The central theses
- You can absolutely build muscle without eating animal products, but you need to be careful in choosing the right vegan sources of protein.
- While eating enough protein to build muscle on a vegan diet is more difficult, you can overcome this problem by having high protein plant-based foods with every meal and snacking between meals.
- Read on to find out the absolute top 10 vegan protein sources, 10 high-protein foods on the go that are great as snacks, and 10 specialty protein sources to add variety to your diet.
Many people think building muscle as a vegan is an uphill battle, if not a non-winnable one.
Of course, once you understand how much protein you need to build muscle, how much is in animal foods, and how little is in plant foods, you naturally wonder if you can build muscle, which you are talking about when you a consequences Vegan Diet.
You can, although it is more difficult than for omnivores.
The truth is that you can absolutely build muscle by only eating vegan sources of protein – you just have to be more careful about what foods you eat.
Let's start this discussion by looking at why vegans typically find it harder to gain muscle than omnivores (and what to do about it!).
What Makes a Good Vegan Source of Protein?
Dozens of well-designed, peer– –checked Studies have shown without a doubt that a high protein diet is superior to muscle building and fat loss than a low protein diet.
Read: The top 4 scientifically proven benefits of a high protein diet
Unfortunately, many vegans are looking here accumulate Come as a cropper, because despite the often preached vegans, vegetables are not a good source of protein.
The first problem with many vegan sources of protein is that they don't actually contain a lot of protein.
For example, here is the protein content of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach (which are often touted as high in protein in vegan circles):
- Broccoli contains roughly 13 grams of protein per pound.
- Brussels contains around 15 grams of protein per pound.
- And one cup of cooked spinach contains only 5 grams of protein.
Let's compare the protein content of these vegetables with several animal products:
- Sirloin steak contains around 90 grams of protein per pound.
- Chicken breast contains roughly 96 grams of protein per pound.
- Wild-caught salmon contains approximately 89 grams of protein per pound.
In other words, most animal products contain around six to seven times as much protein as herbal products. Not only that, but also the protein found in plants not that effective to build muscle as protein in animal products.
If you want to know all the details of why this is so, read on this article, but the long story is short:
Animal protein is superior to vegan protein for muscle building because it is better absorbed from the body and contains much larger amounts of an amino acid called Leucinethat direct stimulates Muscle growth.
What should you do about it if you are vegan?
One solution is to just eat more total protein, but this can be inconvenient and inconvenient (you can only get that much protein out of it Peas before your bowels cry uncle).
A better approach is to try and incorporate high protein plant foods into most of your meals, especially foods high in the amino acid leucine. While no plant-based food is as much protein as animal-based foods, adding protein-rich plant-based foods to every meal can help you meet your daily protein goals.
Let's look at some of the best options.
Would you like to save 20% on your first legion accessories order?
Success! Your voucher is on its way. Keep an eye on this inbox!
Looks like you've already subscribed!
The 10 best vegan protein sources
The following foods are cheap, easy to prepare, and versatile so they can be easily incorporated into almost any meal.
They also contain more protein and leucine than most other vegan protein sources, which makes them particularly helpful for building muscle.
1. Black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans (~ 42 grams of protein per cup)
Legumes like black, pinto or kidney beans are cheap and easy to add to almost any dish. Additionally, you can purchase these canned beans, which cuts prep time and ensures you always have high quality protein on hand.
All of these beans are also full of vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium and vitamin B6.
⇨ Black bean cauliflower bread
⇨ Potato and quinoa patties with chickpea curry
⇨ Filled avocado with black bean mango salsa
2. Spelled (~ 25 grams of protein per cup)
Spelled is a type of wheat also known as husked wheat or spelled wheat Fiber and rich in magnesium and healthy fats.
Spelled goes well with bread, salads and nut roasts and can be used as a rice alternative in risotto.
⇨ Cinnamon Spice Spaghetti Pumpkin Pie
⇨ Whole grain strawberry oatmeal muffins
⇨ Skinny Mini Jelly Roll Cake for one
3. Chickpeas (~ 20 grams of protein per cup)
Chickpeas, also known as chickpea beans, are a mainstay of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, where they're usually roasted in salads or stews, as a side dish, or mashed with dips like hummus.
