Just because you don’t eat meat, doesn’t mean you can’t get protein! Chicken, fish, pork, and beef aren’t the only ways to get your protein count. There are tons of vegetarian protein sources that you can turn to instead. Read our list of vegetarian protein options to find healthier, cruelty-free options that work for you.

    SPREAD THE FOOD KNOWLEDGE, SHARE THIS POST!

    Let's be friends! Follow us on Pinterest: Munch Munch Yum

    meatless protein sources vegetarians and vegans need to know atop legumes and tofu

    This post may contain affiliate links. See disclosure for more details.

    Sources of vegetarian protein

    Meat eaters aren’t even close to having a monopoly on protein! In fact, as you might know from our ultimate vegetarian guide we vegetarians are probably better off with our protein sources because ours don’t come with the cholesterol and fat that is present most meat products. Let’s check out the many options we have instead of meat, with protein counts provided by Very Well Fit Nutrition Analyzer.

    Want these in a convenient list? Sign up for our mailing list by entering your details below to receive a free printable for easy reference, along with other printables, like our popular meal planning template and vegetarian grocery list to simplify your vegetarian meals.

    Legumes

    You actually get a two-for-one nutritional deal with legumes because they are high in both protein AND dietary fiber. What you don’t get are fat and cholesterol, which come included with many meats. As if that isn’t enough, legumes are both cheap and versatile, making them nutritional all-stars for team veggie!

    We have a list of some of the most protein-packed legumes below, based on cooked legumes (when they’re uncooked, their protein count differs because the number of beans in a cup changes).

    Pro tip: Dried beans are the cheapest but require a lot more soaking and prep time so if you want something more convenient, canned beans are perfectly ok.

    overhead of jars of legumes like lentils and beans - vegetarian protein source

    Grains

    Grains are another excellent way to satisfy your protein needs. There are a wide variety to choose from, all of which are super versatile, super healthy, and super protein-packed! Check out the protein counts for these options, per raw cup of grain:

    As you may have seen us mention on some of our other posts, a fun way to experiment to find which grains you like best are to hit up the bulk bins are your local Whole Foods or Trader Joes. You can grab just a single serving of each grain you want to try and see how you like it before buying a multi-pound bag.

    vegetarian pantry grains - wild rice, brown rice, quinoa

    Dairy 

    Vegetarians can also turn to dairy products to get some of their protein intake. Just be careful that you double check the ingredients as some versions of these items (mainly the cheeses) contain either gelatin or are made with rennet. Both of those are animal-derived, so you want to look for brands that are gelatin-free or specifically labeled as using vegetable rennet.

    triangular block of cheese atop bread vegetarian protein sources

    Nuts & Seeds

    These guys may be little, but they pack a super powerful protein punch. Pound for pound, nuts and seeds are one of the best ways to add protein to your diet. The nice thing about them is that they’re super easy to incorporate into your diet. You can munch on them as a snack, or sprinkle them onto various dishes to add that extra pop of protein.

    mix of vegetarian protein sources nuts and seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and more

    Other sources

    Besides the protein sources we mentioned above, there are a few other vegetarian ingredients that can give you the protein you are looking for. Seitan, TVP, and tofu are all made from soybeans, which are one of the most protein-rich vegetarian ingredients out there. Protein powder allows you to create meal replacements that still pack protein, while eggs are a super kid-friendly option that can be prepared in tons of different ways.

    basket of eggs - vegetarian protein source

    Although meats often hog the protein-spotlight, there are plenty of vegetarian ingredients that can easily fulfill your protein needs within a plant-based diet. We found a whole slew of vegetarian protein options that make it easy to ditch the meat, without losing out on protein. Check out our extensive list of vegetarian protein sources, which will give you plenty of food for thought…and protein of course!

    SPREAD THE FOOD KNOWLEDGE, SHARE THIS POST!

    LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? FOLLOW US ON PINTEREST!

    MORE TO MUNCH ON:

    MunchMunchYum free food printables library

    Get your FREE Meal Planning Template, Pantry List, and other printables to make your vegetarian journey a breeze!

    Join our mailing list and have these freebies sent right to your inbox now!