When someone becomes a vegetarian, one of the first questions that is often asked is “where do you get your protein?” Protein is an essential part of our diets, and vegetarians and vegans might assume that it is more difficult to acquire sufficient quantities of protein in their diets. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Proteins are building blocks of body tissues, like muscles. They’re also responsible for maintaining your blood pressure and immune system functions. The quality and quantity of proteins you consume affect your weight, health, and performance. As vegetarians, it’s a common challenge to find good sources of protein to maintain your health.
As a vegetarian, finding a protein source that doesn’t contain dairy or eggs can be difficult. Beans and tofu are two big proteins you may have heard about but there are others that you might not know about. Here’s a list of foods high in protein that will help you overcome this hurdle.
What are the top 10 protein foods for vegetarians?
Eating right is one of the most important things you can do to live a healthy lifestyle. That is why it is incredibly important for vegetarians and vegans to ensure that they are eating enough protein to get all of the benefits that a high-protein diet can provide. Today, I want to share some valuable information with you about the top 10 proteins for vegetarians.
1- Lentils: 17.86 protein grams per cup
Lentils are the unsung heroes of the vegetarian protein world. They’re easily digestible, nutritious, and cheap—making them the most appealing non-meat option for those looking to boost their protein intake.
2- Almonds: 21 protein grams per 100 grams
Almonds is one of the most popular types of nuts. Why do people like it? It tastes great. Almonds are a perfect snack to eat in between meals. This type of nuts is available all over the world.
It’s very popular as an ingredient to make various kinds of food from cookies, cakes, muffins, and pastries. Almonds are also used to be served by themselves as snacks. One could easily munch on whole or ground almonds by itself while bored or watching television.
3- Broccoli 4.28 protein grams per cooked cup
I love broccoli. Broccoli is one of the tastiest vegetables around which makes me feel like I’m eating a decadent treat. My favorite way to prepare broccoli is in a stir fry, but unfortunately, it can be difficult to find in local grocery stores. Broccoli goes well with many dishes such as stir-fries, soups, and salads. You can also make a lot at once and freeze it for later!
4- Avocado 4.02 protein grams per 1 avocado
Its versatility, rich taste, and unique texture are why avocado tops the list of “must-have” foods in every vegetarian’s kitchen.
5- Asparagus 4.32 protein grams per cup
The best uses for asparagus are in soups, casseroles, stir-fries, and omelets if you are not vegetarian.
6- Brussels sprouts 5.64 protein grams per cup
Whether you have hated it in the past or have never tried it. Brussels sprouts grow on a stem-like cabbage and taste sweeter than kale, and can be used in a variety of delicious recipes.
6- Quinoa 8.14 protein grams per cup
Most people associate vegetarianism with the avoidance of red meat. And while this is usually true, there are other sources of protein that provide just as much (if not more) variety in your diet. Quinoa is one such food.
7- Chickpeas 14.53 protein grams per cup
Chickpeas were one of the first beans cultivated about 9,000 years ago. They are native to the Middle East but have since spread and can be found in India, the Mediterranean region as hummus, and northern Africa. Chickpeas are a good source of protein for vegetarians. A 1/2 cup serving contains 15.6 grams of protein. This can make chickpeas a good substitute for meat in a vegetarian diet.
8- Edamame 18.46 protein grams per cup
Vegetarians and vegans can be prone to protein deficiencies because many plant-based foods like grains, noodles, and beans don’t naturally contain a lot of protein. Luckily for us, soy products like edamame are packed with the good stuff.
9- Black Beans 15 protein grams per cup
Black beans are a low-glycemic index food and are loaded with antioxidants. It is rich in fiber, folate, copper, manganese, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. They also contain fiber which helps lower cholesterol.
10- Green peas 8.58 protein grams per cup
Green peas are great food for our vegan and vegetarian viewers, as they are a plant-based alternative to animal sources of protein.
How do vegetarians get enough protein?
Even though I was a vegetarian for more than 10 years, before becoming a vegan, I never knew many of the sources of protein for vegetarians. For that matter, I just assumed all vegetarians knew the best sources of protein for their diet and lifestyle.
After I became a vegan and had to rely on plant-based protein for myself, I suddenly felt like there were so many things I didn’t know about the topic. So I started to do my own research and compile my findings into one place.
Many people assume that getting protein as a vegetarian is impossible. However, the truth is that fruit and vegetables contain just as much protein as meat. Vegetarians need to plan better to get the amount of protein they need, but it is just as easy with a few simple tips and tricks.
The best 5 High-Protein Vegetarian Meals That Will Fill You Up
1- Easy Shakshuka
This easy recipe is the perfect way to use fresh tomatoes. Those who are wary of this tasty fruit won’t regret their boldness once they get a taste of the sweet flavor and warm, comforting feel that comes from enjoying a warm breakfast with shakshuka. You can really load up on protein by adding feta cheese, olives, and garbanzo beans.
With these already impressive flavors and textures, it isn’t necessary to make complex sides or overcomplicate your meal by overloading it with other flavorful elements. A simple salad simply dressed in olive oil will be just the right accompaniment, so that you can enjoy your meal without distraction.
Get the recipe here.
2- Vegan Mapo Tofu
This fiery vegan mapo tofu might not be exactly like the one you might get in a restaurant, but we can guarantee you that it will leave your taste buds wanting more. That said, here is a recipe that you should try. If there are leftovers, feel free to pack them up and take them to work for lunch!
Get the recipe here.
3- Spinach and Chickpea Pasta
Spinach and Chickpea Pasta is a one-pot meal that’s flavorful, filling, and uses only a few real ingredients. This weeknight-friendly dish is made mostly with canned and jarred ingredients, which are not only easy to find but also taste better than fresh ingredients. A little sun-dried tomato pesto, balsamic vinegar, garlic olive oil, and fresh basil make the sauce layer of this pasta so tasty.
Get the recipe here.
4- Spicy Chickpea Gyros
Crispy edges accompany soft, melt-in-your-mouth centers in these flaky chickpea gyros. Tender garbanzo beans (which are quite high protein by themselves at 15 g per cup) are seasoned with fiery spices (chili powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper), then rolled up in a soft pita with tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and more of that melt-in-your-mouth goodness. With their crispy edges and satisfyingly soft centers, these swoon-worthy gyros will fill you up without leaving you feeling bogged down.
Get the recipe here.
5- Spicy Black Bean Burger
Spicy Black Bean Burgers are a favorite veggie burger in my household because they’re so filling. They’re also super easy to make, and they freeze extremely well, which makes them great for planning ahead. I love making them from scratch, but the canned black beans can be a time-saver, too. A mix of spices with oregano at the forefront makes these burgers extra flavorful (and delicious).
Get the recipe here.
The bottom line
Going vegan or vegetarian can seem like a daunting task. After all, you’ll have to eliminate some foods and replace them with substitutes that are just as nutritious. This is especially if you want to maintain healthy body weight and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
In fact, one of the benefits of going vegan or vegetarian is that it tends to improve overall health. This is because vegetarians avoid some foods that contain saturated fats and cholesterol, which are substances that can lead to obesity and other health problems.