• My Favorite Non-Meat Sources of Protein

    March 16, 2016

    Good morning!

    A bunch of you guys have asked about my favorite non-meat sources of protein, so here’s a post devoted to my favorites. I know there are plenty more options out there, but these are my current, go-tos. I’m still experimenting and discovering new ones, so please share your favorites and how you incorporate them into your diet. I love getting new ideas and know you guys do too!

    favorite non-meat sources of protein

    Eggs, eggs, and more eggs – I pretty much eat them everyday– usually, scrambled sometimes with spinach, nutritional yeast, feta, and ketchup (or some combination of those ingredients) or hard-boiled with salt + pepper as a snack.

    Liquid egg whites – They’re such an easy way to add protein to meals. I like mixing them into oatmeal and rice dishes (kind of like fried rice).

    Shelled edamame – I buy frozen bagged edamame. I like the pods for snacking, but the shelled stuff is such a great way to add quick protein to dishes. Each week, I take out about a cup or two and let it defrost in a plastic container in the fridge. Then, I just grab some and add it to my meals. I’ll either eat it cold or heat it up. A couple of my favorite edamame recipes (and both make great snacks): Edamame Guacamole and Parmesan & Garlic-Roasted Edamame.

    Speaking of edamame… these Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine are a new protein favorite! (I mentioned them yesterday too.) They’re certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, and have 20 grams per serving! I typically eat them solo with some butter, grated Parmesan and veggies, but the possibilities are endless!

    Beans – Oh, how I love beans. All kinds. I’m recently on a white bean kick, but I’ll eat just about any variety. Similar to the edamame mentioned above, I’ll open a can each week and keep them in the fridge for easy access. My favorite bean recipes: Mama Pea’s Mmm Sauce (obviously), Salt & Vinegar Roasted ChickpeasOne Pan Roasted  Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas (freezes really well), Light & Creamy Chickpea Salad, 5-Minute Vegetarian Stir Fry, and Artichoke Parmesan Pasta with Roasted Chickpeas. Related: I know I need to get on the lentil train. I heard Trader Joe’s sells some prepared ones that are pretty good, so I’ve been on the look out for them recently. Anyone tried them?

    Peas – One cup of peas has 8 grams of protein, so I’ll toss some frozen ones in salads, pasta, smoothies, tuna salad, casseroles… just about anything really!

    Protein powder – My current favorites are vanilla Recovery and coconut Fuel from SFH. I typically drink the Recovery after a workout and the Fuel as a snack/mixed into a smoothie. Both have a great, not artificial flavor and are made with high-quality ingredients. I also really like the All-in-One Vega Coconut Almond Plant Protein Powder and drink it after workouts as well as snacks when I’m in the mood for something chocolaty.

    Soy milk – It’s my go-to, non-dairy milk alternative, mostly because I like the taste, but also because it has 7 grams of protein per serving! 

    Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt is so satisfying and LOADED with protein. I am especially loving Stonyfield’s new Whole Milk Greek Yogurt (plain) right now. It’s so creamy and wonderful. I typically eat my Greek yogurt with cereal as an afternoon snack or sweet treat at the end of the night with some fruit and/or chocolate chips. Lately, I’m digging bananas sauteed in coconut oil mixed into my yogurt. Mmm! You’ve gotta try it!

    Nutritional yeast – Two tablespoons of nutritional yeast has 6 grams of protein, so it’s not a huge source in my diet, but it’s tasty and easy to add to many of my meals and snacks. I pretty much use it like I would grated Parmesan cheese. Blog post with tasty ideas coming soon!

    Cheeeeeese – I am such a cheese lover and add it to everything. Basically, if a meal/snack is looking a little skimpy, I’ll throw some cheese on it for some extra satiety.

    Nuts and nut butters – Duh. Nut butter is my life. Ha! Some favorite recipes: The Best & Easiest Peanut Butter Protein Balls + More Recipes for Peanut Butter Lovers. I also really love Perfect Food Bars as a snack.

    Question of the Day

    Your turn! What are some of your favorite non-meat sources of protein? 

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    { 50 comments… read them below or add one }

    Elise L. March 16, 2016 at 1:20 am

    TJs prepared lentils are awesome. I toss the package with a bag of their arugula and their bruschetta for a super easy salad. Sometimes I add mozzarella balls, tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumbers….anything you like!


    Charissa March 16, 2016 at 3:54 am

    I’m a fan of all of the above; however, I love lentils. They are so tasty, especially with sweet potatoes.


    Becky @ Olives n Wine March 16, 2016 at 6:24 am

    I’m a huge fan of nut butters, beans, and eggs as well! I have never tried liquid egg whites because the thought of eggs in a carton is just weird to me 😉 But I’ve been wanting to try more non-meat proteins lately and I really like the idea of adding them to oatmeal… Maybe I’ll have to pick up a carton at Target today!


    Brynn March 16, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Eggs and beans are my favorite non meat protein sources. I eat eggs daily, hard boiled make for a great snack!


