When you eat a lot of plant-based foods, the protein question is often circulating. Though we are by no means totally living by this diet – I also don’t eat meat and dairy with every meal. I like to switch up my proteins and have been practicing how to do that over the years! Many people are concerned that not eating meat means that you will not get any protein at all! Luckily, there are tons of plant-based foods that are packed with protein. And fun fact – almost every food does have even a small amount. Remember that doing your research is essential to be sure you aren’t depleting your body of necessary nutrients.
Anyway – below, I’ve created a list of my favorite plant ingredients that I use for protein specifically. Even if you aren’t eating plant-based, these protein sources are still an amazing addition to your diet and honestly just help to keep your meals fresh and new! Check out the list below and let me know in the comments which were your favorites!
Lentils are an amazing source of protein that I love using as often as I can. They are one of the best meat substitutes when it comes to texture since they can be manipulated into shapes and sauces. They’re also good for heart health and nutrient absorption. Plus, lentil soup is so good!
Whether they’re roasted and eaten alone, in a salad, or in some soup, chickpeas are delicious! They’ve got a good amount of protein and can be so versatile in your meals. Roast some chickpeas in the oven with your favorite mix of spices for a quick snack or to top your salads or rice bowls. There are also a lot of products now made with chickpeas – from pasta to pizza dough, that you can use as a protein base to your meals.
Tofu is well known for its protein content, plus it includes all nine essential amino acids. Many people become wary of the tofu’s texture and never try it. Luckily, there are plenty of recipes out there that can teach you how to make your tofu crispy and delicious! It’s ALL in the way you make it.
If you’re not a tofu fan, give tempeh a try. Tempeh has a firm texture that is often described as “meaty” or “nutty”. Made of fermented soybeans, tempeh is a versatile food that can be substituted for meat quite easily!
Black beans with rice are one of my favorite bases for a meal. Topped with veggies and a sauce and we’re good to go. The black beans keep you feeling fuller longer, and are generally easy to make. In addition to their high protein content, they’re also high in fiber to keep your movements regular.
Nuts, or nut butters, are another common protein source. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are my favorites because they’re the highest in protein. It’s recommended to only eat about 28 grams of nuts per day, as they are high in fat. Seeds, like hemp seeds or sunflower seeds, also work here!
If you’re looking for a high protein source, quinoa is perfect! Quinoa is a popular substitute for rice that can be added to many dishes for a filling feeling. It’s easy to cook with and is fairly flavorless so it will take on the flavor of the surrounding ingredients! I love using quinoa to make homemade “meatballs” with pasta and sauce.
Made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and a few other ingredients, hummus makes a delicious dip for pita bread, carrots, celery, or pretzels! There are so many different flavors, too. Roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, creamy avocado, and so many more. I always have hummus in my fridge for when we need an easy option.
Edamame, and many other beans similar to it, are the foundation for many vegetarians or vegans. They provide lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals that we would otherwise be lacking. Edamame is great for snacking at home when you want a little crunch!
Sounds weird, tastes amazing! It is a deactivated yeast that is often fortified with Vitamin B12. It is a flakey texture and imparts a cheesy flavor in your recipes – so I use it to make cheese sauces, or to just top a salad or side dish.
Are you considering eating plant-based meals? What are your favorite protein sources? Let me know down in the comments!