Recently, I have been moving towards a more plant based diet. This is not because I have anything against traditional animal protein, but it has been easier to incorporate plant based proteins into my diet. I love cooking with plant based proteins and I enjoy the flavors as well. Of course my other favorite proteins are eggs, seafood, and chicken in that order. I’m not a huge fan of red meat other than the occasional burger, but every protein has it’s place in our diet.
8 Plant Based Proteins
- Lentils – These are legumes that are a balanced source of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. One cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein and almost 16 grams of fiber. They are considered a complex carbohydrate as well. Lentils are great as a side dish, in soups and stews, with rice, and on salads. Try my favorite lentil recipe here!
- Beans – These are also legumes that have a similar nutrition profile to lentils. There are a large variety of beans including black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, and garbanzo beans. One cup of beans has about 15 grams of protein. Beans can be used in a similar way to lentils. Check out my favorite bean salad here.
- Quinoa – This is a gluten free grain (actually a seed) that is used in a similar way to rice. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. I love using this as my grain for any meal or making it the main ingredient. Try this main dish quinoa bowl recipe.
- Hemp seeds – These are amazing little seeds since they are complete proteins! Meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contains 9 grams of protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. I like sprinkling these on top of salads or in smoothies and oatmeal.
- Chia seeds – These are a great little seed that do a great job of filling you up! They absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance perfect for making “pudding.” Two tablespoons have about 4 grams of protein. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. I like mixing them into yogurt and smoothies. Try one of my favorite pudding recipes here.
- Nuts – Not surprising, but almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc. are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Typically, a 1/4 cup of nuts contains between 7-9 grams of protein. The best and easiest way to enjoy nuts is as a snack! You can always add them into a granola, eat nut butter, or grind them into a flour. Check out my favorite on-the-go snack here.
- Seeds – Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. are similar to nuts. They contain about 7-9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. Seeds have a more earthy taste than nuts, but are also simple to use. Sprinkle them on salads, use them in granola, or eat them as a snack. Try pumpkin seeds for a different snack here.
- Tofu – Or edamame. Soy foods contain about 20 grams of protein per serving. That’s a lot! These products can be marinated, baked, grilled, fried, turned into a sauce or burger. Try a few different recipes before you give up on tofu/tempeh. I love using edamame as a side dish or snack. I buy the frozen pods or shelled version.