In addition to being high in protein, chickpeas are a great source of nutrients like potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium.
⇨ Vegetable hummus
⇨ Chickpea Cauliflower Minestrone
⇨ Smashed chickpea pesto sandwich
4.Lentils (~ 18 grams of protein per cup)
There are different types of lenses such as: B. brown, green, red, yellow, black and Lentilles du Puy, and all have slightly different tastes and textures.
Regardless of the variety you prefer, dried lentils are easy to prepare. If that is too much of a bother for you, you can buy them pre-cooked. They're also versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes like soups and stews.
⇨ Whole wheat spiced lentil, sweet potato and kale pockets
⇨ Fried cauliflower and lentil tacos
⇨ Easy Red Lentil Dhal
5. Seitan (~ 16 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)
Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten This is fast becoming a vegan favorite because of its high protein and low carbohydrate content.
Its texture makes it good for making meat-free burgers. You can also coat it with breadcrumbs to make meat-free "chicken nuggets" or "chicken" Milanese.
6. Whole grain or bean and lentil noodles (~ 10 to 30 grams of protein per serving)
Normal pasta is not exactly as "Superfood, ”But variations on whole wheat, beans, or lentils can be surprisingly healthy and high in protein.
These alternative pasta are not only rich in protein, but also the perfect vehicle for your favorite pasta sauces such as vegan ragù, tomatoes and basil or garlic, olive oil and chilli.
⇨ Tabbouleh pasta salad
7.Oats (~ 10 grams of protein per cup)
Oats are the perfect vegan breakfast in every season – they can be soaked in the fridge overnight in the summer months or cooked and eaten hot in winter. Either way, they're a fantastic source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like manganese.
Oats have also become known for their cholesterol lowering effectswhich makes them a great choice for people who deal with them Heart health.
⇨ Oat peanut butter overnight
⇨ Oat protein-wrapped cookie dough overnight
⇨ Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Cup
8. Quinoa (~ 8 grams of protein per cup)
Quinoa is a complete source of protein, which makes these ancient South American seeds a particularly valuable addition to any vegan diet.
It's also a rich source of manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of fiber, folic acid, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
⇨ Superfood Quinoa Bowl
⇨ Greek quinoa zucchini fritters
⇨ Pear and quinoa salad
9.Peas (~ 8 grams of protein per cup)
The humble green pea is fast becoming the protein source of choice for many vegans, and for good reason – they're cheap, tasty, and can be added to a variety of dishes, whether fresh, frozen, or canned.
Although peas don't contain as much protein as some other plant-based foods, they are particularly high in the amino acid leucine Pea protein One of the best vegan sources of protein you can eat.
⇨ Crush green peas and edamame with mint
⇨ Cheesy Vegan Alfredo with Peas and Kale
⇨ Potato, pea and coconut milk curry
10.Wild rice (~ 7 grams of protein per cup)
While rice doesn't contain as much protein as other grains like quinoa, it does contain more protein than most people think and is easy to incorporate into almost any dish (especially wild rice).
⇨ Pomegranate, kale and wild rice salad
⇨ Slow cooker sweet potato wild rice soup
The 10 best vegan protein sources for on the go
Since getting enough protein can be such a burden on a vegan diet, having portable, high-protein foods on hand is also smart.
The following 10 suggestions are perfect high-protein snacks when you need to increase your protein intake between meals.
1. Plant-based protein powder (~ 25 grams of protein per serving)
There are umpteen different vegetable protein powders on the market these days, with some of the most popular options being soy, hemp, pea, rice, and quinoa protein powders.
Instead of going in the pros and cons of eachI'll get straight to the point: the best plant-based protein powder for building muscle is a mixture of rice and peas.
It's not just rice and pea mixes light digestedThey contain high amounts of the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, which makes them particularly suitable for building muscle.
Hence, it is not surprising that research shows A mix of pea and rice protein is about as effective as whey protein for building muscle.
If you want a high protein, all-natural, nutritionally enhanced plant-based protein powder that is delicious to drink too, check out Legion's 100% Natural Plant-Based Protein Powder. Plant +.
