A Comprehensive Chart of Vegan Protein Sources

Protein is an essential nutrient for the human body, responsible for building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes, hormones, and other vital molecules. While animal products are commonly known for being rich in protein, it is entirely possible for vegans and vegetarians to meet their protein needs from a plant-based diet.

By combining different plant-based protein sources, vegans can achieve a complete amino acid profile that matches the one found in animal products. Moreover, plant-based proteins are often less calorie-dense, lower in saturated fats, and higher in fiber, making them a healthier and more sustainable option for those who care about their health and the environment.

This comprehensive chart of vegan protein sources covers a wide range of foods, from legumes, nuts, and seeds to whole grains, vegetables, and even some plant-based meat alternatives. Each food item lists its protein content per serving, along with additional nutritional highlights such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Whether you’re a vegan, a flexitarian, or simply looking to add more plant-based protein to your diet, this chart will help you discover new and exciting food options that are both delicious and nutritious.

Why Vegan Protein is Important

Plant-based diets have numerous health benefits

Vegan protein is a crucial component of plant-based diets that offer significant health benefits. Multiple studies suggest that consuming vegan protein, as part of a balanced diet, can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Vegan protein sources contain various nutrients and minerals like fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats, which are beneficial for the body. For example, legumes like beans and chickpeas are rich in soluble fiber, which helps to control blood sugar levels.

The environmental impact of animal protein

Another reason why vegan protein is important is its effect on the environment. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution. Consuming plant-based protein sources reduces the amount of environmental resources required to produce protein. Switching to a vegan protein source reduces the negative impact on the environment, leaving a smaller carbon footprint than consuming animal-based protein.

Diversity of vegan protein sources

Lastly, vegan protein offers a wide range of protein sources, which allows for a diverse and balanced diet. Varieties of nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains are all rich in protein and provide different essential amino acids. Consuming a variety of vegan protein sources can help ensure adequate protein intake and promote overall good health. For example, chia seeds, quinoa, and tofu are all excellent sources of protein that have different nutritional profiles.

In conclusion, consuming vegan protein is not only beneficial for personal health but also for the environment. The variety of vegan protein sources provides choices for a balanced diet, and the environmentally friendly options help reduce carbon footprints. Consuming plant-based proteins in the right amount and combination is essential to promote wellbeing and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Complete Proteins vs. Incomplete Proteins

Complete Proteins

Complete proteins are those that contain all 9 essential amino acids that our body needs to function properly. These amino acids are considered essential because our body cannot produce them on its own, so we need to get them from our diet. Animal proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are complete proteins and are considered high quality protein sources.

However, there are also complete protein sources that are plant-based. Examples of these include quinoa, buckwheat, soy, and chia seeds. These are great options for people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, as they can provide all the necessary amino acids without the need for animal products.

Incomplete Proteins

Incomplete proteins are those that lack one or more essential amino acids. Most plant-based proteins fall into this category, including legumes (beans, lentils, peas), nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vegetables.

While incomplete proteins can still be an important part of a healthy diet, it’s essential to combine them properly to ensure that you’re getting all of the essential amino acids. By combining different plant-based protein sources, you can create a complete protein meal. For example, pairing beans and rice, or hummus with whole wheat pita bread can create a complete protein meal that is both delicious and nutritious.

It’s important to note that if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may need to pay extra attention to your protein intake to ensure that you’re meeting your body’s needs. By incorporating a variety of plant-based protein sources, you can ensure that you’re getting all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.

Top Vegan Protein Sources

1. Legumes

Legumes are a fantastic source of protein and a staple for many vegans. This group includes beans, peas, and lentils. One cup of cooked lentils provides around 18 grams of protein. Legumes are also high in fiber, which can aid in digestion and promote a healthy gut.

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2. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, and flaxseed are all examples of nuts and seeds that are high in protein. They are also rich in healthy fats and essential nutrients. One ounce of almonds contains around 6 grams of protein.

3. Tofu

Tofu is a popular vegan protein source that is made from soybeans. It can be baked, grilled, or sautéed and added to a variety of dishes. One 3-ounce serving of tofu contains around 7 grams of protein.

