One of the most frequent questions we get from readers is: How do I get enough protein on a vegan diet? Lack of sufficient protein isn’t just daunting to new vegans or the V-curious–it can also affect long-time vegans. But with a bit of self-monitoring and awareness, you *can* perfectly balance your vegan diet with proper protein-rich foods. These are a list of 11 protein-rich foods to add to your vegan diet.
1. Soy (10-15 grams per half a cup): Soy is one of the most known sources of protein and is often considered as the best alternative to meat. Soy can be taken in different forms such as the soy milk, natto (recipe made out of fermented beans), and the best-known product, Tofu.
2. Quinoa (8 grams per cup): Quinoa is yet another grain that can help you meet your daily requirement of protein. In addition, it is also full of fiber, magnesium, iron, and other vital minerals. The best part of Quinoa is that it can be served for breakfast or a substitute for rice during other meals of the day.
3. Beans: These are one of the most commonly consumed foods. They are many different varieties, like black, heirloom, pinto, navy, lima, fava, kidney, lentils, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas; and all these are rich in protein. Each of these beans has a different amount of protein based on the type and serving.
4. Leafy and cruciferous veggies: Leafy vegetables are rich in all kinds of minerals, and protein is not one to be excluded. Though not particularly high, leafy greens do have a significant amount of proteins in them. A cup of cooked spinach has a surprisingly large amount of protein–5 g–that’s over 10% of an adult woman’s daily protein needs! Cruciferous veggies like broccoli are also hidden sources of vegan protein. A cup of steamed broccoli contains 4 g of protein. Brussels sprouts and collard greens are other veggies with high protein content.Nuts: All kind of nuts, including peanuts, cashew, walnuts, almond, etc. are high in protein content. Not only they’re tasty, but also extremely healthy.
5. Nuts: All kind of nuts, including peanuts, cashew, walnuts, almond, etc. are high in protein content. Not only they’re tasty, but also extremely healthy.
6. Peanut Butter: PB&J sandwiches helped you grow, and there’s a reason for that. Peanut butter contains 8 g of protein in every 2 tablespoon serving.
7. Pumpkin Seeds: These seeds contain zinc, vitamin Bs, and a high amount of protein, making them a nutritional powerhouse. Try making granola with them, or using then in salads, cereals, oatmeal, quinoa, pasta, and even pesto.
8. Seitan: Also known as wheat-meat or mock chicken, seitan’s protein content varies by brand, but is usually as high or even higher than tofu by volume and weight.
9. Chia Seeds: These little seeds can be to added to almost anything–smoothies, salads, or just a glass of water or nondairy milk. A 3 tbsp serving contains 7 g of protein and a ton of fiber to keep you full.
10. Sesame Seeds: Not only do sesame seeds contain protein, they also contain a multitude of essential minerals, including: magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, iron, selenium, and manganese. So make sure you take out those seeds in the pantry and sprinkle some over your salads, sushi bowls, bibimbap, and curries.
Try: Vegan Korean Burrito Bowl (contains tahini, which is made of sesame seeds)
11. Hemp Seeds: In addition to being an excellent protein source (1 tbsp of hulled “hemp hearts” gives you whopping 10 g!), it’s also full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and magnesium–a mineral many women don’t get enough of, and which helps with relaxation, blood pressure, osteoporosis, blood sugar regulation, among other crucial functions. The nutty, savory flavor and texture go well with everything from salads, rice, pasta, smoothies, oatmeal, vegan yogurt, and even roasted veggies. Knock yourself out!
Related: 10 Tips for Maintaining a Vegan Diet
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Photos: Peaceful Dumpling, Mary Hood Luttrell, Christina Ramirez, Lana Jane Fox, Alexandra Kudukis