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How to Get Protein as a Vegan? Meet Your Protein Needs

How to Get Protein as a Vegan

Whenever we talk about protein, we immediately think of animal-derived sources. So, in that sense, there is a common myth that a vegan diet cannot meet our protein requirements. Therefore, a common question people ask is how to get protein as a vegan? The good news is that getting enough protein as a vegan is entirely possible with the right food choices.

You can get protein easily as a vegan from lentils, nuts, seeds, soy products, whole grains, etc. They are packed with proteins and essential amino acids that support muscle growth and repair tissues.

In this article, we will explore the best vegan protein sources and the importance of combining foods for protein absorption to ensure your body gets complete proteins.

So, whether you’re a seasoned vegan or starting your plant-based journey, this guide will help you boost your protein intake. Keep reading for more.

Key Takeaways

  • Vegans can get enough protein through various plant-based food items.
  • Beans, legumes, peas, soy products, grains, nuts, and needs are some of the best plant-protein sources.
  • Vegan protein contains essential amino acids to prevent muscle loss and aid in tissue repair.

Do Vegans Get Enough Protein?

Do Vegans Get Enough Proteins

Yes, vegans get enough protein. Contrary to popular beliefs and persistent myths, there are many plant-based protein sources that are rich in all nine amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.

Some of the best vegan protein sources are legumes, whole grains, nuts & seeds, and even some protein-rich vegetables. We'll discuss in detail the plant-based protein sources and how to incorporate them into your diet. But first, understand why protein is an essential component of the human body.

While the protein needs of every individual can vary depending on age, gender, body, weight, physical activity, etc., an average sedentary adult requires about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day.

If you’re an athlete or do a rigorous workout, your daily protein requirement would be even higher.

But you should not feel concerned about meeting the protein requirements as plenty of natural and vegan protein supplements are available to keep your protein tank full.

Enrich your daily menu with a range of delicious vegan recipes to choose from, prepared skillfully by talented chefs in your area! Opt for Cook Unity's vegan meal delivery service today to add more variety to your plant-based diet! All our vegan dishes are packed with nutrients to meet your dietary needs, that’s for sure!

How Do Vegans Get Protein and Iron?

How Do Vegans Get Protein and Iron

Just as protein is essential for muscle building, iron is equally important for growth and development. Our body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of our body.

And to avoid protein and iron deficiencies, vegan diets need careful planning. But there are plenty of plant-based protein and iron sources. Hence, you'll have enough options to fuel your body with Iron and protein as a vegan.

For protein & iron, vegans can eat:


Beans, such as kidney beans, soybeans, pinto, black beans, and navy beans are a rich source of protein. Approximately 170 grams of beans contain 15 grams of protein, and you can add them to your diet as per your protein requirements.

Beans also contain other essential components like carbs, fiber, folate, potassium, manganese, potassium, etc., which can have numerous benefits.


You can get 18 grams of protein from 198 grams of legumes like lentils and chickpeas. This is why adding legumes in the right quantity would not let you suffer from protein deficiency.

Additional benefits of legumes are that they contain fiber, folate, iron, and manganese, as well as antioxidants.

Tofu & Tempeh

Tofu and tempeh are vegan alternatives to dairy and meet. These are made from fermented soybeans and are again a good plant-based protein source.

100 grams of tofu or tempeh will provide you with approximately 12 to 20 grams of protein. You can add them to your salads or sandwiches or stir-fry them with other veggies for a good burst of flavor.

Green Peas

Green peas are another ingredient that you can include in your diet to keep up with your protein intake. One cup of cooked peas can provide you with 9 grams of protein. Mix it with other legumes, tofu, and some greens for a delicious protein-packed salad.

Whole Grains

Whole grains like wheat, barley, quinoa, brown rice, and bulgur would not only provide you with protein but will also ensure that your body gets enough fiber, iron, manganese, and carbs.

Nuts & Seeds

Regular consumprion of nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc., is a good way to top up your protein intake. 100 grams of nuts seeds contain around 20-30 grams of protein. Nuts and seeds also contain enough iron, healthy fats, vitamins E & B, calcium, phosphorus, etc.

Fruits & Vegetables

Eating protein-rich fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, asparagus, beetroot, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, bananas, blackberries, pomegranate guava, etc. would help you keep up with your protein and iron needs.

