15 of the Best Meatless Protein Sources

Meatless protein sources make a favorable choice for vegetarians, but they also provide much benefit for anyone who wants to get an additional source of protein from foods other than meat all the time. For instance, some may want to limit their meat consumption because of the sometimes higher levels of unhealthy saturated fats. Whether you just want to incorporate a variety of healthy food options in your diet, the best meatless protein sources supply a generous amount of nutrition to help.

Please note that it is best to consult with a dietitian or doctor before you make any major changes to your diet or lifestyle. Certain meatless protein sources are not complete protein foods and therefore do not provide all of the essential amino acids we need in our diet and will need to be supplemented with other foods.

best meatless protein sources

Nonetheless, here are 15 of the best meatless protein sources you can eat:


Now quinoa is a complete protein food and is why it makes a healthful choice of the best meatless protein sources you can eat. A complete protein food supplies all of the nine essential amino acids we have to get from our diet. Aside from being a quality protein source, you will receive a variety of other key vitamins and minerals. To name a few, quinoa contains a good amount of iron, zinc, and manganese. We need minerals like these in the maintenance of healthy bodily functions.

2. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a tasty treat to snack on throughout the day and can surprisingly contain a generous amount of protein. You can get 15 grams of protein in one container of Greek yogurt, depending on the brand. To top it off, there is also a favorable sum of calcium to help keep your bones healthy, and probiotics that aid in the promotion of good digestive health.

best meatless protein sources

3. Oats

Used in the creation of your favorite breakfast oatmeal bowls, oats are another choice of the best meatless protein sources. The nutrient density of oats makes them an even better meal option. In addition to around 13 grams of protein per 1/2 cup, oats consist of several essential vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. Add oats to your smoothies for a boost of nourishment.

4. Chickpeas

From the legumes family, chickpeas are a versatile option of the best meatless protein sources, as you can use them in a variety of recipes – most notably hummus. Half a cup of cooked chickpeas can provide you with about seven grams of protein in addition to the other edibles involved in your recipe.

5. Almonds

Almonds, along with other variations of nuts, are small yet nutrient-dense edibles that add a considerable amount of protein per serving. Benefits of almonds and many nuts in general include their content of healthy fats, promotion of certain aspects of cardiovascular health, and richness in vitamins and minerals to name a few.

best meatless protein sources

6. Eggs

It is hard to leave out eggs as an option of the best meatless protein sources. This food is used in numerous recipes, so it is an easy way to get a good serving of complete protein. Aside from the quality protein content, eggs contain an ample amount of necessary nutrients that we need from our diet as well.

7. Black beans

Use black beans in soups, burritos, and more for a favorable source of protein and other key nutrients. They are just one variation of beans that make a good choice of the best meatless protein sources. Black beans contain a good amount of healthy complex carbohydrates, key minerals, and fiber that helps to promote good digestive health.

8. Green peas

This plant derivative can surprisingly be a good source of protein and is used in an array of recipes. You may have even seen some plant-based pea protein powders. Per one cup of green peas, you can get eight grams of protein. They are a healthy vegetable, providing high amounts of vitamin C which can aid in body tissue repair.

best meatless protein sources

9. Parmesan cheese

There are certain types of cheese that contain a sizable amount of protein. Parmesan cheese is just one example of meatless protein sources to add to your recipes and meals. Per one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, there is almost two grams of protein.

10. Peanuts & peanut butter

For those who like PB&J sandwiches as a go-to meal, it may be providing you with more benefit than thought. With two tablespoons, peanut butter can serve eight grams of protein. Its derivative, peanuts, make a nutrient and protein-rich snack as well making it one of the best meatless protein sources. To add, peanuts contain a high amount of biotin which is found in many dietary supplements, including vitamins for hair growth.

11. Lentil

Introducing lentil to your diet may be new for some, but it is worth it. This food is from the legume family as well and is involved in the creation of numerous recipes. Lentil is protein-dense, and contains a generous number of vitamins and minerals, including iron which we need for cardiovascular health.

best meatless protein sources

12. Cauliflower

Adding this vegetable to your meals with the help of a variety of tasty recipes, can be a good way to get a boost of protein. One cup of chopped cauliflower can contain over two grams of protein to mix with your meals. When added to recipes like stir fry, this can contribute to a sizable amount of protein.

13. Sunflower seeds

Aside from being a tasty ball-game snack, sunflower seeds can provide a decent amount of protein. Per ¼ cup, you can get around 6 grams of protein. You are also getting some health benefits from consuming sunflower seeds, so enjoy the snack!

14. Chia seeds

These small eatables are nutrient-packed. You will also find them to be a beneficial boost of protein to add to smoothies or yogurts. Chia seeds additionally are a suitable source of omega-3 fatty acids that are needed in our diet.

best meatless protein sources

15. Protein bars / shakes

You may also find protein bars or shakes to make an advantageous option of the best meatless protein sources. Whey protein for example, is another complete protein source. You will find numerous healthful whey protein powders and shakes that provide a plentiful amount of convenient quality protein to add to your diet.


Click here to check out eight of the best protein bars for any diet:

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals or experts. What is written throughout the content of our website is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical or professional advice. What you choose to do with the information provided is at your own risk and discretion. Before making any significant changes to your diet and / or lifestyle, be sure to contact your health practitioner.