Are you considering transitioning to veganism and looking for a helpful chart of vegan protein sources? Or maybe you have been vegan for a while and could use a list of vegan protein sources to keep handy?
No matter where you are in your vegan journey, protein is essential for your overall health and it is important that you are intentional about meeting your body needs.
While non-vegans always wonder where people on a plant-based diet get their protein from, the truth is that there are many amazing sources of vegan protein so all you need to do choose the right foods for your daily requirements.
The following chart of vegan protein sources will make it easy to get all the protein you need.
Vegan Protein Sources Chart
Next, you will find a few Vegan Protein Sources Charts based on serving size, others considering 100 grams of each food and finally, some that are categorized based on the type of food. This way you can choose the chart that works best for you and your needs at a given moment.
Vegan Protein Sources Chart Per Serving Size
|Seitan||30g||per 4 oz|
|per 4oz burger patty|
|Tempeh||18g||per 3 oz|
|Lentils||18g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Edamame||18g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Chickpeas||18g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
(Quorn brand meatless pieces)
|17g||per one serving (110g)|
|Split Peas||16g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Cannellini beans||16g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Black beans||15g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Kidney beans||15g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Pinto beans||15g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Black-eyed peas||14g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
(Dave’s Killer Epic Everything)
|Pasta – chickpea|
|13g||per 2 oz (dry)|
|Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)||12g||per 1/4 cup (uncooked)|
|Lima beans||12g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Hummus||9g||per 1/2 cup|
|Hemps seeds||9g||3 tablespoons|
(House Foods Extra Firm)
|8g||per 3 oz|
|Green peas||8g||1 cup|
|Peanut Butter||8g||per 2 tablespoons|
|Nutritional yeast||8g||per 1/4 cup|
|Quinoa||8g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Soy milk||8g||per 1 cup|
|Pasta – Whole Grain||8g||per 2 oz (dry)|
|Potato with skin||8-5g||1 medium-large potato|
|Almonds||7g||per 1/4 cup|
|Almond Butter||7g||2 tablespoons|
|JUST Egg||7g||1 piece (57g)|
|Buckwheat||6g||1 cup (cooked)|
|Chia seeds||6g||3 tablespoons|
|Sunflower seeds (shelled)||6g||1/4 cup|
|Spinach||5g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Asparagus||5g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Collard greens||5g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Sweet potato||5g||1 cup|
|5g||per 1 oz|
(Ezekiel 4:9® Sprouted Grain)
|5g||per slice (34g)|
|Sesame seeds||5g||3 tablespoons|
|Broccoli||4g||per 1 cup (cooked)|
|Plant-based yogurt||3g||per 5.3 oz container|
Vegan Protein Sources Chart Per 100g
|Pea Protein (LivBody)||86g|
|Brown Rice Protein (Sun Warrior)||81g|
|Sacha Inchi Powder||63|
|AFA Blue-Green Algae||62g|
|Mung Bean & Black Bean Pasta (Explore Asian)||45g|
|Soy Bean Pasta (Explore Asian)||42g|
|Super Greens (Matakana Superfoods)||38g|
|Adzuki Bean Pasta (Explore Asian)||36g|
|Hemp Seeds (hulled)*||33g|
|Peanuts (& Peanut Butter)||25g|
|Red Kidney Beans||21g|
|Black Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)||20g|
|White Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)||19g|
|Cashews (& Cashew Butter)||18g|
Vegan Protein Sources Chart Per Type of Food
Vegan Protein Sources Chart: Legumes (per 100g)
Beans and legumes are an essential part of any vegan diet. Not only they are high in fiber and good carbohydrates but they are also high in protein and provide between 29-36% of the daily requirements for protein per cup cooked.
Beans and legumes high in protein include soybeans, lentils, white beans, cranberry beans, split peas, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, and limas. The list below is ranked by the most protein per cup 100g. For soy and soybean products like tofu see the next section.
|Red Kidney Beans||21 g|
|Black Beans||21 g|
|Adzuki Beans||20 g|
|Edamame Beans||13 g|
|Mung Bean & Black Bean Pasta (Explore Asian)||45 g|
|Adzuki Bean Pasta (Explore Asian)||36 g|
Vegan Protein Sources Chart: Soy & Soy Products (per 100g)
Soy has somewhat of a bad reputation but it is actually a completely healthy food with lots of benefits. When it comes to protein, soy and its derivatives are staples in a vegan diet due to its high protein content and versatility. You can use soy in any of its presentations as a meat replacement in almost any meal.
The powerful soybean makes up several vegan staples, including tofu, tempeh, and soy milk. You can also boil the beans, add a little salt, and eat them as edamame.