Related: What Is Vegan Butter Made Out of? From Plant to Spread

Sources of Protein for Vegans

To provide your body with enough nutrition, you need to incorporate a variety of protein sources. Since not all plant-based protein sources contain all the nine essential amino acids, a well-balanced combination of a variety of foods is recommended by nutritionists. You can refer to the following comprehensive chart of plant-based protein sources. Or see below our lest of foods and the protein they contain per 100 grams:

  • Lentils - 9 grams
  • Black beans - 8 grams
  • Chickpeas - 8.9 grams
  • Kidney beans - 8 grams
  • Soybeans (cooked) - 16.6 grams
  • Peas - 8 grams
  • Tofu - 5 grams
  • Tempeh - 19 grams
  • Seitan - 25 grams
  • Quinoa - 4.5 grams
  • Brown rice - 3 grams
  • Spelt - 6 grams
  • Teff - 4.9 grams
  • Millet - 3.5 grams
  • Hemp seeds - 31.6 grams
  • Pumpkin seeds - 29.8 grams
  • Almonds - 21.2 grams
  • Pistachios - 21.1 grams
  • Sunflower seeds - 19.3 grams
  • Flax seeds - 18.3 grams
  • Broccoli - 3 grams
  • Guava - 4.5 grams
  • Spinach - 2 grams
  • Soy milk - 6 grams
  • Pea milk - 4 grams

Related: The Vegan Diet: Advantages and Disadvantages

How to Eat Complete Proteins as a Vegan?

Protein is formed of 20 types of different amino acids. Out of these, our bodies make 11 types of amino acids, but for the remaining nine, we have to rely on external sources, i.e. the food and drink we consume.

So, complete proteins are those that contain these nine amino acid varieties: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Even though animal-based protein sources are generally considered as providers of complete proteins, it’s possible for vegans to get complete proteins through plant-based sources, as well.

A few complete vegan protein sources include buckwheat, quinoa, soy products, chia seeds, spirulina, seitan, amarnath, and a combination of beans and grains.

To ensure the adequate intake of all essential amino acids, vegans need to combine different protein-rich plant-based foods that are complementary in terms of amino acids.

Here are some tips for combining vegan foods to get complete protein:

  • Pair different legumes (lentils, chickpeas, and beans) with grains (rice, couscous, quinoa, etc.);
  • Combine nuts or seeds with legumes (lentil soups with sunflower seeds or hummus with sesame seeds);
  • Incorporate soy products into meals (tofu, tempeh, or soybeans with rice);
  • Snack on chia pudding and different seeds;
  • Add protein-rich fruits and greens to smoothies and juices.

Related: Going Green: Vegan Vs Vegetarian Vs Pescetarian

Tips on Getting Cheap Vegan Protein Sources

Starting your plant-based diet does not have to go heavy on your pocket. In fact, there are numerous affordable vegan protein sources. As mentioned earlier, you can suffice your protein needs by consuming lentils, green peas, beans, seitan, nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, vegetables (broccoli, kale, spinach), and more.

These types of food are more affordable, making them accessible to anyone. If you want to save some money, while stocking up on protein-rich food, here are some tricks that you can follow:

  • Shopping for seasonal fruits and vegetables is a lot cheaper than buying them during off-season.
  • Bulk shopping for dried items like grains, beans, and lentils is also a cost-effective option.
  • Meal planning prevents impulsive purchases and food wastage, and in return, you save a lot of money.
  • Cooking your own food is a lot cheaper than eating out or buying ready meals.

Check out below these easy-peasy vegan protein-rich recipes that you can even meal prep, which are also budget-friendly:

Lentil Soup Recipe

Vegan Lentil Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 2-3 minutes.

  2. Add the carrots and celery and saute for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables soften a little.

  3. Add the lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir to combine (you can add any other spice you like).

  4. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

  5. Adjust the seasoning as needed, and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Tofu Stir Fry With Veggies

Tofu Stir Fry With Veggies


  • 1 block of firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Green onions, sliced (for garnish)


  1. Cut the pressed tofu into cubes and toss them with cornstarch until coated.

  2. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and sesame oil.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown on all sides.

  4. Remove the tofu from the skillet and set aside, and then, in the same skillet, add the sliced bell peppers, onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

  5. Add the tofu back to the skillet with the vegetables and pour the soy sauce mixture over everything. Mix well until the tofu and vegetables are nicely coated.

  6. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the tofu is cooked well and the sauce is thickened. Garnish with sliced green onions, and enjoy!

Related: From Aquafaba to Soy Milk - What Is Vegan Mayo Made Of?

How to Get Protein as a Vegan? FAQs

Q: Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?

A: Yes, vegetarians can get enough protein by incorporating a variety of plant-based protein sources in their diet.

Q: How Do Vegetarians Get Protein and Iron?

A: Like vegans, vegetarians can get protein and iron from sources like legumes, beans, lentils, broccoli, beetroot, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, etc.

Q: What are Some High-protein Foods for Vegetarians?

A: Some high-protein vegetarian food items are soy products, nuts, and seeds, legumes, and dairy products like milk, cheese, cottage cheese, curd, etc.

Related: Plant-Based Vs. Vegan: Is There a Difference?


Ranging from nuts, legumes, and soy products to whole grains, there are numerous protein sources, suitable for vegans. With conscious meal planning and a little creativity, vegans can easily meet their daily protein requirements.

Moreover, plant-based protein sources help repair tissues and take part in muscle building. Still, protein is just one part of the puzzle, when it comes to maintaining a healthy vegan lifestyle. You should also focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense plant-based foods to meet all your nutritional needs.