If you are a vegetarian then you must be familiar with the questions about whether you are eating enough protein or having enough vegetarian lean protein sources.
In a world obsessed with eating healthy and fitness, protein plays a huge part in a diet and rightly so. Higher-protein diets promote muscle strength, satiety, and weight loss.
As a large number of people are switching to vegan and vegetarian diets and giving up animal-based diets for many reasons such as for religious reasons, personal beliefs, animal cruelty, etc it is a common concern among people who follow the vegetarian diet if they are eating sufficient proteins.
Here to bust the myth vegan diet is sufficient in all vital nutrients and proteins you only need to plan and look at what you are eating in a day.
If carefully planned you don’t have to worry about your protein intake neither do you have to rely on protein supplements like whey protein powder and other similar products?
Great Organic Vegetarian Lean Protein Sources
Here we have compiled up a list of vegetarian lean protein sources that will fulfill your daily protein needs when following a vegetarian diet, so take a look below.
1. Tofu, Tempeh and Edamame
All three of these are prepared from soybeans and are the richest sources of protein in a vegetarian diet. All three of these vary in taste and their protein amount.
Tofu is made similar to the process of cheese making it is bean curd. It does not have its taste but can absorb the flavor of whatever ingredient it is cooked with. It can be used as a meat substitute. It is also rich in iron and calcium which makes it a dairy substitute too. Firm tofu contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup.
Edamame is immature soybeans, they can be boiled and eaten with salads or soups. They can also be eaten on their own. Edamame beans contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup.
Tempeh has a slightly nutty flavor Tempeh contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. It contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup.
A favorite protein-rich food among the vegans and the vegetarians has to be on the top of the list. The Harvard School of Public Health tells us that it adds about 9 grams of protein to your meal per half cup, along with nearly 15 grams of fiber.
They are quite versatile and used in multiple recipes ranging from soups to stews to even some desserts. And to bust the myth a cup of lentils has as much protein as 18 grams of chicken so you don’t have to worry about falling behind meat-eaters in your protein intake. Lentils are the best vegetarian lean protein sources out there.
Quinoa though technically a seed is a powerhouse of protein. What makes Quinoa unique among plant proteins is that it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (something most plant-based proteins aren’t). Around one cup of cooked quinoa contains 18 grams of protein, as well as 9 grams of fiber.
Quinoa too is quite versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used in salads, loss with some vegetables to make a light pulao like dish. It can also be used to makeup, a favorite breakfast among many. Another added benefit is that it is gluten-free.
4. Cottage Cheese
Or as we Indians call it ‘paneer’ is another rich source of protein in the vegetarian diet. It contains 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Often overlooked it can be used in multiple recipes and dishes like salads to full meals like paneer curries. Though a little heavy on the sodium side it is quite popular in India given the huge amount of dishes it is a part of.
A 1 serving (approx 23) almonds will give you 7 grams of protein and make for a great mid-day snack when you feel like chips. Have almonds instead.
You can also try almond butter if the taste of raw almonds de-taste you. They are also rich in omega 3 and fiber. Almonds are one of the best sources of lean protein for a vegetarian to die for.
6. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are quite a versatile source of plant protein. They are also rich in a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other health-promoting compounds. They contain 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per 1.25 ounces (35 grams).
They can be used in the number of recipes like smoothies or chia seed jam.
7. Greek Yogurt
It also delivers calcium and gut-healthy probiotics. Choose plain yogurt over flavored ones to save on added sugar.
Quite rich in protein Greek yogurt contains 23 grams of protein per cup. If you’re looking to lose weight and/or build muscle, yogurt should be a staple in your diet. It can be used in a variety of ways such as dips or add fruits to it to make a delicious snack.
Yogurt is one of the best sources of lean protein for a vegetarian to opt for.
8. Peanut Butter
At 7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, peanut butter is surely deserving of its spot on the list. Thought should be consumed in moderation as too much of it can increase your weight and add on some unwanted extra pounds. It can be best used on toast as a spread for breakfast.
9. Hemp Seeds
Studies suggest that hemp seeds can fight heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome and other such diseases, likely because they’re rich in fiber and omega-3s. It adds 3.3 grams of protein per teaspoon to your diet. It can be sprinkled over salads or in smoothies to quickly add it to your daily meals.
10. Green Peas
They contain 8 grams of protein per cup, so add a little of these sweet treats throughout the daily meals to increase your protein intake. And they will also fulfill almost 100% of your daily value of vitamin C in a single cup, they’ll help keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
11. Green Vegetables
Several veggies are an excellent source of protein such as kale, spinach, and broccoli.
Eaten alone they cannot fulfill your daily protein needs but when combined in a carefully planned diet they can be a substantial help.
12. Beans (Like Chickpeas, Black Beans, etc)
Having plenty of protein a 1/2 cup of chickpeas will also give you a nice dose of protein (6-8 grams depending on the brand). They are also a rich source of fiber which facilitates proper bowel movements. Given their versatility and inexpensive nature they are a favorite among many fitness freaks.
12 Best Vegetarian Lean Protein Sources
Below is a comprehensive list of sources of lean protein for a vegetarian.
- Tofu, Tempeh, and Edamame
- Cottage Cheese
- Chia seeds
- Greek Yogurt
- Peanut Butter
- Hemp Seeds
- Green Peas
- Green Vegetables
- Beans (Like Chickpeas, Black Beans, etc)
So as you can see a protein-deficient vegan diet is far from the norm. Our list has provided you with multiple vegetarian lean protein sources.
If you are a vegan or thinking about giving up meat-based products to adopt a vegetarian diet make sure to check with a nutritionist first and plan so that you don’t lack any vital nutrients.
Let us know if you have any queries in the comments section below.