If you’re new to a plant-based diet, you might be wondering what you’ll eat. Obviously, fruits and vegetables are vegan, but what about that all-important protein? Meat eaters often ask vegans, “Are you sure you’re getting enough protein?” The truth is that there are plenty of protein sources in vegan cooking—and it’s not all tofu!
Soybeans and Legumes
Let’s just get tofu out of the way first, shall we? Soybeans rival meat as a protein source and are often a go-to for vegans. From edamame to tofu and tempeh, as well as soy-based milk, yogurt, and cheese, these delicious options are plentiful in the vegan diet.
Soybeans are a member of the legume family, all of which offer good options to up your protein intake. Other legumes include peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas, and peanuts. Soybeans, in particular as powerhouses because they are complete proteins.
Eating beans and other legumes as a protein source in your vegan diet is a great way to pack in nutrition, but they are even better when paired with nuts, brown rice, and other whole grains. Doing so will provide you with a powerful and filling protein-packed meal.
Another great complete protein source is quinoa. This ancient grain is gluten-free and provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per one-cup serving. Great on its own, quinoa can also be paired with a variety of other foods for a delicious meal. Marry it with beans, make a stir fry, mix it into a great salad, or even use it as a cereal at breakfast! The possibilities are nearly endless.
Did you ever think that your simple hot breakfast cereal was a protein powerhouse? With 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in a half cup of oatmeal, this is a great way to start your day with abundant energy. But oatmeal isn’t relegated to just the breakfast table. There are the cookies, of course, but did you know you can transform oats into a flour? Yep, it only requires a blender to have an alternative (and gluten-free flour) at your disposal. Plus, you’ll find oat milk at your local grocery store as well. The little oat is becoming almost as versatile as the almond and cashew!
Have you tried seitan? Made from vital wheat gluten, as opposed to soy, this meat alternative is used in soups, “meat” dishes, and even as bacon! You can make seitan yourself at home or buy it readymade at the grocery store. And it perfectly mimics meat in a variety of options, including meatballs, and chicken. Who knew there was so much versatility in a grain?
One vegan ingredient you may not have heard of is nutritional yeast. Different from the yeast you’re used to in baking bread, this has more of a cheesy flavor. It’s often mixed in with mashed potatoes or eggs to create cheesiness, so it’s not a standalone as some of the other options are, but it definitely is a yummy addition. Nutritional yeast is another complete protein offering 14 grams of protein per ounce.
Protein Sources in Vegan Cooking Abound
As you can see, vegans have no lack of protein sources in their diets. In fact, with a well-balanced, plant-based diet, you’ll get as much protein as your meat-eating friend. Plus, you’ll probably be a whole lot healthier!
At Vegan Taste, all of our pre-cooked meals include the nutrients your body needs to power itself naturally. Whether you’re feeding yourself or your family, you’re an athlete or an average Joe, a plant-forward lifestyle offers everything your body and tastebuds would ever want.
Check out this week’s menu to see more. We think you’ll be excited about what’s cooking!