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Plants are full of a variety of nutrients, including protein! That’s right. Meat doesn’t hold a monopoly on protein, and plant-based protein is just as important to fueling our bodies the right way.

Let’s learn which plants have the most protein as well as how to use these ingredients in recipes to give us strength and energy.

plant based protein

Many people say their biggest hang up to eating more plants is that they’re afraid they won’t get enough protein. Did you know that every single plant food contains protein?

While they might not all equal that of a ribeye, plants are loaded with protein. Plant-based protein sources are abundant, and I can’t wait to share my fav plant protein sources as well as how to make filling meals using just plants.

Table of Contents
  1. Harnessing the Power of Plant Protein
  2. What Plant-Based Actually Means
  3. Plant-Based Protein Sources
  4. Plant Protein FAQs
  5. Powerful Breakfast Recipes
  6. Filling Snack Recipes

When I started Simple Green Smoothies, I was in it for one thing: adding 1 healthy habit into my day. Once I got hooked on smoothies though, I started craving real food throughout the day. This led me to create 4 different cleanse meal plans that are 100% plant-based and full of incredibly delicious recipes. I learned the incredible power of plants, and can’t wait to share that with you too!

Harnessing the Power of Plant Protein

Daily protein intake varies from person to person. It also depends on how active you are, and what other dietary concerns you may have. A simple way to determine how much protein you need daily is to multiply your weight (in lbs) by 0.36. That total is the # of grams of protein you need per day.

So a 150 lb person should consume at least 54 grams of protein per day if they live a sedentary lifestyle. While scientists are def at odds on how much protein is the right amount, they all seem to agree that more protein is better than less, and protein from whole food sources is incredibly important.

What Plant-Based Actually Means

To be clear, I’m not vegan. I focus on eating as many plants a day as I can, and getting my fuel from whole food sources whenever possible. My family eats meat and a LOT of fruits + vegetables too. I bring my own carrots to grill and put on a bun during a BBQ and enjoy a hamburger with blue cheese after a morning of paddle boarding down the river.

Living a plant-based lifestyle means choosing to pack plants into my day, and focusing on eating whole food plant-based recipes. This isn’t a diet, it’s just living my best life.

To help me incorporate more plants into my day, I created a meal planner so I don’t have to come up with recipes on the fly. I wanna help you easily get more protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and more from plant protein sources, too.

plant protein options

Plant-Based Protein Sources

Some of the best sources of protein available to us are members of the plant kingdom. The chart below shows you how many grams of protein you get in 1 serving of each:

Beans and legumes

  • chickpeas / garbanzo beans, cooked (1/2 cup):  6 grams protein
  • black beans, cooked (1/2 cup): 7.6 grams protein
  • pinto beans, cooked (1/2 cup): 6 grams protein
  • kidney beans, cooked (1/2 cup): 6.5 grams protein
  • lima beans, cooked (1/2 cup): 7.3 grams protein
  • lentils, cooked (1/2 cup): 9 grams protein
  • split peas, cooked (1/2 cup): 8 grams protein
  • peanuts or peanut butter (1/4 cup serving or 2 tbsp. peanut butter): 7 grams protein

Organic Soy

  • edamame, cooked (1 cup): 18 grams protein
  • tofu (3 oz. serving): extra firm – 15 grams protein ; silken – 8 grams protein
  • tempeh, cooked (3 oz. serving) : 16 grams protein
  • soy milk (1 cup) : 8 grams protein

Leafy greens

  • kale, raw (1 cup): 2.9 grams protein
  • collards, raw (1 cup): 1.2 grams protein
  • spinach, raw (1 cup): 0.9 grams protein
  • spinach, cooked (1/2 cup): 3 grams protein
  • chard, raw (1 cup): 0.6 grams protein
  • bok choy, raw (1 cup): 1.1 grams protein
  • Cabbage, raw (1 cup): 0.9 grams protein
  • romaine lettuce, raw (1 cup): 0.6 grams protein


  • broccoli, cooked (1 cup): 5 grams protein
  • cauliflower, cooked (1 cup): 2.1 grams
  • asparagus, cooked (1 cup): 5 grams protein
  • peas, cooked (1 cup): 7.9 grams protein
  • mushrooms (1 cup): 3.9 grams protein
  • Brussels sprouts, cooked (1/2 cup): 2 grams protein
  • artichokes (one): 4.2 grams protein
  • potatoes, cooked (1 medium white): 4 grams
  • winter squash, cooked (1 cup): 5.1 grams protein


