Fuel Your Body The Vegan Way Discover The Best 20 Protein-Rich Plant Foods

Lifestyle Deepanwita Dey Health & Fitness 04 March 2024 10 Mins Read
How to get protein as a vegan

Looking for a natural and environmentally friendly source of protein that is a great alternative to animal sources? Are you wondering how to get protein as a vegan?

Then you have ended up just at the right spot! This article will unveil the twenty most delicious vegan/plant-based foods with high protein content. This will satisfy all tastes and positively impact your health.

Whether you have been vegan for a long time or asking how to become a vegan, understanding nutritious sources is your first choice.

Do not worry!

There is a wide variety on the whole green menu, which truly brings a new definition to organic food. Have a seat so we can both delve into the prosperous world of vegan protein!

Where Does Protein in Plant-Based Comes From

Where Does Protein in Plant-Based Comes From

Before we get into how to get protein as a vegan, let us first answer where does protein in plants comes from.

Others could get a shock to realize that other green stuff has the same proportion of protein as their favorite meat.

But it is true!

Interestingly, one cup of cooked lentils has roughly 18 grams of protein. This is equal to the amount of protein you can get from three ounces of chicken breast!

In addition, there are different kinds of legumes, especially beans (black beans, chickpeas), peas (split peas), soybeans (edamame and tofu), and peanuts; they all are great sources of proteins.

It is worth noting that apart from healthy fats, nuts and seeds are also a good source of proteins. Let’s compare a handful or two of almonds (depending on size) with one ounce of both chia seeds (butter size) and pumpkin seeds (a measure of two tablespoons each). We discovered that the first contains about six grams of protein, while the second contains eight grams.

The complete proteins can be found in some whole grains, such as quinoa and oats. The body cannot make these itself. A cup of quinoa supplies you with nearly eight grams of protein. While a cup of cooked steel-cut oats contains almost 5 grams of protein.

Additionally, you can get many fake meat protein sources from soybeans, peas, or wheat gluten. They can reproduce the same texture and taste but will be full of proteins and dietary fiber.

Why plant-based protein sources are beneficial for the body

Why plant-based protein sources are beneficial for the body

They serve not only as an essential resource of nutrients but also provide a wide type of health habit formation. In this part, I will ask you to investigate the reasons for plant-based proteins. Plus, how that can be physically beneficial to your body.

1. Nutrient-Rich: Consequently, plant proteins don’t just include a higher protein content but also a mix of necessary vitamins, minerals, and microelements. The minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and several B vitamins vital for metabolism, bones, and a good immune system.  

2. Lowers Risk of Chronic Diseases: Human [Dietary] studies show that a diet high in plant proteins helps prevent chronic diseases. These include heart disease and diabetes type. This is because they are rich in fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels greatly. Hence, it reduces blood sugar fluctuations in the body. (Source)

3. Promotes Weight Loss: One key benefit of getting your proteins from plants is that they contain fewer calories than animal proteins. You can eat more with less calorie intake. Even use salt and butter in your food without trying to mind calories. Studies also show that those whose diet contains plants and environmentally friendly food have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). (Source)

4. Easily Digestible: Conversely, some animal proteins are comparatively heavy on the digestive system. However, a plant-based diet is an easy task for the digestive system due to the fiber-rich nature of most of the plants. Digestive problems and/or people who desire a lighter meal option may benefit from them most because of these reasons.

With these benefits, we can understand why you want to know how to get protein as a vegan.

How to get protein as a vegan? The top 20 protein-rich plant foods

The top 20 protein-rich plant foods

Fortunately, there exist many delicious and plant-based sources of protein that offer all the essential amino acids of a balanced diet. In addition, we will also focus on the 20 protein-rich plant foods that will help you sport a healthy lifestyle.

1. Lentils: These legumes contain not only protein but they are considered among the highest proteins in the plant world. They are also a good source of fiber, iron, and potassium.

2. Chickpeas: As folks might know, these legumes of garbanzo beans are versatile and offer a certain quantity of protein. You can use this to create dishes like hummus and falafel.

3. Quinoa: This gluten-free grain has one of the key components- protein- that makes it a complete source of protein because it contains all the nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own.

4. Tofu: As an unusually appreciated source of protein, made from soybeans, this vegetarian option is popular in Asian cuisine. For ages!

