Meatless Monday: What’s Your Favorite Plant-Based Protein?

Anyone who’s even dabbled in vegetarianism has undoubtedly been faced with questions of protein: Where do you get it? Are you getting enough? Will you survive to see another day???

And despite the extensive research found in books like the China Study and elsewhere, showing animal protein to not only be unnecessary but potentially harmful—and the fact that there are body builders and Olympic athletes out there thriving on vegan diets—protein remains a tired point of discussion.

I was reminded of these conversations the other day when I came across this article on Mind Body Green. It’s author Mara Tyler, who’s vegan, sites the many ways a vegan can get their protein punch… In fact, if you’re eating healthfully as a vegan, nearly everything you eat contains some amount of protein.

I’m embarrassed to admit that even I’d forgotten just how many non-animal sources there are. Tyler’s list includes veggies—and it’s true, spinach, kale, and others deliver a serious serving of the big P—soy milk, hemp, nut butters, quinoa, tofu, sprouted grains, lentils, tempeh and beans.

Of course soy is controversial, but based on this list it’s not even necessary.

So where do you get your plant-based protein? Also, does anyone have opinions on seitan? I know it contains gluten, and it does feel overly processed, but holy protein—and nothing is more delicious in a Thai curry!

Can we also take a moment to remember the long-held belief that if you didn’t properly combine your non-animal proteins, they didn’t count. That was what I was taught as a vegetarian teen. Thank you science for setting us straight.

20 Responses to “Meatless Monday: What’s Your Favorite Plant-Based Protein?”
  1. Mary says:

    I’m lucky to have three chickens in the backyard – so for breakfast protein, fresh eggs. For lunch & dinner, tofu with green veggies, or a PB&J, or some beans.

  2. Pepper says:

    I really love tempeh…I make it into “chicken salad”, and I have a recipe for buffalo tempeh that is off the charts. I also really love making stuff with lentils (try Snobby Joes and Quarter Pound Beet Burgers from Post Punk Kitchen!) I really love making wilted salads with lacinato kale too. Ooh! And black beans and chick peas! (I think I need to eat something…I’m getting excited about every food that pops into my head!)

  3. Silvy says:

    I love quinoa. (Currently having the easiest and most delicious soup! Quinoa, leek, veggie stock, sage, and salt and pepper!)

  4. amy says:

    I eat a lot of beans, tempeh, and grains, and even some veggies like sweet potatoes have a few grams of protein in them. There are always protein powders to throw into smoothies, but I haven’t had any luck finding a good vegan one… any thoughts?

    I feel weird about the gluten/seitan thing, but I occasionally set my feelings aside for this sausage:, and sometimes I’ll add more beans and less gluten to make myself feel better about it.

  5. reese says:

    Quinoa, broccoli, kale, spinach… Since, due to my severe cold sores, I cannot eat nuts or seeds- and even some grains, such as oats, can worsen the virus. (which, btw, is horrible, as my body and soul crave nuts and seeds and oats constantly… Idk what to do)

  6. reese says:

    Oh and of course… LOTS and TONS OF BEANS!!! <3

  7. Rebecca says:

    Almond milk, chia seeds, other nuts/seeds, kale, and if I feel I need a big blast of protein, tempeh.

  8. a says:

    A good vegan protein powder is Vega. It’s free of gluten, dairy, and soy, and perhaps free of other allergens, too. It tastes really good, too, though it’s kinda spendy.

  9. Lola says:

    just a reminder to all that EVERY single plant food contains protein. The question is how much, and do you eat a variety of them.

    Most of us get WAY too much protein, especially animal based, which actually isn’t absorbed as well anyway.

  10. danielle says:

    I have been using Sun Warrier Raw Vegan protein powder. It is raw sprouted whole grain brown rice protein powder. I find it very easy to digest and blends beautifully in smoothies. That is one of my daily sources of protein. The others would be lentils, hemp seeds and beans. I avoid soy-I feel bloated from it and think it makes my skin break out. I occasionally use alittle almond milk but I have been lactose intolerant my entire life and don’t miss dairy. I am mostly a vegan but occasionally have eggs or salmon.

  11. Emma B says:

    I love all beans (legumes), especially lentils and black beans. And I also love quinoa, green veggies, seeds and nut butters. I keep a bag of soy beans (edamame) in the freezer; they’re good as a snack with a bit of salt or thrown into stir fries or casseroles. I always find it funny when people ask about my protein or iron intake as a vegetarian… no problem here!

    Vega does good powder supplements for vegans. The Vega One contains a lot of great stuff, including digestive enzymes, which I think have actually been helping my rosacea! I’m about to buy a big tub and to start using it in shakes regularly…

  12. lily says:

    Rice and Black Beans! I also eat a lot of almonds. The only soy things I like are Soy Chorizo, Miso Soup and Edamame.

  13. X says:

    Definitely soy. I hate beans, and I don’t trust those protein powder things. I prefer to eat things that I can actually cook with.

    I can also tolerate a curry made with lentils and coconut cream (a rare treat due to the gross amount of saturated fats it contains).

  14. Emma says:


    And sesame butter mixed with honey for breakfast every morning, spread on rice and corn bread!

  15. LO says:

    Garbanzos! Good in curries, good in casseroles, good whirled up into hummus, mmmmmmm. I’m a big fan of brown rice + lentils too. Anything that takes to being spiced is a win in my book. I limit soy due to its estrogen content (and don’t enjoy tofu anyway), though steamed edemame is pretty delicious, and I can’t deny my love of Trader Joe’s chocolate soy milk.

  16. Julie says:

    Beans! Spinach, tempeh, hemp seeds, any nuts, lentils… Been eating the HECK out of my greens lately and feeling great!

  17. Dawn says:

    Beans, beans, beans! I cannot get enough of those little guys.

  18. Inda says:

    From the European front: hemp seeds, turned into milk (Cannabis Sativa, mind you!). It has all the essential amino-acids and it’s so easy to use. And it tastes green!
    And of course, all the above.

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