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. One cup of cooked quinoa provides around 8 grams of protein. It is also high in fiber, iron, and magnesium.

5. Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is made from wheat gluten and is a common meat substitute for vegans. One 3-ounce serving of seitan contains around 20 grams of protein, making it one of the highest protein sources for vegans.

6. Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of algae that is high in protein and other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. It is often used in smoothies and other drinks for an added nutritional boost. One tablespoon of spirulina contains around 4 grams of protein.

7. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has a nutty flavor and firm texture. It is a good source of protein, fiber, and probiotics. One 3-ounce serving of tempeh contains around 15 grams of protein.

8. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a popular vegan cheese substitute and is also high in protein. It is an inactive yeast that has a cheesy, nutty flavor and can be added to soups, sauces, and other dishes. Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contain around 9 grams of protein.

Protein Source Amount of Protein
Lentils (cooked, 1 cup) 18 g
Seitan (3 oz) 20 g
Tempeh (3 oz) 15 g
Quinoa (cooked, 1 cup) 8 g
Almonds (1 oz) 6 g

These are just a few examples of the many vegan protein sources available. It is important for vegans to ensure they are getting enough protein and other essential nutrients in their diet through a variety of plant-based sources.

Legumes and Beans: A Great Protein Base

What are legumes and beans?

Legumes and beans are a type of plant that belongs to the fabaceae family. Examples of legumes include lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and kidney beans. These plants are nutrient-dense and provide a variety of health benefits due to their high protein and fiber content.

Why are legumes and beans a great protein source?

Legumes and beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and are a great option for vegans and vegetarians. They are also low in fat and contain no cholesterol, making them a healthy protein source. Additionally, legumes and beans are rich in complex carbohydrates, iron, and other essential nutrients, making them a staple in a balanced diet.

How can I incorporate legumes and beans into my diet?

Legumes and beans are versatile and can be consumed in many ways. They can be added to salads, soups, stews, and vegetarian dishes. You can also make dips and spreads such as hummus and bean dip. Some legumes such as soybeans can also be used to make vegan meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh, and seitan.

  • Examples of legumes and beans:
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Peas
  • Green beans

In conclusion, legumes and beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein and offer numerous health benefits. Including legumes and beans in your diet can help you meet your daily protein needs while maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

Seeds, Nuts, and Nut Butters: Easy Protein Boosts


Seeds like chia, hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower are great sources of protein for vegans. Additionally, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and fiber. These can be added to smoothies, salads, or used as a crunchy topping for oatmeal, yogurt, or toast.

  • Chia seeds: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 4 grams of protein
  • Hemp seeds: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 9.2 grams of protein
  • Pumpkin seeds: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 9 grams of protein
  • Sunflower seeds: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 5.8 grams of protein

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, and nut butters like almond, peanut, and cashew butter are excellent sources of protein for vegans. They are also rich in healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. These can be eaten as a snack, added to smoothies or oatmeal, or used as a spread on toast or crackers.

  • Almonds: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 6 grams of protein
  • Cashews: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 5 grams of protein
  • Peanuts: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 7 grams of protein
  • Walnuts: 1 oz (28 grams) provides 4 grams of protein

When choosing nut butters, make sure to look for ones that are free of added sugars and oils. Natural nut butters are a healthier choice and provide a good source of protein.

Whole Grains: More Than Just Carbs

The Nutritional Value of Whole Grains

Whole grains are an essential part of a healthy diet. They are rich in nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Unlike refined grains, such as white bread, whole grains retain their outer bran layer and germ, which makes them much more nutritious.

A diet high in whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, the fiber in whole grains helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, which can aid in weight management.

Examples of Whole Grains

Some popular examples of whole grains include:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Whole wheat

It’s important to note that not all products labeled “whole grain” are created equal. Some products may contain a mixture of whole grains and refined grains, so it’s important to read the ingredient list carefully.

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How to Incorporate Whole Grains into Your Diet

Incorporating whole grains into your diet is easier than you might think. Try swapping out white rice for brown rice, or choosing whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta. You can also experiment with different types of grains, such as quinoa or millet, to add variety and flavor to your meals.

