A bunch of you guys have asked about my favorite non-meat sources of protein, so here’s a post devoted to some of my favorites. I know there are plenty more high protein vegetarian 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!
What are the best sources of vegetarian protein?
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 glass 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, this Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine is a protein favorite! It’s 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: Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas, Easy Cowboy Beans, One 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.
Banza pasta – Yep, it gets its own category! 🙂 Banza is a high-protein and high-fiber pasta made from chickpeas. A lot of “alternative” pastas on the market have a weird taste and texture, but Banza is the closest to tradition pasta I’ve tried. Once cooked, it’s soft and chewy just like the real deal – even Quinn will eat it. In fact, it’s so darn delicious, it’s become a staple for a quick dinners in our house, including this Buffalo Blue Chicken Pasta and Meal Prep High-Protein Italian Pasta Bake.
Lentils – I’m also loving lentils lately, especially Instant Pot BBQ Lentils! Trader Joe’s also sells packages prepared lentils that are pretty good and perfect for a quickie meal.
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 from SFH. I typically drink the Recovery after a workout as well as mixed into protein balls or a smoothie. I love SFH products because they don’t have an artificial flavor and are made with high-quality ingredients. I also really like the OWYN vanilla protein powder and add it to my daily iced coffee everyday.
Soy milk – Soy milk is a great 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 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 sautéed 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.
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. Haha! Teddie Peanut Butter is my FAVORITE brand ever. It’s a little hard to find, so I typically buy it on Amazon. Here are some of my favorite nut butter recipes: The Best & Easiest Peanut Butter Protein Balls + More Recipes for Peanut Butter Lovers. I also really love Perfect Bars as a snack. Have you seen the Mini Perfect Bars? They’re perfect for when you just want a bite of something!
Eggs – I’m not eating a ton of eggs nowadays because it makes my acne flare, but I used to eat them ALL of the time – 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 used to like mixing them into oatmeal and rice dishes (kind of like fried rice).
Question of the Day
Your turn! What are some of your favorite non-meat sources of protein?
This post was originally publish in March 2016 and updated February 21, 2019.