Are you looking for some of the best sources of plant-based protein? But you don’t like beans and that’s all that you can seem to find?
Well I’ve been there before, and I get the struggle. I enjoy beans just as much as the next person. But there is a limit to how much I like them! And I hit that limit after about my fifth pot of meatless chili.
Beans are all well and good here and there. But most of us aren’t going to necessarily be craving them throughout the week.
Beans are heavy and not so friendly on the stomach at times. Which just adds to why you might feel an aversion to them.
But don’t worry because there are so many other options when it comes to finding sources of plant-based protein! Beans are not your only option.
Whether you eat a plant-based diet or not these high protein food options might just come in handy.
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Sources of Plant-Based Protein that Aren’t Beans
Beans are great when it comes to stews and chilis. But there are only so many dishes that can adapt to them.
So, I have compiled a list of protein packed plant derived foods. That will do just the trick and help you to get your protein in.
These are all versatile foods in their own way and when use together you have endless options when it comes to meals.
If you like this article you might also find this article on Why am I Always Hungry on a Plant-Based Diet to be helpful.
Now I can’t recommend tempeh on personal experience as I have never tasted it myself. But I have heard good things.
Tempeh is a traditional food product that originated in Indonesia. It is made with fermented soy beans in a way that binds them together into a slab or cake like food.
It has a nutty taste and is much firmer than tofu. Which makes it a great option for dishes that you don’t want to fall apart. I have often seen tempeh used as a bacon substitute.
Tempeh has a lot of perks going for it. As it is very rich in protein, vitamins as well as prebiotics and it is very nutritionally dense. Which might be just what your diet is missing!
You can use tempeh in many different kinds of dishes. But it is most commonly used in teriyaki dishes, marinated and baked, made into a bacon substitute and used as any form of meat substitute.
Nutritional yeast is one of my personal favorite sources of plant-based protein. Unlike the traditional yeast used to help bread rise. Nutritional yeast has been deactivated and is sold as a food additive.
It often comes in yellow flakes and tastes very much like a very mild cheese. And it can be sprinkled over just about everything. Trust me on this one!
Nutritional yeast is also a rich source of plant-based protein and contains a variety of B vitamins.
It is most often used as a substitute flavor for cheese such as being sprinkled on food in the place of parmesan. And being added to creamy soups, baked potatoes, casseroles and macaroni and cheese.
I can’t recommend this nutritional yeast nearly enough! I have never been disappointed by the quality or the flavor and if you want to try it out then you should definitely buy that brand.
I bet you saw this food coming! The food that we all know and love/hate.
Tofu gets a bad rep and I’ll admit that for a long time I didn’t much care for it myself, but it does deserve a chance at least.
Like tempeh, tofu is made from soy beans though the process is very different. Tofu is made from the curd that you get after the soy beans have been mashed up and boiled.
Tofu has a high amount of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids! It also hosts a variety of much needed vitamins and minerals.
It is most often used in curries, teriyaki dishes and as a meat replacement. I personally still don’t love the texture of tofu, so I only use it in soups and in baking.
Its all about giving different foods a chance and experimenting to see what kind of dish makes them the most appealing.
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Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant. A close relative of the cannabis plant but a different variety. They are also referred to as hemp hearts.
These little seeds pack a nutritional punch as they contain high amounts of essential fatty acids and a good percentage of their calories come from protein.
They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3’s.
Hemp seeds have a very mild nutty flavor and can be added to such a variety of things. You could add them into your granola or muesli or throw in a handful into your morning smoothie.
You can roast them and add them as texture to savory dishes or sprinkle them on top of oatmeal or smoothie bowls. The options are endless!
You will find brands like these hemp seeds to be very affordable for something that is considered to be a health food!
For more information on hemp seeds and their health benefits check out this post on What are Hemp Seeds and Why Their so Healthy.
Chia seeds are the seeds of a plant called salvia hispanica.
They are incredibly high in protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals. They pack an amazingly nutritious punch for a tiny seed.
Chia seeds also have a unique characteristic that when they are added to a liquid they will begin to swell up over the period of several hours. This is because they begin to germinate and create a kind of mucilage around themselves.
This makes they very tasty when made into chia seed puddings and they can be used as thickeners when cooking without eggs.
You can use them much like you would hemp seeds or any other kind of seed. You will soon find that whole chia seeds can be used in just about everything!
Quinoa is another edible seed that comes from a plant that is in the amaranth family.
It is very high in protein and minerals and is often used in the place of rice as it contains more dietary fiber and protein.
You can use quinoa in the place of any other kind of grain when it comes to your meals. You can add it to your teriyaki dishes or as a filling and starchy side dish. I’ve even seen it being made into a kind of rice pudding.
Some of these ingredients do tend to lean more towards the pricy side. But you can check out this article on Eating Healthy on a Budget for inspiration on how to shop within your budget!
I think that this quinoa is an exceptionally good price for an otherwise pricy food and it comes from a reliable brand.
Soy milk is made from the process of boiling soy beans and is the byproduct of making tofu.
I only recently tasted soy milk and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it!
Soy milk is a much creamier plant-based milk and has a wonderful flavor that is very mildly nutty and rich tasting. My pudding game has gotten much stronger since replacing my regular almond milk with soy milk!
Soy milk is full of protein and contains high amounts of magnesium, potassium and polysaturated fats just to name a few.
It is a wonderful alternative to other milks and can be used in any way that you would normally use milk. Just keep in mind that all plant-based milks react differently in cooking.
Believe it or not avocado is another one of those kinds of produce that has us all fooled. It is in fact a fruit and not a vegetable!
Though avocado doesn’t contain a huge amount of protein it still contains a decent amount. Most of the calories in avocado comes from all of the good fats that it contains as well as several vitamins and minerals.
Avocados are wonderfully tasting foods that can be added to a variety of dishes in order to reap its nutritional benefits.
You can make it into avocado toast, add it to puddings to make them creamier, add it to smoothies and top off your tacos or soups with it.
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You can see that there are so many wonderful sources of plant-based protein out there. So many options that are in fact not in any way bean related!
You have a huge variety of tasty foods to choose from when it comes to bulking up your meals and getting all of your protein in.
If you still find yourself struggling to get in enough protein then you might want to consider a healthy brand of protein powder. This vega protein powder is one of my favorite options!
Let me know in the comments if I missed anything or if you use any of these foods in a special meal or dish!
Jessica Migala 2019, All About soy Milk: Nutrition, Benefits, Risks, and How it Compares with Other Milks, Everyday Health, viewed March 24, 2020, https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/pros-cons-soy-milk/.
UPMC Health Beat 2018, Quinoa vs. Rice: Which Food has More Nutritional Value?, viewed March 24, 2020, https://share.upmc.com/2018/04/quinoa-vs-brown-rice.
Adda Bjarnadottir 2018, 6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds, Healthline, viewed March 24, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds.