Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein?
That’s probably been the most asked question in my journey of eating a plant-based diet. And I completely understand why. We are primarily taught that meat gives us our necessary protein levels and that’s why we need to eat them.
I mean, honestly, I don’t remember anyone telling me that nuts and beans had protein. I didn’t even know what the heck was nutritional yeast or seitan was until I decided to go vegan. Unless you’re a vegan, the chances are you have no clue what these foods are.
Anyway, to answer this very common question among vegans and meat-eaters alike, I’ve compiled a list of vegan protein sources.
(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much! Read our full disclaimer here.)
List Of Vegan Protein Sources
Beans & Chickpeas
15 grams per cup cooked
Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber. For every one cup, you’re consuming 13g of fiber. A lot of other beans offer 15 grams of protein as well, such as pinto beans.
Beans are a great food to stock up on, especially since the price is so low. I love to add them to my brown rice or sometimes I eat them as a side.
18 grams per cup
Lentils are extremely nutritious, yet I don’t know many people who cook with them. It could be because people simply don’t know how great these seeds are.
One cup of cooked lentils offers 15.6 grams of fiber. They’re also high in folate (90% of the RDI), manganese (49% of the RDI), and phosphorus (36% of the RDI). 
One of my favorite ways to incorporate lentils into my diet is by making healthy and delicious lentil soup.
10g per 1/2 cup
Tofu is a product that comes from soybeans. Since the GMO industry has highly infiltrated soybeans, do your best to buy organic or non-GMO tofu. There are many great tofu recipes out there.
I have a recipe for Tofu nuggets if you wanted to check it out. (They taste really good fried.)
Here are some other tasty tofu recipes:
15g per 3 oz (84g)
Not only does tempeh offer a great protein level to its consumers, but it also has a great level of iron (12% of the RDI), phosphorus (21% of the RDI), and manganese (54% of the RDI). 
This is another product that originates from soybeans, so be sure to by one certified by the USDA.
Vegans love tempeh because it has a great texture and can be used to replace many of the meat recipes that have been consumed.
There’s even a baked BBQ tempeh strip recipe you should definitely check out!
21g per 1/3 cup
Although tofu and tempeh are used in recipes to mimic meat, seitan beats them both. It has a dense texture that gives it a great meat substitution.
Unlike tofu and tempeh, seitan is not made from soy. This is a good thing because many people have soy allergies. It’s made of wheat gluten and water.
Something to keep in mind is that seitan is not naturally occurring, which means it has to be highly processed in order to be created.
Therefore, it may have a great protein value but should probably be eaten in moderation.
Related: Seitan Steak Recipe
Spelt & Teff
10-11g per cup cooked
Spelt and teff are considered ancient grains because they’ve been a staple in homes for generations. They’re highly nutritious and teff is free of gluten.
You can buy organic spelt flour online, which adds wonderful nutrients to any foods you were already planning to make.
It can be used in pancakes, muffins, bread, etc.
Recipes for spelt:
9.3g per cup cooked
Amaranth is another ancient grain that has been around for generations. It’s highly nutritious and packs a bunch of minerals your body needs to function properly.
For example, this grain has more than your RDI for manganese in one serving!
Amaranth is a gluten-free grain and can be used in vegan patties, soups, and even cookies.
You can even buy organic amaranth flour, which is what I currently use in my household.
8.14g per cup cooked
Quinoa is another ancient whole grain that has a nutritionally high profile. A one cup serving has a good amount of fiber (5.2g), manganese (30% of the RDI), and magnesium (30% of the RDI). 
Like other grains, there are many options for people who want to cook and eat quinoa.
Here are some quinoa recipes to check out:
6g per one cup cooked
I don’t know about you, but I love me some oatmeal! You can easily sweeten oatmeal with a little bit of maple syrup and top with delicious fruits.
Not only that, but it’s really affordable and filling. Overall, oatmeal is great food.
Besides all that, oatmeal has great nutrition hidden within. For example, it has 4g of fiber and 77% of your RDI of iron.
6g per cup cooked
Buckwheat is a great choice for a gluten-free grain. It has a great deal of fiber and other necessary minerals.
You can use buckwheat in risottos, soups, and replace your current flour with it. That means you can use it to cook pancakes, cookies, and other fun baked goods.
Buckwheat is believed to contribute to many health benefits such as digestion improvement, lower risk of diabetes, and lower LDL levels. 
6.5g per cup cooked
Although brown rice is a great alternative to white rice, wild rice is actually better than brown rice. That’s because it contains even more nutrients.
Wild rice has been associated with an improved immune system, lower LDL cholesterol levels, the prevention of diabetes and cancer, and so much more. 
8g per cup cooked
This is a great vegetable because it has the same amount of fiber that it does protein. They’re also rich in Vitamin A (68% RDI).
Green peas may help reduce inflammation levels and therefore protect against certain diseases and cancers.
Also, this vegetable is believed to help maintain a healthy blood sugar level. 
Green peas are great as a side, snack, or incorporated into a meal such as a stew.
