Top 25 Highest Protein Vegetables To Incorporate Into Your Favorite Recipes
“But where do you get your protein from?” is a question all vegans and vegetarians face almost daily.
I am sure you already have several plant-based sources to point to as excellent sources of protein...
However, today I am going to share with you an extensive list of the 25 best vegan protein vegetables (and legumes). You will see the protein quantities per cup and per 100g.
Another benefit of utilizing vegetables to up the protein content of your meals in comparison to animal products, is that they are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
As you’ll soon find out...
Keep reading to learn about which of these vegetables have cancer healing properties, which will help you lose weight, and which can improve your digestion–in addition to packing in the protein.
- 1. Broccoli
- 2. Watercress
- 3. Alfalfa Sprouts
- 4. Spinach
- 5. Edamame
- 6. Tempeh
- 7. Artichokes
- 8. Broccoli Raab
- 9. Lentils
- 10. Black Beans
- 11. Avocado
- 12. Lima Beans
- 13. Cauliflower
- 14. Bok Choy
- 15. Potatoes
- 16. Asparagus
- 17. Brussels Sprouts
- 18. Arugula
- 19. Mung Beans
- 20. Turnip Greens
- 21. Beet Greens
- 22. Collard Greens
- 23. Mustard Greens
- 24. Green Peas
- 25. Mushrooms
Protein : 100 grams of broccoli contains 2.8g, one cup of broccoli contains 2.5g
Broccoli contains a significant amount of protein and is also packed with filling fibre. These little green trees contain vitamins K, vitamins C in addition to folate, potassium and a plethora more minerals and vitamins.
Many studies have shown that increasing the consumption of plant foods such as broccoli decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The large amount of fibre has also been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Overall, broccoli is considered one of the healthiest vegetables out there!
Protein : 100 grams of watercress contains 2.3g, one cup of watercress contains 0.8g.
Watercress is a cruciferous plant that grows in water and contains an incredible number of vitamins and minerals.
Per cup, watercress contains 0.8 grams of protein and 100% of your daily vitamin K requirements. Watercress also contains vitamin B, A, C, along with minerals calcium, manganese, potassium.
Another additional benefit is the antioxidant protection which comes from phenolic compounds that have been shown to prevent cancer.
To maximize benefits of this water dwelling plant, it is best to eat watercress raw. Give it a try in salads of smoothies!
3. Alfalfa Sprouts
Protein : 100 grams of sprouts contain 4g, one cup of Alfalfa sprouts contain 1.3g.
Alfalfa sprouts are low in calories and rich in nutrients. These fantastic little plants are packed with folate, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, Vitamin K and C.
Alfalfa sprouts are also very easy to grow in your own kitchen, so you can add them to any dish for an additional protein boost.
Certain studies have shown that alfalfa sprouts lower cholesterol levels due to their high content of saponins. They have also been found to reduce inflammation, reduce symptoms of menopause and treat osteoporosis.
They are the perfect addition to any (non-breakfast) meal!
Protein : 100 grams of spinach contains 2.9 grams. 1 cup of spinach contains 0.9 grams.
There is a reason spinach was Popeye's favorite go-to super food, as it is one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens available.
Spinach is loaded with folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. It also contains essential amino acids and an impressive 1 gram of protein per a 30-gram serving.
Studies have also found additional benefits of consuming spinach include lowering blood pressure and improving endothelial function. This leads to improved heart health, a lowered risk of breast cancer and less muscle damage in athletes after exercise.
Basically, spinach is the answer to just about any health-related question and easy to incorporate into your daily menu.
Protein : 100g of edamame contains 11g of protein. 1 cup of edamame contains 18g.
If you need a quick protein and energy boost, you’ll want to choose one of the healthiest appetizers available.
Just one cup of edamame can pack an enormous protein punch. If you have the opportunity, choose an organic option since quite often they are treated with many pesticides. These little beans have high amounts of folate, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, copper and manganese.
Certain studies have shown that edamame can lower cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar, reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer and reduce bone loss. That comes as no surprise with the incredible nutritional profile of the Edamame.
Protein : 100g of tempeh contains 15g of protein. 1 cup of tempeh contains 31g.
Keeping on the soybean train, tempeh is another fantastic plant-based source of protein.
It is created with soybeans; however, unlike its cousin tofu, tempeh is fermented and therefore contains the additional benefits of fermentation. The fermentation makes tempeh easier to digest, lowers oxidative stress, decrease cholesterol levels and improves bone health.
Other nutrients which reside in Tempeh include carbs, calcium, iron, sodium, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.
Tempeh is a delicious nutty, chewy substitute for meat in any meal. The high amount of protein and fibre will also help keep you fuller for longer and energised for the entire day.
Protein : 100g of artichoke provide 3g of protein. 1 cup of artichoke contains 4g.
The Mediterranean diet has been considered one of the healthiest, and artichokes are one of the staples. They are versatile and can be used in a salad, eaten steamed, or even oven baked!
Artichokes are packed with proteins as well as vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, Vitamin B6, B12, A, E, D and Vitamin K. Some of the touted benefits include cancer prevention, improved heart health due to lowered cholesterol and regulated blood pressure.
8. Broccoli Raab
Protein : 100g of Broccoli Raab contains 3.2g of protein. 1 cup of Raab has 1.3g of protein.
The lesser known cousin of broccoli, broccoli raab is popular in Italian cooking. It’s a fantastic option as a side dish or directly in a pasta dish. Just like broccoli, Raab has an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
Having just one cup of raab will give you more than your daily recommended dose of vitamin K!
Other benefits include lowered cholesterol, smaller chance of heart disease, and decreased risk of cancer. Broccoli Raab can also help boost your brain health, promote healthy skin, and eye health.
It is also one of the best sources of non-animal product calcium which is vital for healthy bones.
Protein : 100g of lentils contains 39g of protein. 1 cup of lentil has 18g of protein.
As a low calorie, high fibre, and high protein option–lentils are the perfect addition to any meal. They are a fantastic alternative to minced meat. Lentils also include large amounts of iron, folate, vitamin B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.
The large amount of fibre in lentils help regulate bowel movements and maintain healthy gut bacteria. Lentils contain polyphenols which have been found to stop cancer cell growth and improve blood sugar levels.
Other studies have shown that eating lentils has been associating with a lowered risk of heart disease. This is due to lowering blood pressure, reducing the amount of bad cholesterol, and blocking substances such as angiotensin.
Lentils, the ideal meat substitute in bolognese or lasagna!
10. Black Beans
Protein : 100g of black beans contains 9g of protein. 1 cup of black beans has 15g of protein.
Just like other legumes including peas, lentils, and soy, black beans contain a large amount of protein along with other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins K, vitamin C, folate, potassium, phosphorous are just some of the minerals that will enter your body when you consume black beans.
The benefits of these nutrient packed black beans include maintaining a healthy bone structure and strength. The potassium, calcium, magnesium and the low amount of sodium means they can also help lower blood pressure. If you buy black beans in a can, it is a good idea to rinse the beans to eliminate extra sodium content.
Protein : 100g of avocado contains 2g of protein. 1 cup of avocado has 4.6g of protein.
Avocado has taken the world by storm in the form of avocado toast, and it’s easy to see why. They are great whether you are making guacamole, adding it to your salad, or into a thick and creamy smoothie.
Avocados are a fantastic source of vitamins C, E, K and B 6. Along with the vitamins, avocados also contain high amounts of riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium and potassium.
It is also well known for being a healthy fat. It enhances the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Avocado improves skin health, hair health, nail health and eye health.
Just like most other plant-based protein sources on this list, the folates in avocados have shown to protect against pancreatic, cervical and stomach cancers. They have also been found to decrease the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells, allowing your body to rehabilitate and remain healthy.
12. Lima Beans
Protein : 100g of lima beans contains 8g of protein. 1 cup of lima beans has 4.6g of protein.
If you are looking for an amino acid boost along with a protein source, then lima beans could be great for you.
Lima beans are high in molybdenum which is rarely found in other foods. Just one cup of these beans contains 313% of a daily recommended dose. This is an essential nutrient that helps maintain healthy function and remove toxins from the metabolism.
Lima beans are also a great source of iron which is important for vegans. The folates in the beans decrease risks of heart attack. The high amount of potassium maintains a healthy blood pressure and the fibre helps prevent constipation. Lima beans are a great topper for salads or into soups.
Protein : 100g of cauliflower contains 1.9g of protein. 1 cup of cauliflower has 2.1g of protein.
Cauliflower is low in calories, high in nutrients and contains almost every vitamin and mineral you need. Just one cup contains 77% of your daily needs of Vitamin C, 20% of your vitamin K needs along with an abundance of vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous.
Cauliflower also contains 3 grams of fibre per cup which is extremely beneficial to your health. Fibre feeds healthy bacteria in your gut which reduce inflammation and provide good digestive health.
High fiber diets have been shown to reduce the risk of illnesses including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. It also creates a feeling of fullness which helps individuals consume less food and encourages healthy weight loss.
