9 Plant-Based Proteins

The right plants offer protein more powerful than meat and dairy.

Protein is essential to the body’s ability to function. For many people, meat and dairy products serve as the main source of protein. Those on plant-based diets however, usually have to get a little more creative in order to meet their daily requirements. Fortunately, finding plant-based sources of protein is easier than you may think! If you’re looking to begin a plant-based lifestyle, these plant-based proteins will help you stay healthy and strong.

Once you know of the best plant-based sources of protein, you can begin to either build your own meals around them or use our tasty, protein-rich recipes!

Benefits of Choosing Plant Protein

Becoming a vegetarian or a vegan does not appeal to everyone, but the benefits of it definitely should! We asked Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Dahlia Marin, about some of the unique benefits of choosing plant proteins, and this is what she had to say:

“When consuming organic plant proteins, you are not concurrently consuming toxins, antibiotics, and hormones that come with consumption of animal protein, especially if consuming non-organic products. They are also an incredible source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are devoid in animal products, and largely devoid in the diets of a majority of Americans. Plant proteins are a great source of antioxidants, and many, especially those that are starchy feed the gut microbiome with resistant starch, which in turn, when digested by gut bacteria in the colon produce a byproduct called short chain fatty acids. These compounds, then have incredible effects throughout the GI tract, including: fortifying the protective mucosal layer, burning calories, speeding up movement, AKA, motility in the gut, and they may reduce blood sugar, and cholesterol. These plant proteins are also free of cholesterol, which can have negative effects on cardiovascular health and saturated fats, which can disrupt the tight junctions which make up the lining of the gut. Some studies have also demonstrated that the type of iron found in animal proteins (heme iron) can be inflammatory, where the iron found in plant proteins (non-heme) is not. “

Aside from all of the benefits listed above, plant-based recipes can also taste amazing! As you will see below, we have recipes for each of these incredible ingredients!

9 Plant-Based Proteins:

1. Almonds

Almonds are a nutritious and highly-versatile food. You can eat them whole, as a snack, or use them as an ingredient in a healthy meal! Check out these tasty almond recipes:

2. Wild Rice

Wild Rice has a higher protein content than most grains with 6.5 grams of protein per cup. Try these awesome recipe suggestions:

3. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are not only high in beta-carotene, vitamins, and fiber, but they’re excellent sources of protein, too. These Healthy Collard Greens and Spinach and Quinoa Salad are both fantastic!

4. Sprouts

Sprouts contain the highest quantity of nutrients per calorie of any food. With over 35% protein, sprouts can be a fabulous addition to a plant-based diet. Try this yummy Sprouts, Veggies, and Cheese Wrap for lunch!

5. Spirulina

Spirulina is not only rich in protein, but it’s also a superfood that can be added to any green smoothie! This  Spirulina Protein Powder offers 16 grams of protein per serving. Try adding some to this Lean, Green, Smoothie Protein Bowl.

6. Quinoa

Quinoa has been called the “superfood of the future” for good reason. It’s high in nutrients and contains 14% protein by mass. Check out these 12 Quinoa Recipes for Weight Loss or try our popular Quinoa Protein Bars.

Learn: How to Cook Quinoa to Perfection

7. Beans

One of the best ways for plant-based dieters to get their recommended dosage of protein is through eating beans. Not only is this option versatile, there are several varieties to choose from. Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

8. Avocado

Avocados are rich in protein, with 6.5 grams per fruit. They’re also high in healthy fats, and taste great, too! Try our yummy Avocado Dip, Avocado Breakfast Pizzas and SkinnyLicious Protein Smoothie.

9. Chia Seeds

Chi-chi-chi-chia! Chia seeds are 23% complete protein, and they’re so easy to use to. Make one or all of these scrumptious recipes:

9 plant-based proteins

If you’re jumping into the plant-based lifestyle, try to make as many of these options a regular part of your diet as you can! Even if you’re not giving up meat and dairy altogether, you can still eat these foods regularly!

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Kym Votruba

More by Kym


  1. Thanks for this information. I am currently a pescatarian but I’d like to cut out fish as well. I am concerned about eating too many carbs while trying to cut fish. Don’t beans have a good amount of carbs as well as protein? Also, I’m trying to lose weight as well. If I cut out fish in order to eat enough protein will I have to eat a generous amount of plant based food to get enough protein? I’m on an intense exercise program.

    1. Desi, Beans and lentils do have complex carbs and protein…ultra healthy. Plants do contain protein and fat. It sounds like your program burns a lot of calories. If you want to lose weight and eat plant-based, you will need plenty of fruit for energy, considering your exercise program. Regarding protein, there are so many options for protein on a plant-based plan. Here are some additional options:

      Pea Protein Powder (great in smoothies)
      Hemp Protein Powder (also good in smoothies)
      Berries of all kind (fresh or frozen)
      Bok Choy
      Collard and Mustard Greens

      Be sure to check out our plant-based recipes. 🙂

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