I get messages quite often from people, through Instagram, asking me to help them with vegan protein sources. So I ran a poll on my Instagram stories, last Thursday, to find out whether there were others who would like me to put together a blogpost with easy to find, basic protein sources too. And 98% of you voted yes – the other 2% were contrary meat eaters, who felt it necessary to vote nonetheless.
I always just assume that it’s easy to think of vegan protein sources. But then I forget that I’ve been meat-free for the best part of 12 years now, and I sometimes fail to acknowledge that some vegans go straight from being a meat-eater, into veganism. I commend them on that transition, because I can only imagine how much of a drastic change that would be to their lives.
However, I do recommend you research thoroughly before committing to a vegan diet, entirely. I always suggest to people, when they ask me, that they could gradually cut out animal products, as they learn more about veganism. That way it will be a lot easier to stick with veganism for the long term. But also, you will gain knowledge along the way on how best to nourish yourself too and what works for you and your body.
In this post, I will be listing protein sources that I eat regularly and ones which I rely on for the most part of my diet. I’m not one of those vegans that bangs on about how we don’t need as much protein as people think we do, because everyone is different. I know my body and energy levels do best when I’m eating 100g or over. And that will need to increase when I workout. You just have to find what works for you, and that comes with time patience and experimenting.
Legumes, Pulses & Beans
I only started eating legumes, pulses, and beans, towards the latter years of my vegetarian diet and I really liked how versatile they were. Now they play a huge part in my vegan diet, and it’s not something that I hate either. I enjoy them and I enjoy finding ways to incorporate them into my daily diet. Plus they never fail to fill me up and leave me feeling satisfied.
Per 100g Serving (uncooked/Dry)
- Chickpeas – 19g
- Green Lentils – 26g
- Red Lentils – 23.8g
- Puy Lentils – 21.8g
- Red Kidney Beans – 22g
- White Kidney Beans – 22g
- Butterbeans – 19g
- Black Beans – 23g
- Mixed Salad Beans – 23g
- Fava Beans – 27g
- Haricot Beans – 22g
- Pinto Beans – 20g
- Soybeans – 36g
Per 100g Serving (Canned/Cooked)
- Chickpeas – 7.2g
- Green Lentils – 5.7g
- Red Lentils – 23.8g
- Puy Lentils – 10.6g
- Red Kidney Beans – 6.9g
- White Kidney Beans – 7g
- Butterbeans – 5.9g
- Black Beans – 7.5g
- Mixed Salad Beans – 5.8g
- Fava Beans – 7.3g
- Baked Beans – 4.4g
- Haricot Beans – 7.4g
- Canellini Beans – 8g
- Refried Beans – 5.3g
- Pinto Beans – 6.5g
Of course, with foods such as chickpeas, lentils & beans, the high-fibre content will make you bloat, at first, and could potentially give you gas; which is what puts people off eating them. However, when your body adapts to this way of eating and you consume them more regularly; all of those lovely issues should stop.
I tried so many ways to avoid eating carbs when I first went vegan, last year (2017). As a vegetarian, I was so used to eating low-carb, that I knew I would rapidly gain weight if I started eating 200-300g carbs per day. And that happened. I ballooned. Well, I gained around 10lbs. However, I persevered with it and continued filling up on; bread, potatoes, rice and oats, and the weirdest thing happened – my body adapted – go figure.
Protein per 100g serving (uncooked)
- Wild Rice – 9g
- Brown Rice – 8g
- White Rice – 8g
- Quinoa – 41g
- Bulgur Wheat – 12g
- Buckwheat – 12.5g
- Wholewheat Pasta – 12g
- Wholewheat Spaghetti – 10.4g
- Brown Rice Pasta – 8g
- Pearl Barley –20g
- Cous Cous – 15.6g
- Porridge Oats – 12g
- Mornflake High Protein Oats – 21.1g
Per 50g Slice/Roll/Muffin
- Wholemeal Bread (thick) – 5g
- White Bread (thick) – 3.2g
- Wholemeal Rolls – 6g
- Wholemeal Pita Bread – 6g
- English Muffins – 6.7g
- White Tortillas – 4.9g
- White & Wheat Tortillas – 5.1g
- Wholemeal Tortillas – 4.8g
- Lidl Protein Rolls (80g) – 22g
- Dr Zaks Protein Bread – 15.1g
Flours & Powders
Per 100g Serving
People assume flours are unhealthy, but if you put aside the processed types. Some are actually good for us and have a substantial amount of protein too. If like me, you are a keen baker, then you’ll be hitting your protein in no time.
