Top 15 High Protein Vegan Foods (Dietitian Written Guide)

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You’ve probably heard high protein vegan foods are general categories- like beans and nuts.

But did you know that foods labeled as high protein, must meet certain requirements in the US?

If you are like, wow! I didn’t know that! What are examples?

I got you!

In this in depth dietitian written guide, I’ll go over high protein foods for those on 100% plant based diets, and address questions you may still have at the end!

Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for medical or dietary advice. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns, dietary changes, and before starting new supplements. See our Disclaimers for more details.

*Consumer Notice: This post contains affiliate links that are marked in this manner : (*affiliate link)”. If you click on these links and purchase, I earn a commission at no added cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What is a High Protein Food?

In the United States, there are specific labeling requirements for foods marketed as “high” sources of a given nutrient.

For a nutrient like protein, this means that the food contains at least 20% of the RDI (reference daily intake) or DRV (Daily Reference value) for a typical amount consumed(1).

You may have seen the DRV on food labels. The DRV for protein is 50 grams per day for non pregnant/lactating adults. This is based on a refence calorie intake of 2000 calories per day for (2).

20% of 50 grams of protein is 10 grams of protein. So for purposes of this article, a high protein food will be defined as a food that contains at least 10 grams of protein per serving.

Based on that plant based foods that are often referred to as “high protein”, wouldn’t meet this definition! For example, almonds pack protein punch at around 6 grams of protein per serving – but this isn’t considered a very high protein food compared to others in the plant kingdoms.

Almonds do have more protein than say- fruits, but they are not the highest sources of protein for vegans.

Including a variety of high, moderate, and low protein sources are awesome ways help meet protein needs and add variety to an overall healthy vegan diet-more on this in the FAQ section at the end!

I just wanted to make sure that you know I’m going to be discussing really high protein foods, and than lower protein foods are important as well.

Now let’s get to the list!

image listing 15 high protein vegan foods with a few images as examples (includes a picture of seitan, vegan protein powder, edamame, and tempeh). The list is written in the text of the blog post.

15 Top High Protein Vegan Foods

Here’s a quick summary of the top 15 high protein vegan foods:

  • Seitan
  • Super Firm Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Vegan Burgers with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving
  • TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
  • Vegan Protein Powders
  • Vegan Shakes with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Edamame
  • Vegan Protein Bars with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving
  • High Protein Pasta
  • Plant Based Yogurt with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving
  • Legume Based “Rice”
  • Vegan Cereals with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving
  • Silk Protein (a high protein plant based milk)

Let’s dive into detail on these vegan protein sources!

FYI- ingredients, nutrition, and protein content may vary and change. Check the nutrition facts of your own food.

Seitan

picture of seitan from upton naturals
  • Protein per Serving: 18 grams (2 ounce serving of Upton Naturals traditional seitan (*affiliate link) )
  • Nutrition Notes: The protein in seitan comes from gluten, which is a protein of wheat. Seitan tops the list for the most protein per calorie, with this example having about 0.2 grams of protein per calorie!
    Of note, seitan products tend to be high in sodium, and those requiring gluten free diets will want skip this option.

Super Firm Tofu

  • Protein per Serving: 14 grams (91 gram serving of Nasoya Super Firm Tofu)
  • Nutrition Notes: Tofu may be the OG of vegan protein! It also provides a decent amount of choline, iron, and calcium (when calcium set).
    It’s bland flavor makes it highly adaptive to recipes, from eggless “eggs” to the classic veg and tofu stir-fry.

Tempeh

picture of a hand holding lightlife tempeh original
  • Protein per Serving: 18 grams (3 ounce serving of Lightlife original tempeh)
  • Nutrition Notes: Like tofu, tempeh is processed from soybeans. But tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, giving it a more sour flavor. It’s also a bit more dense, and higher in protein than most tofu.
    Like tofu, tempeh provides important nutrients, like iron.

Vegan Burgers with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving

picture of hand holding a package 365 whole foods plant based breaded patties
  • Protein per Serving: 11 grams (one 365 Whole Foods Chicken-Style Plant Based Breaded Patties (*affiliate link) )
  • Nutrition Notes: Premade vegan burgers pack a bunch of plant based in a coinvent package. I love how this one tastes-it’s probably my favorite! If you are watching your sodium, its important to note that many plant based burgers have a lot of sodium. Keep that in the context of your dietary needs and plan.

TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)

  • Protein per Serving: 13 grams (1 fourth cup Bob’s Red Mill TVP (*affiliate link) )
  • Nutrition Notes: Textured vegetable protein is often made from soy flour. You can make it with water which decreases the final amount of sodium. TVP makes a nice meatless touch to traditionally meat heavy entrees like tacos and sloppy joes.

Vegan Protein Powders

picture of complement unflavored organic protein powder
  • Protein per Serving: 15 grams (3 tablespoon serving Complement Unflavored Organic Protein (*affiliate link) )
  • Nutrition Notes: Protein powders are super easy ways to bump up the protein content! For example, I love adding a small amount of protein powder to my oatmeal. Complement utilizes third party testing, and does not include any added sugars- which I appreciate!

Vegan Shakes with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving

  • Protein per Serving: 16 grams (1 carton of Orgain’s Vegan Organic Nutrition Shake)
  • Nutrition Notes: 100% plant based shakes will vary in their nutrition content- so you’ll want to read those labels. Some contain a host of vitamins and minerals, and varying levels of protein. It’s also easy to find shakes with high levels of sugar and sodium- so keep that mind!

