Which Vegan Food Has Complete Protein

Vegan Foods That Are Complete Protein Powerhouses!

As a vegan, you’ve probably heard the question, “But where do you get your protein?” more times than you can count. It’s a valid concern, but did you know that plant-based foods can be excellent sources of protein, too? In this blog, we’ll explore the world of vegan protein, answering the burning question: which vegan food has complete protein? So, if you’re tired of hearing the same old protein questions, stick around and discover some delicious and nutritious plant-based options that you can make a part of your vegan meal plan to satisfy your protein needs.

1. Legumes

Legumes are a go-to for vegans looking to increase their protein intake, offering a budget-friendly base for many plant-based dishes. This category includes beans and lentils, both of which are rich in plant protein. Various lentil varieties can provide protein per cup up of upto 18 grams, while beans normally range from 10 to 18 gms per cup, depending on the type. Use lentils as a filling for tacos, in chili, or as a base for curries. Beans are incredibly versatile; some popular uses include blending them into hummus, shaping them into fritters, or using them as baked potato toppings. Here’s a summary of protein content in lentils and beans, according to the USDA. All measurements are for cooked legumes:

  • Lentils: 18 grams per 1 cup
  • Chickpeas: 14.5 grams per 1 cup
  • Black beans: 15 grams per 1 cup

2. Soy

Soy is a staple in the vegan diet, commonly associated with processed products like veggie burgers and meatless loaves. However, soy also forms a vital part of a healthful plant-based diet through more natural forms such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy milk. These options are excellent for boosting your protein intake. Consider preparing a tempeh or tofu stir-fry, enjoying steamed edamame as a snack, or using soy milk to enrich your breakfast cereal.

A 2016 review published in Nutrients suggests that the health benefits of soy are optimal when consuming 2-4 servings of soy foods daily. According to the USDA, here are the protein contents of various soy products:

  • Tempeh: 17 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.
  • Shelled Edamame: 9 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.
  • Tofu: 9 gms of protein per 3 ounces.
  • Soy Milk: 7 grams of protein per 1 cup.

3. Nuts

No plant-based pantry is complete without a variety of nuts, which are easy to snack on or incorporate into recipes. The American Heart Association advises consuming 2 tbsp of nut butter or 1.5 ounces of nuts several times a week. Despite their small serving sizes, nuts provide a significant amount of protein. You can pack pre-portioned baggies of almonds for convenient snacks, incorporate peanut butter into sauces, or add a sprinkling of walnuts to salads. Here’s a breakdown of nuts and nut butter, along with their protein content per the USDA:

  • Almonds: 9 grams per 1.5 ounces
  • Walnuts: 6.6 grams per 1.5 ounces
  • Cashews: 8 grams per 1.5 ounces
  • Peanut butter: 8 grams per 2 tablespoon

4. Seitan

Seitan is a popular choice in plant-based diets, known for its meat-like texture and hearty chewiness. It’s made from vital wheat gluten, which is the primary protein found in wheat. This gives seitan its distinctive texture that excellently simulates meat in various dishes. However, it’s important to note that seitan is not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet due to its wheat gluten content.

According to the USDA, a 3-ounce serving of seitan delivers 20 grams of protein. You can either make seitan at home by using vital wheat gluten or purchase it pre-cooked. Look for seitan in the refrigerated section alongside tofu at your local departmental store or any health food store.

5. Whole Grains

Whole grains are often recognized primarily as sources of carbohydrates, but they can also be a valuable source of protein in your diet. Besides protein, whole grains provide essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals. To incorporate more whole grains into your meals, consider give your day a start with a warm bowl of oatmeal, enjoying a quinoa salad for lunch, or serving wild rice-stuffed peppers for dinner. Below is a list of some whole grains along with their protein content per cup of cooked grain, according to the USDA:

  • Quinoa: 8 grams of protein
  • Wild Rice: 6.5 grams of protein
  • Oats: 6 grams of protein
  • Buckwheat: 5.5 grams of protein

6. Green Veggies

Often underestimated for their protein content, green vegetables have more to offer than just essential vitamins and minerals. Spinach, Brussels sprouts, and green peas are excellent protein sources, balancing your plate with nutrition. Additionally, these greens are rich in antioxidants and fiber and low in calories. Add cooked spinach to pasta, incorporating green peas into a curry, or roasting Brussels sprouts for a crispy side dish.

Here’s a breakdown of protein content in selected green vegetables, based on USDA data. All measurements are for cooked vegetables.

  • Spinach: 5 grams of protein per cup
  • Green peas: 4 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
  • Brussels sprouts: 2 gms of protein per 1/2 cup

7. Potatoes

Potatoes are often overlooked as a health food due to their association with less healthy forms like french fries and loaded potato skins. However, they are a nutritious addition to your diet. According to the USDA, a large russet potato with the skin contains about 8 gms of protein, along with more potassium than a banana and a good amount of fiber. While other varieties, like red or sweet potatoes, contain less protein (7 grams and 2.5 grams), they still contribute to your daily intake. Try potatoes in various forms, such as mashed, roasted, baked, or scalloped. Here’s a summary of protein content in different types of potatoes based on USDA data:

  • Russet potato: 8 grams per large potato
  • Red potato: 7 grams per large potato
  • Sweet potato: 2.5 grams per medium potato

8. Seeds

Seeds are not just for birds. Whether it’s sesame seeds ground into tahini, flax seeds baked into bread or sprinkled on oatmeal. Seeds can be a valuable source of protein and fiber in a vegan diet. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are also considered good sources of plant-based omega-3 fats. Seeds are an excellent protein option for individuals with nut allergies. You can try spreading sunflower seed butter on toast, blending tahini into a salad dressing, or you can make a chia seed pudding.

Here are some seeds and seed butter, along with their protein content per the USDA:

  • Pumpkin seeds: 8.5 grams per 1 ounce
  • Hemp seeds: 9.5 grams per 3 tablespoons
  • Tahini: 5 grams per 2 tablespoons


To concluse it all, a vegan diet can provide suffeciently enough protein through a variety of plant-based foods. Thus, to answer the main question, “Which vegan food has complete protein?” we can’t put our finger on any one food item; rather, we believe it’s the combination of multiple nutrient-packed foods that give you the best result. From soy products like tofu and tempeh to nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains, plenty of delicious and nutritious options meet your protein needs. Incorporating these foods into your vegan meal plan not only helps you stay healthy but also supports sustainable and cruelty-free food choices. So, next time someone asks where you get your protein, you can confidently share the diverse and protein-rich world of vegan foods.

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