September 12, 2012

Vegan Sources of Protein

Protein is very important in our diet... and you can most definitely receive PLENTY of it with a vegan diet. In all seriousness, protein is NOT something you need to worry about. Soooo many vegan foods are high in protein and everything contains it! If you ate a normal, healthy vegan diet, you would easily consume enough protein. 

The thing to remember is: Eat a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts and wholefoods. The more the merrier. Eat them in as many combinations as you can. This will improve your body's ability to absorb all of their planty planty crazy goodness. Once you do this, you will be fine. Is it that easy!

 The National Institute of Medicine states that "Proteins are the building blocks of life. The body needs protein to repair and maintain itself. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids". You need protein to repair cells and make up major body parts such as skin, hair, glands and builds and repairs muscles. The Institute of Medicine states that only one calorie out of ten needs to be consumed by protein. But this would obviously depend on your exercise routine and personal traits. 

I always receive emails asking about the best sources of protein when undertaking a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. So here is a quick/approximate guide to show you the amount of protein in plant foods. I never ever ever worry about my protein intake. It is so so easy to get from a vegan lifestyle. 

The following sources of protein have approximate measurements. 

Vegetables & Fruits:
  • 1 cup broccoli = 8g protein
  • 1 average-sized avocado = 4g protein
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potato = 4g protein
  • 1 cup peas = 8g protein
  • 1 cup asparagus = 4g protein
  • 1 cup cooked spinach - 5g protein
  • 1 cup cooked brussel sprouts = 5g protein
  • 1 cup dried apricots = 6g protein
  • 1 cup dried raisins = 5g protein
Beans & Legumes:
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas = 12g of protein
  • 1 cup cooked lentils = 18g protein
  • 1 cup kidney beans = 12g protein
  • 1 cup cooked pint beans = 12g protein
  • 1 cup cooked split peas = 16g protein
Nuts & Seeds:
  • 1 cup cashews = 20g protein
  • 1 cup pine nuts = 19g protein
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds = 24g protein
  • 1 cup almonds = 32g protein 
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds = 6g protein
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds = 5g protein
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa = 8g protein
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter = 4g protein
  • 1 cup soy milk = 8g protein
  • 100g firm tofu = 17g protein
  • 100g tempeh = 19g protein

As a a vegan or vegetarian person, I am frequently asked where I get my protein from as most people aren't informed of protein sources other than meat and animal products. I have gained the following information by researching in the supermarket using the nutritional index tables on product packaging. The list below is an approximate gram-to-gram comparison of meat-based protein to plant-based protein. (Yes, I probably did look like a crazy cat-lady in the supermarket)
  • 100g eye of round beef steak = 100g tempeh
  • 100g prawns = 100g  firm tofu
  • 100g canned tuna = 100g firm tofu
  • 100g chicken breast = 100g cooked soybeans
  • 1 cup whole dairy milk = 1 cup soy milk


  1. This was interesting, thanks for posting! I never knew broccoli had so much protein. Yay for me - more lentils and broccoli.

    1. Hi Basil! Thanks for your comment. I know! Neither did I. It is so interesting. I looked like a crazy person with my notepad in the supermarket hehe.

  2. This is a great post! I knew soy was a great source of protein, but I hadn't realized it contained literally the exact same amount as many meats. And raisins- who knew raisins were so protein-packed?

    1. Hi Jenny! I know... I was suprised too. I went through so many packets in the supermarket and nutrition journals etc... on the internet. The amount of protein in plant=based food is amazing :) Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thank you so much for going to all this effort. I knew many plant foods were great sources of protein but it's wonderful to have solid information. Thinking I should print this out and keep it in my handbag for the inevitable question. :o)

    1. Hi Nina! My pleasure :) I never knew the exact amount of protein in these items so it was very interesting and exciting for me. Thanks for your comment!

    2. Hello Madison, I am writing anonymous cause I do not have a google account or any other of those things listed below. You seem very lovely and your website is so cute!! I have yet to try any of your recipes because I haven't gone and bought any of the ingredients but I will make sure to soon. I recently converted to vegetarian(ism) and by far your website has the most interesting and pretty recipes :D By the way when is you peas in a pod merchandise going to be available because I will be the first one to buy it.