Hemp Seeds

  • Protein per Serving: 10 grams (3 tablespoons)
  • Nutrition Notes: These seeds don’t only package protein! They are also a good source of important nutrients like magnesium, thiamin, iron, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA- the essential omega 3 fatty acid).

Edamame

picture of edamame still in the pods
  • Protein per Serving: 12 grams (per 100 gram serving of frozen prepared edamame)
  • Nutrition Notes: Edamame is a whole food soy source (immature soybeans from the pod). These protein abundant beans also contain a good dose of choline, biotin and fiber, to name a few!
    These are so fun to eat cooked out of the pod, tossed in with a grain and veg salad, etc!

Vegan Protein Bars with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving

picture of simply protein vegan protein bars variety pack
  • Protein per Serving: 12 grams (per bar –SimplyProtein variety pack)
  • Nutrition Notes: What could more obviously have protein than a protein bar, right? Many vegan bars utilize processed soy or pea so they can brag about the protein! They come in fun flavors and are sometimes fortified with extra nutrients (check out those nutrition facts).

High Protein Pasta

picture of tolerant organic pasta green lentil safari
  • Protein per Serving: 14 grams (2 ounces of Tolerant Organic Green Lentil Safari pasta (*affiliate link) )
  • Nutrition Notes: High protein pasta’s that focus on legumes, like chickpea or lentil are actually quite tasty and pack a protein punch! When you’ve got got shapes like these ones that my daughter loves, it makes it even more fun!
    And here’s a surprising tidbit: Since legume based pasta is well-a legume, these pastas tend to have even more fiber than the whole wheat versions.

Plant Based Yogurt with at/over 10 grams of Protein Per Serving

  • Protein per Serving: 17 grams (2/3 cup of Kitehill Greek-style yogurt)
  • Nutrition Notes: Brands may vary, but many marketed as high protein contain at least 10 grams or more per serving! These yogurts may have other nutrients like calcium added as well. Like the dairy version, more and more plant based yogurts include probiotics.

Legume Based “Rice”

picture of banza rice made from chickpeas garlic olive oil flavor

Vegan Cereals with at/over 10 grams of Protein per Serving

picture of a box of three wishes high protein cereal cinnamon bun flavor
  • Protein per Serving: 12 grams (per serving of Three Wishes Cinnamon Bun cereal)
  • Nutrition Notes: A select few vegan cereals have over 10 grams of protein per serving. I found this cinnamon bun flavored one at Costco and just wish I would’ve gotten more because they are so tasty, and all of that protein and fiber made it a really satiating breakfast.
    Some cereals come fortified with other nutrients. Be sure to keep tabs on the added sugar because that can really add up!

Silk Protein (a high protein plant based milk)

  • Protein per Serving: 10 grams (per cup of Silk Protein plant based milk)
  • Nutrition Notes: These are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Silk’s Protein milk is the only plant based milk (that isn’t a shake) with at least 10 grams of protein per serving that I’ve seen in the US so far! If anyone knows ones that I’m missing, please let me know in the comments. ❤

FAQ: Protein for Vegans

Should all vegans eat high protein foods?

High protein foods are especially concentrated in protein and can be helpful for vegans struggling to get enough protein. And if you enjoy them, they can be awesome additions.
They can also be helpful for athletes. However, some individuals with certain medical conditions, like chronic kidney disease (without dialysis), may need to limit their protein intake. It’s best to talk to your doctor and Registered Dietitian about what foods are best for your body.

What are ways vegans can increase the protein content of a meal without high protein foods?

Easy ways to increase protein content of a meal include:
Increasing your serving size of beans or lentils
Sprinkling on nutritional yeast, ground nuts, chia or flax seeds
Adding nut/seed butter instead of vegan margarine
Using carbohydrate rich sources that are higher in protein, such as quinoa or oats more often.

Does “high protein” mean the same thing as “complete protein”

High protein and complete proteins are different things.
A complete protein is a food that includes protein and has sufficient quantities of all nine essential amino acids(4). Soy is an example of a complete protein that’s also vegan.
As mentioned in the article, the term “high protein” means a food that contains at least 10 grams of protein per serving.

What are other plant protein sources?

All plants contain protein, except for their extracted oils. Still, some plant based foods are extremely low in protein – fruit is a notable example of a low protein vegan food.
Here’s a list of plant based foods noted for being higher in protein:
-beans
-lentils
-chickpeas
-peas
-soy
-seitan
-nuts
-chia seeds
-flax seeds
-hemp seeds
peanuts
Variety is a key component of a healthy diet.

Do vegan diets provide enough protein?

Vegan diets can absolutely provide enough protein! It’s important to make sure you include a variety of plant foods and not cut out food groups. Including a nice mixture of more protein prominent plant foods, like legumes and nuts, and seeds, will make it easier to meet protein needs.
If you need any help with your diet, talk with your doctor and Registered Dietitian.
An appropriately planned and healthy diet centered on plant foods can also provide some health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and hypertension(5).

Did ya find this article helpful? Let me know in the comments!
And since you’re still reading, I thought you might be interested in several of my other helpful food lists for plant based eaters!  
Vitamin B12 Foods for Vegans
Vegan Iodine Source
Vegan Biotin Foods
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3 thoughts on “Top 15 High Protein Vegan Foods (Dietitian Written Guide)”

  1. I honestly need to be careful of how much protein I eat. This is very good for people who looking for this type of food. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Such a great list! I’ve thought about going vegetarian but I wasn’t as familiar with protein alternatives. Thanks for sharing.

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