Since switching over to a plant-based diet, I found a new love for broccoli that I never knew I had before. This vegetable doesn’t have a strong taste and cooking it makes it easy to chew and eat.
I’ve found that it’s great to add to pasta, rice, and to eat as a side. Call me crazy, but I enjoy it so much that I eat it as a snack.
Broccoli contains a high amount of Vitamin C. 1/2 cup of raw broccoli contains 70% of your RDI. 
Although asparagus contains a decent amount of protein, there are many other vitamins and minerals that you can find within this great veggie.
For example, 1/2 cup of cooked asparagus has 57% of the RDI of Vitamin K. This vitamin is essential for blood clots and bone metabolism. 
Not only that, but the same serving size contains 34% of the RDI for folate.  Therefore, adding asparagus to your diet adds way more than just protein.
3.3g per 100 grams
Artichokes are a good source for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Folate. They’re filled with a bunch of other great nutrients, too.
For example, artichokes have more fiber than they do protein. That’s great!
Since many people love artichoke dip, I found a great recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip.
4g per one cup cooked
Brussel sprouts are extremely high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K. I mean, really high. 1/2 cup cooked offers your body 137% of the RDI of Vitamin K and 81% of the RDI of Vitamin C. 
Also, they have a wonderful amount of fiber and a really low amount of calories. This is one of those foods you can eat until you can’t eat anymore.
A study was done in 2008 that linked brussel sprouts to the ability to fight against carcinogens, cancer-causing agents. 
8.8g per ounce
Hemp seeds are a quick and easy way to boost your amount of protein from a meal. For example, you could sprinkle them on top of a salad or in a smoothie.
People also love hemp seeds because of their great amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats may help with preventing heart disease and dementia.
Related: Sweet Potato Hemp Burgers
4g per ounce (28 grams)
Chia seeds provide a great amount of magnesium (30% of the RDI), manganese (30% of the RDI), and phosphorus (27% of the RDI).
They’re also filled with antioxidants which fight against aging and diseases.
Plus, chia seeds are loaded with fiber. A one-ounce serving contains 11 grams of fiber.
Just like hemp seeds, these seeds are loaded with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes on Chia Seed Pudding lately. It may be something you want to check out because they look absolutely delicious!
6g per ounce or 2 tbsp butter
Almonds are a great snack and they’re really healthy for you. Just one ounce serving of almonds contains 37% of your RDI in Vitamin E. 
Consuming such a great amount of Vitamin E is thought to lower cholesterol levels.
I love almonds because they’re filling, tasty and can be used in a bunch of different ways.
5g per ounce
Cashews are my family’s favorite nut so far. I love their soft texture and the taste is amazing. They’re a great snack and sometime’s I’ll make my own trail mix with almonds and walnuts added to them.
These nuts provide healthy fats that may protect against heart disease and lower bad cholesterol levels. There’s also a study that shows they may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 
Plus, did you know you can make cheese from cashews? It’s a great way to make your own dairy-free cheese at home and get the family involved.
7g per one ounce (28 grams)
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. They’re also filled with antioxidants that protect against many illnesses and reduces inflammation.
One study suggests it may help prevent and treat breast cancer. 
Pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 fats, which is proven to reduce the risk of a heart attack, lower LDL cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce clogged arteries.
5g per cup
Hemp milk is a great choice for people who suffer from allergic reactions to food. That’s because it’s lactose-free, gluten-free, and free of soy.
This milk provides 10 amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Like the other nuts, hemp milk is full of antioxidants, minerals, omega-3 fats.
Related: Hemp Milk Recipe
4g per slice
Ezekiel bread is rich in protein and fiber (3g per slice). It’s a complete protein and provides 18 different amino acids.
This bread is higher in nutrients than regular whole wheat bread because the grains used for this bread was sprouted.
You can also make your own Ezekiel bread at home.
4g per tablespoon
Spirulina is an algae-type organism that grows in both fresh and salt water. All the nutrition books I’ve ever read have recommended taking spirulina as a supplement. That’s because it has such a wonderful nutrition profile.
It contains iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin C, K, A, and B6.
There many health benefits associated with spirulina such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, boosting metabolism, preventing heart disease, reducing allergies, and help the body detox. 
14g protein per ounce
Nutritional yeast is a type of yeast that is added to non-dairy dishes to add a cheesy taste. People love it for its taste, but it’s also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Also, it’s a complete protein. If you’re a vegan, nutritional yeast is definitely something you may want to stock up on.
5g per two tablespoons
Tahini is a seed butter made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. Sesame seeds may help balance hormones, lower blood pressure, improve skin health, boost nutrient absorption, and lower bad cholesterol levels.
That’s because tahini is rich in a bunch of necessary vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and thiamine.
There are many vegan protein sources to choose from. The main goal is to make sure you’re eating a variety of high-quality plant-based foods.
Also, there are very great apps out there like Cronometer that keep track of your nutrient levels so you can be sure you’re getting all your daily needs.
I hope you enjoyed this list of vegan protein sources. Please share with anyone who may also be wondering, “Where do vegans get their protein from?”