- 49 vegetarian proteins that are as good as meat
- The 17 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
- Vegetarian Nutrition - Getting Enough Protein - Ask the Doctor
- Best protein vegetarian option
- 26 Best Vegetarian Sources of Protein
- Chia Seeds
- Best Complete Protein Foods
- 20 Protein-Packed Vegetarian Meals
- Vegan Bodybuilders On Protein
How do you get enough protein if you don’t eat meat? It sounds hard at first but there are plenty of great vegetarian proteins that taste amazing and don't require you to eat a bucket full to get the nutrition you need to stay strong.
There are many alternatives to meat that have similar amounts of protein and we've put together a list of the 49 best vegetarian proteins that are as good as meat.
All the vegetarian options we have listed have at least 10g of protein per 100g when raw, putting them right up there with a meat lover’s favorites.i
13 of them have as much as or more protein than chicken.
How much protein is there in meat anyway?
Here are some popular choices:
Type of Meat
Protein Content (per 100g raw)
Skinless and boneless chicken breast
Lean lamb loin chop
Single, large hamburger patty
Sliced turkey breast
Bologna (chicken, pork)
Source: Nutrient data provided by USDA SR-28.i
There are plenty of reasons to eat more meat-free meals:
They’re on average cheaper.
You'll be helping to save the planet with each bite.
The health benefits which include a happier and longer life.
You probably know and love a few of the ones on our list already.
For each vegetarian protein we've included three delicious recipes so you can try any of them out today.
With so many tasty vegetarian options now you have plenty of variety to chose from, enjoy!
Maybe you’ve decided to go meatless from time to time.
Maybe you've adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, either way you need to keep nutrition on the front burner.
Protein is an extremely important building block in your body.
Proteins are needed to repair your body, fight off disease, and keep energy levels high so you can stay alert all day. Making sure you’re eating enough protein is extremely important for your body to function properly.
While it may seem difficult at first to get your full daily dose of protein with vegetarian foods (on average 46g for women, 56g for men), adding a few of these high-protein vegetarian options into your diet can help you stay strong and feel healthier.ii
Many of these foods are higher in protein per ounce than animal sources and include fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
A vegetarian or vegan diet by definition isn't lacking in protein.
The truth is, nutrition experts and registered dietitians believe that plant-based diets contain such a wide variety of amino acid profiles that going vegan or vegetarian virtually guarantees you to get all the protein you need with very little effort.
There are plenty of reasons to eat more meals with vegetarian proteins:
Getting started won't cost you anything more than a visit to your favorite grocery store.
On average you'll end up saving by going vegetarian.iii
Average Dollar Savings per Year
Going meatless will cut your grocery bill by $746.46 per year.iii
Average CO2 Savings per Year
If you ate vegetarian one day a week you would cut your carbon footprint by 387 lbs of CO2 and if you did it all year long you would cut 2714 lbs of CO2 when compared to the standard daily diet.iv
Happier and Longer Life: A vegetarian diet improves your mood as well as lowers your risk of death, protecting you from obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.v,vi,vii,viii,ix,x,xi,xii,xiii
You want to stay healthy and strong, so here is a list of the 49 vegetarian proteins that are as good as meat.
Try a couple new dishes, save some money, help the environment and stay healthy while you do it!
Soybeans are a source of eight of the essential amino acids, making it one of the best sources of plant-based protein. Soy is higher in fat than other legumes, however it’s mainly good fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids). Substituting saturated fat sources with unsaturated fats may help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.
Soybeans are also a good source of calcium (healthy bones + teeth), iron (prevents anemia) and magnesium (proper heart, muscle + immune function).
Parmesan cheese is known for it's rich and nutty flavor but it also provides great nutritional value.
A part from being packed with protein, it is easily digested and an excellent source of calcium (healthy bones + teeth). Parmesan is also a good source of vitamin A, which aids in boosting your vision and keeping your skin beautiful.
Since it's a low-lactose food, people who are sensitive to dairy may be able to eat it. Although Parmesan is high in sodium you can eat it safely in small amounts to amplify the taste and nutritional value of the dish.
Hemp seeds have the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 in each serving which promotes brain health, while also helping fend off diabetes + heart diseases. As a rich source of magnesium (heart health), zinc (immune system support) and phosphorus (strong bones), hemp seeds are a nutritional power house.
They might not be as easy to find as other options on this list; however, you can find them at most health food stores. Although hemp is a variety of cannabis plant, the only "high" you'll get from this seed is a nutritional one. Hemp seeds do not have any adverse affects, they are completely safe and legal to consume.
49 vegetarian proteins that are as good as meat
Pumpkin seeds have high levels of magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure and prevents strokes, heart attacks + sudden cardiac arrest. They contain L-tryptophan, a compound that improves mood naturally as well as phytosterols which has been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of zinc, which plays a role skin health and strong immune system. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent food for improving your skin tone and for treating acne problems.
