Best Protein for Vegan Diet

Best Protein for Vegan Diet?noresize

When following a vegan diet, including protein in your diet can become a challenge. Our dietitians know how to help you include the best protein sources into your vegan diet. Click Here to connect to our OnPoint Food Portion Database.  For many people, switching to a vegan diet means eating more processed foods to mimic your old diet.  While this may be an easy switch, we recommend a different approach to implementing a plant based lifestyle.

For vegans and vegetarians, carbohydrates tend to be the core macronutrient. Thankfully, complex carbohydrate food sources are often a good source of protein as well.

Working with a dietitian or nutritionist will help you best determine how much protein to include in your meal plan. There are many ways to increase protein in small amounts through eating nuts, seeds, protein powder, and plant-based meat substitutes. By ensuring you are consuming healthy calories throughout the day, you will also meet your protein requirements. Our list below includes vegan protein sources that help give you an extra boost.

Tofu and Tempeh

Both Tempeh and Tofu are soy-based vegan protein sources. Each provide 14 grams of plant-based protein per 4oz serving (0.5P in OnPoint Nutrition Calculator terms). Depending on your dish, you can purchase tofu in different forms, including: silken, soft, firm, and extra firm.

Planning on blending into a smoothie or using with a sauce? Silken tofu has the right consistency to create a smooth and silky texture while maintaining high protein levels. Firm and extra firm tofu is great when using tofu as a main dish. Tempeh is often sold in blocks and can be crumbled, cooked in pieces, or chopped to use in a variety of different recipes. Tofu and tempeh are great vegan protein sources because of their ability to absorb the flavors you are cooking it with. Both tempeh and tofu provide additional nutrients such as calcium and iron, which may be difficult to obtain in a plant-based diet. Looking for a great recipe to try? Check out our Baked Sweet and Spicy Tempeh recipe.


If you are looking for a vegan protein that is similar in texture to ground meats, seitan is a great solution. Seitan, also known as vital wheat gluten, is a high protein food source that you can use similarly to ground meat for both flavor and texture. One serving of seitan packs a big punch. In a 4oz serving, you’ll get 21 grams of protein (1P according to our OnPoint Nutrition Calculator).

Beans, Lentils, Legumes

Although often regarded as a starch or carbohydrate, another great vegan protein source includes all varieties of beans, legumes, and lentils. As you are exploring vegan recipes and meal plans, you will often find one of these three foods. Beans, legumes and lentils are excellent sources of protein and fiber.  They improve cholesterol levels, improve gut bacteria and decrease blood sugar levels. One serving of beans, legumes, or lentils, contains 14 grams of protein (0.5P, 1S for 1cup on the OnPoint Nutrition Calculator).

½ cup Nuts or ½ cup Hummus

If you are looking for a non-traditional protein source to include into your vegan diet, hummus and nuts are clever solution.  Both hummus and nuts can be high protein snacks between meals. A ½ cup serving of nuts or hummus contains 15g of protein (0.5P OnPoint Count). It is important to note- both nuts and hummus contain a higher fat content than other vegan protein choices, so remember to be mindful about how often you include them in your plan. Here’s a great recipe for a Classic Hummus to include throughout your weekly planning. Remember ½ cup to get 0.5P serving.

When following a plant-based diet, it is so important to make sure to focus on high quality sources of starches and fats, with one of the reasons being to get more protein in. See below for an example of how to pack lots of protein into a typical day using your normal 3 high quality meals:




Protein (grams)


1 cup steal cut oats

4 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoon peanut butter







2 small bean burritos

1 cup steamed broccoli




Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce

½ cup tofu

Mixed green side salad

1 cup boiled spinach









Our team helps people implement vegan and vegetarian lifestyles for many goals: weight loss, disease management, and improved quality of life.  Visit our main page to learn more!


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