28 Vegetarian Sources Of Protein That Will Keep You Feeling Full And Satisfied


By Whitney Jefferson, BuzzFeed

No meat, no problem.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

A little context: The USDA recommends women between the ages of 19-30 on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet eat 46 grams of protein a day, and for men of the same age, 56 grams protein per day. A table of exactly how much protein you need for your age and body can be found here.

Keep in mind that not all proteins are created equal. It will take a larger amount of leafy greens to make you full than, say, beans. But i you’re looking for a few extra grams here or there along with the vitamins and nutrients that veggies provide, consider adding getting even more involved with the ones on this list!


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Protein per cup: 16 grams
Protein per ounce: 6 grams

Chickpeas are a great food to add to meals that will keep you feeling full. If you don’t like them as they are, try hummus? Or put them in a a salad with this recipe for roasted chickpea and avocado salad!


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Protein per 2 cups raw kale: 1 gram

Kale. You love it, you hate it, but gosh darn it, kale is good for ya! Looking for a recipe? Try this Kale and Quinoa bowl!


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Protein per cup of cooked quinoa: 8.14 grams
Protein per ounce: 3 grams

Quinoa, in all of its colors, gives you 8 grams of protein per cup. Not bad! Start out with a quinoa bowl at lunchtime or kick it up a notch with any of these recipes at dinner.


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Protein per cup of raw broccoli: 2.57 grams
Protein per bunch: 17 grams

Good ol’ broccoli can be prepared in a variety of ways — raw, roastedsautéed, in casseroles or salads — but why not go all-in with an outrageous recipe for broccoli tots?


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Protein per cup dry: 38 grams
Protein per tablespoon: 2 grams

Ah, chia seeds. Did you know that the stuff you played with as a kid when you made your first chia pet is actually jam-packed with vitamins and minerals? Well, it is! Sprinkle them in your yogurt, salads, or test out chia seed pudding some time for breakfast!


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Protein per tablespoon: 11 grams

Hemp seeds have a mild flavor so they can be easily added to any salad, pestos, soups, and pretty much any savory dish — or your morning smoothies!


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Protein per cup raw: ~1 gram
Protein per tablespoon: 1 gram

Ayye, this wasn’t Popeye’s favorite food for no reason! Use it in your salads to feel full longer, blend it in smoothies, juice it, or put it in virtually any meal.


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Protein per cup of cooked white rice : 4 grams
Protein per cup of cooked brown rice: 5 grams

Is there a person in this world who doesn’t like rice? I’d like to meet them. Because I’d tell them that they’re missing out on so much: sushirice bowlsrisotto, and so many other delicious foods across the world!


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Protein per cup, pureed: 4.6 grams
Protein per cup, cubed: 3 grams

Yes, avocado toast is a bit outplayed… but there’s so much else to do with it! Bake themfry them, make pudding, or use it as a replacement for butter and cream in your favorite recipes.


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Protein per cup cooked: 17 grams
Protein per cup raw: 47 grams
Protein per ounce: 7 grams

Just one cup of lentils will provide you with 37% of the USDA recommended protein intake, so you might as well start learning how to use them in soups, hummuses, burgers, and to make your own dahl!


Amalliaeka / Getty Images

Protein per cup cooked: 30 grams
Protein per ounce: 5 grams

This fermented food is super filling with 30 grams of protein per cup and my personal favorite meat replacement. It’s tasty! See why with any of these recipes or see what the other side eats with this vegan BLT.


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Protein per cup: 16 grams
Protein per ounce: 6 grams

Split peas — whether you go for green or yellow — packs a punch with a whopping 16 grams of protein per cup. Try recipe #2 in our roundup of slow cooker soups to get into the split pea soup game this winter.


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Protein per cup: 25 grams
Protein per tablespoon: 2 grams

NOT that you’d ever eat an entire cup of sesame seeds in one sitting, but that could totally happen with tahini or hummus, be honest. Sprinkle these guys on anything and everything and learn how to make your own tahini!


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Protein per cup raw: 2 grams

Yes, of course you can eat the regular white cauliflower, too. But why wouldn’t you want to try the green fractal-y goodness that is the romanesco cauliflower? Regardless of the style you choose, you’ve got a lot of options these days: frittersbuffalo bitesfried ricetacoshash browns… Go crazy, or, you know, just eat them plain.


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Protein per cup of soy milk: 4 grams
Protein per cup of almond milk: 5 grams
Protein per cup of coconut milk: 5.5 grams
Protein per cup of hemp milk: 5 grams

Alternative milks — made from nuts, coconuts, etc. — often can add a lot of protein to your meal. Just sub in any of these with your regular milk of choice, and voila!


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Protein per cup: 9 grams

Enjoy them steamed and with salt, or mix it up with a new recipe!


Traveler1116 / Getty Images

Protein per cup: 12 grams
Protein per ounce: 6 grams

Looking for a recipe? Try this Nepali recipe for Potatoes With Black-Eyed Peas And Bamboo Shoots here.


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Protein per cup raw: 1 gram

One cup of the peppery lettuce that’s often called Rocket equals one gram of protein — just another reason to eat your salad!


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Protein per cup: 22 grams

Cashews are one of my favorite sources to make fake cheese from, but there’s so much to do: cashew milkssoupsice cream or just eat them as a snack — you can’t go wrong!


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Protein per cup: 36 grams

AKA, Pumpkin Seeds. So tasty! You can put them on anything, or eat them alone!


H3k27 / Getty Images

Protein per cup: 63 grams

This common meat substitute and protein power house can be used as a replacement for meat in almost anything. It’s made from wheat gluten, but you’d never know by the taste.


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Protein per cup: 2 grams

These guys give a bonus of 4 grams of dietary fiber for each cup, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Try them with almonds to start!


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Protein per cup: 30 grams
Protein per tablespoon: 2 grams

Almonds are the perfect midday snack to keep your energy up! Eat them on their own, or add them into trail mix, make them into cheese and milk, or almond butter.


Fcafotodigital / Getty Images

Protein per cup cooked: 4 grams

The vegetable that’ll turn your pee green will also fill you up with protein. Lean into this with asparagus soupssaladssides and pretty much anything else you can think of here.


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Protein per cup raw: 30 grams
Protein per tablespoon: 2 grams

Raw sunflower seeds have 2 grams of protein per tablespoon and are great to snack on, put in granolas, and make nut butter from.


Glazunov_e / Getty Images

Protein per cup: 1 gram

Stop using cucumbers for beauty regimen and alcoholic drinks and start taking advantage of their nutrition! Spiralize thempickle themuse them in salads! Whatever your heart desires, really.

27. TOFU

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Protein per cup: 16 grams
Protein per ounce: 2 grams

Ah, tofu. You’re skeptical, but you know it doesn’t have to look like white plain cubes, right? Dive into the world of tofu here.


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Protein per cup of cooked black beans: 15 grams
Protein per cup of cooked kidney beans: 15 grams
Protein per cup of cooked pinto beans: 12 grams
Protein per cup of cooked fava beans: 13 grams

Good ol’ beans — these guys get an A+ in keeping you full and satisfied. Try a black bean and chickpea salad, or even making your own spreadsdips, and black bean veggie burger! See, you’re a pro already!

All information sourced from the USDA. Now you’ll never have to ask a vegetarian where they get their protein from again!


Some entries have been updated with the most recent protein counts made available by the USDA. ■

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