⇨ Gingerbread chocolate overnight oats
2. Hemp seeds (~ 9 grams of protein per ounce serving)
Hemp seeds have become increasingly popular in recent years because they contain all nine essential amino acids and contain almost as much protein, gram for gram, as many animal products.
Again, hemp seeds are perfect as a takeaway snack, but can also be used to add a little more protein to biscuits, granola, or oats.
⇨ Hemp seeds and cashew alfredo
⇨ Sunflower seed and beet pizza
⇨ Carrot Cake Quinoa Bites
3. Walnuts (~ 7 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving)
Another nut that is high in protein, healthy fat, and nutrients is the walnut.
Walnuts are great snacks on their own, but are also great as an addition to salads, breakfast foods and baked goods for an extra protein kick.
⇨ Beet, blood orange and chevre salad
⇨ Maple walnut bark
⇨ Creamy feta and walnut dip
4. Peanuts (~ 7 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving)
Despite the deceptive name, peanuts are actually a LegumeHowever, they contain significantly more fat than chickpeas, lentils, and peas (which is why they're considered more likely to be nuts).
Peanuts are a fantastic snack with a good amount of protein, healthy fat, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals like manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
⇨ Vegetable spring rolls with a spicy peanut lime sauce
⇨ Simplest baby eggplant curry
⇨ Sweet potato candy
5.Almonds (~ 6 grams per 1 ounce serving)
Almonds are not only filled with protein, they are also very nutritious and contain a rich source of riboflavin and niacin, vitamin E and the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
If this wasn't enough Studies also show that regular consumption of almonds can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood levels LDL cholesterol.
⇨ Healthy lava cake
⇨ Eggplant chocolate cake
⇨ Raspberry, almond and orange cake
6. Pistachios (~ 6 grams of protein per ounce serving)
Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie options out there.
In addition, they are relatively high in protein and a good source of fiber, B vitamins, thiamine, vitamin B6, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, folic acid, vitamin E and vitamin K.
⇨ Vegan pistachio pudding
⇨ Vegan pistachio cake with eight ingredients
⇨ Coconut flour chocolate chip cookies
7. Cashew nuts (~ 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving)
Cashew nuts have a delicate taste that goes well with stir-fry dishes, curries and desserts.
As with every other seed on this list (yes, you read that right – cashews are actually seeds), cashews are a delicious, protein-rich snack on their own, especially when roasted and topped with caramel, maple syrup, or honey. You can also incorporate mixed cashew nuts into sauces, vegetable purees, and stews as a cream substitute.
⇨ Curry sweet potatoes with broccoli and cashew nuts
⇨ Healthy vegan casserole with green beans
⇨ Low-fat pesto pasta salad
8. Sunflower seeds (~ 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving)
Like most other seeds, sunflower seeds are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and especially linoleic acid. In addition, these seeds contain phytosterols that may contribute towards lower blood cholesterol levels.
⇨ Black sesame soba noodles with crispy kale
⇨ Sunflower seed & beet pizza
⇨ Lentil trail mix
9. Pumpkin seeds (~ 5 grams of protein per ounce serving)
pumpkin seed are a nutritional powerhouse and when roasted and doused with salt, they're a delicious snack too.
Be warned, pumpkin seeds are high in calories – around 570 calories per 100 grams – so don't be too crazy if you are To cut.
⇨ Cinnamon pumpkin seed butter
⇨ Pumpkin and pecan granola
10. Chia seeds (~ 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving)
Chia seeds are full of fiber and another great source of omega-3 fat.
Chia seeds are usually made into puddings (due to their ability to absorb large amounts of water), although they are also great as part of smoothies and juices, mixed in with breakfast cereals like yogurt and oatmeal, or sprinkled on salads.
⇨ Chocolate raspberry chia pudding
⇨ Sunrise Chia Seed Smoothie
⇨ Protein granola
The 10 Best Unique Vegan Protein Sources
Eating the same high protein meals and snacks can get boring. So it's nice to branch out and have a few less obvious options up your sleeve.
This is where these unusual sources of protein come in.
1. Structured vegetable protein (~ 61 grams of protein per cup)
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a vegan alternative to ground beef that goes well with dishes like tacos, meatloaf, meatballs and chilli, or with vegan versions of pasta sauces like ragù alla Bolognese.
2. Peanut flour (~ 20 grams of protein per cup)
Peanut flour is made from crushed peanuts, the fat of which has been partially or completely removed, and can be used for baking, as a topping for muesli or oatmeal, and in smoothies, sauces and dips.
Although it's extremely low in fat, it's still high in fiber, thiamine, folic acid, potassium zinc, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and of course protein.
⇨ PB2 cookies
⇨ Dark chocolate PB2 latte
⇨ Reeses Chia Crockpot Oatmeal
3. Amaranth (~ 9 grams of protein per cup)
Amaranth is a gluten-free and high-protein grain that originated in Peru. Like many other grains, it has a nutty taste that works well with oats, puddings, and as an alternative to rice.
4. Sacha Inchi seeds (~ 6 grams of protein per 20-gram serving)
Sasha inchi seeds, also known as sacha peanuts, jungle peanuts or Inca peanuts, are the seeds of the Plukenetia volubilis Plant and are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein and vitamin E.
While they are usually eaten roasted, they can also be added to grains, cookies, and homemade vegan protein bars.
5. Nutritional yeast (~ 5 grams of protein per quarter cup serving)
Although it sounds like some sort of waste product from beer or bread making, nutritional yeast is a tasty vegan alternative to parmesan, packed with vitamin B. This makes it a perfect addition to pastas, risottos, salads, or any other dish that benefits from a pinch of cheesy goodness.
⇨ Fried spaghetti squash with chickpeas and kale
⇨ Dip with spinach, artichoke and white beans
⇨ Vegan Alfredo Sauce
6.Freekeh (~ 5 grams of protein per quarter cup serving)
Freekeh is a green durum wheat grain that contains twice as much protein and three times as much fiber as white rice. It has a nutty, smoky taste and a chewy texture that is best enjoyed as part of salads, stews, and soups.
7. Ezekiel bread (~ 5 grams of protein per slice)
Unlike white bread, which is made from refined wheat flour, Ezekiel bread is made from a variety of sprouted whole grain products such as wheat, millet, barley, and spelled.
Sprouted grains are low in phytate (which can prevent the body from doing so absorbent Vitamins and minerals) and help the body absorb folic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin C.
8.Spirulina (~ 4 grams of protein per tablespoon)
Spirulina is a type of seaweed that is so rich in vitamins second hand from NASA as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions.
Unfortunately, the perks come at a price: it's far from the best looking, smelling, and tasting food on this list. For this reason, it's best to mix with other foods, like in a smoothie.
⇨ Chewy Superfood Hemp Protein Bar
9.Tahini (~ 4 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving)
Tahini is a Middle Eastern spice made from peeled, roasted, and ground sesame seeds. It's probably best known as an ingredient in hummus and baba ghanoush, but can also be served alone or as part of salad dressings, salads, and icings.
⇨ Grilled eggplant and spinach salad
⇨ Chickpea, orange and tahini dressing
⇨ Jalapeno hummus
10.Sun dried tomatoes (~ 4 grams per 1 ounce serving)
Originally, salting and drying tomatoes in the sun was a way to preserve ripe fruit so that it could provide valuable nutrients during the winter months.
Nowadays, sun-dried tomatoes are eaten all year round because of their intense sweet and sour taste. However, if you are a vegan, they also provide valuable extra protein.
⇨ Mexican cornbread pizza cake
⇨ Spicy oat bars with olives and sun-dried tomatoes
⇨ Grilled eggplant and spinach salad
The bottom line on the best vegan protein sources
Eating enough protein to build muscle on a vegan diet doesn't have to be difficult or complicated if you eat the right foods.
The real key to doing this job is to include some of these high protein vegan foods in each of your daily meals and snacks. This way, a high protein diet becomes a habit that you can easily stick to.
