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10 Best Plant-Based Protein Alternatives to Try- According to Dietitians


10 Best Plant-Based Protein Alternatives to Try- According to Dietitians
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Whether you're flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan, or simply trying to reduce your meat intake, incorporating plant-based proteins into your diet can be a great way to meet your nutritional needs without compromising on flavor.

Countless delicious and nutritious options are available, endorsed by leading Dietitians. If you're looking for ideas to try out the next time you shop for groceries or plan a meal, here are some of the best plant-based proteins dietitians recommend. You can also try incorporating whey protein powder and the 10 best plant-based protein alternatives highlighted in this article.

10 Best Plant-Based Protein Alternatives to Try

If you're looking for new, tasty ways to get your daily protein intake, why not try some plant-based alternatives? Plant-based proteins are a great way to get nutrients without relying on animal products. Plus, they can be delicious and versatile! Here's a list of the 10 best plant-based proteins you should try:

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is a high-protein, nutrient-dense grain that can be cooked and added to various dishes. It contains 8 grams of protein per cup, and it's packed with essential amino acids, making it one of the complete plant proteins that are available.

Additionally, quinoa is rich in iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, making it an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians looking for more options than just tofu or tempeh.

2. Lentils

Lentils contain nutrients like fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins. One cup of lentils provides 18 grams of protein and complex carbohydrates, making them great for those following vegan diets who need to get enough calories from plant-based sources.

Lentils are also highly versatile -- you can use them in salads, soups, stews, and as a side dish with your main meal.

3. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and offer numerous health benefits too! One cup of cooked chickpeas provides 12 grams of protein and plenty of dietary fiber, which can help keep us feel full longer.

They're also incredibly versatile -- you can add them to salads or use them as the base for hummus or other dips.

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that's become increasingly popular among vegans and vegetarians.

It's an excellent source of complete protein with 16 grams per ½-cup serving, and it contains essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. Tempeh is also a great meat alternative as it has a firmer texture than tofu and can be quickly marinated for added flavor.

5. Black Beans

Black beans are a powerhouse of nutrients and an excellent plant-based protein option for vegans or vegetarians looking to get enough calories from plant sources. They are an excellent source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and a good amount of protein - around 15 grams per cup.

Black beans contain all eight essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source with added benefits.

Additionally, they are rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium which can help the body absorb nutrients better, regulate blood pressure and reduce fatigue.

6. Nuts & Seeds

According to many registered dietitians, nuts and seeds are a great source of plant-based protein. They are easy to add to meals and snacks to boost the protein content of any dish. Many diets recommend nuts for their health benefits, such as healthy fats and fiber, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

You can buy raw or roasted nuts and seeds from most grocery stores, but be mindful that some may be coated in added salt and sugar. Consider grinding them into nut butter or adding their sprouted form to salads, soups, stews, or smoothies for an even more nutritious afternoon snack. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous, it's worth giving it a try!

7. Beans & Legumes

Beans and legumes are excellent sources of plant-based proteins, loaded with dietary fiber, essential minerals, and vitamins, and antioxidants, and rich in complex carbohydrates, making them an excellent choice for a balanced meal. Whether eaten raw or cooked, it's hard to go wrong with flavors such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, soybeans, and many others.

Many of these beans and legumes can be eaten alone as a snack or easily added to salads for flavor and extra vitamins. High protein but low-fat content makes them an ideal diet for those wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste!

These deliciously versatile ingredients can even be turned into complex dishes such as baked vegan quesadillas stuffed with refried beans, layered dips with black beans in the base, pasta salad featuring lentils, or tacos filled with chickpeas combined with vegetables.

With so many options for quickly incorporating beans and legumes into your diet, you won't regret trying them! One cup of cooked beans provides up to 15 grams of protein per serving and plenty of dietary fiber, which helps keep us full longer.

8. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent plant-based protein alternative for vegans and vegetarians. It is high in Vitamin B12, which helps to boost energy levels and improve metabolism, as well as zinc and folic acid, which promote skin and hair health.

Furthermore, it has a nutty, cheesy flavor that makes it great for topping salads, pasta dishes, roasted veggies, or any other savory dish! It also works very well in many sauces and dressings. Being a complete source of protein with all 18 essential amino acids means this versatile food provides the same amount of protein per serving as other animal-based proteins!

For those looking for a fast yet filling option on busy days, nutritional yeast can be an excellent addition to your meal plan.

9. Tofu

Tofu is made from soybeans, making it a great source of plant-based protein for vegans. It provides 8 grams of protein per ½-cup serving and calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth.

Additionally, tofu is incredibly versatile - you can use it in stir-fries, soups, salads, or as the base for vegan cheese sauces or other dishes.

10. Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a great addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet thanks to their high content of omega-3 fatty acids and complete proteins. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds provide 6 grams of protein, making them an excellent snack for those seeking more plant-based proteins.


1. What are the sources of protein for vegetarians chart?

Protein Sources for Vegetarians Chart:

Food | Protein (in grams)

Lentils | 18 g

Chickpeas | 12 g

Tempeh | 16 g

Black Beans | 15 g

Nuts & Seeds | Varies by type

Beans & Legumes | Up to 15 g per cup

Nutritional Yeast | 8 g per 2 tablespoons

Tofu | 8 g per ½ cup

Hemp Seeds| 6g per 2 tablespoons.

2. What are the best plant-based protein sources?

The best plant-based protein sources are lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, black beans, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, nutritional yeast, tofu, and hemp seeds. These foods all provide a good balance of complete proteins and other essential nutrients.

They also vary in texture and flavor, making them more interesting to cook than animal proteins. Additionally, many of these foods are very versatile, so you can enjoy them in various dishes such as salads and soups or as the base for dips or sauces.

3. What are the cheap vegetarian protein sources?

Some of the most affordable vegetarian protein sources include beans and legumes like kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, peas, and pinto beans. These foods are all relatively inexpensive, especially when bought in bulk or from a discount grocery store.

Other affordable vegetarian proteins include tofu, nuts, and seeds such as almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. Nutritional yeast is also an inexpensive plant-based protein source with plenty of flavors. Finally, tempeh is another excellent option for vegans looking for cheap sources of complete proteins.

4. What is the best plant-based protein powder?

The best plant-based protein powder depends on individual needs and preferences, but some popular options include pea, hemp, rice, and soy proteins. Many plant-based protein powders are also fortified with additional nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, making them a great way to get an extra nutritional boost without eating animal products.

Some brands even offer vegan-friendly flavors, such as chocolate or vanilla, that can be used in smoothies and shakes for a delicious treat. Additionally, many organic and all-natural plant-based proteins can help you get the healthiest option possible. It's essential to read labels carefully when choosing a plant-based protein powder to know precisely what ingredients are included.

The Bottom Line

Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet can be challenging when finding enough protein sources. Fortunately, plenty of plant-based options provide all the essential nutrients and proteins you need.

Lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, black beans, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, nutritional yeast, tofu, and hemp seeds are all great sources of complete proteins that vegans and vegetarians should incorporate into their diets.

Plant-based protein powders can also be an excellent way to get more complete proteins without eating animal products. No matter your dietary needs, there will surely be a plant-based protein source for you!

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