5. Edamame: Soybeans are also another healthy snack in edamame. If eaten a cup, one can get 17 grams of protein from it.

6. Hemp Seeds: Our seeds are the sources of not only all nine essential amino acids but also omega-3 fatty acids, so you can mix them into your smoothies or salads for a super healthy diet!

7. Chia Seeds: These are, again, outstanding superfoods with a protein content. This includes 4 grams per ounce, making it the same in terms of nutrients as flaxseeds.

8. Green Peas: And so, to the small peas. You shouldn’t underrate them! They just have close to 8 grams of protein per cup and vitamins such as vitamin K and folate.

9. Spinach: Besides numerous health care aspects that outweigh nutrition, one cup brings around 5 grams of protein after cooking.

10. Seitan: It’s a meat substitute made of gluten from wheat and can be used in recipes for fried meat or sandwiches.

11. Nuts: The non-animal alternatives to protein-rich nuts are, in fact, the same family: almonds, cashews, and pistachios, contributing both protein and healthy fats to your daily diet.

12. Nutritional Yeast: This savory and protein ingredient is vegan and has nine grams of protein per ounce.

13. Beans: Beans can be cooked in many ways. We get plant-based protein by having black beans, kidney beans, or even navy beans.

14. Oats: Besides all energy, they do make up for a delicious hearty breakfast. They have 6 grams of protein per cooked cup.

15. Broccoli: While broccoli is packed with many other health advantages, such as 3 grams of protein in one cooked cup, brook green is a great source of protein, too.

16. Brussels Sprouts: These quick-serve cabbages might not be everyone’s favorite. Especially if you don’t like eating them raw, but they provide up to 4 grams of protein per raw, cooked cup.

17. Tempeh: Another type of product made from soy that bears similarities to tofu and can be used in dishes such as a stir-fry or salad is tempeh, which is firmer.

18. Peanuts: These legumes are protein-rich, with about 7 grams per ounce, and contain other nutrients.

19. Brown Rice: Besides being a better option for white rice, brown rice is also high in protein, reaching 5 grams per cooked cup.

20. Amaranth: This ancient and perennial grain is enriched with protein containing around 9 grams in servings of one cup. This is after going through a cooking process and other nutrients like iron and magnesium.

Creative recipe ideas incorporating these ingredients

Creative recipe ideas incorporating these ingredients

Eating a plant-based diet instead of a meat-based one can seem like a big change. Figuring out how to get enough protein can make it even more so. Finally, there are many high-protein plant foods, including those that provide essential amino acids and are ideal ingredients in tasty dishes.

1. Tofu Scramble spiked with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach.

It is baffling how many people ask, how to get protein as a vegan?

When there is tofu!

Tofu is a fundamental component of many diets that exclude animal foods. It contains 10 grams of protein for every 100 grams (about 3.53 oz) on average. To get the best of this multipurpose ingredient, try tomato tofu scramble, then spinach with sun-dried tomatoes.

Crumble tofu in a bowl and mix all the ingredients; in this case, we have garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and your choice of spices like turmeric, paprika, or nutritional yeast. This decadent meal is well worth your time and can be served for breakfast or brunch.

2. A quinoa black bean burger is a vegan alternative to the traditional beef burger.

Quinoa is a “superfood” because it contains over eight grams of protein per cup and other nutrients such as fiber and iron. Adding quinoa into your diet can be combined with homemade black bean burgers with cooked quinoa as an extra dimension of texture and nutrition.

These burgers can be fried or baked until they become perfectly crispy on the outside but still tender.

3. Lentil ball with Spaghetti Squash Noodles.

Besides the fact that lentils attain popularity among the plant-based crowd, they serve as a great source of protein (18 grams per cooked cup), complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

As an alternative to the typical meatballs made with ground beef, add seasoned lentil meatballs and include spaghetti squash noodles to bring a light yet wonderful taste sensation.

4. Healthy toast: Avocado and white bean.

To eat a quick, simple breakfast or snack packed with protein, smear the toasted wholegrain bread with mashed white beans, sliced avocado, and cherry tomatoes.

This amalgamation has a pattern of protein (about 11 grams per serving), but it also has healthy fatty acids and fiber.

5. Chickpea Caesar Salad

Chickpeas are the easiest plant-based protein to work with as they can be used in supping, stewing, currying, dipping, sliding, and many other ways.

