If you have ever considered going vegan or vegetarian, you do not doubt that you will hear the same question repeatedly: ‘How are you going to get enough protein?’ Animal-origin products are usually high in protein, but that doesn’t mean vegetables aren’t equal or highest in protein. Some of the best vegetables are high in protein and equally or more delicious if you cook them well.
Protein is essential to everyone’s diet, especially for athletes and those trying to lose weight. It is important to build and maintain muscle mass, keep you feeling full between meals, and ensure that all body cells function properly. Although we often associate this nutrient with foods like dairy and meat, vegetables are also a wonderful source of plant-based protein as long as they are eaten with intent.
Experts say getting all the protein you need from a plant-based or vegan diet is possible. But you do have to do some planning to make sure you get the essential amino acids and vitamins and minerals, especially the B vitamins and iron.
Also, they say that to get the most out of a plant-based diet, you should eat various grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and vegetables daily. Choose whole, unrefined foods, such as soybeans or tofu, to increase your protein intake.
Experts point out that there’s no exact definition of a high-protein vegetable, but some varieties stand out. Under current US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, adults should take at least 50 grams of protein in a 2,000-calorie diet, with about 15 to 20 grams per meal daily. Some research even suggests increasing that amount to 30 grams per meal, especially at breakfast, to control hunger throughout the day better.
And if you need more proof that vegetables can provide you with all the protein you need to thrive, ask athletes who turned vegan and are still at the best of their game. Please don’t be afraid to start eating more plant-based protein; your body will probably thank you too.
Here are some of the best vegetables with high protein to add to your diet, whether you plan to stay plant-based or not.
Best Vegetables High In Protein
All mushrooms, from shiitake to oyster mushrooms, have a fair amount of protein. 4 grams per 1 cup of mushrooms has its protein when cooked. But the white mushrooms are the ones that contain the most, and they happen to be one of the most ubiquitous. Include them at just about any dinner for a boost of umami and protein.
Like potatoes, corn is often thrown into the no-redeeming plant category, but with loads of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and magnesium (not to mention protein), it’s worth adding to your next meal—food, both fresh and frozen. If you still eat meat, serve it with chicken; if not, then try it in coconut soup.
Asparagus is packed with protein, which means it’s a secret weapon in any vegetarian’s fridge. 4.25 grams per 1 cup of asparagus has its protein when cooked. Whether mixed with spaghetti and prawns or pickled with garlic, they are the cornerstone of countless plant-based dishes. In addition, they are rich in folate and vitamins K, A, and C.
Broccoli is not only an impressive source of fiber, but it’s also an amazing way to hit your daily protein goal. 5 grams per cup of broccoli has its protein when cooked. We love it in a stir-fry, but you can always steam, bake, or puree this vegetable with just about anything. Plus, you can’t slip up with a vegetable that is linked to cancer-preventing properties.
5. Snow Peas
White snap peas are high in protein, both raw and cooked, making them an excellent addition to meals that need a fresh, vegetal twist, such as pesto tortellini and ricotta toast. With every serving, you’ll also get a big dose of fiber and vitamin C, which is impressive for such a satisfying snack.
Artichokes should not be relegated to sauces. Although to be apparent, they are very good in sauces. Packed with high amounts of folate and vitamins C and K, this low-calorie, nutrient-packed vegetables are wonderful in skillet dinners, on grilled sides, and even on top of pizzas since they’ve been hidden from view. We have witnessed it all this time.
7. Sweet Potato
Not to be topped by their slightly more protein-laden cousins, sweet potatoes remain a great source of this nutrient, working with just about any meal, from breakfast smoothies to gut-friendly dinners. These vegetables are also rich in beta-carotene, which supports healthy eyesight, skin, and the immune system.
8. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have always gotten an unfairly bad rap, but they can be delicious and nutritious superstars—at least if you know how to cook them. In addition to protein, Brussels sprouts contain large potassium and vitamin K doses.
Expert says that in addition to being really good for you, spinach offers extraordinary nutritional value and numerous health benefits. This leafy green contains benefits like calcium, folic acid, fiber, iron, and vitamins K and C. Best of all. Adding pasta, salads, smoothies, and bowls is easy.
10. Wild Rice
Rice is not a vegetable, but wild rice is since it comes from certain grass species. This nutrient-dense vegetable is cooked in the same way as real rice, so we can use it in specific wild rice recipes as well as any recipes that include the grain, which means it’s more than easy to top the protein in any rice-based dish.
11. Red Potato
Experts note that red potatoes are packed with protein, but what makes them special is their high dietary fiber levels and vitamin B6, which supports protein metabolism. We can bake, mash, or roast with other vegetables, and red potatoes are that rare combination of crowd-pleasers and health.
Yes, peanuts are legumes, which means they’re technically a vegetable. A 1-ounce serving packs nearly 8 grams of protein, making it and peanut butter a perfect pre- or post-gym snack. Beans are also easy to integrate into unexpected recipes, from protein-packed pancakes to tacos.
13. Bean Sprouts
On top of Korean bibimbap or a stir-fry, bean sprouts add crunch and a hefty protein to plant-based dishes. Vegetables also offer fiber, ensuring you won’t feel hungry between meals or after dinner. And if you are tired of beans, sprouts let you make things up without sacrificing protein.
Peas are often overlooked as ordinary, but snap peas are always available in the frozen vegetable section. We always like peas for their versatility, whether served as a side dish, mixed with grains like rice, pureed with broccoli, or mixed into a soup. Green peas are also rich in vitamins A, K, and C.
Speaking of the healthiest snack, a single cup of edamame (cooked soybeans) packs an impressive amount of protein. Simply delicious to consume as a snack or toss into soups or stir-fries. There are also countless options, such as mashing the beans to make a sauce.