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 plant way of eating just makes you feel cleaner, healthier, lighter and more clear minded – and these are just a few of the benefits.

This plant based protein foods list will show you at a glance the foods that contain the highest amounts of protein so you can work your meals around them.


Why eat a plant based diet?

plant based diet

As more research is done, and plant based/vegan diets become more popular, you will start to see the huge benefits this diet could have 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 many of  these plant foods will be something you will notice very quickly, especially in terms of your health and fitness levels. You will feel achy after exercise, and you will recover more quickly. In fact some of the worlds leading athletes eat a plant based diet and get their best ever times and endurance 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 just cannot be argued with. Actually, 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 a source of plant based protein

You can easily start your journey towards a plant based lifestyle by making a few simple swaps and changes every day. It’s usually best to start slowly as it is very hard to make so many changes in one go.

Also, taking your time gives you the chance to educate yourself and learn new recipe’s, tips and tricks as you go. It is VERY IMPORTANT you know how to combine foods to get all the nutrients and amino acids you need – otherwise you may end up less healthy than before!

If your’e a beginner and need more in depth reading on this subject you may want to check out this ‘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 as soon as possible.      

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:protein powder smoothie

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 many protein powders on the market these days, but you need to be aware of proper combining as 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 Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Less congestion in general, i.e. chest and sinus.
  • Lower risk of many 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 PLANT BASED PROTEIN POWDERS:plant protein powders help build muscle mass

Some of the best protein powders are ‘blends’ and 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.

This is especially important if they are something you will be using a lot, simply because you don’t want to be overburdening your system with anything unnatural on a daily basis.


Pre-blended protein powders:-

The below list is 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.

In my opinion, blends 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 protein powder smoothie


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, such as rice protein, can simply be mixed with one of the others.

However it is advisable to mix things up and not take the same thing all the time 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 it a good one to use alone or in your blend. You could always purchase a few different types and experiment to see which you prefer.

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



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 contains 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.



hulled raw pumpkin seeds


Pumpkin protein has a 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, it  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 is recommend for use either alone or as part of a blend.


CHIA SEED PROTEINraw hulled chia seeds

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



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


Thank you for reading this article, 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.


Chris · 16/07/2017 at 11:25 am

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!

    Stefanie Taylor · 16/07/2017 at 11:45 am

    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.

Lyle · 21/07/2017 at 6:58 pm

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 · 22/07/2017 at 11:25 am

    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 · 09/08/2017 at 8:52 pm

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 ?

    Stefanie Taylor · 09/08/2017 at 9:30 pm

    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 I will be happy to help.

bert walker · 10/08/2017 at 1:14 pm

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

    Stefanie Taylor · 12/08/2017 at 5:27 pm

    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 me.
    As for your your calorie intake, for somebody of your weight who is looking to lose weight I’d go in for around 2,500 calories a day and see how you go from there.

    If you are really serious about losing weight and exercising I will send you my weightloss and fitness plan that I send to some of my clients, but if you want to PM me your email address I will just send it for you for free as we are helping each other out. I can’t bare for other people to be suffering with their weight and depression as I know how awful it is, so if I can help you I will.

    And I’m glad I’ve lifted your spirits.

ariel · 01/09/2017 at 9:55 pm

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 · 03/09/2017 at 12:04 pm

    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 · 03/09/2017 at 12:09 pm

      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 their skin right? Everything I put on and in my body now is natural and I love it!

James Alfred · 24/09/2017 at 3:57 pm

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 · 26/09/2017 at 12:17 pm

    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.

carol · 25/10/2017 at 4:41 am

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?

    Stefanie Taylor · 25/10/2017 at 9:34 am

    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 just to make sure, best ones are hemp, pea, pumpkin and rice (I tend to stear clear of soya as it is estrogenic and messes with hormones).

    You can blend these plain proteins with a banana/ milk/cocoa powder etc to make them more palatable OR you can buy them already in a mix (which is often better as a blend will contain different powders with a better array of amino acids). Usually when you buy a mix it will have some natural flavourings and sweeteners in to make it palatable but will be more expensive.

    Personally, I find the plain pumpkin powder has a good amino acid profile and tastes fine when mixed with milk. Hope this helps, and if you decide to buy a blend you can always send me the link to it and I will check it is a good one with no chemicals or fillers.

Oscar · 26/01/2018 at 10:06 pm

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,

    Stefanie Taylor · 27/01/2018 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Oscar, I’m really glad you learned something new about protein. A lot of people think that protein has to come from predominantly animal products such as meat, fish, and dairy because I guess that is how we are brought up to eat, think and believe. Hence why vegans are always getting asked “where do you get your protein?” I was the same until I started eating a plant based diet and I can honestly say that now I have educated myself on proteins, fats, amino acids etc, I can easily make sure I get enough of all of these things from plant foods.

anthony · 26/01/2018 at 10:41 pm

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!?

    Stefanie Taylor · 27/01/2018 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Anthony, it’s great you go to the gym. I’m a bit of a gym bunny myself! Yes hemp is just being found to have so many benefits it’s mind blowing. I have a hemp protein shake every day for my breakfast along with half an avocado and it just filled me up for the day.
    If you find you are eating to much animal protein, such as eggs and chicken then you should try getting done more plant proteins in as you will find they are less acidic and make you feel lighter.

sarah · 22/02/2018 at 5:06 pm

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.

    Stefanie Taylor · 22/02/2018 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks Sarah, I really appreciate the compliment, and I am happy you have found the post helpful. Yes, even I was shocked at how great those humble beans and peas are, and they are so much cheaper and healthier than meat! I eat these things as one of my main sources of protein these days and I’m healthier than ever.

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