The 10 Delectable Vegan Protein-Rich Foods For You To Tuck Intoby | July 29, 2019
Ever wondered what veganism truly is all about? As per a definition published by The Vegan Society, "Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose." Not just restricted to food habits, a vegan way of living is all about loving the environs, and the life that exists in it.
Coming to food habits, contrary to popular belief, vegans today have an array of options to choose from. From baked delicacies such as cakes and pastries to sumptuous curries and snacks, the choices are ever-expanding.
Why Is Protein Important?
When it comes to essential nutrients, it goes without saying that protein is a vital part of an individual's daily diet. Derived from the Greek work proteos, it translates into 'primary' in English. If you were to visualise it, you would have to imagine a long chain; proteins are made up of interlinked chains of amino acids, each of which has their prescribed roles. According to research, women need an intake of 46 grams of protein while men need 56 grams of protein, though it may vary depending on individuals. It has numerous roles to play in the repair and building of tissues, storing nutrients and acting as a source of energy while also boosting immunity. Needless to say, they play an incredibly important role in one's health.
Can You Get Enough Protein As A Vegan?
To cite a report published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegan "diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. Plant-based diets are more environmentally sustainable than diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and are associated with much less environmental damage."
But that being said, anyone following a vegan diet has to take into account the protein-rich foods that are helpful in maintaining the proper intake of protein. Unlike non-vegetarians or people who consume dairy who can rely on a list of food items for the essential protein, vegans need to be focussed and aware of plant-based foods that are rich in protein. Luckily, we've curated a list of 10 such foods. So sit back and read through the vegan sources that are known to be high in protein content.
Protein-Rich Vegan Foods
Contrary to the general consensus about vegans not getting enough protein, there are plant-based foods that are known to have a high protein value. From the popularly known tofu to lesser-known items such as spelt and seitan, there is an array of options to choose from. So, without further ado, here are the high protein-rich vegan foods one can include in their diet.
A good source of a number of carbs, fibre, iron, potassium, manganese, Vitamin E, and magnesium, quinoa is a gluten-free plant that houses all of the essential amino acids. A seed which can be consumed like a grain, its high nutritional properties make it highly popular as one of the most sought after and consumed health foods in the world. Ages ago, when the Inca Civilization flourished, because of its health benefits and the fact that it can be grown easily, it came to be known as the 'mother of all grains'.
Can be used to make: Smoothies, desserts, oatmeals, energy bars, salads, soups and also as a substitute for rice.
Not only are lentils an excellent source of protein, but they can also be used to in a variety of ways, ranging from salads to soups. According to a report published by Nutrition Data, a mere 240 ml quantity of lentils helps provide 17.9 grams of protein to your body. Additionally, the fibre content it houses helps strengthen your gut and reduces the risk of a number of cancers, while also providing your body with adequate amounts of manganese, iron and anti-oxidants.
Can be used to make: Salads, soups, Indian dals, vegetarian tacos, nachos, cutlets, carbonara, shakshuka.
Made of condensed soy milk, tofu originated in China more than 2000 years ago where, legend has it, it was made by accident in the kitchen. A 100 gram serving of the food is supposed to serve you with 8 grams of protein, hence making it one of the highest food sources of protein when it comes to Vegan food. Research has also indicated that it reduces the risk of breast cancer in women by 56 percent, while positively impacting the menstrual cycle.
Can be used to make: Pad thai, tacos, broccoli bowl, green curry, salads, sandwiches, noodles, rice bowls.
Similar to quinoa, buckwheat belongs to a family of foods that are referred to as pseudocereals. Unlike cereals, they do not grow on grasses but are consumed as cereals. One of the many high protein vegan foods used for consumption, it is mainly grown in Russia, Kazakhstan, and China, and it can be divided into two categories—common buckwheat or Fagopyrum esculentum and Tartary buckwheat or Fagopyrum tartaricum. Other than protein, it is also a rich source of fibre, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and rutin, a vital antioxidant.
Can be used to make: Noodles, waffles, cookies, salads, risotto, crêpes, cakes, crackers, bread, pancakes, porridge, granola.
Avena sativa or oats as they are more popularly known to us, are one of the most well-known and widely consumed vegan foods. Loaded with an immense amount of fibre, they are known to have properties that help lower cholesterol levels. Research states that a serving of 120 ml of the popular breakfast option provides 6gms of protein. According to a research paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they are effective in lowering blood pressure as well as the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Oats also happens to be a rich source of fibre and is often used in daily diets to promote digestion, whilst providing the body with adequate amounts of proteins, manganese, riboflavin, phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and more.
Can be used to make: Porridge, cookies, pancakes, baked delicacies, upma.
A discussion around vegan food options is incomplete without the most important food option of them all—vegetables! Veggies such as broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, spinach, and brussels sprouts help provide adequate amounts of protein in a single cup. Further, you can use all or at least some of them together to make a veggie bowl, a salad or a sandwich, hence gaining more protein through your delicious and healthy meal.
Can be used to make: Veggie bowls, salads, curry, sandwiches.
Popularly referred to as wheat meat or wheat gluten, seitan contains a whopping 25 grams of protein in a 100-gram serving, as prior research shows. An alternative to meat, as the aforementioned line indicates, seitan can be found in a variety of health food stores and also helps provide significant amounts of iron, phosphorus, and calcium to the body, whilst being used to make delectable dishes that imitate meat without harming animals. Since it is made from gluten, it should be avoided by anyone who is sensitive to gluten or suffers from celiac disease.
Can be used to make: Skewers, fajita bowls, vegan seitan chicken salad, vegan steak, vegan roast, stew.
8. Nutritional Yeast
That it is a vital ingredient of bread and beer is a fact well-known, but yeast also has a variety of other benefits. Derived from a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a heating process that it undergoes makes the yeast inactive and fit for consumption. Dairy-free and more often than not also gluten-free, a serving of a quarter of a cup of it provides about 8 grams of protein. And that's not enough; it is also a rich source of riboflavin, fibre, vitamin B-3, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, iron, calcium, potassium, and more. It boosts energy and acts as a supplement for hair, nails, and skin.
Can be used to make: Macaroni, cheese sauce, soups, an alternative to parmesan cheese.
9. Nuts and Seeds
When it comes to this category of health food, there is a wide variety to choose from. Depending on the kind of nut and seed up for consumption, one ounce of it can normally hold anywhere between 5 to 7 grams of protein. Apart from a healthy dose of protein, nuts and seeds are known to contain sufficient amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, vitamin E, and certain types of other vitamins as well. The best way to consume them is raw, without modifying them by cooking or adding oil or sugar.
Can be used to make: A bowl of nuts and seeds mixed together.
10. Soy Milk
As the name suggests, soy milk is made from soybeans and is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. 240 grams of soy milk, which approximates to a cup, carries 7 grams of protein, according to studies. Even though it is a natural by-product of tofu in its most original form, over the years, its taste has begun to resemble that of regular dairy milk. Consume it on its own or use it to make some delectable recipes, such as cookies, cakes, and pancakes—the choices are many!
Can be used to make: Pancakes, cookies, cakes, and baked delicacies.
Now that you know everything about the top high-protein vegan foods, take a minute to indulge in these delicacies that you can shop online.