But where will I get my protein from?! It is one of the biggest myths that vegans don’t get enough protein. Even if you are already vegan, looking to eat more vegan food, or totally new to the diet, it’s really important to know the best sources of vegan protein. We’ve put together a quick reference guide on the best sources of vegan protein, as well as delicious high protein vegan recipes and meals which are quick, easy and delicious!
If you're looking for more guidance on making plant based eating easy, without the confusion and hours in the kitchen, you can have a copy of our FREE guide of Top Tips and Tricks for making plant based easy - get it here!!
We have been trained to think the only foods that have lots of protein are meat, fish, eggs and dairy. Plants are packed with vegan protein; some more than others. We'll show you the ones you can make high vegan protein meals from.
The quick reference guide below will help you identify the highest vegan protein sources, and some great vegan protein recipes and meals to build into your diet. You don’t have to eat them all at once! All you need to do is ensure you eat a variety of foods and experiment with what you like best.
An absolute vegan staple. Available in many forms and very versatile in cooking. They are also low in fat and high in fibre. The best known are chickpeas and lentils, but there are other fantastic ones like aduki beans, butter beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, and more (all naturally gluten-free). These are some of our favourite high vegan protein recipes using beans, lentils and legumes.
You can buy beans, lentils and legumes in tins or dried from pretty much anywhere. It’s more cost-effective to buy them dried and cook them yourself. We love buying our beans and lentils from Wholefoods Online, like these chickpeas in bulk (affiliate link).
Tofu (made from soya, and naturally gluten free) is something you’re probably more familiar with from Asian cooking. However, it is super versatile for all cuisines, and packed with protein! Brilliant as a meat substitute, as well as for replacing eggs. Scrambled tofu generally uses silken tofu (which is also great for baked vegan cheesecake!) - I buy Clearspring Organic Silken Tofu (affiliate link). Check out these high vegan protein recipes!
All vegetables have protein, but to varying degrees. Getting a variety of vegetables is absolutely key for health (it's not all about protein!), but if you are looking for extra vegan protein recipes that are high in fibre and use lots of vegetables, then mushrooms and peas are great. Asparagus, spinach and broccoli also come high on the list. Here are some of my favourite high protein vegan meals with high protein vegetables.
Grains are brilliant as they are complex carbohydrates and a great source of energy. There are so many more grains than just rice, and many that are high in protein such as oats and wild rice (affiliate link). Then we have pseudograins - these are grain-like but are actually technically seeds. They can substitute any grains, so we've put them in this category. They are naturally gluten-free, and include things quinoa (affiliate link), millet, buckwheat (affiliate link) and teff. Here are some high vegan protein grain meals, including a yummy breakfast I eat most days!
Seeds are high in energy, nutrients, protein and good fats, so they are very filling, and naturally gluten free. For your roast dinner, a nut or seed roast will give you that high protein centre-piece. We have some incredible high vegan protein recipes you can make with seeds. Of course, you can also use seeds on salad or breakfast, and they make great high energy snacks!
An odd acronym I know! TVP is just dehydrated soya. TVP is great as a vegan meat substitute, and has the same texture as meat. So you'll often find this ingredient in high vegan protein recipes. It is easy to use in cooking and takes up flavour really well. It is also has a long shelf life and is gluten free. Yay!
Similar to seeds; they are high in good fats and protein, and naturally gluten free. You are likely familiar with the many kinds of nuts from almonds, brazils and pecans, to cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts. These can be used in cooking, on breakfasts or as snacks on their own. So many high vegan protein meals can be made with nuts!
Peanuts are also very popular and a go-to of mine in the form of peanut butter (strictly speaking peanuts are a legume, but they act in many ways like a nut). The bulk of my nut butter is Biona's Organic Peanut Butter (affiliate link) which you can buy in massive tubs! It's delicious, and I use it for breakfast, snacks and cooking. You can see our other favourite nut butter brands, including cool flavours like Cashew Caramel and Cheezy Savoury versions! I love these high vegan protein recipes below, including sweet and savoury.
Vegan and plant-based cheeses are often made with nuts, making them high in protein (they are also very high in fat, so have them in moderation). Supermarkets now stock Nush, which is nut based and full of good bacteria for your gut. There are some fantastic artisan vegan cheeses we reviewed which we think you'll love.
Seitan is basically the gluten protein from wheat - so it is virtually pure protein. It is an amazing ingredient to cook with and tastes so much like meat. The raw ingredient comes in the form of flour, called Vital Wheat Gluten (affiliate link). This ingredient is perfect for high vegan protein recipes.
🥩 Commercial Meats
These are great for when you need something quick, and can't be bothered to do too much cooking. Some of the best-known brands are Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger. However, so many more have popped up; we love THIS Isn't Bacon and the rest of their range, which we used with our Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes below, and Plant Kitchen Chorizo Sauages which we make a mean pasta dish with, also below. There are also some amazing long-standing brands like Linda McCartney and Quorn (double check the labels as not every single product they do is vegan). Here are some of our high protein vegan recipes using commerical products.
You may want to buy protein powders for your smoothies. I personally prefer pure and unsweetened products, so I use Organic Hemp Protein (affiliate link) each day in my vegetable smoothie. This vegan product is more cost-effective than other mixed and sports branded protein powders. Another one I’ve tried in the past and really like is Vega Protein (affiliate link). This one genuinely tasted really good and I used it for several years.
Lots of recipe choices here to get those high vegan protein meals in to your diet! They will keep your diet healthy, varied and fun. If you love making meaty vegan dishes, you'll love these 25 of the Best Meaty Meat-Free Recipes. Experiment, see what you like best, and we'd love to know what you’ve tried and enjoyed!