Are you a vegetarian looking to boost protein intake? On a 2000-calorie daily diet, find numerous high-protein plant sources without meat or typical vegan options.
Whether you're vegetarian or seeking healthier protein choices, this blog unveils satisfying, nutritious plant-based protein sources, reshaping balanced, protein-rich diets. Explore high-protein veggies and fruits for daily needs, enhancing well-being.
Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
For those on a 2000-calorie daily diet, the recommended daily protein value (%DV) stands at 50 grams. Notable vegetable sources with high protein content encompass brussels sprouts, lentils, edamame, chickpeas, pinto beans, green peas, asparagus, artichokes, chia seeds (also referred to as sabja), baked potatoes, legumes, peanuts, chana dal, and more, which we will delve into extensively later.
Amount of Protein: 18 grams per cup - boiled
Lentils fall under the legume family and are not vegetables technically. Lentils are the most inexpensive, readily available vegetarian, and vegan-friendly best veg for protein. Dry lentils can be cooked in under 15 minutes if pressure-cooked with water without pre-soaking. You can add some chopped veggies such as tomatoes, onions, green chilled and cook with turmeric and salt as per your taste. Lentils can be used to prepare Middle Eastern-style lentil soups too! Make sure to include turmeric due to the benefits of turmeric in Ayurveda.
Amount of Protein: 18.5 grams per cup (steamed)
Edamame is delicious and is one of the high-protein vegetables. It tastes yummy not just at your favourite Asian restaurant but also at your home; steamed and sprinkled with some sea salt. Every time you crave a deep-dish pizza, try eating a cup of cooked edamame as it is one of the best protein food veg.
Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans
Amount of Protein: 15 grams per cup (boiled and dried)
Chickpeas are also known as Garbanzo beans, the main ingredient in hummus preparation and the famous Indian chole. They have a slightly nutty flavor and are easily used in any dish such as curries, soups, and vegetable bowls to pack a protein punch. They contain healthy carbs, as well. You can enjoy them as a healthy snack, such as spiced roasted chickpeas. They are the most well-known source of protein for those following a strict vegan diet.
Amount of Protein: 14 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Mung beans are a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and antioxidants. You may soak them in the water tied in a muslin cloth for them to sprout overnight and have them with some chopped veggies and a dash of lemon. They are best to be consumed raw for maximum health benefits. They are also great for weight loss and keep your immune system strong.
Amount of Protein: 9 grams per cup (raw or boiled)
You mean find soybean sprouts in most Asian, especially Korean dishes - now you know the secret behind that flawless Korean skin. They have a high amount of folate, which delivers up to 30% of your daily requirements, and they are known to prevent and treat anemia. You can consume these in your soups, rice, or just raw in your salads for that extra protein boost.
Amount of Protein: 8.6 grams per cup (boiled)
Green peas are at 17% of your daily protein value, and even though they might not be the most appetizing form of whole plant protein, they can be easily added to your sauteed veggies and are one of the best protein foods. They can even be added to any Indian preparation, with potatoes, carrots, and some spices added for a nutritional bowl of goodness.
Amount of Protein: 4.28 grams per stalk (medium boiled or steamed)
Broccoli is one of the best protein veggies and also offers other nutritional health benefits such as Vitamin A, vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Do not forget to include the stalk of these green vegetables high in protein along with the flower head in your stir fry when cooking the protein-rich vegetables.
Amount of Protein: 4.7 grams of protein
They are a delicious source of protein (along with carbohydrates) and can be consumed year-round, especially during summers and monsoons in India. Have it roasted with a rub of lime, red chili, and salt, or steamed with some butter and your favourite choice of spice. They are a great addition to your stir fry, veggies, and soups and can be served as a side dish too. Being one of the high-protein vegetables, it should be used in any form.
Amount of Protein: 4.6 grams per medium potato (baked with the skin on)
Potatoes are packed with b vitamins, protein, and vitamin C, russet and red potatoes are high-protein vegetables with skin on! Try it baked with some seasoning and butter, and you're good to go!
Amount of Protein: 5.7 grams per cup
Brussel sprouts are tiny leafy greens that have heads resembling miniature cabbages. They are a delicious source of protein that can be shredded, steamed, roasted, or stir-fried for your salads. They are one of the green vegetables that contain enough protein for a meal.
Amount of Protein: 4.7 grams per 30 grams
Chia seeds are now known as a superfood which we may have come across in floods and various Indian sweet dishes. Globally they have gained fame as chia pudding that is eaten for breakfast or even dessert! They are rich in proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
Other than the high-protein vegetables, you may even include items such as peanut butter (which can be slathered over your morning toast), sweet potatoes, and quinoa in your daily diet as plant-based sources of protein. If you are a vegetarian, you may include milk and milk products such as cottage cheese in your daily diet.
However, make sure you know the facts about milk becoming an antioxidant hindrance in food and beverages. Cottage cheese has a protein content of 11 grams per hundred grams, although they are not plant-based.
Other than the high protein fruits and vegetables list, I would like to add there was a time when our meals were not calculated for calories and macronutrients, the quality of grains was high, and food on the plate was considered a blessing in households - I'd like to believe this still holds for a lot of homes across the world. But my personal opinion now is that we must be conscious of our protein intake in our daily diets and not just have meals that are not balanced in nutrition. It is also a myth that vegans and vegetarians lack protein in their diet; now we know that's incorrect. We have a plethora of high-protein vegetables and fruits to include and fulfill our daily protein requirements and live a healthy happy life. There are numerous green vegetables high in protein that can be consumed. So, figure out which are the best sources of plant protein for you and consciously choose to opt for them!
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Authored by: Padmaja Rai
About The Author: Padmaja is a healthcare consultant and avid fitness enthusiast. She holds a master's in bio-innovation and rare diseases from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a firm believer in ancient Indian holistic healing.