Top Ten High Protein Vegan Foods

For too long people have been under the impression that meat or animal products are the only source of protein, nothing couldn't be further from the truth. The primary source of food is plants. Therefore if you follow the food chain, carnivores eat herbivores and herbivores eat plants. The stronger muscular animals eat plants such as the gorilla, ox, buffalo or elephant.

There are no special dietary techniques needed to increase protein for vegans. All that is needed is a diet consisting of a wide variety of plants to get a complete supply of protein. Protein compromises a chain of essential and non-essential amino acids. Some plants may not contain all the necessary essential amino acids. That is why a mixture of plants is needed in your diet. I will go ahead and list the top ten high protein vegan foods.

Green beans, mashed potatoes and soy
Green beans, mashed potatoes and soy | Source

1. Quinoa: it is one of the few seeds (pseudo-grain) that contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and other important functions. NASA intends to grow it in space as a complete source protein and a balanced diet. Even though this list not in any specific order, quinoa is one of the best sources of protein for vegans.

2. Pumpkin Seed: This is another seed that has a complete protein profile. It contains more protein per gram than beef. This is only proof that animal products are not the only source of good protein. It is also high in zinc and tryptophan which is an essential amino acid that is very important for stable mental health.

3. Kidney Beans: They are very close to a complete source of protein. Complemented with rice, kidney beans will provide a complete source of protein for vegans. These beans also contain the amino acid, lysine which is normally the amino acid that is low in other vegan sources. It is also rich in fiber and other vitamins and minerals.

4. Tempeh: This is fermented soy beans. Non-fermented soy products which are more popular are harder to digest. The amino acids in tempeh are more bio-available and constitute a full protein profile. Tempeh is a standard cuisine in Indonesia. It is fast catching on with vegetarians and vegans in western society.

5. Chia Seeds: It contains all the necessary amino acids making it a high protein vegan food. Chia seeds are great for those trying to lose weight. This is because it swells once inside of your stomach which helps to reduce the feeling of hunger. High quality proteins also help to make a person feel satisfied similar to eating meat.

6. Almonds: Even though it does not contain all the essential amino acids in the preferred proportions, almonds are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Almonds eaten with a couple other nuts and fruits will render a complete protein profile. Almonds seem to be a favorite amongst athletes because of its energy boosting properties.


7. Hemp Seeds: These seeds are very close to a complete source of protein for vegans. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help with muscle growth and the overall strengthening of the immune system. Hemp seed protein is mostly consumed as a shake complemented by other nuts or seeds which makes it one of the best choices as a high protein vegan food. More information can be found at Vegetarian Body Building using Hemp Seed Protein Nutrition.

8. Avocado: This is a fruit with very high protein content. It is also very easily digested. Avocado is the best protein complement for vegans. It contains unsaturated fats which help significantly with the absorption and processing of amino acids in the liver and stomach.

9. Spinach: This green leaf is a great protein complement to have in your vegetarian dish. In the vegan community, it is added to a bean/rice combination to provide a balanced meal. It is also rich in iron and other nutrients that are abundant in meat. Therefore, spinach is a great meat replacement and great source of protein for vegans.

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10. Lentils: It pairs greatly with brown rice to provide a complete source of protein. Lentils are also deemed to be the most economic source of protein. It is a must have for the frugal vegans. It can be cooked in a stew or soup incorporating other vegetables.


Vegans and vegetarians do not need a protein plan. The human body will assimilate the different amino acids derived from a variety of foods in your diet. If you’re a body builder or an extreme athlete then you may want drink a lot of almond and hemp smoothies. That concludes the top ten high protein vegan foods.

Spinach Smoothie
Spinach Smoothie | Source

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Disclaimer: Please note that this Site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care provider.

© 2014 Marvin Parke

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MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

"There are no special dietary techniques needed to increase protein for vegans." So many diet gurus would have us believe otherwise, but I know that in some vegetarians (and I guess vegans) no lack of protein can be found. Thanks for listing the plant protein sources.

B. Leekley profile image

B. Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Up, Useful, Interesting, and bookmarked.

This is helpful information.

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

I agree with your views that there are lot of vegan foods, that contain high protein.

This is a very helpful hub and will be useful to many, mostly for vegetarians who are always worried about what to include in their regular diet for protein requirements.

Voted up and shared on HP!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Highly informative and exceptionally useful for we vegetarians and vegans. Sharing.

DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

Very useful and interesting. I am not vegetarian or vegan but I like many of the foods on your list anyway.

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect MsDora. When I stopped eating meat 12 years ago, the meat eaters said I would become weak and sick. I am still here swimming and playing football.

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rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

respect Leekley. Thank you very much for the support. I really appreciate it.

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect ChitrangadaSharan. The list should really be top 100 high protein vegan foods. It's just too much to list.

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect vocalcoach. Thanks for the hub energy and complement.

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rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect DreamerMeg. This article for non-vegetarians too. Especially for experimental vegetarians.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

So very useful! I am not vegan, but have been a vegetarian for a very long time--and this list of foods is great

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, I like chicken too much...but I do eat 7 out of the 10 foods on the list. I tried chia seeds, didn't like them. Never ate hemp seeds or tempeh, but I've eaten soy nuts. Excellent list. Now I'm hungry.

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Audrey. Thank you very much for stopping by. I really appreciate the energy.

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rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Sunshine. If you like soy, you will definitely like tempeh. You should give it a try.

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC

rasta1, valuable information here, my friend. I appreciate having this list of protein-rich foods to substitute meats more often when cooking meatless dinners. Very nice presentation, formatting, and images. I always enjoy visiting your hubs which are often helpful and educational. I actually sent a link to one of your hubs to a client who needs help with eating better. Thanks for being a good resource. Voted up and useful. Peace.

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rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

respect janshares. Thanks for taking the information seriously and recommending it to others. I try to do a little a research to ensure that the information is correct.

georgescifo profile image

georgescifo 2 years ago from India

The foods mentioned above are indeed rich in proteins and I make sure that I give some of the above listed to my kids, especially ALmonds, avocado and kidney beans

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect georgescifo. Kidney beans with rice is an absolute treat for kids. Thanks for passing through.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Very interesting and thanks for sharing.


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rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Eiddwen. thanks for reading and sharing. I really appreciate it.

Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Most of these foods are also cheaper than meat and all of them put less stress on the environment, using less water, acreage of land, and labor to produce than meat does. I also love them all.

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan

Very good resource. Bookmarking for reference in cooking without meat. I have a few recipe's I like with the foods you mention, would like to have more.

I've never found a recipe I like for quinoa. I love lentils and have cooked them many ways with good results.

Thanks for sharing - very useful. Sharing +++


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Kylyssa. You are absolutely correct. Most of the vegan foods listed is very easy to grow and very easy on the environment.

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rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Mekenzie. I would love to copy some of your recipes. Lentils are very versatile and easy to cook. My recipes are standard at the moment. Looking to be more creative in the future.

Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin Gunsberg 2 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

Thank you for this! My dad needs to follow a low fat, vegetable based diet because of his chronic pancreatitis, and I woke up this morning at a loss for what to feed him. So, great timing!!

rasta1 profile image

rasta1 2 years ago from Jamaica Author

Respect Gunsberg. I am glad you found it useful and practical. Let me know if you need any related information.

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