14. Bok Choy
Protein : 100g of bok choy contains 1.5g of protein. 1 cup of bok choy has 1.1g of protein.
Boy choy, also known as Chinese cabbage, is an excellent source of vegetable protein and other minerals. Just like many leafy greens it is packed with folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron and vitamin A, C and K.
The leaves also contain many antioxidants which create anti-inflammatory effects in the gut and digestive system. This has been shown to lessen the risk of prostate cancer.
Boy choy is a fantastic staple in most Asian recipes including stir fries, soups, spring rolls, and kimchi. Add it to any dish as a boost of protein and other minerals and vitamins.
Protein : 100g of potatoes contains 2g of protein. 1 cup of potatoes has 3g of protein.
A potentially surprising protein vegetable source is the multipurpose potato. Potatoes are also filled with vitamin C and B6, with majority of the minerals found in the skin.
There is no need to peel the potato, simply eat the entire thing to get the all the nutrients. Potatoes are filled with high amounts of fibre, iron and potassium.
Any form of potatoes, whether dehydrated or frozen contains the same amount of nutrients as its fresh counterpart. Research has shown that eating potatoes can help in the weight loss process when prepared healthily.
However, you’ll want to avoid deep fried or heavily salted potato chips and crisps to get the full benefits of this underrated tuber.
Protein : 100g of asparagus contains 2.2g of protein. 1 cup of asparagus has 2.9g of protein.
Whether you like them grilled, steamed or roasted, Asparagus in springtime is a great way to get healthy nutrients and protein. Just like many other vegetables on this list asparagus is a great source of fibre, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K.
It also contains the trace mineral named chromium which enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose through the body.
Just like avocado and kale, asparagus contains a high amount of glutathione. This is a compound which acts to detoxify the body from carcinogens.
Along with the minerals and antioxidants, asparagus helps protect the body against many forms of cancer including bone, larynx, lung, breast, pancreatic and lung.
17. Brussels Sprouts
Protein : 100g of brussels sprouts contains 3.4g of protein. 1 cup of brussels sprouts has 3g of protein.
While most people aren’t the biggest fans of brussels sprouts, they contain a large amount of protein and other minerals.
Brussels sprouts have a massive amount of vitamin K, C, folate, vitamin B6, manganese, choline, fibre, copper and more! These all act together to benefit the body’s detox system and minimise inflammation in the gut. The result is a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.
One study found that brussels sprouts protect against carcinogens and prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Along with the long-term health benefits of consuming brussels sprouts, they can also benefit you in your everyday life. The high amounts of fibre in every brussels sprout will give you natural digestive support.
Protein : 100g of brussels sprouts contains 3.4g of protein. 1 cup of brussels sprouts has 3g of protein.
Arugula is an aromatic leafy green which adds a peppery flavour to any salad or smoothie. It is considered to be a cancer fighting superfood as it is high in antioxidants and glucosinolates. This reduces the risk of lung, breast and pancreatic cancer.
Of course, it also contains vitamin K, calcium, vitamin B and fibre for a healthy body and digestion.
If you are worried about your liver, then good news is that the chlorophyll in arugula can help protect it. It is best eaten raw as that is when all the minerals and vitamins will have the maximum effect on your body.
It is also 90% water making it a cooling and hydrating food for the summer.
19. Mung Beans
Protein : 100g of mung beans contains 24g of protein. 1 cup of mung beans has 49g of protein.
Mung beans are small green beans from the legume family that are healthy and delicious. They have been cultivated since the ancient times due to their sweet taste and versatility in dishes.
Now you can buy them in most health food shops and put them into your salads, soups and stir-fries.
Like most legumes, mung beans are filled with protein, fibre, carbs, magnesium, manganese, folate and vitamin B1. The fibre improves digestion, protein helps keep you filled, and vitamins and minerals ensure your body functions at optimum capacity.
If you’re also looking for a steady source of iron, then these powerful beans are a great option for you.
20. Turnip Greens
Protein : 100g of turnip greens contains 3.4g of protein. 1 cup of turnip greens has 0.8g of protein.
Turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, Vitamin C along with manganese, calcium, vitamin E, fibre, vitamin B6 and vitamin B2.
Studies have shown that overcooking the turnip greens by even one or two minutes can significantly decrease chlorophyll and phenol content. Cooking them by blanching or steaming is the best way to ensure they retain all the nutrients and best flavour.
According to most studies, cruciferous vegetables are one of the best additions to any meal plan. Just like bok choy and mustard greens, they possess larger amounts of minerals than almost any other vegetable.