Apart from being high in calcium and phosphorus (healthy bones + teeth), Gruyere is also a good source of vitamin B (circulatory + nerve health).
The 17 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
This cheese is semi-soft, and its natural hard rind is almost brown in color. The cheese itself is light yellow, full of tiny holes and has a mild nutty flavor.
Gruyere is known as one of the finest cheeses for baking, having a distinctive but not overpowering taste.
Swiss cheese is a yellow semi-hard cheese with holes, which is the main way you can tell it apart from other cheeses.
Vegetarian Nutrition - Getting Enough Protein - Ask the Doctor
With a mild savory taste it is still low in sodium and has far less salt than many other types out there. Swiss cheese is a good source of B12 which helps your brain function properly, as well as calcium and phosphorus for strong bones.
Peanuts can be considered to be a good part of a weight loss diet. They are a great source of manganese, which facilitates metabolic activity and helps the body to burn carbs. Eating peanuts also appears to be just as potent for preventing heart disease as eating other nuts. Since peanuts generally cost less than nuts like almonds and pistachios, people on lower incomes can reap the health benefits of nuts on a budget.
Seitan has more protein than many meatless options as well as quite a few meats. It's an excellent source of vegetarian proteins, with almost no fat and no cholesterol. Seitan can be a great substitute for meat in any recipe because of it's texture and consistency.
An important note is that this food is usually made from wheat gluten, so it's not for people who are gluten intolerant or wheat sensitive.
Lentils are a source vegetarian proteins that is cholesterol free, high in fiber, low in fat and low in sodium. Lentils have high amounts of thiamine which has an integral role in maintaining a healthy nervous system and folate which helps protect against developing heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
Lentils are very versatile and can be used as a side dish, thrown into a vegetable mix, or even made into patties.
10. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are an excellent source of folate which is important for good heart health and iron that is necessary to carry oxygen to tissue + muscle cells. These beans are a healthy choice since they are low in fat.
They are excellent for individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal.
Mozzarella is now typically made with cow’s milk, although it was originally made with the milk of water buffaloes.
Best protein vegetarian option
Mozzarella contains many vitamins that help maintain healthy skin and vision, as well as vitamins that are important for bone growth, protection of cell membranes, and assists absorption of calcium. Mozzarella has high levels of calcium, since it is a dairy product, and calcium is important for your bones and enamel.
Green peas are low in fat and sodium but high in fiber. They contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which keeps your eyes healthy.
Both the fiber and lutein in peas improve heart health by lowering cholesterol and preventing the buildup of plaque along your artery walls. They also have vitamin C for a strong immune system. The vegetarian proteins and high fiber content in green peas helps with blood sugar regulation by slowing down how quickly sugars are digested.
Cheddar is a hard cheese that has a range of colors going from white to orange. It gets a sharper taste as it matures and the rule goes that milder cheddars are for melting while sharper cheddars are for adding extra flavor to any dish. Because cheddar cheese is high in calcium, phosphorus and proteins, it's a perfect source of nutrients for bone health.
Navy beans are very low in saturated fat and sodium, and an excellent source of fiber. Although their name might make you believe they’re blue in color, they’re actually small white beans that are perfect for making baked beans. Navy beans are an excellent source of folate which keeps the heart healthy by lowering the risk of a heart attack or stroke and also plays a critical role in protecting the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Peanut butter is high in magnesium which is excellent for bone building and muscle recovery.
26 Best Vegetarian Sources of Protein
It's also a good source of niacin which protects against Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline. For breakfast, you can add peanut butter onto toast or bagels in the morning instead of butter or cream cheese.
You can also use it as a great dip for fruits and vegetables.
16. Black Beans
Black beans are great because they have a low fat content and allow you to feel fuller for longer. Their high fiber content helps to prevent constipation and improve digestion by keeping your body clear of toxic elements.
Black beans are also high in soluble fiber, which fights heart disease by helping to balance unhealthy cholesterol levels.
17. Lima Beans
Lima beans contain small amounts of isoflavones, which studies have found to protect against breast cancer. They also contain plant sterols that help lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Like most beans they are also a good source of fiber, minerals (such as iron, copper, manganese and molybdenum) and folate which is important for good heart health.
Almonds contain high amounts of vitamin B2 and manganese which helps the body to burn carbs. They also are a rich in phosphorus which is needed for the healthy bones and teeth. Almonds make for an excellent source of vitamin E which nourishes the skin and reduces signs of aging. You can add almonds to yogurt bowls, mix them in with vegetables, use them to add crunch to baked goods or just put some in your pocket and eat them on the go.
Sunflower seeds are one of the richest sources of vitamin E. This vitamin is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin against damage and reduces the signs of aging. They also contain a high amount copper which helps skin stay youthful and prevents gray hair.
