Protein is an essential part of our diet. It makes up about 17% of a person’s body weight and is an essential building block of muscles, skin, internal organs (especially the heart and brain), eyes, hair and nails. The immune system also needs protein to produce sufficient antibodies to successfully fight bacteria, viruses and infections. Protein also plays a role in blood sugar regulation, fat metabolism and maintaining stable energy levels.

Can a vegan get enough protein from plant foods

It is quite possible to eat a nutritious diet by following a vegan diet. However, if you are an active athlete or lead a very dynamic lifestyle, you may face some challenges when it comes to getting the right amount of plant protein. It is important for you to take enough protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, zinc and iron

A recent study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that vegan diets can be harder to maintain and may lead to problems with digestion and absorption of key nutrients. But with careful monitoring of nutritional intake and supplementation with some specific supplements, a vegan diet can meet and satisfy the needs of most athletes.

Vegan foods high in protein

Plant foods can be a great source of protein and of real benefit in reducing animal products in the diet, whether you are omnivore, vegetarian or vegan.

For people who do not consume animal products, the key to getting the right amount of protein and essential amino acids lies in combining vegan, protein-rich foods with vegetables.

Let’s see which are those plant products that will supply you with the most and best quality protein.

Important! Please note that all grams below refer to cooked food.

1. Kinoa

Quinoa is a seed and you can find white, red, black or mixed varieties of it. Quinoa is known as a complete protein, meaning it contains all 22 amino acids.

This makes it a great alternative to carbs like rice and couscous.

100 g of quinoa (cooked weight) will provide almost 4 g of protein.

2. Legumes

Legumes include all types of beans, peas and lentils. They are a great, low-fat and affordable source of plant protein and provide plenty of other beneficial substances for the body.

  • Lentils, including puy, green and red – about 8-9 g protein per 100 g;
  • Chickpeas, including hummus – 7 g protein per 100g;
  • Garden peas – about 7 g per 100g;
  • Beans, including black eyed, pinto, butter, cannellini, soy and edamame – between 7-10g protein per 100g.

3. Tofu

Tofu is extracted from soybeans and just 100g of it provides 8g of protein. Tofu is a versatile food as it can be cooked in a variety of ways, including by roasting and frying, as well as mixed into soups for a creamier consistency.

4. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds can be used as a staple food or as an intermediate snack. Some of the best proteins of this kind include:

  • Hemp seeds – 5 g per heaped tablespoon;
  • Ground flaxseed – 3 g per heaped tablespoon;
  • Almonds – 3 g protein for every six almonds;
  • Walnuts – about 3 grams of protein for every three whole walnuts;
  • Pumpkin seeds – 4 g per tablespoon;
  • Pistachios – just over 1 g protein per 10 pistachios;
  • Porridge – 3 g per 10 nuts of porridge.

Peanut and other nut butters are good sources of protein, but before consuming them, read what additional ingredients they have in their contents. You need to make sure that you consume 100% nuts without added oils, salt or sugar. One heaping tablespoon of natural peanut butter provides just over 3 g of protein.

5. Chia seeds

Just one tablespoon of chia seeds will provide almost 2 g of protein. Chia can be added to breakfast, sprinkled on salads and soups or as a healthy, protein-rich dessert in the form of pudding.

The valuable seeds also make an excellent egg substitute as they are hydrophilic and swell when soaked in water for about 20 minutes.

6. Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a seed high in both protein and fibre. 100 g of buckwheat provides about 5 g of protein.

Buckwheat is becoming increasingly popular as a health food and can be found in flakes, grains and flours, making it an excellent addition to any vegan weight loss diet.

7. Oat kernels

Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate, providing slow release energy, but it is also an excellent source of protein – as much as 10 g (per 100 g of cooked oatmeal).

8. Brown and wild rice

Although they are mostly carbohydrates, brown and wild rice contain a good amount of fibre and protein – about 4 g per 100g of cooked rice.

9. Other grains

Some lesser known grains can also be eaten for the purpose of vegan protein-rich food intake:

  • Spelt – over 5 g protein per 100 g
  • Teff – over 4 g protein per 100 g
  • Amaranth – over 4 g protein per 100 g
  • Sorghum – over 8 g protein per 100 g

10. Vegetables

Vegetables also offer a decent amount of protein:

  • Asparagus – almost 2 g of protein per six stalks;
  • Avocado – over 1 g per ½ avocado;
  • Broccoli – almost 3 g for 80 g;
  • Brussels sprouts – about 2 g for 80 g;
  • Cauliflower – 1.5 g per 80 g serving;
  • Artichokes – over 1 g protein per 80 g;
  • Kale – almost 2 g per 80 g serving;
  • Spinach – 2 g per 80 g serving;
  • Sweet corn – over 2 g for every three overflowing tablespoons.

Vegan diet – sample menu

We offer you a sample daily diet, rich in vegan foods rich in protein.


Option 1: Protein smoothie – mix 1 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon vegan protein powder, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds, 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries and a handful of spinach.

Option 2: Wholegrain toast with almond butter and banana slices.


Chickpea Salad – 1 can drained chickpeas, 1 diced cucumber, 1 diced tomato, 1 diced avocado, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.


Tofu with vegetables and quinoa (or brown rice) – fry diced tofu, chopped peppers, broccoli, peas and carrots in a pan with a little olive oil. Add soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger powder and a little maple syrup. Garnish with quinoa or brown rice.

Snacks and desserts

Option 1: Roast edamame – roast cleaned edamame with a little olive oil, salt and pepper in an oven heated to 190°C (20-30 minutes).

Option 2: Hummus and vegetable sticks – enjoy carrot, cucumber or pepper sticks with a few tablespoons of hummus.

Option 3: Chia Pudding – mix 1/4 cup of chia seeds with a cup of almond milk, some sweetener and your favorite toppings (fruit or nuts). Let stand for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Option 4: Chocolate Protein Balls – combine 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup vegan protein powder and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Form the mixture into balls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Option 5: CREAMELLA Vegan Protein Cream – silky soft cream with pumpkin protein and pumpkin seeds, with a unique density and great taste.

Option 6: Vegan Protein Bar – Rich Cocoa – the first ever vegan bar from the Active Choice product line.

We hope you have found this article useful. We’ve put together the most important and essential protein-rich vegan foods to enrich your diet and achieve a healthy balance of vital nutrients.

Take a look at ours too:
Vegan protein powder with vanilla flavor;
Vegan protein powder with cocoa flavor;
Vegan protein powder with cinnamon cookie flavor.

For more useful and interesting topics related to protein, read the Active Choice blog.