small amounts of phosphorus, calcium, and iron. You can find this meat alternative in the fridge of most health food stores or you can make your own version with wheat gluten with this recipe. Seitan can be baked, pan-fried, and even grilled. Seitan can be easily included in various recipes but people with celiac disease or those sensitive to gluten should avoid this plant-based food.

Tofu, tempeh and edamame protein for vegetarian

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are originated from soybeans. Soybeans are considered a complete source of protein. This means that the body provides all the essential amino acids it needs. Edamame is unripe soybeans with a mild, slightly spicy taste. Before eating, they need to be steamed or boiled and can be eaten on their own or added to soups and salads.

Tofu is made from beans that have been pressed together in a process similar to cheese production. Tempeh is prepared by cooking and gently boiling mature soybeans before squeezing them into a hamburger. Tofu does not have much flavor, but it easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients from which it is made. Tempeh has a relatively pronounced nutty taste.

Tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, from burgers to soups to chili peppers. All three contain iron, calcium, and 9 to 20 grams of protein per 100 grams (3.5 grams). Edamame is also rich in vitamin K, fiber, and folic acid. Tempeh contains a good amount of B vitamins, minerals, and probiotics like phosphorus and magnesium.

Soy milk protein for vegetarian

Soy milk contains 8 grams of protein per cup (240 ml). It is an incredibly versatile product that can be consumed alone or in a variety of cooking and baking recipes. For example, whole-grain oats and soy milk constitutes a perfect healthy breakfast. Soy milk enriched with vitamins and calcium is an excellent alternative to cow’s milk.

It is possible to find soy milk in most supermarkets and to buy it online in store like Thrive Market. Choosing sugar-free varieties soy milk allow to the consumption of protein without the negative effects of adding to much sugars in the diet.

Wild Rice is a source of plant-based protein

Wild rice contains about 1.5 times more protein than other types of long grain rice, including brown rice and basmati. A boiled cup (240 ml) contains 8 grams of protein, plus a good amount of fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

Unlike white rice, wild rice does not come off the bran. This is great from a nutritional point of view because bran contains fiber and a lot of vitamins and minerals. This raises concerns about the arsenic that can accumulate in the bran of rice crops grown in contaminated areas.

Arsenic is a toxic trace mineral that can lead to a variety of health problems, especially if taken regularly for long periods of time. Washing wild rice before cooking and using plenty of cooking water can reduce the arsenic content by up to 57%.

bowl of mixed vegetables and peas vegan meal

Nuts, seeds, and their by-products are great sources of protein

One ounce (28 grams) contains between 6 and 7 grams of protein, depending on the variety of nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of fiber and healthy fats, as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and some B vitamins. They also contain antioxidants, among other useful herbal compounds.

When choosing the right nuts and seeds, keep in mind that blanching and frying can damage the nutrients in nuts. So look for raw and unbleached versions whenever possible. Try also opting for natural nut butter to avoid oil, sugar, and excess salt that are often added to many types of household brands. Here is a shortlist of nuts and seeds that are rich in protein:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • peanuts
  • flax seeds
  • chia seeds

Fruits and vegetables rich in protein

All fruits and vegetables contain protein, but the amounts are generally low. Some contain more than others. Although technically a cereal, corn sugar is a common food that contains as much protein as this high-protein vegetable. Fresh fruits generally have lower protein content than vegetables.

Here are some vegetables that contain about 3 to 5 grams of protein per cooked cup:

  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • artichokes
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • brussels sprouts

Here are some fruits that contain about 3 to 5 grams of protein per cooked cup:

  • guava
  • apple cream
  • blackberries
  • nectarines
  • bananas

Can Vegetarians Eat Eggs?

Diets that exclude certain foods and food groups can be difficult to follow, especially when the line between what is good to eat and what is not blurred. Eggs are high in protein but are not convenient for regular vegans and vegetarians.  Eggs come naturally from chickens, which forbid them from vegans. Vegetarians do not eat animal protein, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

In fact, it is discussed even within the vegetarian community. Here is what’s clear: the type of eggs purchased are not fertilized by roosters, so they won’t soon turn into chickens. People who do not consume meat, fish, seafood, and dairy but that include eggs in their diet are called ovo-vegetarians.

