8 Best Plant-Based Sources of Protein
Protein makes up the the building blocks of the body and is necessary for good health. Most people get their daily protein from animal sources in the form of meat, dairy or eggs. However, there are many great sources of protein that are plant-based. Here is a list of the best 8. Enjoy!
Lentils and Beans
One of the starchy proteins, these two are good sources of not only protein, but also carbohydrates and fiber. They are great when added as a topping on a salad, as taco filling or to make vegetarian meatballs or burgers. One cup of cooked lentils contains about 18 grams of protein; about 15 grams in the same size serving of beans.
Known as a complete protein, because it contains all nine essential amino acids, it is also a great source for Omega-3 fatty acid. Boost the protein by adding them to soups, stews, salads, baked goods, or to smoothies. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 10 grams of protein.
Chia seeds are one of the ancient grains different than most other types of plant protein in that they turn into a type of gel when added to water. Add them to oatmeal, cold cereals, or in muffins to bump up the protein content and add soluble fiber to your diet. Two tablespoons contain about 4 grams of protein.
This is another starchy protein that is great when served like a bed of rice or as part of a stir-fry. It can also be served as a hot cereal or as a topping on a salad. One-half cup of quinoa has about 7 to 9 grams of protein.
This one is entirely different than other plant-based protein in that it is blue-green in color comes from algae. Note, it will impart a greenish tint to whatever it is mixed with. It blends great as part of a smoothie or in desserts and snacks. It does have a great sweet taste with hints of vanilla and chocolate and has about 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
This is not a yeast at all, but a staple food item among plant-based food enthusiasts. It comes in either powder or flaked form and can be mixed in sauces, dips and dressings to kick up the flavor with its cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast has about 12 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons.
Seeds and Nuts
Beside the seeds already mentioned, sunflower, flax and pumpkin are also all good sources of protein and minerals as well as almonds, walnuts, cashews and pistachios on the nut side. Most have a taste varying from sweet to earthy. They work good ground into a flour and used in baked goods or left whole as a topping on oatmeal, cereals, sprinkled on a salad or as a snack. One-fourth cup of either seeds or nuts has about 7 to 9 grams of protein.
No list of plant protein would be complete without soy. Tempeh, tofu and edamame are all types of soy that have around 20 grams of protein per 2.5 tablespoon serving. Use is similar to beans and lentils and can be added to stir-fry or as the “meat” for spaghetti sauce and filling for tacos.
With these sources of plant-based protein, vegans and some vegetarians do not have to worry about getting enough protein in their diet. Just be sure to cycle through all of the sources to ensure getting enough of the essential amino acids found in protein.