It is worth mentioning that soybeans are one of the few plant foods that contain all eight essential amino acids, and they’re also an excellent source of fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.
|Soy Bean Pasta (Explore Asian)||42 g|
|Soy Beans||36 g|
|Soy Mince||15 g|
|Soy Milk||4 g|
Vegan Protein Sources Chart: Nuts & Seeds (per 100g)
Nuts and seeds are one of the staple food groups for a healthy plant-based diet. They’re an excellent source of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
These can be beneficial for long-term health especially for heart disease, weight management, certain types of cancer, and mortality.
Seeds are also higher in most amino acids, and many are complete proteins and sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
|Hemp Seeds (hulled)*||33 g|
|Pumpkin Seeds||30 g|
|Peanuts (& Peanut Butter)||25 g|
|Sunflower Seeds||23 g|
|Black Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)||20 g|
|White Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)||19 g|
|Flax Seeds/Linseed||18 g|
|Sesame Seeds||18 g|
|Cashews (& Cashew Butter)||18 g|
|Chia Seeds||15 g|
|Brazil Nuts||14 g|
|Pine Nuts||14 g|
Vegan Protein Sources Chart: Grains (per 100g)
Grains are often overlooked as protein sources but they have a high protein content besides providing important nutrients and fiber, especially whole grains.
Grains are also called complementary proteins when paired with legumes because when you combine them, you get all of the essential amino acids ‘making-up’ a complete protein.
Vegan Protein Sources FAQ
Do vegans get enough protein?
It is completely possible to get all your protein needs from a vegan diet. While there are a lot of concerns and controversy about vegans not getting enough protein, there is no actual reason for a lack of protein while eating plant-based.
People tend to associate protein with animal foods because those have a bigger percentage but even animals get their protein from plants. There is also a misconception about how much protein we truly need and Americans consume roughly twice the recommended amount.
All types of plants and vegan foods have protein in different percentages and by choosing a varied diet and being mindful about including high protein sources, anyone can meet all their protein needs from plants.
Why Is Protein Important?
Along with carbohydrates and fats, protein is one of the three macronutrients your body needs to perform its vital functions. All cells and tissues contain protein so it is essential for growth and repair, building bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin.
And over time, a lack of protein can make you lose muscle mass, which in turn cuts your strength, makes it harder to keep your balance, and slows your metabolism. A loss of muscle mass can also prejudice your stability and make your bones more susceptible to breaking when falling.
Since blood contains a protein that promotes circulation, a lack of protein can also lead to anemia, when your cells don’t get enough oxygen, which makes you tired.
Effects of Not Getting Enough Protein
Not getting enough protein for a prolonged time period can lead to muscle mass loss, slowing down your metabolism, losing strength, increase the risk of bone fractures, and prejudicing your balance. It can also lead to anemia when your cells don’t get enough oxygen, which makes you tired.
Severe protein deficiency can cause swelling, fatty liver, skin degeneration, increase the severity of infections, and stunt growth in children.
How much protein do I need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 46 and 54 grams per day for women and men, respectively, or 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight to accommodate variances in body size.
When it comes to athletes like bodybuilders who which to increase muscle mass, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
Also for those that are older than 70 years of age, protein requirements also increase to preserve muscle mass, and strength, bone health, and other essential physiological functions. Older adults’ protein needs are 1.0-1.2 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight per day.
How to Eat Enough Protein Every Day
Eating enough protein on a vegan diet is not as complicated as you might think. There is protein in every single plant and if you are intentional about including high protein sources into every meal, you will meet your daily needs effortlessly.
Here are some ideas that can help you get enough protein every day:
- Be mindful of adding a high-protein source in every meal. While there is protein in every single plant, some have a higher content than others and those are the ones that will make it easier to reach your protein goals. Foods like tofu and soy products, legumes, tempeh, seitan, and nuts are high-protein sources to include throughout the day.
Recommended: High Protein Vegan Foods
- Increase your protein intake by doing easy swaps. For example, choose quinoa instead of rice or soy milk instead of water for your smoothies.
- Plan your meals ahead so you can make sure you are getting enough protein throughout the day. If you are just getting used to eating a plant-based diet, you might not reach your protein needs by improvising or eating intuitively so it might be a good idea to follow a meal plan or even cook your meals in advance.
Recommended: High Protein Breakfast Ideas
- Choose high protein snacks. Every meal counts toward your protein intake so you want to make sure even your snacks have some protein. Choose foods like hummus with chips or nut butter with fruit. These will also help you stay full for longer and avoid overeating.
