July 25, 2017
Selection vegan protein sources on wood background

Plant Sources of Protein

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

If you're moving toward a plant-based diet—for health reasons, environmental reasons, or both—you may be concerned about getting enough protein. You needn't worry: Many plant foods are good sources of protein, especially legumes, nuts, seeds, and many grains.

The protein in most plant foods is “incomplete”—that is, it has insufficient amounts of one or more of the nine essential amino acids. (Amino acids are protein’s building blocks; the essential ones are those the body can’t synthesize, so you have to get them from food.) But if your diet includes a wide variety of foods each day, you will absorb a full complement of amino acids. And contrary to common belief, you do not have to eat these complementary proteins at the same meal. You can eat them hours apart or even much later in the day.

The chart below lists a variety of plant sources of protein, in descending order of how much they contain per serving.

Food Protein (g)
Soy nuts, 2 ounces 24
Tempeh, 4 ounces 24
Soybeans, cooked, 1 cup 22
Tofu, baked, 4 ounces 20
Lentils, cooked, 1 cup 18
Edamame (green soybeans), 3/4 cup 17
Black beans, cooked, 1 cup 15
Chick-peas, cooked, 1 cup 15
Kidney beans, cooked, 1 cup 15
White beans, cooked, 1 cup 15
TVP (textured vegetable protein), dry, 1/2 cup 15
Pinto beans, cooked, 1 cup 14
Black-eyed peas, cooked, 1 cup 13
Baby lima beans, cooked, 1 cup 12
Tofu, firm, regular, 4 ounces 9.2
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons 8.1
Wheatberries, cooked, 3/4 cup 8.1
Green peas, 1 cup 7.5
Pasta, whole-wheat, cooked, 1 cup 7.5
Barley, hulled, cooked, 1 cup 7.4
Quinoa, cooked, 1 1/3 cups 7.4
Oats, steel-cut, cooked, 1 cup 7.3
Amaranth, 3/4 cup uncooked 7.0
Pumpkin seeds, hulled, 1 ounce 7.0
Soy milk, 1 cup 6.7
Flaxseed, 1/4 cup 6.7
Peanuts, 1 ounce 6.7
Wild rice, cooked, 1 cup 6.5
Sunflower seeds, 1 ounce 6.5
Almonds, 1 ounce 5.9
Kasha (roasted buckwheat), cooked, 1 cup 5.7
Bulgur wheat, cooked, 1 cup 5.6
Tofu, soft silken, 4 ounces 5.4
Barley, pearl, cooked, 1 cup 5.0
Corn, 1 cup 5.0
Rice, brown, cooked, 1 cup 5.0
Almond butter, 2 tablespoons 4.8
Asparagus, cooked, 1 cup 4.7
Broccoli, cooked, 1 cup 4.7
Cashews, 1 ounce 4.6
Walnuts, 1 ounce 4.3
Rice, white enriched, cooked, 1 cup 4.3
Mushrooms, raw, 4 ounces 4.1
Pasta, cooked, 1 cup 3.7
Oatmeal, cooked, 2/3 cup 3.6
Bok choy, cooked, 1 cup 2.7
Whole-wheat bread, 1 slice 2.7
Kale, cooked, 1 cup 2.5
Pecans, 1 ounce 2.2
Green beans, cooked, 1 cup 2.0

Also see Do You Need More Protein?