Ten High-Protein Vegan Foods and How to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet
Typically, the words “high protein” and “vegan” are not used in the same sentence. However, there are plenty of protein-packed vegan foods that are both tasty and nutritious. All protein comes from plants, and it directly or indirectly travels up the food chain. Whether you’re looking to go vegan or just incorporate more plant protein in your diet, these plant-based proteins are sure to help you meet your goal.
Tofu is made of coagulated soy milk, also known as bean curd. Per cup, tofu provides 20g of protein. The great thing about tofu is that it can be flavored in any way you desire, whether it be savory or sweet. Our interpretation of this Tofu Fries Recipe is a tasty way to get in your daily protein! Tofu can also be topped on salads, fried in stir-frys, blended in smoothies, or baked.
Seitan is made of wheat gluten, which is made by adding water and spices to wheat flour. While this may sound like bread, it is far from it. The starch is removed from the flour, and the gluten aggregates into a tight protein mass. Seitan is extremely high in protein, as 100g of seitan provides 75 grams of protein. You can choose to make your own seitan or purchase it from the supermarket, and it is delicious in stir-frys or shaped into “burger” patties, meatballs, or nuggets.
Lentils are a legume and inhabit the same family as chickpeas and peanuts, which are also high in protein. There are four kinds of lentils: red, brown, green, and specialty. Each kind of lentil is used differently. For example, brown and green lentils are used in soups and stews, while red lentils are used in Indian dal. Per cup, lentils provide 18g of protein. Lentils are also full of fiber, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Try eating lentils in a curry or soup, paired with rice or quinoa!
- Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are seeds produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. Despite their source, these seeds do not contain THC or CBD, but do contain many crucial vitamins and minerals. Hemp seeds are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important for heart and artery health. A two tablespoon serving of hemp seeds provides 6.3g of protein. Hemp seeds are great to throw in smoothies, sprinkle on salads, and top on vegetables. Hemp protein powder is also a great source of protein.
- Black Beans
A bean is a seed that comes from any of the plants in the family Fabaceae. We have already named several types, including soybeans and lentils. Another kind of bean that is very high in protein are black beans, as a one cup serving of black beans contains 15 grams of protein. They are also high in fiber, folate, potassium, B vitamins, and phytonutrients. Black beans have a low glycemic index, which helps to prevent a blood sugar spike. Try black beans on top of rice, in soups and stews, or baking some black bean brownies.
Edamame are immature soybeans that are encased in pods. It can be eaten plain, in soups, stews, salads, with noodles, and is often found in Asian dishes. One cup of edamame contains 18.5 grams of protein and is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Edamame is also high in fiber, folate, vitamin K, and manganese. Try adding it into a stir-fry with tofu, brown rice, and broccoli. Talk about high protein!
Quinoa belongs to the amaranth family and is a pseudocereal, meaning it is grown like a seed but eaten like a grain. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 8g of protein and is also a complete protein. Quinoa contains fiber, B vitamins, iron, manganese, and many antioxidants. Quinoa is gluten-free and great for those who may deal with gluten sensitivity or live a gluten-free lifestyle. What’s more, quinoa has a low glycemic index and does not spike blood sugar levels. Try quinoa as a side dish, mixed with vegetables, or in a pilaf or casserole.
- Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is made by blending peanuts into a paste. Every two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 7g of protein. When purchasing a nut butter like peanut butter, be sure to read the label or scan the barcode with Tastermonial’s app. Many nut butters contain extra sugars, salt, palm oil, or high fructose corn syrup. However, there are many brands that make natural peanut butter, which only contains peanuts. Purchasing natural peanut butter ensures you are getting the most protein per serving and fewer added sugars and preservatives. Try adding peanut butter to oatmeal, with fruit and vegetables, or on multigrain or gluten-free toast with banana and cinnamon.
Have a nut allergy? Sunflower butter contains the same amount of protein per serving as peanut butter!
Peas are a nutritional dynamo. Not only are they full of protein, but they also contain high amounts of vitamin K, C, A, and several of the B-complex vitamins. Per cup, peas provide 8g of protein. Peas can be eaten plain, blended into a hummus, added into soups and stews, and eaten with rice or pasta.
- Nutritional Yeast
Commonly known as “nooch” to the vegan community, nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that can be added to almost anything. The yeast cells have been inactivated during the manufacturing process and it has a cheese-like flavor. Fortified nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins, folate, and protein. It also contains all 9 essential amino acids. Per two tablespoons, nutritional yeast contains 4g of protein. It is an easy way to add more protein to a meal by mixing it into sauces or adding as a topper. Try nutritional yeast on your pasta, vegetables, or almost anything for some added protein and cheesy flavor.
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