Vegan Protein Sources + Recipes

I’m not vegan…

…but I’ve dabbled in the vegan space, and I do acknowledge that my body loves a plant-based diet.

Since I’ve started training for a figure competition, I’ve introduced more diary, eggs, and fish into my diet.  I have to get ~150g of protein per day, so I felt it was the best decision for me to add those items back in.  (I have not added back in meat, which I think is the biggest offender when I felt like I was dragging in the past.)

That’s not to say that the average person can’t get enough protein on a vegan diet though!  Most people only need 0.7-0.8g of protein per pound of body weight.  If you are strength training to gain moderate muscle tone, try to get 1g per pound.


Much of my protein does still come from vegan sources, so I was excited to be asked by Kevin (@instagramfitness) to help put together a “clean eating” guide to vegan protein sources.  With input from myself, @_mr_nice_watch and @petitefi, Kevin designed this awesome chart:

Buckwheat clarification: 1C cooked = 6g protein. The 24g number is uncooked. Sorry!


Some of my favorite ways to incorporate the vegan proteins above:

Ginger-Lime Edamame and Black Bean Burgers

Cherry-Balsamic Chickpea Salad

Sweet Potato Asian Lentil Loaf

Seitan Chorizo

Salade Niçoise

Check out Kevin’s Tumbler site for more clean eating ideas – there are a few of great charts and info on the following topics:

  • Nuts & Seeds, Dairy, Oils & Fats and Condiments & Minerals
  • Veggies, Fruits, and Grains
  • Hydration and (Non-Vegan) Protein
  • How to estimate the protein, fats, carbs you should strive for each day


I would be remiss if I didn’t give shout out to my favorite vegan protein powder, Growing Naturals, and my favorite protein-rich “condiment,” peanut flour, from iHerb.

What is your favorite plant-based protein source?  Do you have any recipes to share using these protein sources?

What are you most looking forward to this weekend? 


  1. says

    Kevin couldn’t have asked a better person to share about vegan protein sources- each day I’m more amazed by the your meals on Instagram :)! Currently, my favorite plant-based sources are chickpeas, tofu & Sunwarrior

    • Laura says

      I’ll have to let him know we need a clarification… that is the protein content in a cup on uncooked! Good catch – thanks! :)

  2. says

    What a great post! I am not a vegan, I feel better when I eat meat, but it is always interesting to see the other side of this! It always amazes how individualized our needs are and this is a great example!

    • Laura says

      It’s really good! Make sure to steam it the first time you eat it – some people find it to be sour/bitter.

  3. says

    Love this post! As a vegetarian, I’m always thinking about protein to make sure I’m getting enough. And now that Vishnu’s diet is less meat centric, I think about him too! This is great, Laura. VERY helpful!

  4. says

    Great list! Always nice to get new ideas for adding more protein, as it’s easy to get stuck in a rut (*cough* chickpea flour flatbread *cough*). I need to buy some tempeh this weekend–I love the stuff, but always forget about it.

  5. says

    We are also not vegan, or even vegetarian, for that matter, but we love pretending that we are on a frequent basis! We get really tired of the whole meat-and-potatoes thing, and vegan/vegetarian food is much more interesting, creative, and allows vegetables to be the star of the show! All of your stuff looks delicious, we’ll definitely be trying them out! 😀

  6. says

    Peanut flour is by far my FAVORITE source of plant based protein…can’t even believe I went so many years without it! And seitan….love love love me some homemade seitan! I need to try your chorizo recipe for sure!

    I’m looking forward to doing absolutely NOTHING this weekend! I’m on call so I’m hoping and PRAYING that I don’t get called in, but other than that I just want some chill time in my kitchen. I’ve been dying to try out some recipe ideas of my own and then of course the 2 dozen of yours that I’ve been drooling over! 😉

    • Laura says

      Peanut flour should be it’s own food group.

      I hope you achieved your goal of doing nothing! (Selfishly because I want some new recipes from you. :) )

  7. says

    Ooh!! That sweet potato Asian lentil loaf sounds amazing!! can’t wait to make it
    I’ve never had seitan before. Is it similar to tofu? I think, no I know that I need to incorporate more protein into my diet. I LOVE quinoa, beans of all kinds, tofu…You’re so organized and just to top of things! Good for you!!

    • Laura says


      Seitan is made from vital wheat gluten, so it is different from tofu. I think it makes “meatier” creations… I really like it!

  8. says

    Most of my sources are vegan/vegetarian as well. I love black beans and edamame – need to make those burgers you listed. I’m also a really big fan of lentils, especially in a mujaddara preparation. And hemp seeds!

    bb is leaving for 2 months tomorrow morning – so this weekend is looking down for me. But I’m going to try and cheer myself up with my fav yoga studio and coffee shop.

    Happy Friday!

