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Nutrition plant-based protein Top 10 Plant-Based Protein's You Should Be Eating

If you are curious about plant-based proteins, how to use them, what they are, and why you should be eating them? Bookmark this page, as it’s your go to guide to the top 10 plant-based protein sources and how to use them daily.

1. Beans

Considered both a protein and a vegetable, beans are excellent sources of fibre and folate, as well as plant protein, plant iron, vitamin B1, and minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper, all while being naturally low in sodium.

Nutrition content: 1 cup = around 15g protein (varieties vary)

How To Use Beans:

  • Cooked into a stew or hearty soup
  • Add creaminess to any dairy-free soup by blending in cooked cannellini beans
  • As the base of your favourite dip such as hummus or muhammara
  • Instead of rice in a quick and easy risotto such as this one
  • In a Mexican chilli or taco mix

2. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are an ancient seed that has been used for centuries for their amazing properties to absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance thanks to the soluble fibre content in the seeds. Because of this unique characteristic, chia seeds are great to add to meals and foods to thicken naturally while also boosting the fibre, protein, and healthy fats (mainly omega-3’s).

Nutrition content: 2 tablespoons = 4g protein

How To Use Chia Seeds:

  • Sprinkle on top of porridge, smoothie bowls or your breakfast bowl of choice
  • Add to stewed fruits to make a refined-sugar free jam spread
  • Chia puddings
  • As an egg replacement in vegan cooking
  • Make nut or seed clusters by adding chia seeds to help clump the ingredients together
image of a plate of mostly green vegetable that are packed with protein

3. Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein, carbohydrates, and fibre. Considered to be a starchy protein they do not require soaking because they’re relatively quick cooking. However, I recommend rinsing and washing before cooking (just to make sure they’re free of small rocks or other debris). You may, however, enjoy soaking and sprouting lentils for added digestive ease and a bit more nutrition.

Nutrition content: 1 cup cooked lentils = 18g protein

How To Use Lentils:

  • Cooked into a stew or hearty soup
  • Beautiful spicy dhal recipes
  • Added to salads
  • Used to make vegetarian meatballs or burger patties

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free seed that is mostly used as a carbohydrate. It’s considered a starchy protein because it contains carbohydrates as well as protein and fibre. Use it instead of rice for more diversity in your carbohydrate intake. Quinoa also can be found as a flour, puffed or in flake form. It’s one of my personal favourites, I often cook a batch on a Sunday for the week ahead.

Nutrition content: 1/2 cup cooked quinoa = 7-9g protein

How To Use Quinoa:

  • Substitute for rice or mash potato
  • Add to salads
  • Use to make vegetarian burger patties
  • Use the dried flakes instead of oats when baking granola
  • Use instead of oats in porridge

5. Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a staple food in plant-based diets due to its cheesy flavour, versatility, high amounts of B vitamins, and protein content. Nutritional yeast contains no dairy or active yeast, and is found in a powder/flake form that creates a paste when mixed with liquid, i.e. it’s great for making dairy-free sauces, dressings, and more.

Nutrition content: 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast = about 12g protein

How To Use Nutritional Yeast:

  • Add flaked nutritional yeast dairy-free or vegan sauces such as mayonnaise or hollandaise
  • Sprinkle on top of salads, quinoa, lentils, beans, and more for a cheesy flavour
  • Add to pesto to make a vegan version without the cheese
  • Vegan cheeses
  • Add to kale chips for added flavour

6. Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are both protein and mineral rich. Pumpkin seeds have an earthy flavour and are one of the best plant-based sources of zinc. While sunflower seeds are slightly sweet and nutty are loaded with healthy fats and minerals.

Nutrition content:
Sunflower seeds - 1 cup contains 27g protein
Pumpkin seeds - 1 cup contains 12g protein

How To Use:

  • Sprinkle seeds on top of salads or any meal to increase the healthy fat and protein content
  • Use in granola or other baked goods
  • Grab a handful as a snack
  • Add to energy bars or balls
  • Bake with tamari and sesame oil for a sweet and salty snack

7. Almonds

Almonds are not only rich in minerals, Vitamin E, and healthy fats but are also protein rich. They have a beautiful delicate nutty flavour, oval in shape with a golden brown colour and a tender bite to them. Almonds come in a variety of ways in the grocery stores including roasted, raw, unsalted, salted, ground, meal, flours, butters, whole, slivered, etc. Almonds are greatly versatile and incorporating them into your diet is simple!

Nutrition content: 1 cup contains 30g protein

How To Use Nuts:

  • Sprinkle nuts on top of salads or any meal to increase the healthy fat and protein content
  • Bake into granola
  • Make your own almond butter
  • Use in baking instead of flour
  • Add to energy bars and balls
  • Grab a handful as a snack
image of a granita

8. Spirulina

Spirulina is incredibly protein rich and one of the few sources of plant-based protein that is mostly protein by dry weight (about 70%). It’s deep blue-green in colour and will change anything you mix with it into that colour green. It tastes subtly sweet and nutty, but with a background seaweed flavour.

Nutrition content: 2 tablespoons = 8g protein

How To Use Spirulina:

  • Blend into smoothies
  • Add to yoghurt and breakfast bowls
  • Add to energy balls for added protein and nutrients

9. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds not only contain protein but also contain heart-healthy fats, mainly omega-3 fatty acids. They have a delicious subtly sweet and nutty flavour and are so small in size that they can easily be used and added to any recipe to boost the protein content.

Nutrition content: 3 tablespoons = about 10g protein

How To Use Hemp Seeds:

  • Sprinkle on top of salads
  • Stir or blend into soups or stews to slightly thicken
  • Add to smoothies for a creamy texture
  • Use hemp milk in smoothies
  • Add to hummus, dips, or dressings by blending in hemp seeds

10. Greens! Kale, Spinach, Green peas, Broccoli!

Yes, green vegetables also contain decent amounts of protein. Spinach, green peas, broccoli and kale are some of the best, others include watercress, collard greens, asparagus, alfalfa and brussel sprouts.

Nutrition content:
Broccoli = 5 grams per cup
Spinach = 5 grams per cup
Green peas = 8 grams per cup
Kale = 5 grams per cup

How To Use Hemp Seeds:

  • Lightly steam and enjoy as they are
  • Add to kale and spinach to smoothies
  • Add to soups and stews
  • Salads
  • Kale crisps or Kaleola

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