- White Flour – 11g
- Wholewheat Flour – 13.8g
- Almond Flour (sukrin) – 40g
- Peanut Flour (sukrin) – 50g
- Sesame Flour (sukrin) – 46g
- Chickpea Flour – 20g
- Gram/Besan Flour – 23.3g
- Soy Flour – 40g
- Quinoa Flour – 15g
- Wheat Gluten Flour – 71g
Per 100g Serving
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – 18g
- Cacao Powder – 21.4g
- Spirulina Powder – 63g
- Spinach Powder – 33g
- Broccoli Powder – 30g
- Psyllium Husk Powder – 2.5g
- Sweet Powder Powder – 3g
- Maca Powder –10g
- Coconut Water Powder – 1.7g
Per 100g (uncooked/Raw)
I’ve been focusing incessantly on my nutrition the past year, as it’s not only something I enjoy learning about, but I also love discovering new, fun ways to include vegetables in my meals; without sacrificing flavour. Although, I was stunned to discover how much protein I was getting from high volumes of vegetables alone.
- Cauliflower – 2,9g
- Broccoli – 3.3g
- Brussel Sprouts – 3.5g
- Garden Peas – 6.7g
- Chestnut Mushrooms – 3.1g
- White Potatoes – 1.8g
- Sweet Potatoes – 1.6g
- Portobello Mushrooms – 2.4g
- Shitake Mushrooms – 2.2g
- White Mushrooms – 3.5g
- Edamame – 12g
- Sweetcorn – 5.2g
- Spinach – 2.8g
- Kale – 2.4g
- Leeks – 1.2g
That said, all vegetables and fruit have some form of protein in them and depending on how often, and how much you consume per serving; you will always get a nice dose of protein with your meal.
Contains 7g Protein per 100g
I avoided tofu like the plague when I was vegetarian, because of all the negativity that surrounds it and how much it is said to “damage” your thyroid. I have hypothyroidism, I have done for longer than I have been a vegetarian/vegan and my thyroid hasn’t dropped out, or shrivelled up, nor have my thyroid levels changed since I started consuming more soya products. So maybe that was a little sardonic, but you get the point – I haven’t experienced a decline in my health from consuming soy in moderation. Though, I do tend to make sure that I eat Non-GMO tofu and soya. But, I don’t always and in my opinion, eating everything in moderation is always going to be more effective when choosing a healthier lifestyle and continuing with it long term.
Soya products also contain leucine, which is one of the main amino acids needed for muscle growth. So if you want those glutes to resemble a peach, then you better find yourself some tofu – cause gainz ya’ll!
Not one for the coeliac’s, though if you can handle your gluten, then seitan is an incredible source of protein: made from wheat gluten – the starch from wheat flour.
Just like wheat flour, wheat gluten has no nutritional profile. However, you can make seitan with beans, mushrooms, vegetables and nutritional yeast; for a more nutritionally dense protein source.
Faux meat used to play a huge part in my vegetarian diet and that continued into my vegan days too. Now I’ve cut back on it significantly and only really use it now and again, if I fancy creating something specific.
There are many vegan meat replacements out there though – none of which taste like meat to me, something I’m thankful for – and they take on the form of many kinds of flavours and textures which you may have grown up with.
Below, I have listed a few of my favourite vegan ‘meat’ replacements. However, there are a lot more available than what I have listed – frys, cauldrons, the list goes on. I just find these brands to be more common, or at least to me anyway.