  9. says

    Your peanut butter and jeggs convinced me to pick up peanut flour.

    Also, how is your total calculated (for protein) and can I ask how many calories you’re supposed to be on now (you can e-mail me if you don’t want to share with the world). I’ve been on 98 g protein for a while, but I use MyFitnessPal to track and I add my exercise in, which makes my goals for everything go up. I try to stay within the original calorie, fat and carb goal, but I usually end up between 100-120 g of protein.

    I, on the other hand, am not trying to gain weight. I would like to lose about 10 lbs (I know I know, vanity weight) but it needs to be FAT. And if the stuff I want to get rid of looks like it’s gone after 5 lbs, then I’m going to quit at that. Anyway, I’m trying to find a balance between maintaining my muscle and losing weight.

    and yet another long disjointed comment from me. :)

    • Laura says

      Yesss! Welcome to the dark side. :)

      If you are trying to build a lot of muscles, you want to try to get 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight. For a casual lifter just looking to tone, 1g/lb is fine. For the “normal” person, 0.75g/pound is the rule of thumb.

      I don’t actually have a calorie goal. I’m jut suppose dot get the protein in and keep the sugar, salt, and fat to a minimum. If you’re interested check out the calculation steps in the Instragm Fitness link above. I did it for myself and it actually is close to what I get without counting.

      Let me know if you have more questions. :)

  10. says

    How ironic that you posted this today. I switched to a vegan diet about 2 months ago and was positive I had found the way I was meant to eat. The difference was amazing. This week I’ve been questioning whether or not I’m getting enough protein. Sure I can up my proteins but so many of the plant based options are also high carbs. I come from a long history of being a carbphobic :) So much so I even thought about giving up the vegan diet. Fortunately for me giving up is not in my nature. I’ll figure it out :)

    Sorry for the long ramble!

    I’m blogging new vegan recipes next week using many of the ingredients you listed.

    • Laura says

      Oh cool! It is incredible, and it gets easier once you get in the habit. If you aren’t training for some crazy competition, you can get than enough protein on a vegan diet. (Not that it isn’t possible on a competition diet, but it’s not easy!)

      A couple of other vegan protein sources not on the list are TVP and vital wheat gluten. The vital wheat gluten is what I used to make the chorizo.

  11. says

    Wow, I had no idea you were training for a figure competition! That is pretty go girl! And I looove seitan although I haven’t eaten it in a while. I remember I fell in love with it when I used to eat at Native Foods Cafe very often. And for plant based protein, I’d have to go with nuts and beans! My ultimate favorite nuts are peanuts, almond, and walnuts.

  12. says

    This is great info and all the food looks delicious! I could not live this way though. My body (and my taste buds) thrive on meat, and my stomach would literally die from so much fiber. But that’s just because my stomach has problems, not because high fiber diets aren’t great 😉 Although they can be TOO high, I marvel at vegans who manage to balance everything out. PEANUT FLOUR FOR LIFE.

  13. says

    Thanks for the awesome info!! Such a great post.
    I definitely admire anyone who can go fully vegan, but I’ve learnt that my body does the best when I eat a little meat and animal products.
    Right with you on loving sun warrior and peanut flour! I always have an extra bag on hand because I’m obsessed!

    • Laura says

      Yep – the most important thing ti to figure out what works best for you.

      Ummmm… I have several bags stockpiled. You know, in case of emergency. 😉

  14. says

    Hey wow! A week or so ago I did a rough mental calculation of my protein intake and thought I was utterly failing, but now I see that my broccoli and brussels sprouts intake gives me magic boosts! Awesome!

  15. says

    Great chart. I didn’t know some of these had so much protein. It will come in handy in September when I’ll be a poor college student again! Thanks for putting it together.

  16. says

    LOVE the chart! How easy is that to access and check – great share!
    I’m thinking the Olympics are the hot thing for my weekend. And the rest of my family is having way more fun than I am, so I’m looking for the Athletes to entertain and inspire me!

  17. says

    I’m not vegan either, but I too feel much better with a plant based diet. (That doesn’t keep me away from the bacon, though.) Love the chart and pinned it for future reference. Diggin’ that chickpea-cherry salad too!

  18. says

    Umm…does peanut butter count? 😉

    Very cool list! I’m happy to say I’m doing pretty good on the veggie protein side of things. This meal plan I’m doing from Healthful Pursuit has taken all the guess work out of it and I’m being a really good girl!

    Except when you suggest putting chocolate syrup on a slice of coconut pie…then I cave and go pig out on the best idea ever.

  19. Joe M says

    Wow those luck positively delicious! I will be trying some of these this weekend… so glad I found this blog!

    I have so many favorite protein sources… I just can’t pick one! I found pretty much all of them through and just searched for the ones with the highest ratings… hasn’t failed me yet!

    Thanks for the post Laura, looking forward to more!


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