10 Great Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

10 Great Sources of Protein for Vegetarians

A common issue that many vegans and vegetarians may face is not getting enough protein intake, I was one of them. Just like with any dietary lifestyle choice, with the right knowledge and proper planning, protein intake should not be an issue.

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for some non-meat based protein options to add to your diet, here are the top 10 Vegetarian food sources that we use to meet our daily protein requirements.

1. Lentils

Lentils are a protein superstar! They are one of my personal favorites. There is 18 grams of protein in 1 cup of cooked lentils. They do not require any presoaking and cook in a short amount of time.

Lentils are known for their high fiber content, folate, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.

There are may types of lentils available, the most common being red, brown, and green varieties.

I have linked our favorite Red Lentil Daal recipe HERE. This soothing daal is a standard Monday meal in our home. I often double the recipe so I have leftovers for a second meal throughout the week.

2. Eggs

Eggs are a part of the vegetarian diet (not vegan). A medium egg contains approximately 6 grams of protein. There are a variety of ways to use eggs such as omelette, fried, or in your baking, etc.

Eggs are also known for their omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and choline.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great option when it comes to protein. Regular yogurt contain 8 grams of protein per cup. Greek yogurt contains a whopping 23 grams per cup. However, check the ingredient section and nutrition label, there is often many sugars hiding in yogurt. To avoid unnecessary ingredients we choose plain yogurt over flavored varieties.

I like adding plain yogurt into our smoothies, parfaits, fruit bowls, and as dips.

Want to make your own yogurt, here's my recipe for Homemade Yogurt.

4. Quinoa (Keen-wah)

Quinoa is quite popular in the world of health and for good reason. It is a great substitute for rice and caries amazing nutrient benefits. Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that caries all 9 of the essential amino acids making it a complete protein. 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein - pretty amazing!!

Quinoa is high in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and other beneficial antioxidants.

Quinoa is something I always have prepared in my fridge. I like adding 1/2 a cup to my salad bowls for some extra texture, crunch, and nutrient boost.

5. Tofu

Some love it, some hate it... I enjoy it in moderation!

Tofu is a complete plant based protein made from soybeans, it also has iron and calcium. One serving of tofu contains 10 grams of protein. The problem that I often hear regarding soybeans is that they are highly modified. I get it, it's questionable. I therefore choose organic Tofu from companies I research and trust.

Tofu doesn’t have much taste. When cooking with tofu it absorbs whatever you cook it and/or marinate it with. Choose favorable ingredients like onions, garlic, cumin and other spices to keep your dish interesting and your tastebuds happy.

6. Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (including other beans: black, kidney, etc.)

Whether you refer to them as a chickpea or a garbanzo bean, there is no doubt about the versatility and amazing nutrition that these magical beans can bring to your plate.

Chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup. They are also an excellent source of fiber, complex carbs, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. Cool beans!!

I like using cooked chickpeas in my chili, salads, hummus, and a variety of other Indian spiced daals.

7. Green Peas

Green peas are great! In a 1/2 cup serving of green peas there is 4 grams of protein. They also contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and magnesium.

If you are looking for an easy way to add more nutrition to your plate, green peas are a "winner-winner for that healthy dinner."

8. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds (actually are a nut) are a nutrition power house. There is 10 grams of protein in 3 tbsps of hemp seeds. They contain other great nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Hemp seeds are eaten daily in our house, we add them to just about everything. I sprinkle them on our morning oats, parfaits, blend them into smoothies, add them to soups, and salads bowls.

9. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a great addition to just about any diet. They are packed with nutrition and are an easy source of protein. A 28 gram serving of chia seeds delivers 4 grams of protein, fiber, omega 3, calcium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.

Just like hemp seeds, I use chia seeds in smoothies parfaits, and in our morning bowl of oats. I also like to add them to our baked muffins, breads, etc.

10. Oats

Oats are our morning go to, especially for the kids. They are easy to prepare and deliver many health benefits. A 1/4 cup of rolled oats provides 6 grams of protein. A 1/4 cup of steel cut oats provides 5 grams of protein.

We enjoy our oats in a variety of ways. We eat them as a base for a breakfast bowl, we add them into our smoothies, or we grind them into a flour and use it to replace other flours (in our pancakes, muffins, breads, etc).

To bump up that protein and nutrition level to your morning breakfast bowl of cooked oats, go ahead and add some nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit!

Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/lentils/faq-20058072

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-quinoa#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-for-vegans-vegetarians

XO,

Bobbielee

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