16 Amazing Plant Based Protein Sources

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One of the most asked questions for a vegan is:

“Where does your protein come from?”

It makes sense… when you think of meat you automatically think of protein. (And when you think of protein you think of meat).

When you think of food for a vegan you have visions of kale leaves and alfalfa sprouts dancing in your head.  But fear not my omnivore friends, you can still have a high protein diet while still eating vegan! Here are 16 amazing, plant based protein foods.


In my book quinoa tastes just like mini rice grains.  You might think they’re a carbohydrate but they are actually loaded with protein.  Swap out any rice or other grain for quinoa and you’ve got yourself a delicious and high protein dish!

Nutritional Info: Per 1/4 cup (43g) – 156 calories, 6g protein, 2.50g total fat, 27g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 5 mg sodium, 47 mg calcium, 4.6 mg iron. (Reference: Uncooked quinoa)


Does the word oats start making your mouth salivate for oatmeal cookies?  This versatile grain can be used for any meal or snack: put it in a smoothie, eat a good ol fashioned bowl, make some cookies, homemade granola bars, or on top of banana bread, you get the jist.

Best of all, you’ll get some great added protein with these little delicious nuggets… Thanks Quaker!

Nutritional Info: Per 1/2 cup (48g) – 190 calories, 7g protein, 3.50g total fat, 32g carbohydrates, 5g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 2.25 mg iron. (Reference: Bob’s Red Mill uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats)

Sprouted Breads

Think of sprouted breads like breads on steroids.  They’re like bread that’s made with whole grains that have been allowed to “sprout”. That’s all fancy wording to say it’s packed with all types of nutrients including… proteins.

The most popular is called Ezekiel bread, and it is DELICIOUS! Just a word of warning however, make sure you put it in the freezer because it will mold fast as it has no additives.

Nutritional Info: Per 1 slice – 80 calories, 4g protein, 0.5g total fat, 15g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 75 mg sodium, (Reference: Ezekiel Bread)


Since we’re on the grain train let’s keep going with barley.  You probably don’t pay much attention to barley except when it comes to beer… but it’s extremely versatile, delicious, and packed with protein!

Eat it instead of oatmeal to mix up your morning routine or substitute it instead of rice in soups.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/4 cup (50g) – 180 calories, 15g protein, 0.50g total fat, 39g carbohydrates, 8g dietary fiber, 10g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 0.76 mg iron. (Reference: Uncooked pearled barley)

Wheat Berry

Wheat berries remind me a lot of barley because they both have a great chewiness to them.  Wheat berries are whole kernels of wheat that are loaded with natural protein and a nutty flavor. The flavor goes great on its own as a bowl of goodness or alongside of veggies or even in soups to add some heartiness.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/2 cup (82g) – 280 calories, 9g protein, 1.50g total fat, 62g carbohydrates, 10g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 2.47 mg iron. (Reference: Gretchen’s Grains uncooked wheat berry)


Beans the magical fruit the more you eat the more you… Anyway, beans are a fabulous choice for protein.  Not only that, they are super convenient in a can or super cheap when purchased dry.

And did you know you can cook dried beans in a crockpot?  Cook a huge batch on Sunday and then use them all week to make it even easier.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/2 cup (130g) – 150 calories, 10g protein, 1.50g total fat, 23g carbohydrates, 10g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 341 mg sodium, 40 mg calcium, 3.6 mg iron. (Reference: Canned black beans)


Ok this is technically a bean too but I think it deserves its own category because of the variety of things you can make with chickpeas.  For example, do you want a high protein deliciously crunchy snack?

Check out these honey roasted chickpeas on Amazon. Or, need some protein in that salad? Add some of these crunchy and spicy chickpeas.

Those veggies tasting a little bland?  Add some hummus (which is just ground up chickpeas) and now it’s your favorite snack!  Trust me, these little drops of bean heaven are SO good.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/2 cup (120g) – 106 calories, 6g protein, 2.3g total fat, 16g carbohydrates, 5g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 42 mg calcium, 1.5 mg iron. (Reference: Canned garbanzo beans)


If you’re asking, “What the heck is a lentil?” you’re not alone!  Trust me – these tiny protein packed goodies are incredibly high in nutrition and flavor.

