“Where do you get your protein?” If you’re vegan, you’ve probably heard this question a million times. It’s like the ultimate vegan pop quiz. There’s a common misconception that a plant-based diet lacks this essential nutrient. Despite numerous examples of thriving vegan athletes and a wealth of scientific evidence supporting plant-based diets, the protein concern persists. So, how do vegans get their protein? Let’s shatter the protein misconceptions and explore 5 incredible sources of vegan protein. Plus, we’ll share a protein-packed 3-day meal plan to help you start fueling your body with plants!
Beans & Legumes: Protein Powerhouses
Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and other legumes might not wear capes, but they are the true heroes of the vegan protein realm. One cup of cooked lentils contains approximately 18 grams of protein! These versatile little wonders can star in everything from soups and curries to salads and burgers.
Whole Grains: Carbs with a Protein Surprise
Who said carbs can’t bring protein to the party? Say hello to whole grains that prove everyone wrong. Quinoa, brown rice, and oats are not only loaded with “good” carbs, they’re also surprising sources of protein. Quinoa, often referred to as a “complete protein,” contains all nine essential amino acids, and just 1 cup provides 8 grams of protein! They can transform breakfast bowls, salads, and comforting dishes into protein-packed feasts.
Get Nutty: Nuts and Seeds
It may sound nutty, but although small, nuts and seeds possess an extraordinary power—the power of protein! Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds are just a few examples that bring a generous amount of protein to the table. A handful of almonds provides about 6 grams of protein, while two tablespoons of hemp seeds pack around 10 grams. Snack on mixed nuts, sprinkle seeds over your salads or smoothies and get creative with homemade nut butters. Nuts and seeds are also great bases for creamy soups (source: The Veg Academy) and desserts!
Vegetables: Protein Hiding in Plain Sight
Vegetables are the sneaky ninjas of the protein world. They don’t boast about their protein content, but it’s definitely there, silently supporting your plant-powered lifestyle. Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, greens, and other veggies are packed with essential nutrients and a surprising amount of protein. One cup of cooked spinach contains 5.3 grams of protein. Add a handful of spinach to your morning smoothie, roast broccoli for a flavorful side dish, or create a delicious stew loaded with veggies!
Supercharge with Plant-Based Protein Powders
For those seeking an extra protein boost, plant-based protein powders are a convenient solution. Protein powders made from peas, brown rice, or hemp provide a concentrated dose of protein without the cholesterol and saturated fat found in animal-based alternatives. Mix them into smoothies, baked treats, or pancakes.
Vegan Protein-Powered Meal Plan
Now that we’ve answered the question, “Where do vegans get their protein?” it’s time to embrace the power of plants! Here’s a 3-day meal plan to help get you started. Be sure to customize portion sizes according to your individual needs.
Protein-packed smoothie made with almond milk, a scoop of plant-based protein powder, a handful of spinach or kale, a tablespoon of almond butter, and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.
BBQ Tofu Buddha Bowl with quinoa, greens, veggies, and whole grains topped with a Cashew Ginger Dressing (source: The Veg Academy).
Handful of Crispy Roasted Chickpeas (source: The Veg Academy).
Lentil curry over quinoa or brown rice. Loaded with veggies like cauliflower, carrots, red bell pepper, and peas.
Chocolate chia pudding made with chia seeds, cocoa powder, and almond milk. Top with sliced strawberries.
Tofu scramble with sautéed vegetables.
Black bean and sweet potato quesadilla topped with pumpkin seeds and a cashew-based chipotle cheese sauce.
Handful of mixed nuts for a protein-rich midday snack.
Vegetable Barley Stew with onions, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, corn, potatoes, and barley.
Fruit salad topped with hemp seeds.
Overnight oats with almond milk, maple syrup, and a variety of toppings such as berries, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of almond butter.
Lentil Sloppy Joes topped with coleslaw.
Carrots and cucumbers with creamy homemade hummus.
Vegan chili with kidney beans, diced tomatoes, veggies, and spices. Served over brown rice.
Apple slices with almond butter.
More Meal Plans
Whether you’re trying to eat more vegan meals or just want some new recipes, our vegan meal plans will help you do both! Each vegan meal plan includes 7 days of breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinner recipes to fuel your body with plant-based deliciousness!
Each meal plan also includes a shopping list and nutritional breakdowns for each day. Eat as much or as little as your body needs.
Plant-Based Stress & Anxiety Support Meal Plan
There’s a lot going on in the world right now. When it comes to coping with stress and anxiety, proper nutrition is key. This Plant-Based Stress & Anxiety Support Meal Plan is packed with plant-based nutrients that help the body cope with stress.
Meals include Smoothie Bowls, Wild Blueberry French Toast, Cauliflower Rice Bowl, Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, & more.
Many recipes are gluten-free.
Whole Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Meal Plan
The Whole Food Plant-Based Diet is a completely animal product-free approach to healthy eating that maximizes whole grains, vegetables, and legumes while minimizing refined sugars, oils, and processed foods.
This plan provides protein from a variety of plant-based sources including grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Many recipes are gluten-free or can use GF substitutes.
Plant-Based Family-Friendly Meal Plan
Our Plant-Based Family-Friendly Meal Plan is full of family favorites that exclude animal products.
Parents and children will enjoy recipes like pasta, banana sushi, tacos, and sloppy joes made with nutrient-dense vegan foods.
Many recipes are gluten-free or can use GF substitutes.
Custom Meal Plans
These vegan meal plans will nourish your body with a variety of plant-based protein-rich meals throughout the day. Need help creating a custom protein-rich vegan meal plan? Reach out to a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator.