3 Best Plant-Based Sources of Protein


Lentils (Up to 9 g of Protein per ½ Cup)

Sessions says lentils and other legumes (such as beans, peas, nuts, and seeds) offer a full protein package. “They’re rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and [can] provide up to 9 g of protein per serving,” which is ½ cup cooked legumes, she says. They also contain antioxidant-rich polyphenols, which a study published in 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences says have anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetes properties.

2) Chickpeas (7 g of Protein per ½ Cup)

Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are legumes that are rich in protein, folate, fiber, iron, phosphorus, and healthy fatty acids, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A ½-cup serving of chickpeas has about 7 g of protein, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Sussi suggests roasting them for a crispy snack, or you can get your fix in hummus — chickpeas are the main ingredient in the dip.

3) Nutritional Yeast (8 g of Protein per ¼ Cup)

Many vegans go nuts over nutritional yeast’s cheese-like umami flavor, but there are several reasons non-vegans should also give it a try. “It’s packed with B vitamins, the antioxidant glutathione, and protein,” Sussi says. “A quarter cup has 8 g of protein.” Plus, it’s free of gluten, sugar, dairy, and artificial flavors or ingredients. “Add it to soups and sauces, sprinkle it on popcorn or avocado toast, or blend with soaked cashews to make a great homemade vegan cheese on pasta or veggies,” Sussi suggests.