  • blackberries (1 cup): 2 grams protein
  • blueberries (1 cup): 1.1 grams protein
  • raspberries (1 cup): 1.5 grams protein
  • strawberries (1 cup): 1.1 grams protein
  • pomegranate seeds (1 cup): 4.7 grams protein
  • oranges (per fruit): 1.3 grams protein
  • cherries (1 cup): 1.5 grams protein
  • avocado (per fruit): 4 grams protein
  • banana (per fruit): 1.3 grams protein

Whole grains and pseudo-grains

  • quinoa, cooked (1 cup): 8 grams protein
  • buckwheat, cooked (1 cup): 6 grams protein
  • amaranth, cooked (1 cup): 9 grams protein
  • teff, cooked (1 cup): 10 grams protein
  • whole wheat berries, cooked (1/2 cup): 6.5 grams protein
  • brown rice, cooked (1 cup): 5 grams protein
  • wild rice, cooked (1 cup serving): 7 grams protein
  • steel cut oats (1/4 cup dry): 7 grams protein


  • Hemp hearts (1 ounce): 9 grams protein
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) (1 ounce): 8.5 grams protein
  • Sunflower seeds (1 ounce): 5.5 grams protein
  • Sesame seeds (1 ounce): 4.8 grams protein
  • Chia seeds (1 ounce) : 4 grams protein
  • Flaxseed, ground (1 tablespoon): 1.2 grams protein


  • Almonds (1 ounce): 6 grams protein
  • pecans (1 ounce): 2.6 grams protein
  • walnut (1 ounce): 4.3 grams protein
  • hazelnuts (1 ounce): 4.3 grams protein
  • Brazil nuts (1 ounce): 4.1 grams protein
  • macadamia nuts (1 ounce): 2.2 grams protein
  • cashews (1 ounce): 4.3 grams protein
  • pistachios (1 ounce): 5.9 grams protein
  • coconut, dried (1 ounce): 2 grams protein

More Sources of Protein

  • Spirulina (1 tablespoon): 4 grams protein
  • Sprouted beans, peas, and lentils (1/2 cup): 4.6 grams protein
  • Nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons): 8 grams
  • Homemade protein powder (4 tablespoons): 10 grams protein

If you’re ready to put these ingredients into meals, then keep reading! I’ve got dozens of recipes to fuel your day as well as fill you up.

easy plant based milks

Plant Protein FAQs

What plants have more protein than meat?

Per calorie, many plants have more protein than meat including broccoli and spinach. Since most of us can’t eat a lb of kale like we can a steak, then we mix these powerful plants together in a deliciously filling meal.

What are the 4 plant-based complete proteins?

Quinoa and soy-based proteins including tempeh, tofu and edamame.

Which plant has the highest protein?

Lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup and is a powerhouse plant protein.

Powerful Breakfast Recipes

While you can turn any smoothie into a complete meal by adding in a protein powder, the below recipes are packed from the onset:

Play around with your morning smoothie until you find the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs to help you start the day off right. If you find yourself crashing mid-morning, then you need more protein + healthy fat in your smoothie.

Try adding a tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp hearts to your next smoothie for an easy boost.

Filling Snack Recipes

Snack time is often filled with empty carbs, yet it doesn’t have to be this way! I use snack time as another part of my day where I fuel my body with plant protein + healthy fats. Here’s what I like to snack on:

Filling Lunch/Dinner Recipes

Try one of the below recipes for your next Meatless Monday and then let me know in the comments below how it turned out:

Using nuts + seeds as toppings, in sauces, as well as in side dishes help boost your mealtime protein. So know that you’re full on plant protein knowledge, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are you still questioning about plant-based protein? I’m here to help!

plant based protein

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  1. Thank you for this list of plant based proteins. I had made my own list to take shopping and realized I had deleted it from both my iPad and phone. I have just been diagnosed with Cirrhosis, following a few years of fatty liver, and Diabetes for most of my life. I ended up feeling really terrible, ended up in the hospital to be rehydrated, and really was starving my self because I couldn’t look at food. The new doctor, cirrhosis diagnosis, your liver needs protein…you must eat. I had lost 45 lbs and a great amount of muscle mass. I am sixty-four, a widow with two grown sons. My doctor said I wasn’t going to die, but I needed to eat better, and get exercise. I was still young and healthy so transplant is always an option. I don’t drink or smoke. So I got busy! My garden has broccoli, kale, and spinach, and much more…so I go out and graze several times a day. I started feeling better. I dawned my mask and went to the grocery store and picked up some dried lentils, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt, my energy has returned
    somewhat, I am trying to do a few exercises, and my dog doesn’t look at me with such longing. Thank you. Sincerely, Shirley