Here are the 10 best vegan protein sources:
- Black, pinto and kidney beans
- Whole grain or bean and lentil noodles
- Andean millet
- Wild rice
Here are the 10 best sources of protein for on the go:
- Vegetable protein powder
- Hemp seeds
- Cashew nuts
- Sunflower seeds
- pumpkin seed
- Chia seeds
And here are the best unique vegan protein sources to add variety to your meals:
- Structured vegetable protein (TVP)
- Peanut flour
- Sacha Inchi seeds
- Nutritional yeast
- Ezekiel bread
- Sun-dried tomatoes
If you enjoyed this article, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you want to hang out online! 🙂
What do you think of the best vegan sources of protein? Do you have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
+ Scientific references
- P.D. Karkos, S.C. Leong, C.D. Karkos, N. Sivaji & D.A. Assimakopoulos (2011). Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Uses in Humans. In evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine (Vol. 2011). Hindawi Limited. https://doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nen058
- L. Bohn, A. S. Meyer & S. K. Rasmussen (2008). Phytate: effects on the environment and human nutrition. A challenge for molecular breeding. In the Journal of Zhejiang University: Science B (Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 165-191). Zhejiang University Press. https://doi.org/10.1631/jzus.B0710640
- K. Musa-Veloso, L. Paulionis, T. Poon & H. Y. Lee (2016). The Effects of Almond Consumption on Fasting Blood Lipid Levels: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of Nutritional Science, 5, 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1017/jns.2016.19
- Joy, J. M., Lowery, R. P., Wilson, J. M., Purpura, M., De Souza, E. O., Wilson, S. M., Kalman, D. S., Dudeck, J. E., & Jäger, R. (2013). The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. Nutrition Journal, 12 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-12-86
- N. Babault, G. Christos Païzis, G. Deley, Guetit-Deremaux Laetitia, Saniez Marie-Hélène, C. Lefranc-Millot & F. A. Allaert (2015). Oral Pea Protein Supplementation Promotes Muscle Thickness During Strength Training: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial Against Whey Protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12 (1), 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5
- H. Hoogenkamp & J.P.D. Wanasundara. (n.d.). Rice Protein – An Overview | ScienceDirect topics. Retrieved January 20, 2021 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/rice-protein
- F. Mariotti, M. E. Pueyo, D. Tomé, S. Bérot, R. Benamouzig & S. Mahé (2001). The influence of the albumin fraction on the bioavailability and postprandial utilization of pea protein that is selectively administered to humans. Journal of Nutrition, 131 (6), 1706-1713. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/131.6.1706
- A. Whitehead, E.J. Beck, S. Tosh & T.M.S. Wolever (2014). Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Oat β-Glucan: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials1. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100 (6), 1413-1421. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.086108
- Kimball, S. R. & Jefferson, L. S. (2006). Signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms by which branched-chain amino acids mediate translational control of protein synthesis. Journal of Nutrition, 136 (1). https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.1.227s
- S. van Vliet, N.A. Burd & L.J.C. van Loon (2015). The anabolic response of the skeletal muscles to protein consumption on a plant or animal basis. In Journal of Nutrition (Volume 145, Issue 9, pp. 1981-1991). American Society for Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.204305
- Berrazaga, I., Micard, V., Gueugneau, M. & Walrand, S. (2019). The role of the anabolic properties of plant and animal protein sources in helping maintain muscle mass: a critical review. In Nutrients (Vol. 11, Issue 8). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081825
- Helms, E. R., Aragon, A. A. & Fitschen, P. J. (2014). Evidence-Based Recommendations for Preparing Natural Bodybuilding Competitions: Diet and Supplements. In the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (Volume 11, Issue 1, pp. 1-20). BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
- Phillips, S. M. & van Loon, L.J.C. (2011). Nutritional protein for athletes: from requirements to optimal adaptation. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29 (SUPPL. 1). https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.619204
- S. Mettler, N. Mitchell & K.D. Tipton (2010). Increased protein intake reduces the loss of lean body mass during weight loss in athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42 (2), 326–337. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181b2ef8e
If you enjoyed this article, we will send you weekly updates. It is free.
Great! You are subscribed.
100% data protection. We do not rent or share our email lists.