Vegan Protein Sources
Getting to Know Plant Proteins

Vegan Protein Sources

  • Beans
    • garbanzo (chick peas)
    • kidney
    • black
    • pinto
    • lentils
    • soybeans
    • black eyed peas
    • lima beans
  • Soy Foods
    • tofu
    • tempeh
    • TVP/TSP (Texturized Vegetable Protein)
    • edamame
    • soymilk
    • soy yogurt
    • meat analogs ("fake" lunch meat, jerky, hot dogs, burgers, etc.)
  • Seitan (Wheat Protein)
  • Nuts/Seeds
    • almonds
    • walnuts
    • pecans
    • cashews
    • pumpkin seeds
    • sunflower seeds
    • etc...
  • Nut Butters
    • natural peanut butter
    • almond butter
    • tahini (sesame seed butter)
    • sunflower seed butter
    • pumpkin seed butter
    • cashew butter
  • Vegan Protein Powder
    • Pea Protein
    • Rice Protein
    • Soy Protein
    • Hemp Protein

The list of vegan protein sources above are concentrated sources of plant protein and therefore provide a good dose of protein at one time.

However, all starches and grains (breads, crackers, oatmeal, rice, etc.) and all vegetables have small amounts of protein too!!

As long as you eat a varied diet containing vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, it's unlikely you'll have any difficulty getting enough protein as long as your diet contains enough calories to maintain weight.

Note: Fruits, sugars, fats, and alcohol are not good vegan protein sources. In fact, they provide no significant protein at all. If your vegan diet consists solely of candy and wine, then you're going to have a problem getting enough protein...and probably some other nutritional problems too!

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Recommended Daily Protein Intake = Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36


This recommendation includes a generous safety factor for most people. Athletes do not need much more protein than the general public.

Example: If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to eat 54 grams protein/day.

(150 x .36 = 54)

Recommended Daily Protein Intake for Vegans =
Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 - 0.45

Example: A vegan weighing 150 pounds requires 54 - 68 grams protein/day.

Figure your own personal protein requirement now:

Take your weight in pounds...

...and multiply by 0.36 - 0.45

I'll wait....

OK---

Note: There's a very old myth still hanging around that suggests vegan protein sources are "incomplete" and you need to combine foods in a certain way to assure you're getting "complete protein." Note that this is NOT the case and strict protein combining is not necessary.

Now take a look at how the numbers stack up for vegan protein sources:

Vegan Protein Sources

Food Amount Grams Protein
garbanzo beans (chick peas) 1/2 cup 6
kidney beans 1/2 cup 6.5
black beans 1/2 cup 7.5
lentils 1/2 cup 9
pinto beans 1/2 cup 6
vegetarian baked beans 1/2 cup 6
soybeans 1/2 cup 14
black eyed peas 1/2 cup 5
lima beans 1/2 cup 5.5
tofu, firm 4 oz. 11
tofu, regular 4 oz. 9
tempeh 1/2 cup 20
TVP/TSP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) 1/2 cup 8
edamame 1/2 cup 16
soymilk** 1 cup varies: 3-8
soy yogurt 6-8 oz. varies: 4-8
meat analogs ("fake" lunchmeat, jerky, hot dogs, burgers, cheese, etc.) varies varies: 8-11
tofurky lunch meat 3 slices 8
vegan soy cheese 1 slices varies 0-6
Lightlife Smart Dog soy hot dog 1 link 8
vegan jerky 1 oz varies: 6-11
Seitan (Wheat Protein) 3 oz 30
almonds 1/4 cup 7
walnuts 1/4 cup 5
pecans 1/4 cup 3
cashews 1/4 cup 5
pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup 7
sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6
natural peanut butter 2 Tbsp. 8
almond butter 2 Tbsp. 7
tahini (sesame seed butter) 2 Tbsp. 5
sunflower seed butter 2 Tbsp. 6
pumpkin seed butter 2 Tbsp. 6
Vegan protein powder (pea, rice, soy, hemp) 1-2 scoops varies: 7-25

**Note: Read labels carefully on milk alternatives including rice milk, coconut milk, soymilk, and almond milk. Many are surprisingly low in protein.

Don't forget grains and vegetables are vegan protein sources too:

Vegan Protein Sources

Food Amount Grams Protein
quinoa 1/2 cup 4.5
peas 1/2 cup varies: 4.5
pasta 1/2 cup 4
bulgur 1/2 cup 3
brown rice 1/2 cup 2.5
whole wheat bread 1 slice 2-3
bagel 3 oz. varies: 6-9
All Vegetables 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw 2-3

Take a look at how easy it is for our sample 150 pound person to eat
54 - 68 grams protein/day from a variety of vegan protein sources:

Breakfast
2 pieces of whole wheat toast -- 4 grams of protein
2 tbsp natural peanut butter -- 8 grams of protein
1 cup Silk soymilk -- 7 grams
(19 grams of plant protein just at breakfast!)

Lunch
Bean and Rice Veggie Burrito:
1/2 cup Black beans -- 7.5 grams of protein
1/2 cup Brown rice -- 2.5 grams of protein
1 cup stir fried vegetable -- 4 grams of protein
1 whole wheat tortilla -- 4 grams
(18 grams of plant protein in this lunch!)

Snack
Fruit smoothie - Blend the following ingredients until smooth:
1 cup water
1 scoop pea vanilla pea protein powder -- 15 grams
1 cup frozen strawberries
(15 grams of plant protein!)

Dinner
Veggie burger -- 5 grams
Whole Wheat bun -- 4 gramsGreen salad with mixed vegetables 2+ grams(11 grams of plant protein in dinner!)

TOTAL = 63 grams protein

More of My Professional Advice You May Find Useful

More Vegan Diet Info

Creative Salads

Quick Meal Ideas (Includes Veggies and Non-Veggie Ideas)

Done with Vegan Protein Sources? Return to Your Personal Nutrition Guide Home Page

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