25 Best Sources Of Protein For Vegetarians

Everybody knows that we need protein to get stronger. For most of us, we were taught that to get that muscle-building nutrient, you need to eat meat. But contrary to popular belief, protein is not solely found in animal flesh. Just look at vegetarians; they don’t show any sign of muscle degradation yet they still abstain from eating meat. Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-eater, you should check out these 25 amazing sources of vegetarian protein that are both healthy and delicious!

#25. Chia Seeds

Maybe you’ve heard of chia seeds before. They are little black seeds that expand when combined with liquids. Don’t confuse them with poppy seeds! Those are the ones you put in your lemon muffins. Chia seeds contain 2.5 grams of protein per Tbsp. While it isn’t that much, they make up for it by carrying 9 essential amino acids!

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These little seeds have a blood-sugar stabilizing ratio of protein, fats, and fiber. This means that they are perfect for you if you’re trying to lose a few pounds. Furthermore, chia seeds contain a type of omega-3 that is known to decrease the risk of heart disease!

#24. Soybeans & Soy Products

The Japanese are known for having one of the world’s healthiest diets, and one of their staples are soybeans and soy products. Tofu anybody? Every half a cup of soy products, you can get as much as 21 grams of protein. Think tempeh, fermented soy products, dry roasted soybeans… The options are endless!

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One of the most common ways to eat soy is tofu, which contains 10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. If you want something that isn’t solid, give soy milk a try! With 2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup, it is a great swap from regular milk when it comes to adding liquid to your morning cereal.

#23. Hemp Seed

Hemp seeds contain 3.3 grams of protein per Tbsp. Known as marijuana’s edible cousin but without the marijuana effects, these are starting to rise to stardom within the nutritional field. They not only contain a healthy dose of protein, but they are also known to fight heart disease.

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With the fiber and omega-3s that these little seeds carry, studies also say that they can help with both obesity as well as metabolic syndrome. Other than being so good at providing adequate nutrition, hemp seeds are also used to make textiles. In fact, decades ago before cotton was used for clothing, hemp seed was the go to!

#22. Quinoa

If you are remotely familiar with the health world, then you’ve probably heard of quinoa before. With around 1,4000 quinoa products available on the market, this food is getting more and more popular. It is an ancient grain that carries a large amount of protein in comparison to other grains.

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Per half a cup, you can get as much as 4 grams of protein! Not only does it have plenty of this muscle-building nutrient, but it also has a good amount of fiber and amino acid L-arginine. This means that quinoa can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time and also promote muscle over far gain. Been looking for a magical weight-loss food? Give this mighty grain a try!

#21. Ezekiel Bread

With 4 grams of protein per slice (yes, you read correctly, per sliceEzekiel bread is your ideal breakfast bread. This magical piece of bread is made out of a variety of good ingredients, specifically sprouted grains, wheat, lentils, millet, spelt and barley. Oh, and also beans!

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With all of those amazing ingredients, it is no surprise that Ezekiel bread isn’t only strong on the protein department, but also on others. Ezekiel bread has 18 amino acids, nine of which are essential. I bet the white bread sitting in your pantry has got nothing compared to the Ezekiel bread!

#20. Amaranth

Amaranth is one of the lesser know friends we have on this list, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a spot to shine. With 4.67 grams of protein per half a cup, amaranth is another ancient grain you should be giving a try! It is naturally gluten-free, which means it’s perfect for celiacs!

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Amaranth also has fiber, calcium, and iron. So if we have convinced you enough that amaranth is worth the experimentation, here’s how you can eat it. Rather than using oats to make porridge, swap oats for amaranth! When cooked, it also takes on that porridge consistency.

#19. Eggs

Probably the most obvious one of our list, eggs are super versatile, delicious, and packed with protein. Scrambled, boiled, poached, fried… nobody can seem to decide on their favorite way to eat these! Just one of these faithful friends contains 6 grams of protein. If you like them scrambled, you easily have 12 grams right there!

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Since eggs are amazing for the muscles and also boost our metabolisms, they are perfect for weight loss. In fact, eggs happen to be the most nutrient-dense vegetarian protein out there! There’s a reason why people who practice sports eat so many of these. Their falt-belly nutrient, choline, does an amazing job.

#18. Hummus

Good news! Your favorite pita chip dip is actually super healthy too. Whether you dip your celery and carrots in it or spread it on your favorite toast, hummus quickly adds a lot of protein to your meals. With 1.1 grams of protein per Tbsp, hummus makes our lives easier by containing such a good amount of protein in such a delicious spread.