- Linda McCartney
- Sausages – Protein Per Sausage (cooked)
- Plain Sausages – 8.2g
- Rosemary & Red Onion Sausage – 8.3g
- ‘Chorizo’ & Red Pepper Sausage – 5.8g
- Cocktail Sausage – 3.1g
- Taco ‘Meats’ – Per 1/4 Pack (cooked)
- Pulled Chik’n – 18.6g
- Shredded Duck – 18.5g
- Pies & Rolls – Protein Per Pie/Roll/Bite (cooked)
- Country Pie – 10.3g
- Sausage Rolls – 11g
- Mini ‘Pork’ & Apple Sausage Roll – 1.8g
- Beef Wellington Bites – 1.3g
- Scampi Bites – 2g
- Burgers & Veg Cakes – Protein Per Burger (cooked)
- 1/4lb Burgers – 18.2g
- Pulled ‘Pork’ 1/4 Burgers – 15.6g
- Mushroom & Spinach Burgers – 14g
- Indian- Spiced Lentil & Chickpea VegCakes – 9.7g
- Roast – Protein per 1/4 Pack (cooked)
- Beef Roast with Red Wine & Shallot Glaze – 17g
- Burgers – Protein per Burger (cooked)
- Hot & Spicy Burger – 7.3g
- Plain Burger – 13.6g
- Fillets – Protein Per Fillet (cooked)
- Plain Fillets – 9g
- Five Grain Fillets – 10.5g
- Fish-less Fingers – 2.6g per 3 Fingers
- Nuggets – 9g per 70g Serving
- BBQ Strips – 10g per 1/4 Pack
- ‘Chicken’ Pieces – 8g per 1/2 Pack
- Burgers – Protein per Burger (cooked)
- Asda Own Brand
- Meatballs – 14g Protein per 1/4 Pack
- Popcorn ‘Chicken’ – 9.8g Protein Per 1/3 Pack
- Mince – 22g Protein Per 1/4 Pack
- Sausages – Protein Per Sausage (cooked)
Quorn products actually contain all of the essential amino acids that are required for an adult. So if you can tolerate the mycoprotein, then this is a good option; not just for protein, but for amino acids too – which are vital for a healthy body and mind.
Contains: 20.3g Protein per 100g Serving
Another high protein substitute, though I have never come across it anywhere near me. From what I know, tempeh is actually made from soy beans and fermented in a way that it still retains all of the nutritional profile from the soy, as well as being high fibre too.
TVP – Texture Vegetable Protein
I stumbled upon this protein source, only this morning when I happened upon a new wholefoods site – bulk wholefoods – I’ve heard of TVP, a few times through watching Canadian and American youtubers, and it did have me intrigued.
TVP, is another soya protein source and comes in dehydrated form – much like the stuff in a pot noodle. Like all soya protein sources, this too is of course high in protein and can be used as a meat substitute. TVP, usually comes in the form of ‘mince’, however, there are TVP chunks, readily available too.
Per 100g Serving
- Mince – 52g
- Chunks – 44.6g
Dairy Free Milk
Protein per 100ml Serving
- Soya Milk – 3g
- Hemp Milk – 0.6g
- Almond Milk – 0.4g
- Hazelnut Milk – 0.4g
- Cashew Milk – 0.5g
The only milk which is worth getting, if you are wanting it for protein, is clearly soya milk. As for the rest, they don’t really have very much going for them when it comes down to protein. But, when consumed in higher amounts, the protein will of course add up.
Dairy Free Yoghurts
I don’t really eat yoghurts much anymore. I tend to buy them and then have to force myself to eat them when their use by date is nearly up. However, for a healthier snack, combined with fruit, oats, granola, or on porridge; they aren’t the worst thing you can keep in your fridge, when an extra protein kick is needed – you know cause gainz bro! Yoghurts can also be used as an egg replacement, when baking.
Per 100g Serving
- Plain Soya Yoghurt – 4g
- Flavoured Soya Yoghurt – 3.7g
- Plain Almond Milk Yoghurt – 4g
- Flavoured Almond Milk Yoghurt – 3.2g
- Plain Cashew Milk Yoghurt – 2g
- Flavoured Cashew Milk Yoghurt – 2g
- Coconut Milk Yoghurt – 1.3g
Per 50g (raw)
- Chia Seeds – 7g
- Sesame Seeds – 9g
- Hemp Seeds – 11g
- Sunflower Seeds – 10g
- Pumpkin Seeds – 15g
- Flaxseeds – 10.9g
I wasn’t going to include nuts as a protein source, mainly because they are quite high calorie, due to fat having more calories per gram than carbs and protein. And so I feel it’s easier to over eat these and consume too much fat and overall calories; than it is to benefit from the protein. However, I feel the same way about seeds and nut butters too and I included those. Also, I know that there are people in this world, who don’t care about all of that and just eat – so this one if for you! 🙂
Per 20g Serving (raw)
- Walnuts – 3.1g
- Cashews – 4.2g
- Almonds – 4.2g
- Pistachios – 4.5g
- Hazelnuts – 2.8g
- Brazil Nuts – 2.8g
Nut & Seed Butters
Per Tablespoon (15g) Serving
- Peanut Butter – 4.4g
- Almond Butter – 3.8g
- Coconut & Almond Butter – 2.9g
- Hazelnut Butter – 2.2g
- Cashew Butter – 3g
- Pistachio Butter – 3.3g
- Tahini – 3.6g
- Pumpkin Seed Butter – 3.8g
- Hi- Pro Peanut Butter – 5.1g
Tip: Spread 2 tablespoons of nut butter on 2 slices of wholemeal toast and you have yourself a whopping 20g of protein; which also makes a complete protein – a protein that contains all essential amino acids.