Other ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet include:

  • Choosing whole grain bread for sandwiches
  • Using rolled oats or quinoa flakes in breakfast porridge
  • Adding barley or wild rice to soups and stews
  • Snacking on air-popped popcorn

If you’re unsure about how to incorporate whole grains into your diet, speak to a registered dietitian or nutritionist for personalized advice.

Soy: A Nutritional Powerhouse


Soy has long been known for its high protein content, making it a popular protein source for vegans. In fact, soybeans are a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.

100 grams of soybeans contain 36 grams of protein, which is higher than many other plant-based protein sources such as beans or lentils.

Healthy Fats

In addition to protein, soy also contains healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including supporting heart health, reducing inflammation, and improving brain function.

Vitamins and Minerals

Soy is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Eating soy products can help to boost your intake of these important nutrients.

Other Benefits

Consuming soy has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, improved bone health, and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

Additionally, soy products such as tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes and are a great way to add variety and flavor to your vegan diet.

Vegetables: Surprising Sources of Protein

1. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is an excellent source of protein. In fact, one cup of spinach contains about 5 grams of protein. It is also an excellent source of other nutrients such as iron and vitamin K.

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is another vegetable that is loaded with nutrition, including protein. One cup of broccoli contains about 4 grams of protein. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and other key nutrients.

3. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts may not be the most popular vegetable, but they are a surprising source of protein. One cup of Brussels sprouts contains about 3 grams of protein. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber.

4. Peas

Peas are a great source of protein, especially for vegans. One cup of peas contains about 8 grams of protein. They are also an excellent source of fiber and other key nutrients. Peas can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or in soups and stews.

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that is packed with nutrition, including protein. One cup of asparagus contains about 3 grams of protein. It is also an excellent source of vitamins K and C, folate, and other key nutrients.

6. Artichokes

6. Artichokes

Artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that is surprisingly high in protein. One medium artichoke contains about 4 grams of protein. They are also an excellent source of fiber and other nutrients such as vitamin C and folate.

7. Kale

Kale is a popular leafy green vegetable that is packed with nutrition, including protein. One cup of kale contains about 3 grams of protein. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.

8. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that is packed with nutrition, including protein. One cup of cauliflower contains about 2 grams of protein. It is also an excellent source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and other key nutrients.

  • Summary:

Don’t let vegetables fool you – they can be an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas, asparagus, artichokes, kale, and cauliflower are just a few examples of vegetables that are surprisingly high in protein. Incorporating these vegetables into your meals is a great way to boost your protein intake and support your overall health and wellness.

Supplements: Covering Nutritional Gaps

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient for vegans and it’s difficult to obtain sufficient amounts from plant-based diets alone. It’s important for nerve health, brain function, and the production of red blood cells. To make sure you’re meeting your recommended intake, consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement, which can be found in tablet, gummy, and liquid forms.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

While it’s possible to get omega-3s from plant-based sources, like flaxseeds and chia seeds, these sources provide the less active form of omega-3s, ALA. EPA and DHA, the more active forms, are primarily found in fatty fish. Vegan supplements, such as algae oil, can provide adequate amounts of EPA and DHA, but it’s important to choose a reputable brand to ensure purity and potency.

Protein Powder

Plant-based protein powder can be a convenient and easy way to supplement your diet with protein. Pea protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein are all complete sources of protein and can be found in powder form. Be sure to choose a brand with minimal additives and no added sugars.

  • Tip: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.

Plant-Based Protein Powders: Convenience or Necessity?


Plant-based diets have been growing in popularity, and with that, so has the demand for plant-based protein sources. While it’s possible to meet protein needs through whole foods, many individuals turn to plant-based protein powders for convenience and to ensure they are meeting their daily protein requirements. However, are these powders really necessary or just a convenient addition to a plant-based diet?


Plant-based protein powders offer a convenient and quick way to get protein in without having to consume large amounts of whole foods. This can be especially useful for those with busy lifestyles, athletes, and individuals with higher protein needs. Powders can easily be added to smoothies, oatmeal, or used in baking recipes.

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While plant-based protein powders can be convenient and helpful for some individuals, they are not necessarily a necessity. It’s possible to meet protein needs through whole plant foods such as beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and nuts and seeds. Additionally, relying solely on powders can lead to a lack of diversity in the diet, which is important for overall health and nutrient intake.


