5 Sources for Meat-Free Protein

Wanting to incorporate more meatless meals into your diet, but you’re worried about not getting enough protein? Here are some plant-based protein sources and a few ways to prepare each one!

We’ve talked before about meat’s environmental “foodprint.” While I know that a vegan diet isn’t for everyone, incorporating just one or two more meatless meals each week can have a huge impact. One big concern from a lot of meat-eaters is that plant-based meals are too light on the protein.

It’s true that plant-based foods often have less protein than meat, but most people eat far more protein than they need to. The Recommended Daily Value for protein is only around 45-55 grams, depending on your size and age, and most Americans eat far more than that. With just a teensy bit of protein know-how, it’s easy as pie to get plenty of protein with a meatless meal.

Next>> Beans

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Skånska Matupplevelser

black bean cakes

1. Beans

The musical fruit! The more you eat the more…protein you will have in your diet. A serving of cooked beans has 7-10 grams of protein per half cup, so a bowl of bean soup or chili packs quite the protein punch! If you’re worried about beans’ more…er…“musical” qualities, rinsing the beans before cooking can make a big difference. You might also want to add beans to your diet slowly, if you don’t get a lot of fiber right now.

Ready to cook up some beany deliciousness? Try these tasty recipes!

Next>> Nuts and Seeds

Image Credit: Photo by Becky Striepe

cashews

2. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a bit high in the fat and calorie department, but they’re also an excellent protein source and full of vitamins and minerals. I like adding nuts to casseroles, sandwiches, and rice dishes for a bit of protein and crunch. You can also add flax or chia seeds to your smoothies for a little protein on the go.

Here are a few more recipes to get more nuts into your diet:

Next>> Whole Grains

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by FotoosVanRobin

quinoa salad

3. Whole Grains

Not only are whole grains full of healthy fiber, they’re packed with protein, too! Combine some whole grains with nuts or beans, and you’ve got a protein-heavy dish every time. Whole grains are an inexpensive, versatile protein source. Here are some recipes to get you going.

Next>> Tofu

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Ron Dollete

tofu

4. Tofu

Soy is a little bit controversial, and I like to think of it as a sometimes food. Tofu is high in protein, and it’s easy to cook. It takes on the flavor of whatever you use to marinate it, which means you can use tofu in all sorts of dishes, from more traditional stir fries to unexpected places like desserts.

Next>> Seitan

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Helga’s Lobster Stew

seitan stew

5. Seitan

Seitan is probably the most obscure protein source on this list. Made from vital wheat gluten, you can even make seitan at home in your kitchen! The results are a chewy, tasty protein source that you can use in place of meat in many dishes, depending on how you season it. Many health food stores will sell seitan pre-made in a couple of different styles, as well. Not sure how to cook your seitan? Here are a few ideas:

Of course, these are just a few of the protein heavy-hitters in the veggie world. Many other plant-based foods contain protein. In fact, lots of veggies have a bit of protein in them! If you’re eating a varied diet, chances are you don’t need to worry about getting enough protein, but if meatless meals are new to you, these protein bombs can help you eat less meat without feeling protein-deprived.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by tibbygirl

Related:
5 Reasons to Eat Less Meat
10 Protein-Packed Plants
10 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes

118 comments

Fi T.
Fi T.3 days ago

There's always an alternative available

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogersabout a month ago

Good info. TYFS

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen4 months ago

Thank you

Caroline d.
CarolineIssues d.9 months ago

Thank you for sharing this very interesting article !
Be all blessed as all your loved ones.
Animals always included, of course !

Caroline d.
CarolineIssues d.9 months ago

Thank you for sharing this very interesting article !
Be all blessed as all your loved ones.
Animals always included, of course !

Caroline d.
CarolineIssues d.9 months ago

Thank you for sharing this very interesting article !
Be all blessed as all your loved ones.
Animals always included, of course !

Caroline d.
CarolineIssues d.9 months ago

Thank you for sharing this very interesting article !
Be all blessed as all your loved ones.
Animals always included, of course !

Erin H.
Erin H.1 years ago

Interesting article, thank you!

Janelle Kennedy
Janelle Kennedy1 years ago

I love these helpful articles.
I like to buy soy chorizo to replace pork or beef chorizo from my local grocery store

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper2 years ago

Ty