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You probably knew that hummus was made out of chickpeas, which are high in lysine. But hummus also has a good amount of tahini, which has a healthy dose of amino acid methionine. Lysine and methionine are incomplete proteins by themselves but combined, they make a complete protein! Let’s just take a moment to thank the people that invented hummus in the first place back in the Middle East.

#17. Buckwheat

You probably look at buckwheat and think it is a grain. Well, you are sorely mistaken. Often confused to be a grain, buckwheat is actually part of the family of greens such as rhubarb. Cooked, buckwheat carries 3 grams of protein per half a cup plus 2 grams of healthy fiber.

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If protein and fiber didn’t convince you yet, you should know that per half a cup, buckwheat also contains half of the required amount of magnesium. More magnesium means lower levels of insulin and fasting glucose. If you aren’t feeling like eating buckwheat in its original form, give Japanese soba noodles a try!

#16. Spinach

You’ve heard it since you were a child: if you want to get strong, eat spinach like Popeye! Just one cup of cooked spinach has 5 grams of protein. If you do the maths, with one cup of spinach you get almost the amount of protein in one egg, but with half the amount of calories!

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Much like eggs, spinach is also quite versatile given their flavor is not too overpowering. You can try it in your salads as a replacement for iceberg lettuce, in stir-fries, and in omelets. Just add it to your eggs right before pouring in your pan and you’ve got yourself an amazing protein-rich weight-loss food!

#15. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

You’ve probably tried tomatoes before. But have you tried sun-dried tomatoes? They are like tomatoes in terms of nutrients, but very much unlike them in terms of flavor and texture. Their flavor is very intense; they are sweet and tart and have a chewy texture. Per half a cup, you get a good dose of 6 grams of protein!

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If you plan on eating sun-dried tomatoes without cooking them in liquid, make sure you hydrate them properly beforehand! You don’t want to be chewing on what feels like a thin flavored piece of plastic… But hydrated, they taste magical. Eat them for their protein or for their lycopene, an antioxidant proven to decrease many types of cancers.

#14. Guava

If you have ever been to a tropical country, you have probably tried guava before. This delicious fruit contains 4.2 grams of protein per cup, making them the highest protein fruit in the tropics. Like many of these amazing foods, guava comes with another great ingredient, the almighty fiber! 9 grams of fiber is what you are getting from 1 cup of guava.

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A high amount of protein combined with an even higher amount of fiber, guava makes the perfect fruit for weight loss. 1 cup only contains 112 calories. Not convinced? What if we told you that that one cup also has 600% of the Vitamin C you are recommended to have per day?

#13. Artichokes

Probably the most delicious and nutrient dense flower you can eat. Well, not precisely, because artichokes are actually the flower bud, which means that they are harvested before they bloom. If you were interested in knowing how much protein you get per medium artichoke, it is 4.2 grams!

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And since these flower buds are also considered a vegetable, it is no surprise that they come with a huge amount of fiber. Just about twice as much of fiber as kale does. With its 10.3 grams of fiber per medium artichoke, a woman can get 40% of the daily recommended amount.

#12. Peas

Peas might not look all that impressive, but let us tell you something very impressive about them. Just 1 cup of peas contains 8 grams of protein! This means that if you take one cup of raw spinach and compare it to one cup of peas, you get 8 times the amount of protein!

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Additionally, peas have almost 100% of the amount of Vitamin C that is required per day in just 1 cup. Not only do you get a lot of protein, but you are also making sure you keep that immune system at its best. Don’t like eating peas by themselves? Neither do we! Just sauté them along with onions and garlic in a pan seasoned with salt and pepper.

#11. Beans

Beans are also one of the best known vegetarian foods that are a great source of protein. Believe it or not, these guys have 7-10 grams of protein per half a cup, so they’re great for your muscles! They also contain nutrients that are good for maintaining a healthy heart, brain, and muscles.

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Since there’s a ton of different beans, don’t give up if you don’t like the first one you try. There’s black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, and the list goes on. If you are trying to shed some pounds, be sure to give beans a chance because they make you feel fuller for longer periods of time given they are slow to digest.

#10. Lentils

Lentils are not known to be everybody’s favorite, but what if we told you that in just 1 cup of lentils, you get a whopping 18 grams of protein? You’re probably already reconsidering banning lentils from your plate! This one cup of lentils has the amount of protein you would get in 3 eggs, but with a huge perk, you are only getting 1 meager gram of fat.

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Lentils are also super high in fiber, which makes them very satiating. You won’t be eyeing that piece of candy or that bag of chocolate chip cookies after you have a healthy meal with a lot of lentils! Some studies also suggest that having a healthy amount of lentils improves weight and cholesterol levels.

#9. Peanut Butter

A pantry staple and favorite of the American household, peanut butter isn’t only delicious, but it’s also packed with protein! In just 2 Tbsp, you get 7 grams of protein. But be careful, don’t overdo it because peanut butter carries a good amount of calories and going overboard is more common than not!