They are packed with antioxidants which have shown to detoxify carcinogenic substances and leave your body healthier than before!
21. Beet Greens
Protein : 100g of beet greens contains 2.2g of protein. 1 cup of beet greens has 1.5g of protein.
Beet greens contain no fat, no cholesterol, are low on calories and packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants...so don’t just chop them off and throw them out!
They contain B-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which all act as anti-cancer components in the body.
Zeaxanthin also helps prevent retinal detachment and age-related vision degradation. If you are also looking for a green which can provide you with a boost in your daily intake of vitamin K, vitamin C, and B6 then this is the best green for you. In a mere 100g of beet greens you can get 333% of the daily intake for vitamin K and 50% of your vitamin C needs.
The high-quality nutrition that beet greens provide can help protect you and your family against osteoporosis, iron-deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, colon cancer and leukaemia.
You can use beet greens in soups, ravioli, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and stir fry’s. If you get some fresh and young greens you can put them in smoothies, juices or even crisp them up for a salad.
22. Collard Greens
Protein : 100g of collard contains 3g of protein. 1 cup of collard has 1.1g of protein.
Just like most leafy greens, collard greens contain an impressive nutrient bomb for your system. This cholesterol-lowering green is low in calories, with only 70 calories in a cup, and a large amount of folate, calcium, dietary fibre, and vitamins E, A, K and C.
When you’re choosing your greens, avoid the yellow or brown ones, as the firm green ones contain most of the nutrients. The best way to cook collard greens to ensure they retain the maximum amount of active nutrition is to cut and steam them, or lightly sauté them for a few minutes.
23. Mustard Greens
Protein : 100g of mustard contains 2.9g of protein. 1 cup of mustard greens has 1.6g of protein.
Mustard greens are similar to collard greens mentioned above. One cup of mustard greens contains up to 500% of your daily required intake of vitamin K, 85% of your daily vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C and a large number of folates, fibre, calcium and protein.
An excellent nutrient profile.
Mustard greens also protect you from free radical cells that can cause severe damage to the DNA. This oxidative stress can harm vital functions in the body and the antioxidants in mustard greens minimise the impact. Mustard green also helps the body get rid of foreign toxins.
The chlorophyll inside the leafy greens can help neutralize heavy metals and chemicals you may have ingested.
24. Green Peas
Protein : 100g of green peas contains 5g of protein. 1 cup of green peas has 8g of protein.
Once again, like most legumes, green peas have an impressive nutritional profile. One cup of them has a mere 62 calories yet an impressive 4g of fibre, 4g of protein and 34% of your daily need of Vitamin A, 24% of Vitamin K and 13% of Vitamin C.
Eating green peas with their combination of protein and fibre helps slow your digestion and give you a prolonged feeling of fullness and energy. Green peas contain a relatively low glycemic index which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Along with all these other benefits, magnesium, potassium and calcium are all minerals which help heart health. These elements have shown to lower overall blood pressure which is one of the major factors for heart disease.
Basically, make sure to add some peas to your diet!
Protein : 100g of mushrooms contains 3.1g of protein. 1 cup of mushrooms has 3g of protein.
Mushrooms are a superfood and one of the most incredible organisms that grow on our planet.
It is estimated that 50% of edible mushrooms have positive health benefits on top of their nutritional value. They have also shown to be great for the environment, and a potential solution to the plastic crisis, oil spills, and removing pollution.
Mushrooms are low in calories and contain B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper and vitamin D. They also contain as many antioxidants as colourful vegetables and fruits.
Eating mushrooms can help boost your immune system, lengthen your life, help with weight loss, improve digestion all the while fighting cancer. Many mushrooms have also been shown to have positive effects on the brain and healing processes in your body.
Some of the healthiest varieties of mushrooms to eat include Shiitake, Oyster and Lions Mane mushrooms.
If you eat any of the vegetables and legumes on this list, you will be boosting your nutrition in more ways than just protein. Plant based foods are brimming with vitamins and minerals and should make up a significant portion of your daily diet.
Especially if you consider the dark leafy greens, you will gain an impressive nutrition profile with every leaf on your plate. This is due to the antioxidants, detoxifying properties and minerals in the vegetables.
Eating more of any of the best 25 protein filled vegetables will help meet your daily needs of not only protein, but vitamins A, C, D and K.
When picking your vegetables, opt for the freshest and preferably organic, low pesticide vegetables grown in your local surroundings. This way you will not only benefit your own health, but your local farmers and the environment.
Note: The USDA Food Composition Databases' database was used for consistency in our research.