As society continues to develop, more and more people are acknowledging the ethical advantages of being vegan. Luckily, nowadays it is easier than ever to improve your diet without consuming any animal products at all.
While you might think that this limits your food options drastically, there are actually many vegan sources of protein that provide all the essential amino acids our bodies need!
Since every person has different dietary preferences, this article will showcase both well-known plant-based proteins as well lesser-known ones. All foods in this list are completely free from animal products (no dairy or meat).
Top Vegan Sources of Protein
While tempeh is not exactly a popular choice in Western cuisines, it has been used in Indonesian dishes for hundreds of years; it’s time for this food to get more recognition.
This soy-based product has a firm, crunchy texture and nutty taste, making it suitable for many different meals. Tempeh can be eaten on its own or used as an addition in salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries.
Nuts aren’t just for snacking. They’re healthy and hearty and can be used in a variety of ways to make delectable meals. As a staple in any vegan diet, nuts can provide more than enough protein to help your body stay strong.
Nuts are a top source of vegan protein. They are full of nutrients, but also have high-calorie content, so it’s important to watch your portions when you consume them.
Related Post: What Are Vegan Eggs?
Seitan is made from protein rich wheat gluten and is therefore extremely versatile; it can be baked, fried, steamed, or boiled depending on personal preference.
While seitan does not contain all essential amino acids (isoleucine and lysine are notably absent), it still provides high quality protein which makes up for the lack in other plant-based foods consumed throughout the day.
Similar to flaxseeds, chia seeds are rich in fiber, antioxidants and important omega-3 fatty acids. They also provide a good dose of vegan protein! Combine them with other foods containing all essential amino acids to create a complete protein dish.
Brown Rice Protein Powder
Brown rice is considered a staple in most plant-based diets for a good reason: it contains all essential amino acids and is high in fiber and nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and selenium. Furthermore, brown rice powder contains up to 80% pure vegan protein with little fat or carbohydrates
Beans & Lentils
Low in fat and high in fiber, these are often used as meat substitutes due to their similar texture. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that improve health greatly.
Natto is a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans; it contains twice as much vitamin k2 as cheese (which is good for your bones), lots of iron and all essential amino acids required by the body. You can either consume Natto on its own or use it as a meat substitute in stir-fries and curries.
Also Read: How Do Vegans Get Iodine?
Spirulina is a microscopic edible algae; because of its high protein content, nutritional value, and extreme abundance in nature, it is often used as food for aquaculture.
It has the highest known plant source of iron which makes it great for vegans that do not eat many leafy green vegetables.
While they are mostly famous for being added to split pea soup, green peas have been cultivated since ancient times – they are even mentioned in the Bible!
They are rich in dietary fiber, which helps digestion greatly. Adding green peas to salads or stews can therefore improve nutrient intake.
Although they are not as ‘meaty’ as other vegan sources of protein, Portobello mushrooms still contain an impressive amount of nutrients; even one single mushroom provides 12% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin B12, which is essential for nerve functioning and cell growth.
Many people use mushrooms as a beef/chicken substitute in stir fries and curries due to their meat-like texture.
Also known as green soybeans, edamame beans have been consumed since ancient times in Asia where they are mostly used to make tea. They can be enjoyed fresh or steamed with salt for a healthy snack any time of the day!
Vegan Protein Powders
Vegan protein powder is usually made from brown rice or pea protein, making it a great source of vegan protein for vegans who live busy lifestyles and do not have the time to cook various meals throughout the day.
Some powders are mixed with other nutrients such as creatine because people who go to the gym benefit greatly from an increased intake of all essential amino acids.
Not only does broccoli contain high amounts of vitamin c, but it is also packed with iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium- all essential nutrients that promote good health! Its cruciferous nature makes it especially important in fighting cancer. It has an incredibly simple preparation method – just steam away!
Peanuts grow underground and therefore do not receive much sunlight, which decreases the amount of antioxidants in them. Luckily peanut butter can be prepared from roasted peanuts instead of raw ones! Peanut butter is a great source of protein, vitamins and essential fatty acids.
Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa contain high amounts of fiber and slow-releasing carbohydrates. They also provide all essential amino acids that we cannot synthesize by ourselves; this makes them a fantastic vegan source of protein.
Tofu is made from soybeans and has an incredibly long shelf life – it should last up to 5 days after its best before date if kept in the fridge. I must say that tofu has been a go-to protein source for me. It is a great source of plant-based protein and calcium. Though vegans don’t have to rely on it, tofu is a wonderful add-on to any diet.
It has a strong flavor that makes it perfect for marinating and adding to stir-fries. If you’re looking for ways to include more vegan sources of protein in your diet, check out the following list!
In conclusion, there are many vegan sources of protein, and the best way to get the most protein is to combine a variety of protein sources in your daily diet. Try some of these protein sources in your next vegan meal and enjoy how they make your body feel!