    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious March 16, 2016 at 7:12 am

    I’m definitely a chickpea girl. I use those for everything! I need to try your nutritional yeast with eggs. I’m so curious about that one!


    Valerie @ Geaux Momma March 16, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I love me some red lentils! Especially in soups and Indian dishes. There are some great slow cooker recipes out there for lentils, you should give that a try first, nothing is more satisfying then a dump meal.


    Megs March 16, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I used SFH too! Have you had problems with the coconut fuel mixing as well? I still get clumps even with my shaker bottle whisk!


    Linz @ Itz Linz March 16, 2016 at 8:19 am

    cheeeeeeeeese! i could definitely live off the stuff!


    Eva March 16, 2016 at 9:04 am

    I just recently tried the prepared lentils at TJ’s and love them! I made this red lentil and spinach masala (omitting the 1 c water since the lentils are already cooked) – it was delicious and it goes a long way. I used it as a side, on top of my veggie burgers, and over rice as dinner (and lunch!). So good!


    Tina March 16, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Thank you!!


    Melanie Hrdlicka March 16, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I love chickpeas, tempeh, tofu, peas and all kinds of beans! I stick pretty closely to a vegan diet so I actually think of eggs as falling into a “meat” category since came from a chicken. But I loved eggs when I used to eat them.

    So glad you are enjoying a more plant-based diet!


    Jayme March 16, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I found canned lentils at the store (Wegmans) in the beans section. All lentils/beans taste the same to me, lol, so I’ll bet if you used lentils in a chili recipe or something it would be great!


    Tina March 16, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I’ve been meaning to go to Wegmans. Thanks for the heads up!


    Molly March 16, 2016 at 9:36 am

    A quick healthy meal with Trader Joe’s prepared lentils: toss the lentils, fresh or frozen chopped spinach, and bite size roasted sweet potatoes into a pan and warm up together. Its a really easy and tasty combo.


    Tina March 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Yummmmm! Love that!!


    Ruth Deaton March 16, 2016 at 9:37 am

    You have turned me to loving edamame – oh, so good! Another favorite non-meat protein of mine is ice cream…cause there’s milk in there somewhere!! Ok, kidding… kinda. My current fav has been plain yogurt – the stuff is a great substitute for everything and delicious with just fruit.


    Hilary March 16, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I have been loving pea protein and the vega vanilla protein + greens! But I have to say my favorite is for sure eggs!


    Traci March 16, 2016 at 10:13 am

    The prepared lentils at TJs are great and so convenient. I’ve made a Greek-style salad with them for lunches at work: chopped romaine, lentils, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, olives, and feta. TJs also sells bags of farro, which contains a decent amount of protein, and it’s great with chickpeas, spinach, and your favorite cheese.


    Heather@hungryforbalance March 16, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I agree with everything you mentioned, but I’m a HUGE lentil fan! They have a kind of peppery flavor that I love.


    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday March 16, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I lovelovelove eggs, nuts & nut butter, Greek yogurt, and beans! I also recently got back into edamame, and I found Crunchamame by eda-zen. Sometimes I need some crunch and this is freeze-dried edamame, so there’s a ton of protein, but it’s crunchy 🙂 There are a bunch of tasty flavors and I’ve been loving it as a study snack!


    Sam @ Barrister's Beet March 16, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Great ideas! I carry little baggies of chocolate protein powder with me so that I can drop it in a bottle of water or container for a quick source of protein. I also love edamame, hard boiled eggs with salt & pepper, and almond butter with an apple. Looking forward to a nutritional yeast post!


    Salina March 16, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Tofu and tempeh are most definitely my favorites! Then probably beans, lentils, an chickpeas.


    Alyssa March 16, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Definitely nuts and nut butter. And fish! I love salmon and even the canned kind from Trader Joe’s is tasty over a salad.


    Valerie March 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I LOVE cheese! I’ll add it anywhere I need some protein. During Lent, I try to stay away from beef/chicken/pork on Fridays, so I bump up my protein with seafood and lower fat cheeses like feta.


    Andrea March 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Love this post! I eat a lot of veggie meals, and I’m always looking for new ways to increase my protein (my trainer pushes this, as well). My faves are nut butters and beans. I often make dishes that hubs can easily in add some grilled chicken. I also always have some TJ’s beefless beef in the freezer for a quick go-to. 1/3c has 9g of protein, and its great for tacos or salads!


    Andrea March 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm


    PS…Super excited to see there’s a nutritional yeast post in the works!


    taylor March 16, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    nutritional yeast is my favorite on eggs!


    Sam @thesupguide March 16, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Great post – So many good places to find high quality protein that are way more sustainable than meat!


    Christine (Run Plant Based) March 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Tempeh, edamame, Explore Asian Soybean Spaghetti, smoothies with plant-based protein powder, and beans are my regular sources for protein.


    Rachel @ Simply Rachel Nicole March 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I am so glad that you did this post! With this pregnancy I have really hated the thought of most meats and have been trying really hard to find alternative sources of protein that sound good to me. I recently purchased soy milk because dairy is very hard on my stomach and I hope I like the taste!