Protein for the different types of vegetarian

There are actually different types of vegetarians, some of whom eat dairy products like cheese, milk, and eggs; others give lively food to all animals, according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here are the three main types:

  • Vegan: Among the most restrictive type of vegetarians, vegans only get all their nutrients and protein from plant foods. They do not eat animal proteins or animal by-products such as eggs, milk, or honey.

Lacto-vegetarian: Plant foods, dairy products and their meat-free by-products are allowed which constitutes an extra source of protein.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: A nonrestrictive vegetarian diet that includes dairy products, and eggs. They have more choices when it comes to eating the daily ratio of protein.

Partia or semi vegetarian: People who eat plant foods and can eat chicken or fish, dairy products, and eggs. They do not get protein from red meat.

Pescatarian: These vegetarians eat plant foods and seafood.

Protein powder for vegetarian and vegan

Protein powder is widely used for people who want to build muscle. But vegan protein powder may help anyone to get the recommended amount of nutrients while following a healthy diet. From busy entrepreneurs to parents who can hardly find time to cook a well-balanced meal, it is a supplement that will help.

Most big brands like Amazon, Walmart, and many other online stores now offer a large choice of plant-based protein powder. They mainly use grains, beans, dehydrated vegetables, or seaweeds. Here are some protein powders for vegetarians:

Four bags of protein powder

Bulk Supplements natural protein

Bulk Supplements offers a large choice of plant-based protein such as hemp seed protein, rice protein, whey protein, pea protein, casein protein supplements. Located in the Nevada United States they have more than 500 products (vitamins, minerals, powders, etc.) for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Both individuals and companies are welcomed to make a purchase.

High Protein Vegetarian Meals – High Protein Vegan Meals

With so many alternative proteins available, skipping meat (even a day or two) is tastier than ever. Including vegan and vegetarian options, these high-protein recipes will keep your energy levels high; satisfy even the most ardent carnivores.

  • Chili Bean And Bulgur Cakes: Chili introduces falafel to these delicious full-fiber cakes that will leave you satisfied. Excellent addition to bulgur provides an excellent source of vegetable protein and a delicious nutty flavor.
  • Vegan Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms: These simple Portobello mushroom recipes are great for any child and taste buds, and when you’re in the middle of a busy work week, they’re a masked blessing and fast! For quick inspiration for dinner, try one of these simple recipes in 15 minutes or less.
  • Smoky Chickpea Pizza with Labneh: It is hard to go wrong with this crunchy pie pizza with steamed chickpeas and a generous ointment of creamy labneh (Lebanese cream cheese). Save even more time by preparing the chickpeas ahead of time. This is one of our favorite ready-made vegetarian recipes for dinner.
  • Vegetarian Parm Heroes: This delicious dish inspired by Italian dishes has a secret ingredient: seitan. Made from wheat gluten, this popular meat substitute is absolutely worth drooling in combination with a creamy tomato sauce and mozzarella. It is so delicious that even the most zealous carnivores cannot resist.
  • 15-Minute Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry: Tofu sometimes has an undeserved reputation for being soft and chewy, but this quick and easy toast will easily change people’s minds. Beef tofu baked in the oven is mixed with a wonderful and bold spicy Asian marinade that goes so well with pre-sliced shiitake mushrooms.
  • Mexican Quinoa Breakfast Bowl: A filling recipe good at any time of the day. This delicious bowl is rich in protein and fiber, and it takes a little over half an hour to prepare. Save time by making quinoa the night before.
  • Vegetarian Burger: A burger fresh out of the pan and this homemade vegetarian version will instantly become a family food. Make it a family affair and involve the kids in shaping and straightening burgers.
  • Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas: Looking for an all-in-one dish that keeps purity to a minimum? This rich and creamy recipe will satisfy all desires and tastes.
  • Edamame Fried Rice: This vegetarian side dish is the perfect addition to a last-minute main course. It can be cooked in less than 15 minutes.


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