The Seven Best Sources of Vegan Protein

The Seven Best Sources of Vegan Protein
Carlos Fabián Avila

Reviewed and approved by Doctor Carlos Fabián Avila.

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Many people are interested in learning more about vegan protein sources, since it’s a widespread belief that you can’t get enough protein without meat and animal products.

Although a vegan diet is strict by nature, it’s good to know that it can be healthy. To this end, you’ll need to know about what all you can use to replace animal products.

Protein is one of the nutrients that your body needs to do its job. Protein is a part of tissues and organs that play a part in digestion, circulation, and the formation of muscle mass.

In fact, foods that contain protein are an important source of energy. Eating it will optimize physical performance and concentration, among many other things.

So, what are the best sources of vegan protein? We’ll explore seven options you can add to your diet.

Sources of vegan protein you should add to your diet

Who said you need to eat meat to get enough protein in your diet? While many animal products contain a lot of it, there are many vegan protein sources that can provide a similar amount.

These foods are lower in calories and also contain essential amino acids. Plus, they’re very filling and can help you maintain a healthy weight without breaking the rules of a vegan diet.

1. Soy and tofu

Soy as vegan protein.

Soy and tofu’s high protein content makes them exceptional vegan protein sources. Every 100-gram serving contains about 37 grams of protein of high biological value and very little saturated fat.

Other soy products like tempeh and soy burgers are good options as well. They provide very important nutrients like calcium and iron, among others.

2. Quinoa

Quinoa is certainly a favorite for people following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Each cup of cooked quinoa has between 17 and 18 grams of vegetable protein and a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Consuming it regularly can help reduce cholesterol and your risk of diabetes. It’s also used for weight loss since it’s low in calories.

3. Seitan

Seitan is often called “veggie meat” and is made from wheat gluten. It’s a significant source of vegan protein with each 100-gram serving containing about 20 grams. It’s healthy, low in calories, and doesn’t contain cholesterol or harmful fat. Still, it’s best to eat it with other grains to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

4. Legumes

Bean salad.

No one can deny the important role that legumes play in many diets. They not only contain protein for vegans but also iron, zinc, magnesium, and other minerals that may be lacking.

Combining them with whole grains is a great way to give your body the amino acids it needs. In fact, the amount they contain is comparable to meat and other animal products. One cup of lentils, for example, contains up to 18 grams of protein.

Other recommended legumes include:

  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans

5. Chia seeds

Don’t judge chia seeds by their size. Though it might be hard to believe, they’re a great source of plant protein, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re 14% protein (4 grams for every two tablespoons), making them ideal in any vegan meal.

6. Spinach


Those who seek vegan-friendly protein would be glad to know that spinach also contains a significant amount. This delicious green leafy vegetable has about 5 grams, as well as vitamin A, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Recommended reading:

5 Healthy Spinach Recipes to Enjoy Every Day

7. Nuts

Nuts are a basic part of a vegan or vegetarian diet. They provide a lot of energy due to their high caloric content. In addition, they’re packed with nutrients like protein and fatty acids.

Every ¼ cup has between 5 and 7 grams of protein. Nuts are also an excellent source of omega 3, calcium, and antioxidants that are great for your brain and heart.

Are you worried about not getting enough protein by going vegan? As we’ve pointed out, there are many vegan-friendly foods that contain protein. Try adding them to your meals and give your body all the protein it needs.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Wolfe RR., Cifelli AM., Kostas G., KIm IY., Optimizing protein intake in adutls: interpretations and application of the recommended dietary allowance compared with the acceptable macronutrient distribution range. Adv Nutr, 2017.
  • Jeromson S., Gallagher IJ., Galloway SDR., Hamilton DL., Omega 3 fatty acids and skeletal muscle health. Mar Drugs, 2015. 13: 6977-7004.
  • Terruzzi I., Vacante F., Senesi P., Montesano A., et al., Effect of hazelnut oil on muscle cell signalling and differentiation. J Oleo Sci, 2018.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.