Best Plant Based Protein Foods List


best plant based protein foods list

Plant protein is big at the moment. Huge in fact! Many athletes, body builders, and just the general health conscious are now turning to a more plant based way of life. This way of eating just makes you feel cleaner, healthier, lighter and much more clear headed – and these are just a few of the benefits. With this plant based protein foods list you can see at a glance which foods contain the highest amounts of protein so you can work your meals around them.


Why eat a plant based diet?

As more research is done, and plant based/vegan diets become more popular you will start to see the huge benefits for yourself. If you are in training, and even if you’re not, eating a more alkaline plant based diet will have huge benefits on your health and vitality.

The anti inflammatory effects of plant foods will be something you will notice very quickly in terms of your health and fitness. You will not feel as achy after exercise and you will recover more quickly. In fact some of the world leading athletes eat plant based and get their best ever times because of it.

Iron Man champion Brendan Brazier is one of these athletes, and he has written many books on the subject making this a fact that cannot be denied. In fact, the guy is mostly a RAW VEGAN, which is obviously another level for many of us, but goes to show just what the body is capable of when given the ‘perfect fuel’.


Incorporating more plant foods into your diet:nuts are full of protein and are heat healthy

You can easily start your journey towards a plant based lifestyle by making a few simple swaps and changes ever day. It is usually best to start slowly otherwise you will find it very hard. Also, taking your time gives you the chance to educate yourself and learn new recipe’s, tips and tricks as you go, as it is VERY IMPORTANT you know how to combine foods and get all the nutrients and amino acids you need – otherwise you may end up less healthy than before.

For more in depth reading about this subject you may want to check out my ‘Beginner’s Guide to Plant Based Eating’.



As plant proteins go let’s start off with the power houses of the plant world. Below is a list of the highest ranking protein based plant foods and their protein value raw, per 100g. These can be easily incorporated into any meal or snack, making it easy for you to start making the change today.      

Protein amounts per 100 grams:  

  • Soy Beans 36g
  • Hemp Seeds 32g
  • Pumpkin Seeds 29.8g
  • Lentils 24.6g
  • Kidney Beans 24.4g
  • Peanuts 24.4g
  • Green peas 23.8g
  • Black Beans 21.6g
  • Almonds 21.2g
  • Pistachio Nuts 21g
  • Chickpeas 20.5g
  • Tempeh 20.3g
  • Sunflower Seeds 19.3g
  • Ground Flax (linseed) 18.3g
  • Sesame Seeds 17g
  • Tahini 17g
  • Chia Seeds 16.5g
  • Cashew Nuts 15.3g
  • Walnuts 15.2g
  • Hazelnuts 15g
  • Quinoa 14.1g
  • Sundried Tomatoes 14.1g
  • Pasta 13.9g
  • Pine Nuts 13.7g
  • Wholewheat Bread 13.4g
  • Tofu 12.7g
  • Buckwheat 12.6g            
  • Popcorn (plain) 12g
  •  Millet 11g
  • Pecans 9.2g
  • Macadamia Nuts 7.9g
  • Dried coconut 6.9g


PLANT PROTEIN POWDERS:plant proteins are healthier than animal proteins

As well as the protein you find in food you may also want to consider a plant based protein powder to cover all bases, especially when training hard. There are quite a few on the market, but you need to be aware of proper combining as some or some, but not all, plant proteins are ‘complete proteins‘, meaning they do not have all the amino acids in all the right ratios like animal protein does. However, they do hold other great benefits over animal proteins including:-

  • Lower risk of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and Alzheimers Disease.
  • Less congestion in general i.e. chest and sinus.
  • Lower risk of many other diseases including some cancers.
  • A plant based diet is mostly cheaper.
  • A plant based diet is cleaner energy and has a lower impact on the environment.
  • Plant based protein does not contain cholesterol

THE BEST VEGAN PROTEIN POWDERSplant protein powders help build muscle mass

There are so many plant based and vegan protein powders out there, some of the best are ‘blends’ as they are already combined correctly with other proteins for a complete amino acid profile. Make sure they are organic and have no fillers, artificial colours, flavorings or preservatives. I say all this because if it is something you will be using every day then you don’t want to be overburdening your system with anything unnatural.

Here is a list of some of the different types of plant protein powders available, their amino acid profile, and any pro’s or con’s. You can either buy them separately and mix them yourself OR, my preferred option as it’s easier, is to buy them ready mixed in a blend. These tend to go down better as they have been tried and tested for taste, have added natural flavours to make them more palatable, and often offer other added nutrients.


