Are you thinking of transitioning to a vegan diet? Are you a new vegan looking for more protein sources? Or are you just looking for ways to get more plant-based protein in your diet? Whether or not you fit any of the above, read on and you can learn about some of the top sources of plant based protein available to you.
Tempeh is a soy product made from cultured soybeans. It is quite high in protein with a 4oz. serving having around 22 grams. It is also very high in fiber. Tempeh is made by innoculating soybeans with healthy bacteria resulting in a more nutritious protein source that is easy to digest. Tempeh is very easy to cook with and absorbs flavor quite well. It has a wonderful, hearty, nutty, chewy texture and is also very satisfying. Tempeh is becoming easier to find and can be found in most health food stores and many mainstream grocery stores. Try it in a tempeh stir fry accompanied with your favorite veggies or marinade it and make grilled tempeh burgers.
Natural Peanut Butter
Skip the peanut butters that have added filler like sugar and harmful hydrogenated oils and go for all natural peanut butters which contain around 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving. Natural peanut butter is also high in health promoting monounsaturated fats so don’t worry about the somewhat high fat content. Your body needs good fats to function! In addition, peanut butter is a good source of vitamin E and niacin. Natural peanut butters are pretty easy to find now and are available in most grocery stores. Flavors range from somewhat bland to absolutely heavenly. Two favorites are Smucker’s Natural and Skippy Natural (which does have some sugar and added oil however it is palm oil which is healthy). Try peanut butter on a sandwich or make a delicious peanut sauce.
Tofu is also known as bean curd and is made from soybeans. A 4 oz. serving contains around 20 grams of protein on average. On its own, it is pretty flavorless. However, it absorbs other flavors wonderfully. It is a good source of isoflavones and calcium. Try it marinated, grilled, baked or stir fried. You can add the softer varieties into smoothies, puddings and pies for more protein and thickness.
Soy milk is an easy way to add plenty of protein to your diet. One cup of plain, unsweetened soy milk contains around 9 grams of protein. It also has many of the same benefits of tofu nutritionally speaking. Add it to smoothies, eat it with cereal, use it in baking, or drink it throughout the day for an extra protein boost.
Although not as common as tofu or soy milk, soy yogurt is growing in popularity. One cup of soy yogurt contains around 8-10 grams of protein and with the addition of live, healthy bacteria, it is very easy on the stomach and great for intestinal health. Eat soy yogurt for breakfast with your favorite toppings such as granola, nuts, flaxseed or fruit. Freeze it and make frozen yogurt. Use the plain varieties in savory dishes. You can even make your own from soy milk if you can’t find it in stores.
Lentils are amazingly high in protein and fiber. In fact, 1/4 cup of lentils dry contains around 11 grams of protein. Lentils are easy to cook and require no pre soaking unlike other dried beans. Simply boil them and let them simmer for 45 minutes or so until nice and soft. You can use them for soups and stews or even puree them and make a high protein hummus or bean dip!
Commonly used in traditional hummus recipes, tahini is made from sesame seeds ground into a paste. A 3 tbsp serving has around 9 grams of protein and is high in calcium. Tahini can be used to make hummus or a myriad of healthy, homemade dressings. Try replacing some of the fat in your savory recipes with tahini for a tasty change and protein addition. You can find tahini in most grocery stores and health food stores.
Hemp Seeds are super high in protein. 100 grams contain around 35 grams of protein! They are also high in essential fatty acids and fiber. You can find hemp seeds raw, ground or made into hemp protein powders. Eat them whole, added to other dishes or as an addition to your smoothie and/or protein shake. However, they aren’t as easy to find as other protein sources. A health food store would be your best bet for locating these protein gems.
So there you have it. These are some of the most concentrated forms of vegan protein. And while of course you can also get protein from whole grains, other nuts/seeds and beans, the ones above are generally the best sources and are ideal if you are serious about getting more protein in your diet.