      Your piggies are so adorable and I love the names, I want one now but my grandfather's immune system isnt the greatest so it wouldn't be healthy for him so I will have to wait till I have my own place..
      Anyway sorry for the excitefullness just this is a very good website for me and many new and previous vegan/vegetarians
      Keep bloging please :o

    3. Hello! Thanks so much for your kind words. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about vegan cooking. I am always here to help :)

      The bean merchandise is on hold at the moment as the suppliers made a mistake and accidentally sent 500 of the wrong item :( Oh well! I was so sad because they are so cute but it is ok. Hopefully I will be getting a new supplier in the near future.

      I love my guinea piggies hehe. They are such cute and noisy little creatures and can eat so much! I am sorry for your grandfather. I hope he gets better :)

      Thanks for your comment. I hope to hear more from you!

  4. This is very useful for me! Thanks so much, Madison! ;)

  5. Dear Madison,
    as far as proteins are concerned, let's think about horses: all those muscles, that energy, the propellilng power in their legs...
    Their diet is vegan.
    What we learn here? Greens are packed with proteins.

    I love your blog.


    1. Hi Ella, Thanks so much for your comment. I completely agree with you :)

  6. My diet is now complete. Now that I know tempeh has protein equivalent to beef meat it's time to cut some budget and put it to better use. Vegetables aren't bad at all, we just need to balance it out with our diet.

  7. I agree with everyone else's sentiments about this site. I am in the US and am newly vegan (4 wonderful months now). I am excited to try some of these lovely recipes VERY soon. Cute, fun, accessible site...keep it up! :)

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback. I love to hear that Veggieful is being enjoyed. Please contact me with any questions and concerns and let me know how the recipes go! :)

  8. No hablo muy bien el ingles pero lo puedo leer y la verdad es que tu blog me ah ayudado en el proceso de cambiar de una dieta normal a una ovolacto vegetariana
    gracias :)

  9. Breast milk, the perfect food for us at a time of our life when we are growing the most (a baby doubles its weight in the first 6 months) contains 5% protein. This indicates that we do not need to be concerned about protein. A healthy vegan diet contains all that we need.

  10. I've been Vegan for many years and love my alternate sources of protein - long live all the ANIMALS !!

  11. Do you also look for vegan foods that ensure adequate calcium intake? Having recently had a surgery involving a bone-graft, it's this issue which makes me wary of completely cutting out dairy products - and it's much more preferable to fulfill nutrition requirements without fortified foods or supplements in my opinion.

    1. Hi there,

      I urge you to read some medical journals and studies including 'The China Study' which points out and emphasise the negative effects of dairy products on the human body including the following:

      - Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and author of The China Study, says casein (the main protein in milk) is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered.

      - When we eat diets high in animal protein (milk included), our bodies become acidic and calcium is drawn from our bones to neutralize that acidic environment – cheese is particularly acidic.

      - Harvard’s study showed that high intake of dairy can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer, and also suggesting that foods like collards, bok choy, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium.

      There are many more journals and studies which also prove the above points. I don't look for calcium supplements or fortified products as many of the vegan products we consume are already extremely high in calcium. All of the milk substitutes I consume on a daily basis including soy milk and almond milk contain the same amount of calcium as dairy milk per 250ml. Other sources high in calcium include: dark leafy greens, pak choy, bok choy, tofu, okra, broccoli, wholegrains and almonds.

      Hope this helps :)

  12. Thank you so much! This is a very useful info!

  13. Hi, can you tell me where you buy soy beans from? I have tried all the local supermarkets but they are extremely hard to find!

    1. Hello Nellie T , I would suggest to try a local Asian groceries store they should have soy beans there and they would probably be less expensive . Good luck .

  14. Thank you very a very thorough and approachable blog Madison . Its Great and I love it .
    Thank you so much and take care !!!

  15. Great helpful ideas and everything g needed to become a HEALTHY vegan!! My sister's comment when I became a vegetarian was, "so are you only going to eat salad all the time?" 😉 I can only wonder what she'll say when I tell her I'm now VEGAN! 😆 Thanks so very much!!

  16. So many wonderful suggestions here. Great blogging!