Mixing them up yourself!

Hemp, pumpkin, chia, pea and potato already contain a good amino acid profile and so can be taken alone. The others which aren’t as complete (and are often cheaper) you could simply mix with one of these.

However I always advise to mix things up and not take the same thing everyday because they all have a different nutrient content. For instance hemp protein is high in omega 3’s (vital fatty acids for those in training) making hemp a always a good one to use alone or in your blend. You could purchase a few and experiment to see which are palatable to you.

Some protein powders are pretty bland when they are not part of a specially formulated blend so you will probably want to add your own healthy sweetener and favours, such as raw honey, banana, xylitol, stevia, cacao powder, dates or date syrup. ( dates are my number one training food, find out more in this postDates – The Ultimate Training Food’).


PEA PROTEIN  pea protein has a good amino acid profile

Pea protein is high in branch chain amino acids and lysine but lower in methionine. It usually contain soluble fibers from the pea which helps thicken it up, but doesn’t taste great alone so will need to be mixed with some other flavours and sweeteners. BUT it’s saving grace is it is cheap, and has a good spectrum of all the amino acids.



This one is higher in methionine, but has less of the other amino acids such as leucine, histidene and threonine. It is however, a superior protein if you can find it organically and ethically sourced – rice protein is notorious for containing high levels of cadmium and arsenic, due to most of it coming from China. But it is fine in smaller amounts, or as part of a blend.



Pumpkin protein has complete amino acid profile and tastes better than the others, it is also rich in minerals, namely zinc, and is high in L.Arginine (great for the male libido). It is also alkaline-forming, and high in tryptophan and vitamin E. This one is the clear winner for me in terms of taste, texture and amino acid profile, but more expensive than the others.



Hemp protein contains a complete amino acid profile with the added benefits of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, soluble and insoluble fiber, chlorophyll and many minerals. Also, decreases sugar cravings, regulates blood sugar and boosts the immune system. This one really is a superior protein due to its high nutrient content, and I highly recommend you use it either alone or part of a blend.


CHIA SEED PROTEINchia seeds are rich in broad spectrum proteins and omega 3 fatty acids

Chia contains a good profile of all essential amino acids with added benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber, phosphorus and other minerals. Another superior protein not unlike hemp, and either of these two should be used frequently.



Potato protein is complete, contains high amounts of branch-chain amino acids, and has high bioavailability in the body (meaning that the body can easily absorb it’s protein and nutrients). It is also low in calories, so a good one to choose if you are on a calorie restricted diet.


For more on burning fat and building good muscle mass please check out this great post ‘Easy ways to cut fat and build muscle’.



Thank you for reading this post, if you have any questions about protein powder, or need help picking the right one for you then I would love to hear from you. Please leave your messages below in the comments area.

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Stefanie Taylor
I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

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21 Comments on "Best Plant Based Protein Foods List"

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Great article!

‘PLANT BASED PROTEINS V,S ANIMAL PROTEINS’ was that a typo error v,s instead of vs.?

‘CHOOSING A PROTEIN POWDER’ I don’t think it is necessary to add the sub-heading ‘Best Plant Based Protein Powders’ there. You can just go ahead with the brief introduction of the topic.

Other than that, it is a great article. The headings were good, although you might want to use black font to make it stand out more. The contents were appropriate to the headline.

Well done!


Hi Chris,

Yes that was a typo error there. Thanks so much for all that advice, I will definitely use it and amend my site.I am new to this so I need all the help I can get 🙂


Hm I didn’t realise plant based protein powders had some health benefits that regular whey protein powders do not. I’ve never researched them all that much but I’m being to run out so I’ll definitely have it in the back of my mind when I’m surfing around looking for more.

Where do you suggest I go and look for them, I’d imagine Amazon has some but is there anywhere with more options and better prices?

stefanie taylor

Hi Lyle, 

I’m glad you find my post interesting, to be honest I am still researching myself for the best and most reasonably priced protein powders so i will definitely keep this site updated as I go along. 

For now though the one I am using is called ‘phd protein superfood’ which has all sorts of added superfoods including greens, omega’s, baobab,matcha tea, pumpkin, quinoa to name a few. There are also some great ones supplied by the brand Natures Plus which although quite expensive are very high quality as, like the above, they supply so much more than just protein. 

brent walker

Great article Stefanie, learned a few things for sure. I am 48 years old and for sure past the trying to bulk up stage of my 20 s and 30 s .I am interested in consuming more proteins less carbs for weight loss ( funny how it sneaks up on you over time) .What do you recommend for amount of protein for myself . I weigh 215 pounds looking to lose 15-20 pounds ?

