What are the best high protein vegetables? If you’re trying to eat healthier and want more protein in your diet, check out this list of high protein vegetables. Each one contains at least 6 grams of protein per serving, and most contain far more than that! And even if you’re not trying to increase your protein intake, these veggies make great side dishes to complement your protein-rich main dish and add flavour and texture to almost any meal!
Vegetables are naturally high in fiber and tend to be very low in calories. By eating greens, you can get quite a bit of your necessary protein without many excess calories at all. Collard greens, broccoli, spinach and turnip greens are all examples of high-protein veggies that are both tasty and nutritious. Add them to any meal for an extra dose of nutrients or add them to recipes so they aren’t as noticeable but still very much present in flavour.
When it comes to high-protein vegetables, beans are a nutritional powerhouse. Beans have lots of nutrients and fiber that can help you feel full for longer. They also don’t require any additional preparation or cooking time; just be sure to rinse them well before consuming. Some varieties that pack a lot of protein include red kidney beans, black beans, lentils and chickpeas. For more info, check out Healthline’s guide on how many carbs are in legumes like peas and beans and how they stack up against other carbs in your diet.
Along with being a fantastic source of fiber, peas are an extremely high-protein food. This makes them a great choice for vegetarians who need more options to get their daily dose of protein. Two cups of cooked peas give you 22 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, which will help keep your digestion running smoothly and make sure you don’t go hungry later on in the day. They’re also full of folate, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. Throw them into a stir-fry for dinner or add some to soup stock for a healthy snack. For vegetarians looking to increase their intake, peas are an excellent option.
High in both carbs and protein, corn is a go-to vegetable for vegans and meat-eaters alike. A one-cup serving of cooked corn has 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, making it a filling food that doesn’t pack on pounds or add extra fat to your diet. Cooked corn also contains approximately 90 calories per cup. A whole ear of corn provides 18 grams of carbohydrates (though you can reduce that number by removing kernels before cooking). Corn is also an excellent source of vitamin C, providing 20 percent of your daily needs in just one ear.
You might be surprised to hear that potatoes are high in protein—it’s true! One cup of cooked red potatoes has eight grams of protein. Potatoes are also an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes have more carbs, but they’re also loaded with antioxidants and vitamins like beta-carotene. High in fiber, sweet potatoes contain about five grams of protein per cup.
When it comes to high-protein vegetables, root vegetables are most likely your best bet. Although they contain less protein than some other leafy or stem veggies, root veggies are a great source of fiber and carbohydrates, making them an ideal choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
Some roots (carrots, potatoes) tend to be higher in sugar than others (sweet potatoes), so make sure you’re choosing ones that aren’t heavily processed or contain added sugars. When selecting, look for those that are firm and don’t show signs of sprouting. Roots can be roasted and eaten whole as is or puréed for soups.
When you think of high-protein fruits, it’s likely that bananas and apples come to mind. Although they’re good sources of protein (1 gram each), these fruits aren’t among the best options for vegetarians and vegans who want to boost their intake. The highest source of protein per serving is a peanut butter sandwich—that’s 4 grams! Keep in mind that peanut butter isn’t technically a fruit, but it should be one of your main go-to proteins.
Of all of these high-protein vegetarian foods, seeds come out on top, with an average of 21 grams of protein per 100-gram serving. Peas aren’t far behind at 18 grams, and beans are a close third at 17 grams. The seeds, in particular, that will help you get there include chia (12g/100g), flax (12g/100g), hemp (12g/100g), pumpkin (11g/100g) and sunflower (10.7 g/100g). Sprinkle these into your yogurt, salads or onto some rice for a quick dose of added nutrition. You could also try throwing one or two tablespoons into a smoothie or straight into your mouth!
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build, maintain and repair muscle mass in your body. A diet high in protein can also keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Getting enough protein is especially important as you age. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, it can be difficult to get all of your daily recommended amounts from plant-based sources alone—and even meat-eaters need to watch their intake of certain animal proteins like red meat and poultry.