Contains: 5g Protein Per 1 Tablespoon (15g)
I was shocked when I read the protein count on this stuff, when I had my first tub last year. Nutritional yeast is usually consumed for it’s ‘cheezy’ taste, when combined with other ingredients in meals. However, the stuff is vegan gold and really lives up to its name – nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast, is also an inactive yeast and so gluten free too, as well as containing the most essential vitamin for both humans and animals – vitamin B12 – while also having a ton of other vitamins and minerals that our bodies require in order to remain healthy. All that aside – it’s high in protein too – duh!
Protein Powders: One of the only ways non-vegans, think vegans get their protein. While there are some dreadful vegan protein powders in this world – like men – there are also some good one’s out there too – you just have to look – VERY, VERY HARD!!
These days, there are many types of protein powders available to us, made from various types of vegetables and ‘superfoods’, that we can endorse ourselves in. Lucky for you, I have had my fair share of ghastly vegan protein powders over the years and still to this very day, I can taste the horrid, bitterness of most of them.
The first 3 listed are the nicest, as for the rest… consume at your own peril!
Per 30g Serving (1 Scoop)
- Myprotein Unflavoured Soya Isolate – 26.4g
- Flavoured Plantwarrior – 21g
- Flavoured MissFitNutrition – 19g
- Pea Protein – 24g
- Rice Protein Isolate – 24g
- Hemp Protein – 14.7g
- Vegan Blend – 22.6g
Not something which I rely on massively, but they are nice to have occasionally, especially if you are out and about, and need a quick snack. However, they aren’t the healthiest option and I would prefer to prepare something to take with me, if I knew I was going to be out all day; rather than rely on one of these and still be hungry afterwards.
- Myprotein Vegan Protein Bar – 13g
- MyProtein Protein Cookie – 13g
- Trek Protein Flapjack – 7.2g
- Lenny & Larry Cookie – 16g
Clearly, it’s not that hard to eat sufficient protein when you are vegan. There are plenty of protein sources available, you just need to EAT and make sure you are eating well! If you are a dieter, or a restrictive eater, then consuming enough protein on a vegan diet is going to be difficult; especially if you cut out carbs and grains too. But it’s not impossible.
However, you can eat as much protein as you like, but if you aren’t getting sufficient amounts of the amino acid – Leucine — then you won’t be gaining muscle very effectively anyway.
While all amino acids are important and there are 7 others which also contribute to muscle growth – l-leucine, may be the most important when it comes to growing them gunz! However, it is definitely not impossible to eat leucine on a vegan diet, and there are so many foods that contain the amino acid.
The ones with the highest amounts and the most common sources are;
Per 100g Serving
- Soy Protein Isolate – 6.68g
- Rice Protein Isolate – 6.41g
- Pea Protein Isolate – 6.4g
- Spirulina Powder- 5.38g
- Soy Flour – 3.3g
- Peanut Flour – 3.38g
- Peanut Flour (low fat) – 2.19g
- Soybeans – 3.31g
- Sesame Flour – 2.36g
- Kidney Beans – 1.88g
- Dry Basil – 1.85g
- Dry Parsley – 2.79g
- Pumpkin Seeds – 2.42g
I have provided this post as a guide, so that you can see for yourself, that it isn’t very difficult to eat protein on a vegan diet. However, I have provided it as a guide and so depending on brands, the protein may vary wherever you are. I used Myfitnesspal, to work out the protein macro.
*If you guys have noticed any other vegan protein sources I have missed out, or feel there is information that needs to be corrected in this post, then please feel free to comment below and I will add those to the list A.S.A.P
Disclaimer: I would just like to finish by saying that this isn’t a sponsored post and I wasn’t told, nor asked by any of the brands mentioned to be included positively in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as I just wanted to provide the best protein guide, that I could for any of you who may be considering going vegan, trying veganuary, or simply just want to cut back on animal protein this year. All the products I have mentioned above, I have used myself and I wouldn’t recommend them if they were anything other than satisfactory! 🙂
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