    Samantha @ believeandrun March 16, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    My favorite non-meat sources of protein are definitely eggs and nut butters for sure. I eat eggs on the daily and sometimes probably have an egg addiction. It is a problem (but I am okay with it). I also love almond butter and especially on a banana or a spoonful in the morning. Protein powder is great too in a shake if I am feeling that I did not get enough protein that day. I am currently trying to limit the amount of meat I eat, so this information is definitely helpful!


    Katie March 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Love this post!! I too love the prepared lentils from TJ’s! I honestly was not a fan of them after making a soup with lentils that was terribly bland. But one day they were sampling the prepared lentils, bruschetta sauce, with feta cheese and I was hooked! I love the idea of adding sweet potatoes!


    Erin @ Erin's Inside Job March 16, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    I get 90 eggs whenever it’s time to restock from Costco, so I’d say that haha. I eat 3 a day, so I definitely go through them!


    Amanda @ Cheers to the Weekends March 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I love eggs! I also just bought the all-in-one Vega protein you recommended, so can’t wait to give that a try!


    Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment March 16, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Perfect line up of alternatives. I really like edamame. The garlic and parmesan is a great idea. I recently started using PlantFusion protein powder. It is excellent.


    Chrissie March 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I love eggs and greek yogurt!! I put greek yogurt into smoothies, use it in place of sour cream all the time, and love it plain with some fruit and chocolate chips for dessert. Are you concerned about soy milk with the reports that it could be disrupting our hormones and the prevalence of GMO soy?


    Tina March 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    If you do a little more research into who funded some of those soy studies, you’ll see why I’m not worried! I also buy organic soy milk, so it’s not made with GMO soy beans.


    Debbie March 16, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Had to make the protein peanut butter balls as soon as I got home from work. Delicious! I didn’t have but a few drops of honey left so I tossed each ball in powdered sugar. Pretty, Yummy, and a kind of heathy snack/dessert. thanks


    Leslie March 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Hi Tina! I am looking for a good plant based protein powder that doesn’t have Hemp in it, the info on Amazon doesn’t show the ingredients.. does it have hemp in there?


    Tina March 16, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    It doesn’t look like it, but here’s a list of the ingredients: https://myvega.com/products/vega-one-nutritional-shake/


    rachel @ athleticavocado March 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I love nut butters and eggs for plant based protein! I eat them every day!


    Kate | HappyForks.com March 16, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I found picking not obvious alternatives of common ingredientes, or adding small extras to my regular meals making the difference in protein intake during the day, i.e:
    – 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa = 4g protein and 19.7g carbohydrates while the same volume of cooked brown rice = 2.5 g protein and 22.4g carbohydrates. Why not using quinoa in lunch salad then?
    – When using white flour in any recipe it is easy to replace part of it with chickpea alternative: 1 cup (125g) of all-purpose flour = 13g protein and 95g carbohydrates while 1 cup (92g) chickpea flour = 27g protein and 53g carbs.
    Beside that addition of 2 tbsp of chia seeds into fruit cocktail or salad provides another 6.6g of protein and my absolute no1 – spirulina! Each tablespoon of this dried seaweed in my smoothie delivers 4g protein extra!


    Marisa March 16, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Tempeh is where it’s at! So versatile and less processed than tofu and its fermented so double bonus. Another favorite right now is Beyond Meat’s feisty taco crumble with no crazy fillers and no soy. Super yummy in taco salads mixed with veggies and as a burrito mix.


    shelly March 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    All kinds of eggs are huge in my household! My 2 year old love scrambled eggs (of course!). I love hard boiled eggs after a tough workout.


    Kelsey @ Chatterbox Blog March 16, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    I’m a huge nutritional yeast, bean, and nut butter fan (I eat each of those at least once per day). I make a big batch of lentils once a month and freeze them in ½ cup serving portions – then I can just defrost and eat (cheaper than buying prepared!) I also love tempeh!


    lynn @ the actor's diet March 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Lentils lentils lentils! They cook up so fast because I have no patience.


    adrianna March 16, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    i think i’d die without eggs and nut butters.


    Mary March 17, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Don’t forget about some whole grains! Amaranth and Quinoa are both considered complete proteins, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is great anywhere you would normally use rice, and amaranth can be mixed into dough or batters for muffins and breads to bump up the protein.


    Sarah March 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    When I am on my own for a night, I take Trader Joes Healthy 8 veggie mix and saute that in olive oil and gralic. Once it’s cooked where I decide it looks good I add their pre cooked lentils and whatever kind of sauce I feel like adding. It’s easy and versitle!

    For the seasoning/sauce I’ve tired all kind of stuff! Basalmic vinegar, curry sauce, stir fry sauce, Frank’s… what I have that looks good!


    Debbie March 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Cottage cheese!! A half-cup serving contains 15 grams of protein. When I’m craving something sweet, I add a little vanilla extract and stevia (or other sweetener) to a scoop of cottage cheese. It tastes like vanilla ice cream!


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