- Include different sources of vegan protein in your diet. Most plant proteins are considered incomplete because they don’t have all nine essential amino acids but if you eat a variety of vegan protein sources, you can get all the amino acids that your body needs. It will also keep your diet more interesting and provide you with more vitamins and minerals.
- Don’t be afraid of vegan protein powder. While you can get all your protein from whole-foods, sometimes it is easier and more convenient to supplement your intake with a protein shake. Nowadays you can find amazing vegan protein powders that are organic, free of additives, and full of benefits and superfoods so there is no reason to avoid them if you need some help getting your protein in.
Recommended: Best Vegan Protein Powders
Can You Eat Too Much Protein?
Yes, an overdose of protein can be harmful since excess amino acid is associated with chronic diseases. Also, additional protein intake will not directly increase muscle growth, strength, or physical performance and could instead lead to weight gain and fat deposition.
Too much protein intake can also lead to liver and kidney overload which is why an upper limit of 25% protein is recommended for those who are VERY active. Otherwise, such levels of protein are not necessary and your body will use other nutrients like carbohydrates more efficiently.
Do vegan proteins provide all essential amino acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. While your body can make some of them, there is nine of them that you need to get from food therefore they are referred to as essential amino acids.
Animal products contain all nine essential amino acids so they’re considered complete proteins.
On the other hand, many plant sources of protein are too low in or missing some of these essential amino acids so they are considered incomplete protein sources.
Fortunately for vegans, you don’t need to get all your essential amino acids from one single protein source and you can combine several plant-based foods to get adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids.
If you y eat a varied diet and mix complementary plant proteins you won’t need to worry about getting enough of each essential amino acid throughout the day.
Additionally. there are also some plant-based foods that contain all nine essential amino acids like soy, quinoa, and buckwheat.
Is vegan protein as good as protein from animal sources?
Plant protein is not “as good” as animal protein but it is actually better. Plant-based proteins are far healthier than their meat counterparts since they contain more nutrients into fewer calories. They also provide fiber which is something that animal proteins completely lack.
Additionally, vegan proteins are much better for your digestive system and cardiovascular health. Animal products contain saturated fat and higher levels of cholesterol which are associated with cardiovascular disease.
Are vegan “fake” meats bad for you?
Vegan mock beats such as Impossible and Beyond burgers plant-based protein are healthier than animal-based meat but that doesn’t mean they are closed to be considered a ‘health food”.
When compared with a beef burger, they are similar in protein and calories but contain less saturated fat, no cholesterol, and no chance of animal-borne illnesses (such as salmonella and E. coli). However, they do have about four times the amount of sodium of a beef burger.
Plant-based meats should be seen as “transitional foods” for people trying to adopt a vegan diet. If you’re hungry for a burger, a plant-based alternative can delivers everything you want while being better for you and better for the planet.
But while the products are a sustainable and easy swap-in for meat from animals, it is best to choose whole foods over highly processed plant-based and cell-based alternatives.
How to Use The Vegan Protein Sources Charts
The charts in this article have been created to facilitie your life, meal planning and meeting your protein needs.
The best way to use them is to calculate your daily protein needs and use the charts to plan your meals ahead. This way, you can make sure to get enough protein everyday and eventually you will eat enough protein naturally withour having to check the chart.
Keep in mind that most foods contain protein so for more accurate tracking, you can use a food tracking like MyFitnessPal or Cronotmeter to add up all the foods you eat in a day.
If you are transitioning to a plant-based diet, you may use these charts to get meal ideas based on your main protein sources. Using a protein-rich food as base to create a recipe or meal plan around will make it easier to meet your protein requirements.
Recommended: 28-Day Healthy vegan Meal Plan
There is protein in almost every plant-based food and they all add up to help you meet your protein needs. Protein is an essential macronutrient responsible for vital body functions so it is important that you are intentional about eating high-protein sources as a vegan.
For better use of the Vegan Protein Sources Chart, start by calculating your daily protein needs. This will help get adequate protein by choosing your meals and snacks around your daily requirements.
Remember to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources since each one contains different amino acids and they complete each other to get a complete protein. Additionally, this will help you get a wider range of vitamins and minerals.
- How much protein do you need every day?
- Cronkleton E. Are there risks associated with eating too much protein? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/too-much-protein. Published December 11, 2017. Updated April 13, 2020. Accessed October 25, 2020.
- The Wonders of Nuts and Seeds
- Farsijani S, Morais JA, Payette H, et al. Relation between mealtime distribution of protein intake and lean mass loss in free-living older adults of the NuAge study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104(3):694-703. doi:10.3945/ajcn.116.130716.
- FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/. Accessed October 24, 2020.
- Protein. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein. Published September 18, 2012. Accessed October 27, 2020.