From weight loss to animal rights, there are many reasons that lead people to go vegan. Even so, making the lifestyle change is a difficult process that requires patience and dedication. It’s important to remember you can still achieve your daily nutrition goals without meat, fish, or dairy. This can be made possible through high protein vegetables.
Adopting a plant-based, vegan, or even vegetarian diet is often intimidating, and one common concern is the lack of high-protein options. Maintaining a protein-rich diet can be difficult for new and practiced vegans alike, but there are several options to help make it easier. Here are some nutrient-rich veggies that can supplement any meal as a main course or side dish.
While brussels sprouts used to be notoriously hated by picky eaters around the world, this versatile vegetable has gained major popularity in the last few years and is now featured in many new trendy recipes. With 3 grams of protein per serving and limitless health benefits, brussels sprouts provide a delicious and filling option for vegans and vegetarians.
While there are countless ways to prepare Brussels Sprouts, the easiest way to take advantage of all the essential amino acids and vitamins they contain is by simply tossing them in olive oil and roasting them in your oven or air fryer for 30-40 minutes at 400˚F.
We know lentils are technically part of the legume family, but we couldn’t leave this protein-rich vegan option off of our list. Lentils are extremely affordable and, when dried and properly sealed, can be easily stored for 2-3 years. There are many types of lentils, but red, brown, green, and yellow lentils are among the most widely consumed. While nutritional values vary slightly depending on the type, all lentils are made up of roughly 25% protein. They’re also packed with B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
Many carb-alternative products, such as pasta and rice, primarily contain lentils; these options are available in most grocery stores for a quick and healthy vegan dinner. If you’re looking to supplement your go-to meals, lentils can be added to white or brown rice or quinoa for added protein in your favorite dish.
Artichokes are underrated in more ways than one, the first being their nutritional content. One cup of fresh or canned artichokes contains 4.8 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of fiber, and 277 milligrams of potassium. Artichokes have also been known to regulate blood pressure and improve digestive health.
Secondly, this delicious vegetable is more than just a pizza topping. Steam a whole artichoke and serve with vegan butter or lemon aioli for a delicious appetizer, or chop up the nutrient-rich artichoke hearts for a delicious addition to pasta or stir-fry.
Yes, peas are also technically a legume, but their nutrient content is unparalleled. Each cup of peas contains over 8 grams of protein, 35% of your recommended daily fiber, and numerous other essential nutrients.
This high protein option is extremely versatile and can be added to almost any dish. Green peas are delicious in pasta, stir-fry, salad, or if you’re in a rush, simply steam them up with some salt and pepper for a healthy snack or side dish.
This popular smoothie ingredient is packed with the nutrients vegans need to feel good throughout the day. While raw kale is still extremely beneficial to your health, cooked kale has more than double the amount of protein at over 3 grams per cup. It’s also full of vitamins and antioxidants that boost your immune system and fight off chronic illness.
In addition to smoothies and salad, this leafy green vegetable is a great addition to any pasta, curry, or soup. For those looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, there are multiple recipes for kale brownies for you to try.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another vegetable popularly utilized in vegan and low-carb substitutes, and for good reason. One cup of chickpeas contains 14 grams of protein and tons of fiber to keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day. They also contain iron and calcium, two nutrients that are commonly lacking in a vegan diet.
While hummus is a great way to eat this high protein veggie, there are many more delicious ways to enjoy chickpeas. They’re widely used in Mediterranean dishes like wraps and falafel, and they’re also featured in many Indian curry recipes.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy protein source, edamame packs a punch with 18 grams per serving. In addition to plant protein, these soybeans are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron.
Whether you prefer your edamame steamed, roasted, or blended in a dip with pita bread, this vegetable is delicious in any recipe. If you’re looking to branch out, try using edamame in a Thai noodle salad or black bean and corn salsa for even more protein.
Whether creamed or on the cob, sweet corn provides a delicious veggie protein boost. While corn does clock a higher calorie count, 4.6 grams of protein per serving alongside its high fiber and antioxidant content make the calories well worth it.
Sweet corn is a delicious ingredient in salsa, salad, pizza, and numerous other dishes. There’s no shortage of recipe ideas to utilize this protein-packed veggie. When sweet corn is in season, you can’t beat fresh grilled corn on the cob — but throughout the rest of the year, you can steam up a bag of frozen corn to satisfy your craving.
Adding to the list of great vegan and low-carb substitution veggies, cauliflower is fantastic in any recipe and you won’t even miss the original. Protein accounts for 31% of cauliflower’s nutrients and it’s also a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium.
This versatile veggie is an easy addition or healthy substitution in almost any recipe. Cauliflower can be riced, mashed, roasted, steamed, or fried. No matter how you decide to eat it, this high protein option will leave you feeling happy and healthy.
Packing 4 grams of protein per avocado, this delicious source of healthy fat provides an easy way to get your plant-based protein. In addition to that, avocados offer a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium.
There’s a reason avocados have become so popular over the last decade. Whether you mash it in guacamole or spread it on toast, avocado is a delicious and satisfying protein source. If you’re looking for a new avocado recipe, try vegan avocado pudding or basil avocado pesto.
Contact a Nutrition Expert
These high protein vegetables provide vegans and non-vegans nutritious, filling meals to sustain energy and focus throughout the day. Adopting a vegan or plant-based diet can be difficult, but there are tools you can utilize to make it easier. If you’re interested in furthering your nutrition and health, inquire about genetic nutritional testing with Dr. Karen Threlkel.