Whenever I tell anyone that I am a vegetarian, their first question is “dude, how do you get your protein?”
According to websites like health.com, Rodale News and Greatist, there are a a ton of vegetarian and vegan foods that count as some absolutely amazing sources of protein. But which ones are the best? We’ve looked at the percentage of protein per serving in all the foods listed by these sites and are telling you which five have the highest amount of protein. We’re even making it really easy and including recipes for each protein — you’re welcome.
The best part? No animals were harmed in the making of these proteins.
1. Peanuts and peanut butter – 26% Protein
On their own, peanuts carry 38 grams of protein per serving size of 146 grams. Let’s make it even more interesting — peanut butter and jelly is a quintessential American snack food. Everyone knows that. Bet you didn’t know, though, that peanut butter has the same protein percentage as tilapia. Don’t try to eat the two together though… trust me on that one.
2. Seeds (particularly poppy) – 18-25% Protein
Sesame, sunflower and poppy seeds all pack a powerful punch. and here you were thinking they were just good for getting stuck in your teeth. To absorb all the goodness they hold, you could eat like 50 everything bagels a day — but that might be taking it to a bit of an extreme.
3. Unsweetened cocoa powder (dry) – 20% Protein
That’s right, cocoa made it on the list before any sort of vegetable — we’re ok with it too. People don’t usually associate chocolate with protein or any other healthy connotation for that matter. But, there are actually 17 grams of protein in unsweetened cocoa powder per serving size of 86 grams.
Recipe: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
4. Chia seeds (dried) – 14% Protein
These edible seeds are the premature version of the plants we all know, love and alter into some sad fro atop a ceramic character’s head. There are 4 grams of protein per serving size of 1 ounce.
Recipe: Chia Seed Pudding
5. Edamame (frozen, prepared) – 11% Protein
Ever been to an Asian restaurant where the appetizer served to you resembled snow peas? Those probably weren’t snow peas… more than likely, that was edamame you were eating. These premature soybeans in pods are an excellent source of protein. In fact, there are 17 grams of protein per serving size of 155 grams.
Recipe: Parmesan Baked Edamame
And just to prove we weren’t just spitting off those percentages to sound fancy, here’s a graphic look at how the often mentioned meatless proteins rank: