If you think about it, vegetarian sources of protein have a bit of a public relations problem. That’s because when most people think of protein, they automatically think of meat. Vegetarians are pretty used to being asked where they get their protein whenever they start talking about healthy eating tips.
But what omnivores may not know is that sources of vegetable protein are everywhere. Whether you’re a vegetarian who’s on the hunt for new protein options or a meat eater who’s simply looking for healthy foods tips, you’re in the right place. Here are 50 vegetarian foods that are packed with protein.
Vegetarian Sources of Protein: Beans and Grains
- Baked Beans. Heat up a cup of vegetarian baked beans for 12 easy grams of protein.
- Brown Rice. A cup of cooked brown rice is a great way to round out a meal, and it’s a fantastic way to add five grams of protein to your diet too.
- Bulgur. One cup of this cooked grain gives you six grams of protein.
- Chickpeas. You’ll get 12 grams of protein when you eat one cup of cooked chickpeas.
- Lentils. Eat a cup of lentils and you’ll be chowing down on 18 grams of protein.
- Oatmeal. With six grams of protein per cup, oatmeal is a great way to start the day.
- Quinoa. This ancient grain provides a huge dose of vitamins and minerals, and one cup holds nine grams of protein.
- Soybeans. Soybeans are the protein powerhouses of the bean world. One cup of soybeans holds 28 grams.
Vegetarian Sources of Protein: Nuts and Seeds
- Almonds. A single cup of almonds packs 32 grams of protein.
- Chia. Chia seeds contain four grams of protein per ounce, and they’re a great source of fiber and calcium too.
- Flax Seeds. These seeds pack 6.3 grams of protein in a single ounce, and they’re especially tasty when combined with granola.
- Hemp. Here’s a healthy food tip: sprinkle hemp seeds on yogurt, salads and even smoothies. Every ounce contains six grams of protein.
- Peanuts. Some of the cheapest and tastiest nuts out there, peanuts pack 6.5 grams of protein per ounce.
- Peanut Butter. Knowing that you can get eight grams of protein in just two tablespoons of peanut butter makes this vegetarian treat even easier to enjoy.
- Pumpkin Seeds. It takes about 85 pumpkin seeds to make an ounce, and that’s nearly six grams of protein.
- Sunflower Seeds. This seed has some serious protein power – one cup contains 24 grams of protein.
- Walnuts. A cup of shelled walnuts offers about 18 grams of protein, but be warned – it also contains 78 grams of fat!
Vegetarian Sources of Protein: Dairy Products
- Soft Cheeses. Cheeses like Brie and mozzarella normally contain six grams of protein per ounce.
- Medium Cheeses. Cheese that fall between the hard and soft, such as Swiss or cheddar, contain seven to eight grams of protein in every ounce.
- Hard Cheeses. Hard cheeses like parmesan or Romano contain the most protein – about 10 grams per ounce.
- Cottage Cheese. There are 10 grams of protein in one cup of cottage cheese.
- Eggs. A single egg holds six grams of protein.
- Goat Milk. Goat’s milk is slightly higher in protein than cow’s milk. Drink a cup and you’ll get 8.7 grams.
- Greek Yogurt. Most Greek yogurt brands provide between 15 and 20 grams of protein per six ounce serving.
- Hemp Milk. A cup of refreshing hemp milk rewards the drinker with two grams of protein.
- Milk. There’s a reason why “Drink your milk” is such a popular food tip with moms. When you drink a cup of cold 2% milk, you’re also drinking up to eight grams of protein.
- Soy Milk. A popular alternative to regular dairy milk, soy milk contains seven grams of protein per cup.
Vegetarian Sources of Protein: Produce
- Apricots. One cup of sliced apricots has nearly three grams of protein.
- Avocado. Avocados are like the butter of the plant world, and at four grams of protein per fruit, they’re also a healthy source of protein.
- Broccoli. A cup of these green veggies will give you five grams of protein.
- Corn. You’ll find about four grams of protein in a cup of cooked corn.
- Garlic. There are about two grams of protein in one ounce of garlic.
- Grape Leaves. This Mediterranean favorite contains about 1.2 grams of protein per ounce.
- Potato. A small baked potato holds three and a half grams of protein.
- Prunes. Although they aren’t among the most protein-packed foods, an ounce of prunes does contain about one gram of protein.
- Raisins. A cup of packed raisins contains about five grams of protein (and nearly 500 calories).
- Spinach. A cup of uncooked spinach holds five grams of protein.
- Spirulina. Spirulina is a type of seaweed. One cup of the stuff has over 16 grams of protein.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Adding sun-dried tomatoes to a recipe is a tasty food tip that adds a little protein, too. One cup holds nearly eight grams of protein.
- Sweet Potato. A medium-sized sweet potato provides about two and a half grams of protein.
Other Vegetarian Sources of Protein
- Bagel. A rather surprising source of protein, a plain medium bagel contains 11 grams of protein.
- Coconut Milk. Great for curries, smoothies and desserts, coconut milk has nearly five grams of protein in every cup.
- Hemp Protein Shake. Create a shake using powdered hemp protein and you’ll get about four grams of protein for every tablespoon of powder you add.
- Rice Protein Shake. Some rice protein powders contain as much as 10 grams of protein in every tablespoon.
- Seitan. Made from wheat gluten, seitan packs about 10 grams of protein per ounce.
- Soy Protein Shake. Buy pure soy protein and you can add as much protein to your healthy shakes as you’d like. Buy a flavored mix, and you’ll get about 13 grams of protein for every two tablespoons of powder.
- Textured Vegetarian Protein. TVP is used in many vegetarian recipes as a substitute for ground meat. One cup of TVP contains about 28 grams of protein.
- Tofu. There are 22 grams of protein in one cup of tofu.
- Veggie Burger. One vegetarian burger patty usually contains about 13 grams of protein.
- Whole Wheat Bread. A single slice of whole wheat bread provides about four grams of protein – twice the amount of protein found in white bread.
A balanced diet forms the foundation for most of the healthy food tips we follow today. Knowing about lots of vegetarian sources of protein can help us keep that balance, because the more options you have, the less you’ll have to rely on the same foods over and over again to supply you with protein.
So the next time you’re looking to round out a meal with a little extra protein, grab a food tip from this list. And if you know about a great meat-free protein source we missed, or if you just want to share some healthy eating tips on how to get more protein in a vegetarian diet, share your thoughts by posting a comment below.