50 Vegetarian and Plant Based Protein Sources

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on September 28, 2015

Collages

One of the most frequent questions I get when I tell people I’m vegetarian is: “But then where do you get your protein?”

It’s common knowledge that meat is a great source of protein, but you don’t actually need to eat meat to get enough protein! Somehow, being vegetarian has become synonymous with just eating leaves (which do have protein btw 🙂 ) — but it’s a myth that vegetarians don’t get enough protein. Additionally, vegetarian sources of protein can be healthier for you in that they’re lower in bad fats and cholesterol.

Protein is super important to our diet:

  • It helps promote cell growth and repair. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein.
  • You need it to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals.
  • It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
  • It takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, helping you feel fuller longer and on fewer calories (a plus for anyone trying to lose weight).

Can you believe there are 50 sources of plant-based protein, and that’s not even counting vegetarian-friendly protein sources like dairy and eggs! You’d be surprised how much protein some of these vegan and veggie friendly sources have: 5g of protein for 1 cup of spinach anyone? I’ve teamed up with one of the bloggers at Healthy Indonesia to create this infographic which is a helpful reminder of all of the plant based protein sources out there. Now go eat some greens! 🙂

50-plant-based-protein

Source: nutritiondata.self.com, Healthy Indonesia

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki O'Dea September 28, 2015 at 8:04 pm

This pic breaks it down beautifully!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater September 29, 2015 at 6:41 am

Thanks so much Nikki! So glad you found it helpful!

Reply

Nina September 28, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Anjali, this is freaking awesome! I joined a weight loss challenge group a while back, and many of the vegetarians are looking for protein sources, so i’ve shared this link with them. The recommended diet they tell you to follow doesn’t include a lot of vegetarian ideas for these friends, so thank you for doing this!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater September 29, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Yay!! So glad you found this post helpful, and thanks so much for sharing it!! It’s amazing how many vegetarian protein sources there are out there (and it’s so nice how so many veggies also have protein) — it’s definitely easy to get the protein you need from plant-based sources 🙂 Thanks and good luck with your weight loss challenge!

Reply

Rekha September 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Hi Anjali,
Last year July I had my second child and since then I have been experiencing intolerance to eggs. I was wondering about other sources of protein and your list answers that. Thank you very much for sharing. I would like to get some information on what are the ideal portion sizes for kids and grownups. I see lot of baking recipes have egg in them and what can I use instead of egg from the list you provided as an alternative in baking. Thanks!

Reply

Nina September 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Hi Rekha, my son has a life threatening severe egg allergy. I do most of my baking of muffins, etc where i substitute apple cider vinegar for egg. You can google it, it is widely used. Also for a binder, I use 1 tbsp of flax meal dissolved in 3 tbsp water to substitute for 1 egg in any recipe. Works great for pancakes, etc. I’m not anjali, but just saw your comment and thought i’d share:) I’m sorry about the egg intolerance. It really sucks! We are currently doing oral immunotherapy to hopefully desensitize him.

Reply

Rekha September 29, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Thanks Nina for the response and I would try your suggestions. I am sorry to hear bout your sons egg allergies and I heard the desensitization therapy takes a long time close to two years. But I really wish that it helps him.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater September 29, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Thank you so much Nina (and I hope the desensitization therapy works for you guys)! And Rekha — so sorry to hear about your egg intolerance! But I’d echo what Nina said actually, “flax eggs” (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg) are great. Some other egg substitutes: silken tofu (1/4 cup pureed tofu = 1 egg), Baking Soda + Vinegar (1 tsp of baking soda + with 1 tbsp of white vinegar = 1 egg), Banana (1/2 mashed banana = 1 egg), and lastly: 2 tbsp water + 1 tsp oil + 2 tsp baking powder = 1 egg. Hope that helps!

Reply

John Fawkes September 30, 2015 at 9:39 pm

In truth, most vegetarians don’t get enough protein, since they rely heavily on bread and fruits. But that’s not hard to fix by adding in more nuts and legumes. Great infographic.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 20, 2015 at 7:52 am

Thanks John, glad you found this helpful!

Reply

Pino Shah October 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Awesomely helpful Anjali – Many Thanks!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 8, 2015 at 5:55 am

No problem! So glad it was helpful!

Reply

Neeraj July 26, 2016 at 9:22 am

Hi Anjali:

Need some clarification or fact checking and than recommendations.

Is it a fact that if an individual exercises 4 times a week (moderate to heavy) they require 1.2 gms of protein per pound? So if you weight 160lbs you need 192 gms of protein.

If so how does one acquire that much protein if you are indian vegeterian?
I have been tracking my protein consumption and even with whey protein shakes it takes a lot of effort to get to 100gms of protein, forget 192gms.
My typical diet is 2 eggs in morning, 3 fulka roti, subji, dal and small bowl of rice for lunch, protein shake and dinner consisting of bhakri-shaak (handful almonds throughout the day)

Thanks for you help in advance,
Neeraj

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 26, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Hi Neeraj! Thanks for reaching out! To your question – that’s incorrect. The average man who works out 3-5 days per week needs 0.45g per pound, and highly trained athletes (training hard for hours 7 days a week) need 0.77g protein per pound of body weight. So for you, that means you need 0.45g per pound, so if you weigh 160lbs you need 72g protein per day. That should be fairly easy to get through a vegetarian Indian diet. I’d add in 1 cup of Greek yogurt per day (that’s about 20g protein), 1 serving of part-skim cheese (about 8g), 1 serving of brown rice/pea/or whey protein (15g), and then I’d switch your 2 eggs for 4 egg whites + 1 yolk – that would be about 15g protein. That’s 58g protein right there, and then if you just eat your normal diet (making sure you eat dal at both lunch and dinner) you’ll get ~72g protein each day. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

Reply

Neeraj July 27, 2016 at 7:07 am

Thanks, Anjali.

Yes I was a bit confused with so much information/ misinformation out on the web.

The fact was that I used to be completely drained (of energy) after my workouts (about 1hr to 1.5hrs/ day) that I started looking into my nutrition. Started taking the whey protein and it seems to make it better but still feel like I lack energy (workout days vs. non workout days).

From your reply it seems I am ok with respect to nutrition. So I need to look elsewhere as why I get so drained (maybe age related, I’m 43 now)

regards,
Neeraj

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater July 28, 2016 at 9:59 am

Hi Neeraj! No problem! Glad it was helpful. Regarding why you get so drained post-workout, it could be because you aren’t eating enough carbs or protein pre-workout (do you have a pre-workout snack)? And also, do you workout at the same time every day (and not at the end of the day)? As long as you’re eating a small snack pre-workout (like banana with peanut butter), and eating a regular balanced meal post workout (so your workouts are in between meals) – you should be able to regain some of the energy lost during your workout. Hope that helps!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: