When people decide to go vegan, the first question they always get is “But where will you get your protein?”
No worries, we suffer no lack of protein, you just have to know where the plant-based protein sources are. Actually, they are plentiful in plants, and so I have compiled here a list of vegetable protein sources. I hope that this will help on your vegan journey (if you are on one) or at least satisfy your curiosity 😉
What will I go over in this article?
- Other Sources
Right, Spill the Beans
The healthiest beans you can eat and which also have plenty of protein are the following:
- Chickpeas (hmm, hummus, anyone?)
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Soy beans
- Pinto beans
- Navy beans
Not only do beans provide healthy protein, but they are also rich in fiber and B vitamins.
Chickpeas contain protein, fiber, manganese, copper, iron, and vitamin B9. They are also very good at reducing blood sugar and according to Healthline they may also improve cholesterol levels.
Personally, I love lentils! They are great for stews and soups, and they taste great. They are also incredibly good for you, with a good content of protein, fiber, vitamin 9 (folate), thiamine, copper, and manganese. Did you know that one (cooked) cup of lentils gives 6.6 mg iron?
Peas have protein? Yes, they do. I know, it’s hard to believe, but besides protein, peas are also a source of fiber, vitamin K, thiamine (which is vitamin B1), manganese, and vitamin B9.
Kidney beans provide protein, copper, and iron. And not only that, they also have the B vitamins (1 and 9), and fiber. And they are tasty!
Black beans (and lentils) are a frequent staple in my kitchen. I often have black beans for breakfast. When I moved to Mexico I really started appreciating beans a lot more. They know how to cook beans here, and I’ve learned 😉 So, this variety of beans has the following goodies: protein, iron, fiber, manganese, the B1 and B9 vitamins, and also magnesium.
Add some black beans to your breakfast, next to those homemade vegan sausages and some healthy guacamole 😉 Or make some delicious bean burritos. Yummy!
Soybeans are so versatile. They are often used in Asian cuisine, and they provide the basis for tofu, soy milk, soy flour, and tempeh.
Tempeh, however, is made in a fermentation process and it has even a higher content of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Tempeh also contains probiotics which are good for your gut health and lower inflammation.
Besides protein, fiber, iron, and manganese, soybeans also provide phosphorus, vitamin K, and vitamins B9 and B2 (also known as riboflavin)
I don’t eat a lot of Pinto Beans, but they are also good for you. Like their other bean relatives, they contain protein, fiber, vitamin B9 and 1, manganese, and copper.
Navy beans follow close behind with a similar list of nutrients: protein, iron, fiber, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins B1 and B9.
So, are there any doubts about getting enough protein on a plant-based diet? I think not, right? Next time you get that question “where will you get your protein?”, you’ll have your answer ready. 😉
The bean sources I mentioned are the 8 best ones. There are, of course, many more types of beans that are just as nutritious.
Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, the world gene bank currently holds around 40,000 bean varieties. Imagine writing a post about each variety’s nutrients. Oh boy, that should keep me busy. Of course, only a small part of them are sold commercially.
Mexico, for example, hosts 50 kinds of beans. A post about that alone is going to take me a few days, don’t you think? 😉 So, let’s stick to the ones I mentioned above.
Don’t be Mean, Eat Your Greens
These nine vegetables have a high amount of protein:
- Watercress (I know, surprising, isn’t it)
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Bok choy
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
- Brussels sprouts
Needless to say, besides protein, these veggies also have loads of vitamins.
Watercress provides a good amount of them, such as vitamin E, thiamine, vitamin B2, B5, and B6, magnesium, potassium, sodium, copper. Sounds like a super food, doesn’t it?
Alfalfa sprouts: B vitamins, iron, vitamins K, zinc, phosphorus, copper, vitamin C
Spinach: High content of protein, and it has all the essential amino acids. It has vitamin K, A, and C, high amounts of folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium. Spinach contains plant compounds that can reduce inflammation and increase antioxidant defenses.
Is it any wonder Popeye ate so much spinach? 😉
Bok choy: rich in antioxidants, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K
Asparagus:I love that one, it’s so tasty! It’s a great source of B vitamins, copper, manganese, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, vitamins A and K
Mustard greens:manganese, calcium, potassium, vitamins C, K, A, and E, and the B vitamins
Broccoli: I use broccoli a lot for stir fries. This wonderful vegetable has: all the essential amino acids, vitamins C and K, folate, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and flavonoids. Broccoli can also improve liver health (good to know, because I eat a lot of broccoli 😉 )
Collard greens: vitamin K, calcium, potassium, manganese, antioxidants
Brussels sprouts. Now, don’t pull up your nose. I love Brussels sprouts, but well, I’m from Belgium 😉 I find them quite tasty. So, sprouts have fiber, folate, manganese, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamins K, C, A, and B6.
Oh, did I mention that they have protein? 😉
So, I hope that this list gives you a good idea of protein sources (+ all the other wonderful nutrients on top of that).
Broccoli can be used for stir fries, broccoli cream; asparagus can be boiled, steamed, grilled, and added to salads; spinach is great with rice, or fried with potatoes and mushrooms (like I did today), in creams, with black beans, in smoothies, etc. You can get creative here 🙂