A lentil is kind of a cross between a pea and a bean. It grows in a pod like peas and beans and it’s high in fiber, protein, and iron.  A lot of amazing comfort foods can be made with lentils such as tacos, sloppy joes, and soups.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/4 cup (50g) – 180 calories, 13g protein, 0.50g total fat, 30g carbohydrates, 15g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 2.5 mg iron. (Reference: Raw green lentils)


Tofu is great because it takes on the flavor of whatever dish it’s in making it a great addition to any meal for extra protein.  You can have it fried, baked, grilled, marinated, you name it and you can pretty much do it with tofu.

If you’re new to tofu Mori-Nu Silken Tofu is a great brand to check out.

Nutritional Info: Per 4 ounces (112g) – 96 calories, 12g protein, 4.70g total fat,1g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 0.4g sugars, 36 mg sodium, 166 mg calcium, 1.9 mg iron. (Reference: House Foods firm tofu)

Textured Vegetable Protein

What the heck is this stuff?  Seems like things are getting a bit weird here.

It’s actually a timeless classic in the vegan world. TVP is defatted soy flour and comes in all different shapes and sizes.  It is a lot like tofu in the fact that it takes on the flavors around it enhancing a dish and making it a great meat alternative.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/4 cup (24g) – 80 calories, 12g protein, 0g total fat, 7g carbohydrates, 4g dietary fiber, 3g sugars, 2 mg sodium, 80 mg calcium, 5.63 mg iron. (Reference: Bob’s Red Mill high protein textured vegetable protein)


This is one of my favorites on this list.  Edamame is great because it can easily be added to almost any main dish without changing the flavor.  Edamame has a tendency to soak up the existing flavor and add an extra protein kick.

It’s also a great crunchy snack when dried.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/2 cup (75g) – 120 calories, 9g protein, 5g total fat, 11g carbohydrates, 8g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 40 mg calcium, 1.64 mg iron. (Reference: Ito boiled shelled edamame)


These little brown seeds are packed with nutrition and protein and can be magically ground up and mixed with water to create an amazing replacement for eggs.  They’re simply a magical seed. My favorite way to eat these little guys is to buy them milled and add them to my oats in the morning.

Nutritional Info: Per 2 teaspoons (13g) – 60 calories, 3g protein, 3.50g total fat, 5g carbohydrates, 4g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 5 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium, 2.5 mg iron. (Reference: Bob’s Red Mill golden flaxseed meal)

Chia Seeds

These seeds are magical too.  When added to liquid they turn into a tiny ball of what takes like jelly.  Chia seeds are an easy way to add some protein and fiber to smoothies, granola bars, and even atop a salad.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/4 cup (36g) – 180 calories, 6g protein, 11g total fat, 16g carbohydrates, 14g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 5 mg sodium, 250 mg calcium, 3.4 mg iron. (Reference: Black chia seeds)

Nuts and Nut Butters

Is it just me or can you take a spoon and eat peanut butter straight from the jar?  It’s SO delicious. And now it has yummy protein packed counterparts as well called almond butter, hazelnut butter, and cashew butter.  Nuts can also make a great snack for people on the go. They are high in calories however so you might want to put the spoon down after one bite.

Nutritional Info: Per 1/4 cup (28g) – 180 calories, 10g protein, 16g total fat, 5g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 0 mg sodium, 80 mg calcium, 1.9 mg iron. (Reference: Unsalted roasted almonds)

Soy Milk

Fresh nutritional drink macro shot

Soy milk is amazing for protein and it contains all nine of your essential amino acids to boot! Beware however, some store brands can be loaded with sugar.  The good news is it is actually super easy to make your own. All you need is soybeans, water, and a blender. Check out the recipe here.

Nutritional Info: Per 1 cup – 80 calories, 7g protein, 4g total fat, 4g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 85 mg sodium, 299 mg calcium, 100 iu vitamin D (Reference: Silk Soy Milk Unsweetened)

Nutritional Yeast

Do you LOVE cheese?  Then this is the plant alternative for you.  It tastes just like powdered cheese and has an amazing amount of nutrients and protein.  It is a great topping for popcorn or salads as well as makes an amazing vegan queso dip.

Nutritional Info: Per 2 tablespoons – 45 calories, 8g protein, 0.5g total fat, 5g carbohydrates, 4g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 5 mg sodium, 250 mcg folate, 24mg magnesium (Reference: nutritiondata.self.com)

When it comes to protein in the meat world you are pretty limited actually: poultry, beef, or pork.  When it comes to the omnivore world however, the possibilities for getting protein are almost endless!  So reverse your visions of kale leaves and alfalfa sprouts and try something new and delicious today!