Vegans can get all of the protein they need from plants and vegetables. Its simply a matter of knowing what plants provide high protein. One of the many benefits of vegan protein sources is that they often contain good amounts of fiber which meat does not. This is ideal for high protein high fiber diets.
I’ve compiled a list of high protein vegan foods and some interesting facts you may not have known about them.
List of High Protein Vegan Foods
All of the high protein foods listed are 100% vegan. Protein is measured per 100 grams of food which is equal to 3.5 ounces. Most of the data is provided by the USDA.
High Protein Beans
The downside to beans is that they are high in carbohydrates and calories. This can be a benefit though, especially for recovery days or when you need a lot of energy.
1. Black Beans
6 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber.
Black beans are an excellent source of protein due to their low cost and shelf life.
Interesting fact: Black beans are used in veggie burgers not just because of the protein but the starches also help bind everything together.
2. Baked Beans
14 grams of protein and 14grams of fiber (1 to 1 ratio of protein to fiber).
Baked beans are a good source of protein, iron and potassium. They are also one of the least expensive things at any grocery store.
Interesting fact: Baked beans are actually made from navy beans.
3. Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
19 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber.
Used as the base ingredient in hummus garbanzo beans taste more like a nut with butter. They are incredibly high in Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Interesting fact: The word “garbanzo” actually comes from a Basque word whose root words mean “dry” and “seed”.
4. Green Peas
5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber (1 to 1 ratio of protein to fiber).
Green peas are fairly low in calories but very high in Vitamin C.
Interesting Facts: Peas actually come in a few colors including purple. They are also classified as legumes which are beans and also a type of seed.
5. Kidney Beans
24 grams of protein and 25 grams of fiber.
Kidney beans are very high in nutrients. 100 grams (raw) has over 1400mg of potassium, 100% of daily fiber, nearly 50% daily protein and iron.
Interesting Fact: Its recommended that kidney beans are boiled for at least 30 minutes to destroy a naturally occurring toxin in the bean. The same toxin occurs in some other beans but in smaller amounts.
9 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.
Lentils are very low in sodium and high in fiber. They are the key ingredient in many Indian dishes like Dal and some curries.
Interesting Fact: Lentils come in a variety of different colors like black, green, brown, yellow, red and orange. Colors of plants indicate levels of certain nutrients.
7. Pinto Beans
21 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber.
Pinto Beans are very high in protein, fiber, potassium and magnesium. They are also a good source of many B Vitamins.
Interesting Fact: Pinto beans are a good source of Vitamin B1 which is beneficial for numerous brain functions, focus and energy. Its also beneficial for immunity and metabolism.
36 grams of protein (raw) and 9 grams of fiber.
Soybeans are very high in protein and are used to make a variety of meat protein alternatives. It is worth to mention that some research on soybean phytoestrogens may cause potential health issues when diets have higher intake of soybean products, especially in men.
Interesting Fact: Soybeans are very beneficial for their high nutrient content but are a major factor in deforestation in South American rain forests like the Amazon.
Grains and Pseudograins High in Protein
Pseudograins are technically grains but they are not classified as “grasses” which is where grains like wheat come from. They can be considered super foods due the amount of nutrition they provide when compared to traditional grains.
15 grams of protein (dry) and 13 grams of of fiber.
Nutrition Source: Bob’s Red Mill Nutrition Facts in 100 grams.
Using amaranth is much like using rice and rice flour to make things like baked goods or dishes that would typically use quinoa or rice. In 100 grams amaranth has nearly 40% of your daily value of iron and nearly 60% magnesium.
Interesting Facts: Amaranth has been cultivated for thousands of years and like hemp is one of the oldest ancient crops.
13 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber.
Buckwheat is beneficial for helping to control cholesterol and new research from Canada suggests it may be beneficial for diabetes. Some of the beneficial plant nutrients also help protect against heart disease.
Interesting Facts: Buckwheat isn’t related to wheat and it’s gluten free. It can also be used to make anything that is typically made with wheat. In Japan and Korea there are some noodles being made with buckwheat flour.
14 grams of protein (raw) and 7 grams of fiber.
Quinoa is one of the most beneficial crops available to us. Its easy to grow, very high in nutrients and is used to make everything from salads, tabbouleh, and even cupcakes. Quinoa is an excellent source of energy and fiber. The fiber forms a gel when exposed to water due to the porous shell of the seed.
Interesting Facts: Even though quinoa has omega 3 fatty acids it not the type of omega 3 beneficial for inflammation. The anti-inflammatory benefits actually come from the plant acids that also act as an antioxidant.
High Protein Superfoods
12. Hemp Protein
31 grams of protein and 37 grams of fiber in 100 grams of protein powder.
Source: Nutiva Nutrition Facts
Hemp seeds and hemp products like protein powder is one of the most important foods on this list. The amount of nutrition hemp provides isn’t comparable to any other plant. Its very high in fiber and a wide spectrum of amino acids.
Interesting fact: Hemp is a kind of cannabis plant but is has no mind expanding benefits as its genetics are different from cannabis. Hemp crops are believed to be one of the oldest crops on Earth. It used to make the strongest paper, sails, fabric and other textiles. The hemp crop also keeps invasive plants from growing and actually benefits the soil, unlike many other crops.
57 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of fiber.
Granted a 100 grams of spirulina is a lot. (everything here was measured in that amount.) Spirulina is competing with hemp for the most beneficial and nutritious foods on this list.
100 grams of powder has way more than 100% daily value of iron and protein. It also has a significant amount of amino acids compared to other plants.
Interesting fact: Spirulina is an algae that is grown in fresh water and gets its dark green color from the high amounts of chlorophyll it contains.
Like spirulina, 100 grams of wheatgrass is a lot. Wheatgrass is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and a wide spectrum of B Vitamins including the hard to get Vitamin B12. Just 1 ounce of wheatgrass provides more than 100% daily value of all of those vitamins.
Wheatgrass is also a great source of iron, manganese and zinc.
Interesting Fact: Wheatgrass itself does not contain Vitamin B12… but the microorganisms that live on the plant produce B12. This is a natural non-meat source of one of the critical things a vegan does need.
4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
While its not very high in protein it is a superfood that is very high in nutrients and contains a fair amount of protein for being a leaf. 100 grams of kale has 200% daily value of Vitamin C and is very high in Vitamin A. Its also high levels of amino acids.
Interesting fact: Kale is one of the few sources of Vitamin K that does not come from fermented foods.
16. Chia Seeds
16 grams of protein and 34 grams of fiber.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber having twice as much fiber as it does protein. There is a decent amount of iron, calcium and and omega 3 fatty acids found in chia seeds.
Interesting facts: Chia seeds grow wildly like weeds especially in the Southwest and South America. Just by tapping the plant the seeds can be released and eaten raw.
17. Cacao Powder
20 grams of protein and 33 grams of fiber.
Cacao powder is high in good fats, potassium, protein, iron, fiber and magnesium. It is also a natural source of caffeine making it an ideal food for recovery days.
Interesting Facts: Theobromine (the plant chemical that is toxic to dogs and in very high amounts toxic to humans) has many medicinal benefits. It acts as a vasodilator and has a “stimulant like” effect without the crash of caffeine.