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Peanut butter also contains healthy fats, so with a controlled dose every day, you are giving your body a delicious and healthy treat. Rather than doing your everyday peanut butter and jelly sandwich, why not give a banana peanut butter smoothie a try?

#8. Teff

Most of you are probably unfamiliar with what teff is. Teff is a grain and an annual grass native to the horn of Africa. Given its unfamiliarity, you might be reluctant to try teff, but hold on. This product has a variety of health benefits including weight loss, better circulation and bone health, stronger immune system, optimized digestion, and increased heart health, among others.

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Teff is packed with protein, containing 7 grams of it in just 1/4 cup. It is rich in amino acids and vitamin C, an immune system friendly nutrient that is rarely found in grains. How do you eat teff, you might be wondering? Just pretend it is rice or quinoa and you are all set. You can also swap your oatmeal with a good bowl of teff porridge!

#7. Triticale

Triticale might also sound a bit obscure given it isn’t that common within the population. But that doesn’t mean that you should be wary about trying it out. In fact, we encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and buy some triticale next time you head to the grocery store!

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With 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, try swapping rice out and using triticale instead. Mix with some soy sauce, ginger, mushroom, and edamame and you’ve got yourself a super healthy and super delicious quick meal. Triticale is also rich in iron, which helps with brain function.

#6. Low Fat Greek Yoghurt

Greek yogurt is definitely among one of our favorites. Who doesn’t love a bowl of yogurt topped with some fresh berries and homemade granola, with a drizzle of honey? Lucky for us, this super versatile dairy product comes packed with a decent amount of protein. For every 7 oz, you get 20 grams of protein!

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Are you trying to lose weight but at the same time want to eat something delicious? Have low-fat Greek Yogurt! This product helps obese individuals lose weight a lot faster. If you’re trying to get your beach body ready, be sure to get the low-fat one and if possible, the one without the added sugar!

#5. Organic Milk

Organic milk contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cup. Why organic, you might be wondering? Organically raised cows aren’t injected with hormones and antibiotics, which you want to keep out of your system. Additionally, these cows have a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.

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While skim milk is usually the choice for people who are trying to lose weight or keep their fat intake low, we recommend against it. A good amount of vitamins are fat-soluble, which means that you aren’t getting these if you get skim milk. So next time you go to the supermarket and head towards the dairy section, think things twice!

#4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin flesh isn’t the only part of the pumpkin that is delicious and filled with nutrients. Meet pumpkin seeds. With as much as 9 grams of protein per oz and with a good amount of other nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, pumpkin seeds are small but mighty.

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Maybe munching these by themselves isn’t too appetizing for you. So why not give them a try in your salads? Just sprinkle them on and you’ve got yourself a healthier salad that has added texture! Pumpkin seeds are also known to contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and help protect against several diseases.

#3. Almonds

Per oz, almonds contain 6 grams of protein. We all know that almonds are good for you, but did you know how much they contribute to a healthy body? Think about almonds as a natural pill that aids weight loss. Studies have shown how obese adults that eat almonds lose weight faster and have a greater reduction in BMI than those who don’t eat them.

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Popping in a few almonds every day is not only a delicious and easy snack, But it is also super healthy! Rich in  L-arginine, an amino acid that is said to help burn fat during workouts, almonds are the ideal snack to have right before you head to the gym or when you’re getting ready for a nice run.

#2. Cashews

Have you ever tried a lightly salted cashew? Then you probably agree when we say that they sort of taste like potato chips, just that they’re a lot healthier. If almonds are not your favorite seed, or if you want to spice it up by rotating it with a drupe (the thing you find inside the pit), try cashews! With 5 grams of protein per oz, cashews are also your friend when you are looking for a quick protein-packed snack.

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Cashews not only pack a healthy dose of protein, but they are also an amazing source of magnesium. Magnesium is a nutrient that helps with constipation and also promotes a healthy immune system. Are your nails and hair brittle? Eat cashews! These little drupes have biotin, which helps nails and hair stay healthy.

#1. Banza Shells

If hummus is not your favorite dip, there is another way to get a good amount of protein derived from chickpeas. Meet banza shells! Next time you make your grandma’s secret macaroni and cheese recipe, swap out the usual shells or elbow pasta you use and go for banza shells.

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You might be surprised that you can get pasta that has 14 grams of protein per 2 oz! That means that banza pasta contains double the amount of protein and half the amount of carbohydrates than your average spaghetti box. Furthermore, it has 8 grams of fiber per serving. What are you waiting for? Swap that linguini and get some banza pasta!

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