The transition to a predominantly plant-based diet was repeatedly shown to be beneficial to health in many waysbut if you’re used to getting the vast majority of your protein from animal sources, you might be wondering which plants in particular to replace your beef, chicken, and other meat sources.
“It’s possible to get all the protein you need from plants, but it takes careful planning,” says one dietitian. Miranda Galati, Dt.P.. She says that’s because many plant proteins are incomplete, meaning they don’t provide all of the essential amino acids we need to consume as food. “To make sure you’re getting enough protein on a plant-based diet, eat a variety of plant-based protein foods regularly, including whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. minimally processed soybeans,” Galati says, adding that a good goal to aim for is two plant-based proteins per meal.
What does it look like, exactly? Use this list of 23 protein-rich vegetables as a guide. It includes the types of foods mentioned by Galati (like different types of whole grains, beans, and soy) as well as the foods you’ll find in the produce section.
23 Protein-Rich Vegetables to Add to Your Diet
1. Black beans
Judy Simon, RDN, registered dietitian, owner of Mind Body Nutrition, and faculty member of the University of Washington’s Nutritional Science Program, says beans are an excellent source of protein and are also very high in fiber, a nutrient that the most people in the United States don’t get enough of it. of. “The fiber in beans helps slow the digestion of their carbohydrate energy sources and promotes excellent blood sugar control,” she says, adding that beans are also an excellent source of iron, folate, and calcium. magnesium.
Similar to beans, Simon says lentils are also high in protein and fiber. A portion of lentils has 24 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. Cooked lentils can be enjoyed in soupsstews, dals and curries.
A cup of chickpeas has 12 grams of protein. In addition to being eaten whole, incorporated into salads, stews, and even Pastathey can also be enjoyed as Hummus. Either way, you’ll get plenty of good protein!
Don’t make the mistake of bypassing the produce section when shopping for protein-rich vegetables. “Pea have eight grams of protein per serving,” says Simon. This is exactly why the vegetable has become a staple ingredient in many protein powders.
5. Black-eyed peas
Despite their name, black-eyed peas are technically beans. Just half a cup of black-eyed peas has a whopping 20 grams of protein. Don’t just save this food for the New Year!
Another product with protein is corn. A cup of corn contains five grams of protein. Although it’s not as high in protein as some of the other foods on this list, it certainly adds up, especially when combined with other vegetables.
As Galati mentioned earlier, soy is a protein-packed vegetable. One of the most widely consumed soy foods is Tofu. “Because of the way [soy-based foods] are processed, they tend to be a more efficient source of protein than some other plant foods. For instance, three ounces of firm tofu contains nine grams of fiber and less than one gram of carbs,” she says.
Like tofu, tempeh is also made from soy, but while tofu is made with condensed soy milk, tempeh is made from fermented soy. Tempeh is actually slightly higher in protein than tofu. Both are great sources to consider.
Galati says edamame is another protein-rich soy food, with 18 grams per cup. Edamame also contains fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
10. Bean Sprouts
Much like other soy foods like tempeh, tofu, and edamame, bean sprouts have a similar nutrient profile, including protein. Bean sprouts can be enjoyed as a side dish or added to stir fries, salads or soups.
A cup of broccoli contains almost three grams of protein, which is not a tonne, but it’s also more than most people expect from a green vegetable. Adding broccoli to your meal is an easy way to boost both fiber and protein.
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13. Black rice
“Remember, whole grains are a great source of protein,” says Simon. One of her favorite meals is black rice, which she says has six grams of protein per cup, slightly more than the protein in white rice.
14. Wild rice
Similar to black rice, wild rice has six grams of protein per cup. Wild rice has a slightly chewier texture and grassier taste than white rice and is especially delicious in pilaf with vegetable broth and other vegetables, such as mushrooms, carrots and celery.
Quinoa is another whole grain that Simon says is full of protein, with eight grams per cup. Other nutrients quinoa brings to the table include fiber, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Mushrooms also contain protein. Oyster mushrooms in particular are particularly high, with five grams of nutrient per cup. Combine the ‘mushroom’ with wild rice and a few other veggies from this list and you have a nutrient-dense, protein-packed meal!
17. Hemp seeds
Galati says nuts and seeds are best considered a source of fat, but they do contain protein. “Some nuts and seeds contain more protein than others. For example, three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein,” she says, pointing to an often overlooked source.
18. Pumpkin seeds
Another particularly protein-rich seed, according to Galanti, is pumpkin seed. “A third of a cup of shelled pumpkin seeds contains 15 grams of protein,” she says. Similar to nut butters, you can also find seed butters, including pumpkin seed butter, at many grocery stores.
Hemp and pumpkin seeds may rank high on the protein front for seeds, but what about nuts? Good old peanuts are a great choice. Just a quarter cup has nine grams of the nutrient.
Although technically a fruit, avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense 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 they also contain protein? A cup of mashed avocado contains nearly five grams of nutrients.
A medium sized artichoke only contains 60 calories, but the vegetable packs four grams of protein, making it a great way to boost the amount of your meal when combined with other vegetables on this list. Artichokes also promotes good gut health because they contain soluble fiber.
22. Green cabbage
Want to choose a green that contains protein? Opt for green cabbage, which has two grams per cup. It is not high enough in protein to be used as a main source of protein, it contains more protein than some other types of green vegetables, such as spinach and kale.
23. Chia seeds
As Galati mentioned earlier, nuts and seeds all contain protein. Chia seeds are often overlooked and worth mentioning. An ounce contains nearly five grams of protein, making it a great addition to smoothies, oatmeal, or mixed into yogurt.
As you can see, there is no shortage of protein-rich vegetables to incorporate into your diet. But both dietitians stress that both variety and planning are important. “Meeting your overall nutritional needs on a plant-based diet requires careful planning,” says Galati. “Although they may offer adequate protein, diets may be deficient in vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and zinc. For this reason, she recommends speaking with a healthcare provider, dietitian, or nutritionist if you’re considering a plant-based, vegetarian, or diet. vegan diet. This way you can be sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs through food and, if necessary, supplements.