Switching to a plant-based diet has been proven to have many health benefits, but if you’re used to getting most of your protein from animals, you may be wondering which plants to eat instead of beef. with chicken and other meat sources.
“You can get all the protein you need from plants, but it takes careful planning,” says the registered dietitian. Miranda Galati, RD. He says this is because many plant proteins are incomplete, meaning they don’t provide all the essential amino acids you need from food. “To make sure you’re getting enough protein in a plant-based diet, eat a variety of plant-based protein foods regularly, including whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and minimally processed soy products,” says Galati. A good goal is two plant proteins per meal.
What does that look like, exactly? Use this list of 23 protein-rich vegetables as a guide. It includes the types of foods that Galati mentions (such as different types of grains, beans, and soy), as well as foods you’ll find in the produce section.
Related: 10 Protein Sources That Can Help You Lose Body Fat
23 Protein-Rich Vegetables to Add to Your Diet
1. Black beans
Judy Simon, RDN, registered dietitian, owner of Mind Body Nutrition, and lecturer in the University Washington Nutritional Sciences program, says beans are an excellent source of protein and are also high in fiber. of “The fiber in beans helps slow the absorption of their carbohydrate energy sources and promotes excellent blood sugar control,” she says, adding that beans are an excellent source of iron, folate and magnesium.
Like beans, Simon says lentils are high in protein and fiber. One serving of lentils contains 24 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. Cooked lentils can be eaten in soups, stews, stews and curries.
One cup of chickpeas contains 12 grams of protein. In addition to being enjoyed whole added to salads, stews, or even pasta, they can also be eaten as hummus. Either way, you get plenty of protein!
When shopping for protein-rich vegetables, don’t make the mistake of bypassing the grocery section. “Beans have eight grams of protein per serving,” says Simon. It is for this reason that the vegetable has become a key ingredient in many protein powders.
5. Black-eyed peas
Despite their name, black-eyed peas are technically beans. Just half a cup has 20 grams of protein. Don’t save this dish for New Years!
Another product that contains protein is corn. One cup of corn contains five grams of protein. Although it doesn’t have as much protein as some of the other foods on this list, it adds up, especially when combined with other vegetables.
Galati, as mentioned above, is a vegetable full of soy protein. One of the most widely consumed soy-based foods is tofu. “Because of the road [soy-based foods] if processed, they become a more effective source of protein than other plant foods. For example, 3 ounces of firm tofu contains nine grams of fiber and less than one gram of carbohydrates, she says.
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but while tofu is made with condensed soy milk, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. Tempeh is actually slightly higher in protein than tofu. Both are great resources to consider.
According to Galati, edamame is another soy-based food that’s high in protein, with 18 grams per cup. Edamame also contains fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
10. Soy plant
Like other soy-based foods such as tempeh, tofu, and edamame, soy bean sprouts have a similar nutritional profile—including protein. Soy sprouts can be eaten as a side dish or added to stir-fries, salads or soups.
Many people think of potatoes for their carbohydrates and potassium, but roots are also rich in protein. One large red potato has almost seven grams. Sweet potatoes also have a small amount of protein.
One cup of broccoli contains almost three grams of protein, which is not a tons, but it’s more than most people expect from a green vegetable. Adding broccoli to your diet is an easy way to increase fiber and protein at the same time.
13. Black rice
“Remember that whole grains are an excellent source of protein,” says Simon. One of his favorites is black rice, which he says has six grams of protein per cup, slightly higher than white rice.
14. Wild rice
Similar to black rice, wild rice contains six grams of protein per cup. Wild rice has a slightly chewy texture and grassy flavor compared to white rice, and is especially delicious as a palao with vegetable broth and other vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, and celery.
According to Simone, quinoa also packs eight grams of protein per cup. Other nutrients that quinoa brings to the table include fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron.
Mushrooms also contain protein. Oyster mushrooms, in particular, are very high, with five grams of nutrients per cup. Combine ‘shambar’ with wild rice and a few other vegetables from this list and you have a nutritious, high protein meal!
17. Hemp seeds
Galati says that nuts and seeds are considered sources of fat, but they also contain protein. “Some nuts and seeds contain more protein than others. For example, three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein,” he says, highlighting an often-overlooked source.
By topic: Registered dietitians identify the 10 healthiest nuts to eat
18. Pumpkin seeds
According to Galanti, another protein-rich seed is pumpkin seeds. “One-third cup of pumpkin skin has 15 grams of protein,” she says. Similar to nut oils, you can also find seed oils in many grocery stores, including pumpkin seed oil.
Hemp and pumpkin seeds may be the top protein sources for seeds, but what about nuts? Good old peanut butter is just fine. Just a quarter cup contains nine grams of nutrients.
Although technically a fruit, avocados are one of the most nutritious foods you’ll find in the produce section. You may already know that avocados are a good source of healthy fats and fiber, but did you know that they also contain protein? One cup of mashed avocado contains almost five grams of nutrients.
Related: 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Avocados
One medium-sized artichoke has only 60 calories, but the vegetable contains four grams of protein, making it a great way to bulk up your meal when combined with the other vegetables on this list. Artichokes also improve gut health because they contain soluble fiber.
Want to go green with protein? Go for vegetables with two grams per cup. It’s not enough protein to be used as a major protein source, but it has more protein than other types of greens like spinach and kale.
23. Chia seeds
As Galati mentioned above, nuts and seeds all contain protein. Often overlooked, this chia seed deserves a mention. One ounce contains nearly five grams of protein, making it a great addition to oatmeal or a smoothie mixed into yogurt.
As you can see, there is no shortage of protein-rich vegetables to include in your diet. But both nutritionists stress that variety and planning are also important. “Meeting total nutrient needs with a plant-based diet requires careful planning,” says Galati. “Although they offer adequate protein, plant-based diets may lack vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and zinc.” For this reason, if you’re considering a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet, she recommends speaking with a health care provider, nutritionist, or nutritionist. This way you can get all the nutrients your body needs through food and supplements if necessary.
Then check out this list to see the top 20, according to registered dietitians.
Miranda Galati, RD, is a registered dietitian
Judy Simon, RDN, is a registered dietitian, owner of Mind Body Nutrition, and faculty member at the University of Washington Nutritional Sciences Program.