Sunflower seeds are extremely high in B vitamins (B1 + B6) which helps calm and maintain your nervous system.
It's super easy to get them into your diet by sprinkling the seeds on top of your sandwich, salad or pasta.
Chickpeas are vegetarian proteins that are high in fiber which keeps you feeling full longer, helping you stay slim and looking your best.
They also contain potassium, calcium and magnesium, which is an excellent mix of minerals that strengthens bones. Chickpeas are very versatile, so you can toss them into salads, soups and stir fries, or try roasting them for snacking.
Tempeh has a higher amount of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins than tofu because it is made from whole soybeans that are fermented.
It has a firm texture and a nutty mushroom-like taste. Because tempeh is fermented it contains probiotics which helps with indigestion and boosts your immune system. Tempeh contains a high amount of manganese and vitamin B3, which helps the body to burn carbs. It's also a great source copper which prevents gray hairs and helps your skin to stay healthy.
Pistachios are a rich source of fiber, protein and have good amounts of mono-unsaturated fatty acids making them an excellent snack that will help you control your weight by limiting your portions. Adding them into your diet helps to lower bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, keeping your heart health.
Pistachios are also a great source of B vitamins (B1 + B6) which helps calm and maintain your nervous system.
Camembert is a soft and creamy cheese that has a deeper yellowish color.
It has a savory and pungent flavor. Camembert is a good source of calcium which is important for healthy bones and teeth. It is also contains vitamin B12 to help you have better concentration, keep your memory sharp and boost energy levels to keep you alert + feeling energized.
Flaxseeds are small brown golden colored seeds that are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are extremely high in fiber, but low in carbohydrates that allows you to feel full longer.
This can help a lot in weight loss.
Best Complete Protein Foods
Flaxseeds are also high in lignans which are an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of breast, ovarian and colon cancer.
Cashews are packed with zinc and copper. These two minerals helps to fight gray hair and protects the skin against premature aging.
Cashews also have plenty of magnesium which helps you to have better, longer and more relaxing sleep. Cashews are crunchy with a buttery texture, and have a sweet fruity aroma. They can be eaten alone as a snack but they can also be mixed into pasta, salads, soups and even desserts.
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds that has a creamy texture.
For those who have problems with dairy products, tahini is a great alternate source of calcium and it is much easier for your body to digest than milk. This combined with the zinc content of tahini both help boosts bone density. As a source of copper it helps to prevent wrinkles and tahini also contains iron so it helps fight anemia.
Chia seeds are small in size but they pack a strong nutritional punch.
20 Protein-Packed Vegetarian Meals
Because of their high fiber content, these vegetarian proteins can help with weight loss. Chia seeds are also one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3, which helps reduce inflammation and pain in your joints.
Omega-3s also helps improve your memory and reduce cholesterol levels.
28. Quorn (Mycoprotein)
Mycoprotein is the common ingredient in all Quorn products which is a source of vegetarian proteins that is also a good source of fiber. Mycoprotein is low in fat and contains no trans fats or cholesterol. It has a meat-like texture due to having a structure that is similar to animal muscles.
Studies suggest that mycoprotein satisfies your appetite longer, with fewer calories.
More from Vegetarian For Meatlovers:
Walnuts are said to have cancer-fighting properties, specifically reducing the risk of prostrate cancer and breast cancer.
Walnuts also contain amino acids that have vascular benefits, as well as powerful antioxidants that are unique and only found in a few commonly eaten foods. This includes morin, tellimagrandin, and juglone which are all strong cancer inhibitors.
Wild rice has almost twice as much protein, four times the amount of fiber and about 25% less carbs as white long-grain rice. They are a great source of manganese, which facilitates metabolic activity and helps the body to burn carbs. Wild rice is also a good source of magnesium (heart health), phosphorus (strong bones) and zinc (immune system support).
Feta is a firm white cheese that is tangy and salty. It can be made from sheep, goat or cow milk so it can have quite a range of different tastes and aromas.
Vegan Bodybuilders On Protein
Feta cheese is a good source of B12 which helps your memory stay sharp and calcium for strong bones. This cheese also has plenty of riboflavin which is used to help burn carbs and fats.
Egg noodles are typically long strips of dough that contain more egg than regular pasta. They have a little less carbs than regular pasta, making them an interesting option if you are looking to change things up.
Egg noodles are a great source of selenium which helps to keep your thyroid healthy, preventing irritability, muscle weakness and fatigue. Selenium also helps fight cancer and boost your immune system to stop infections.
Sun-dried tomatoes have a more intense taste than fresh tomatoes and help add a bit of a zing to any dish. They are high in fiber and potassium so they reduce the risk of developing heart problems.
Sun-dried tomatoes are high in iron which helps prevent the tiredness and muscle weakness due to anemia. They are also a great source of vitamin C which supports the immune system and neutralizes free radicals in the body.