Hence, if you want to give a new feel to the classic Caesar Salad, change the chicken with chickpeas, roast them, and then season them with garlic powder and dried herbs. Besides that, you can mix the dressing with a bit of nutritional yeast to give it some “cheesy” taste.

6. Spicy Peanut Tofu In Stir Fried Style.

This spicy peanut tofu stir-fry is just the dish of peace of mind in a quick, healthy, and tasty Asian-flavored meal with a protein boost. It is what you are after.

For marination, extra-firm tofu cubes are tossed in a sauce made with soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, peanut butter, minced ginger, and garlic for at least 30 minutes, before pan frying in a wok/skillet along with assorted vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and bokchoy.

7. Blackberry Spinach Salad with Pistachios

This simple yet elegant salad will be good for lunch or dinner. Even more, it will serve the purpose of a light and refreshing menu item. Combine fresh baby spinach with blackberries, sliced avocado, pistachios, and crumbled feta cheese (or vegan alternative) into mouthwatering salads for a protein-rich, fat-rich, antioxidant-rich, vitamin-pack, healthy meal.

8. Kidney Bean Chili

Chili, by its very name, is meant to be the one that we can turn into a vegan dish. This is just by using kidney beans instead of ground beef.

Take onion, garlic, pepper, and other spices like chili powder and cumin powder and cook together in a pot. Add the canned kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, and vegetable broth until thickened up.

9. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

A filling and fun lentil shepherd’s pie is ideal for the cold weather dinner. Cook lentils with sliced carrots, celery, and onions in vegetable broth until tender. Lay them again in a baking dish with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Place it in the oven, wait for the golden-brown color, and serve with your favorite veggies.

10. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

For a lighter meal that makes up for what it lacks in protein (thinking of cooked quinoa), you can whip up this Mediterranean-style salad.

This is cooked quinoa combined with chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, crumbled vegan cheese (or vegan alternative) cheese, and lemon vinaigrette dressing. Top with herbs like parsley or dill to finish cooking.

11. Chickpeas with Summer Vegetables and Basil

This recipe is the best way to satisfy your protein and eyes while eating chickpeas. Cook air-dried summer vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and bell peppers in a pan with olive oil to soften until tender.

Along with adding these canned chickpeas, garlic, and fresh basil leaves, close the pan for a few minutes, giving homogeneity to the flavors.

12. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchilada

Lastly, for cuisines of Mexican origin that are still healthy and protein-rich, don’t miss out on these black bean sweet potato enchiladas.

These are the ones that are stuffed with soft corn tortillas with fungoid black beans. Onions and tomatoes are chopped and blended. The baked ones are placed in a tomato sauce with spices like cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Add avocado slices to add creaminess or serve fresh with a preferred side dish.

13. Tempeh Tacos

Choose tempeh in marinade for your tacos instead of traditionally used ground beef or chicken and enjoy this daring twist on the classic taco filling. Cut tempeh into small pieces and soak them in a marinade made of soy sauce, lime juice, cumin powder, garlic powder, and chili powder for at least 30 minutes (or preferably overnight).

Next, sauté them in a pan for a couple of minutes until they are slightly browned and used as the taco filling; accompany them with your favorite toppings.

14. Lentil Bolognese

Replace the usual Bolognese sauce, normally made from meat, with one made from red lentils, providing the same hearty yet nutritious meal.

Cooked lentils are braised alongside tomatoes, herbs, garlic, onions, and vegetable broth, which lends the sauce a substance that makes the sauce the perfect choice for any pasta shape you might prefer.

15. Chickpea Curry

The curry is a delicious plant-based protein source from the chickpeas, and I also bring in some extra tofu as an added protein boost. Coconut milk and spice mixtures include turmeric*, ginger*, coriander*, and cumin* with diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers.

Precede the chickpeas and tofu for 5 minutes, then let everything simmer in the heat until everything has a beautiful melody. Season for a savory dish and enjoy with rice for a filling meal.

To End The Discussion!

Hopefully, I was able to give you an answer to how to get protein as a vegan.

To make a balanced diet, choose attractive recipes incorporating protein-packed plant-based sources such as quinoa, tempeh, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and a wide range of vegetables and spices. It is a way to fuel your body without compromising on the taste.

Have some experiments with your new meal ingredients that you can use to cook your own never-before-imagined dishes, which will make you rationalize trying to live without meat as a protein source.

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