39 High Protein Plant-Based Foods

If you’ve been following or have just started a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan diet, you’ve probably thought, or had someone ask you “How do you get enough protein without eating meat?”

Easy. There are a lot of plants that are high in protein.

Text reading high protein plant based foods with a photo of black beans.

How much protein should we consume per day?

Protein intake has become one of those hot topics in the last few years.

If you are eating a diet focused on a variety of plant-based foods, you are probably already getting enough protein.

The average person needs to consume about 7 grams of protein every day for every 20 pounds of their body weight.

If you’re very active you’ll need more protein.

Canada’s new food guide does not include protein amounts, because it says most people eating a mixed diet get enough protein.

Instead, it recommends the plate method of eating which it illustrates with a plate of 50% fruits or vegetables, 25% whole grains, and 25% proteins with a recommendation to choose more plant-based proteins.

A drawn plate half full of fruit and vegetables. a quarter with beans, and a quarter with grains to illustrate the plate method.

Canada’s food guide also teaches that plant-based proteins can provide more fiber and less saturated fat than other sources which can beneficial to heart health.

It also makes us aware that you don’t need to consume large amounts of protein foods to meet nutritional needs.

Conclusion: You are probably eating enough protein, especially if you have a varied diet.

The Canada Food Guide is not perfect but I do try to follow the principle of eating half my bowl full of vegetables.

Why is protein amount such a hot topic for vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based diets?

Getting enough protein is such a hot topic because animal products are the main sources of complete proteins.

Once you omit or limit animal products, you need to make sure you’re still taking in a good amount of protein. The same is true for Vitamin B12 – see below for more information.

What is protein and what does it do?

Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids.

Your body uses protein to:

  • help build and repair muscles
  • make hormones and enzymes
  • helps keep the immune system strong
  • maintains pH and fluid balance

Amino Acids combine to form protein. Your body needs amino acids but can only make 11 of the 20 you require to function properly.

The 9 amino acids your body can’t make are called essential amino acids and you must get them from the food you eat.

Your body makes the other 11 which are called non-essential amino acids.

Food containing all 9 essential amino acids are called complete proteins and include beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, quinoa and buckwheat.

Foods that only contain some of the essential amino acids are called incomplete proteins and include nuts, seeds, beans and some grains.

You can combine different incomplete proteins to form a complete protein.

Text explaining what complete and incomplete proteins are and combining proteins with illustrations of peanut butter with toast and pita with hummus.

What does this mean?

This means when following a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diet you should include several types of incomplete proteins to ensure you’re consuming all 9 essential amino acids.

What does this really mean?

This really means that if you eat a varied diet, you’ll be getting all the amino acids you need.

So a daily meal plan including a variety of foods like oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, nut butter, seeds, quinoa, and legumes will help you achieve that goal.

Combining grains and legumes (rice and beans) yields a complete protein – they provide the amino acid the other is missing. The same happens with hummus and bread.

Don’t listen to hype. It’s not difficult to get protein on a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diet. Just eat a variety of protein sources and you will do well.

Couscous salad with vegetables and chickpeas in a large serving bowl.

List of plant-based food sources

The following tables are made using common foods and the nutritional data from the searchable USDA food database and are accurate to their research, but you should always read your food labels. You can try the database yourself using the foods you regularly consume.

What are plant-based sources of protein?

Soy beans are a good source of plant based protein, containing all essential amino acids, as well as calcium, manganese, iron, and Vitamin A.

note: I’m allergic to soy (through allergy testing, not just being quirky) so you won’t find any recipes with soy on my website. Try our partner site theVeggieYaya for Tofu recipes.

SourceProtein in grams per 100 grams

List of soy-free plant-based protein sources

Black beans in a bowl.


Protein amounts for cooked canned, drained, and rinsed beans, as well as raw green peas and peanuts, peanut butter, and hummus.

FoodProtein in grams per 100 gProtein in grams per cup
black beans614.5
cooked lentils918
green peas5.58
creamy peanut butter2357
store-bought hummus819
Numbers have been rounded for ease.
Rice in a bowl with lemon zest and fresh parsley on top.


Protein amounts are shown in grams of protein per cup of cooked grain.

FoodProtein in grams per cup
Brown Rice4.5
Wild Rice7
A pile of potatoes on a wooden platter.

Fruits + Vegetables

Protein amounts for fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly raw, cooked where noted.

FoodProtein in grams
Avocado4.5 per cup
Asparagus (Raw)10 per lb.
Bananas1.5 per medium fruit
Blackberries2 per cup
Broccoli (Raw, chopped)2.5 per cup
Brussels Sprouts (Raw)3 per cup
Guava4.5 per cup
Kale (cooked)3.5 per cup
Mushrooms (cremini, sliced)2 per cup
Oranges1 per fruit
Peaches3 per fruit
Potatoes (cooked)3 per cup
Spinach (cooked)5 per cup
Cashews in a white bowl.

Nuts + Seeds

Protein amount per ounce of nuts + seeds, which is about 30 grams.

FoodProtein Per 1 oz/30 grams
Almonds (about 23 almonds)6
Chia Seeds5
Hemp Seeds9.5
Pumpkin Seeds8.5
Walnuts (about 14 halves)4
Meatballs on a plate with a bowl of Tzatziki.
Vegan meatballs using beyond beef with Greek flavors.

Other Foods

Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef18 grams per 1/3 cup/100 g
Nutritional Yeast8 grams per 1/4 cup
Whole Wheat English Muffin6 grams per muffin
Whole Wheat Pita6 grams per 6-inch pita
Whole Wheat Bread3 grams per slice
Earth’s Own Oat Milk Original4 grams per cup (250 ml)


All values have been calculating using the searchable USDA food database and might not be 100% accurate depending on brands. Use your food labels if these amounts are important you.

vitamin b12 on a vegetarian or vegan diet

If you’ve recently started a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet, you’ve likely also heard about the importance of Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal products, like protein.

Vitamin B12 is essential for:

  • energy
  • synthesizing DNA
  • forming and dividing red blood cells
  • protecting your nervous system

However, Vitamin B12 isn’t found in plants except for in nutritional yeast, along with certain mushrooms and algae.

An image of vitamin b12 pills on the left with a circle of images of oat milk, cereal, and bread on the right with text.

As a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based eater, it’s important to include foods fortified with Vitamin B12 in your diet or possibly take a supplement. This should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

1 cup of low-fat cow’s milk gives you 50% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B12, or 1.2 micrograms (mcg). 1 egg contains 25% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin B12, or 0.6 mcg.

As a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based eater you can get Vitamin B12 through fortified cereals and breads. Read the labels for your products to determine how much Vitamin B12 they offer.

1 cup of Earth’s Own Oat Milk has 42% of the recommended daily value, + 4 grams of protein!

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast provides 2.4 mcg, or 100% of the recommended daily value, making it a popular ingredient among plant-forward eaters.

It’s important to mention this here because protein and Vitamin B12 are both very important and both mainly occur in animal products.

Check my recipe index for recipes to fill your bowl and please your soul.

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Text reading high protein plant based foods with a photo of black beans.


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