With the rise of people interested in following a vegetarian or vegan diet, plant-based protein options are becoming extremely popular.
These days, you can find everything from plant-based protein powders to meatless burgers on the shelves of your local grocery store. While these may be convenient ways to increase your protein intake while reducing your intake of animal products, there are plenty of other options you can find on the shelves to satisfy your protein requirement while following a plant-based diet.
Tofu is a widely well-known protein option made from soybeans. It’s extremely versatile, as it takes on the flavor of the dish it’s prepared in. It’s great as a meat substitute in soup or a sandwich.
Lentils are a great source of protein to add to any lunch or dinner. They can be used in soups, sprinkled on salads, mixed in with rice, or seasoned and enjoyed on their own. Cooked lentils contain 9 grams of protein per ½ cup.
Chickpeas are another plant-based protein option, containing over 2 grams of protein per tablespoon. They can be eaten hot or cold, and can be added to stews and curries, roasted or as an ingredient in salads. Hummus, which is made from chickpeas, can be enjoyed on crackers or as a vegetable dip.
Peanuts and almonds are protein-rich and full of healthy fats. They contain upwards of 6 grams of protein per ounce. Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 grams per tablespoon.
Quinoa is a high-protein grain, with 8 grams of protein per cup. This grain is also rich in other nutrients, such as fiber, iron and magnesium. It can be used in place of rice, sprinkled on salads, used in soups and stews, or seasoned and eaten on its own.
Chia and hemp seeds contain 2-5 grams of protein per tablespoon. Both can be added to smoothies, sprinkled in yogurt, or soaked in water or almond milk to make a pudding.
Even those not following a plant-based diet can benefit from adding in more of these protein-rich plant foods in their diet. Below I have included a recipe for Roasted Chickpea-Stuffed Pitas, which make a delicious lunch option.