Hi Brent, Thanks for your comment and you’re right, it does sneak on over time. The best system for working out your protein is you generally need about 1 gram of protein per 2 lbs of body fat, so you would need around 107 grams. If you need to lose weight, then they say you should stay within your calorie range but double your protein as this will fill you up and you will automatically eat carbs and other things that turn more readily to fat. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions and… Read more »
bert walker

Thanks Stefanie, I am going to try to increase my protein intake . I suffer from anxiety/depression so I am not as active as I once was , so that is where to weight gain came from. Also what do you feel a calorie range would be for myself at 215 pounds

Talking with you lifted my spirits

Hi Bert, I also suffer from anxiety/depression (or I did, which set me on my path to nutrition) which it is why it is even more important for you to do exercise, especially weight bearing as it brings down a cascade of feel good endorphins that really blast out depression. That, doubled with a healthy diet filled with fruit, veg, wholegrain rice/bread/pasta to keep your blood sugar stable and the absolute must have, is to take high strength omega 3 fish oils. I promise you if you do all these things you will see a massive difference. Those things saved… Read more »

Great article, loved how there was such a thorough listing. I use hemp protein powder and it really makes a difference for me in the morning as to energy and thinking clearer.

stefanie taylor

Hi Ariel,
Yes hemp is a great protein powder to use as it has more health benefits than the others such as a higher content of omega 3 fats, not to mention many more nutrients. I use it every day also, especially after a workout.

stefanie taylor
Hi Ariel, It’s great to know you are a fellow vegan. I have only been vegan for 6 months but I know I will never go back. I just feel so much lighter and healthier and I had a few health complaints that have virtually disappeared through being vegan. I can only imagine that things will keep getting better and better. I have started incorporating lots of raw foods and juices lately and I feel even better than ever. Glad you liked my article about natural beauty, it really is the way to go as who wants nasty chemicals on… Read more »
James Alfred

Thanks for an article that I think is well researched. It will certainly help people that are vegetarians like me, helping us to create a better menu so that we can get all the % of protein we need each day.
There is an upsurge in the number of health issues surrounding the eating of meat, a plant-based diet does offer an excellent alternative. There is less work and stress on the digestive system, since in many instances meat must first rot in the body before is excreted.

stefanie taylor

Hi James, 

Thanks for reading and yes plant protein is far better than animal in my experience. I have been plant based for over 7 months now and it has changed my whole life. I feel so much healthier, lighter and more energetic than ever. I will never go back now as I am sure it will carry on getting better and better.

I think that these are truly the Best Plant Based Protein Foods. Thanks so very much for sharing this list. I have bookmarked this page. Despite the fact that I am trying to eat a plant based diet, I really never thought about these plant based protein powders. I am always in for anything with great health benefits. My problem though is overeating nuts, and that’s all of them even though my favorites are pistachios and almond. If I make my own plant based protein powder, do I have to add anything else to it to make it more nutritious?
Hi Carol, glad you enjoyed my article. If you are going down the plant based road then you definitely need to make sure you are getting enough protein. As you are eating quite a lot of nuts this will help, highest protein nuts are- peanuts, pistachios, almonds and cashews, so you should focus more on these ones. Taking supplements of the amino acid L Arginine, which you already do, will be of great help as L Arginine is mostly in animal products. Read here for more on L-Arginine And it could be worth your while investing in a protein powder… Read more »

What an extensive article. I learned some things from it. I think we emphasize so much on animal based proteins as the only proteins. Sometimes I eat almonds and I eat them for their fats, but have to remind myself that they are actually proteins. Thanks for providing the list of proteins. There were quite a few among them that I would not have considered, or did not know they were proteins, for instance quinoa. That is great.

Thanks for sharing,


Another great post!

Some really good info here. I do like to go the gym quite often, lift a few weights and all that. For months now I’ve been consuming vast amounts of chicken/eggs and to be honest I’m getting a little bored of chicken, and well you can’t eat too many eggs due to cholesterol content.

I love pistachio nuts but never knew they were so high in protein! Also is there anything that hemp doesn’t do!?


WOW, this is an amazing article, Most of the people are aware of meat as a source of protein but to be honest, nature has also provided us with plant based protein and you have explained it in a really amazing way. This article should be read by every one and I am going to share it with all my friends. We eat beans and peas in our daily diet but these foods are very underestimated as far as their nutritional values are concerned, I really thank you for you great work.