Plant-based protein powders can be a helpful addition to a plant-based diet, providing convenience and a quick source of protein. However, it’s important to remember that they are not a necessity and should not replace whole plant foods. Including a variety of protein sources in the diet is key for overall health and nutrient intake.

How to Meet Your Daily Protein Needs on a Vegan Diet

Calculate Your Protein Needs

Before you can determine how to meet your daily protein needs on a vegan diet, you need to know how much protein you need. The recommended daily intake for protein varies based on factors such as age, sex, weight, and physical activity level. Use an online calculator or consult a registered dietitian to determine your specific protein needs.

Choose Protein-Rich Foods

There are plenty of vegan protein sources to choose from. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are high in protein. Nuts and seeds like almonds, chia, and hemp seeds are also good protein sources. Grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta can also add protein to your diet.

Consider Plant-Based Protein Supplements

If you’re struggling to meet your protein needs through food alone, consider adding a plant-based protein supplement to your diet. These supplements are usually made from protein-rich foods like soy, pea, or rice. Be sure to choose a high-quality supplement with minimal added ingredients.

Pay Attention to Amino Acids

Protein is made up of amino acids, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting a variety of amino acids in your diet. Some plant-based protein sources are incomplete, meaning they don’t contain all of the essential amino acids. To make up for this, combine different protein sources throughout the day, such as rice and beans or hummus and whole wheat pita.

Plan Your Meals Ahead

Meeting your daily protein needs on a vegan diet requires some planning. Take the time to plan out your meals and snacks to ensure you’re getting enough protein. Consider meal prepping to make it easier to stick to your protein goals throughout the week.


Meeting your daily protein needs on a vegan diet is definitely doable. By calculating your protein needs, choosing protein-rich foods, considering plant-based protein supplements, paying attention to amino acids, and planning your meals ahead, you can ensure that you’re getting all the protein your body needs to function optimally.

Questions and Answers:

What are some high-protein vegan options for breakfast?

Some high-protein vegan options for breakfast include tofu scramble, vegan protein powder smoothies, oatmeal with nuts and seeds, and avocado toast with chickpeas.

Is it possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet?

Yes, it is possible to get enough protein on a vegan diet. There are plenty of plant-based protein sources available, including beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. By incorporating a variety of these foods into your diet, you can easily meet your protein needs.

What are some vegan protein sources that are low in carbs?

Some vegan protein sources that are low in carbs include tempeh, tofu, seitan, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and spirulina. These foods are all high in protein and contain minimal amounts of carbohydrates, making them great options for people following a low-carb or keto diet. Additionally, most leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables are excellent sources of protein with very few carbs.


Samantha Martinez

As a vegan woman, this comprehensive chart of protein sources is incredibly useful and informative. I love that it includes both common and less well-known plant-based protein sources, as it can be easy to fall into a routine of eating the same foods over and over again. I also appreciate the breakdown of the protein content in each source, as it helps me to ensure I am getting enough protein in my diet to fuel my physically active lifestyle. Overall, this chart is a great resource for any vegan looking to expand their protein options and stay healthy.

Emily Johnson

As a vegan woman, I found this chart to be incredibly helpful in ensuring that I am getting all the necessary protein my body needs. Going vegan can be intimidating, especially when it comes to ensuring that you are getting all the nutrients you need, but this chart makes it easy to understand the different vegan protein sources available to us. I appreciate that it includes not just the obvious sources like beans and tofu, but also some lesser-known options like quinoa and chia seeds. This chart is a great resource for anyone interested in a vegan lifestyle or just trying to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet.

Ashley Rodriguez

As a vegan, I always struggle to find sources of protein that can replace meat in my diet. This chart of vegan protein sources is an absolute game-changer for me! It’s so helpful to have all these options listed in one place. I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of my favorite foods are actually great sources of protein, like lentils, quinoa, and tofu. Plus, there are plenty of options I’ve never tried before, like tempeh and seitan, that I’m excited to experiment with. This chart makes it clear that a vegan diet can be just as protein-rich as a meat-based diet, and I’m thrilled to have these options at my fingertips. Thank you for putting this together!