30 Vegetarian Protein Sources (Plus, the Perfect Protein Smoothie!)

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Getting enough protein can be tough when you’re a vegetarian, especially if you’re on the strict side and fish, eggs or dairy (in addition to beef and chicken) are on the list of foods you don’t eat. Being a vegetarian athlete or active person makes things even trickier because your daily protein needs are going to be higher than those of someone who does not exercise regularly. Although the recommended daily intake of protein varies depending on your age, gender and weight, it’s said active individuals should aim for about a gram of protein per pound of body weight daily.

So how does someone who eliminates some of the top protein foods out there meet this requirement? Knowing which plant foods pack the biggest protein punch, and piling plenty of them on your plate during meals throughout the day, will help you reach your target number with ease.

Here is a list of protein rich foods that will keep you both fueled up and satisfied:

Food Serving Size Protein Content
Soy beans 1/2 cup (dry) 17 grams
Edamame 1/2 cup 13 grams
Lentils 1/4 cup 13 grams
Black beans 1/2 cup 7 grams
Chickpeas 1/2 cup 7 grams
Pinto beans 1/2 cup 6 grams
Lima beans 1/2 cup 6 grams
Black-eyed peas 1/2 cup 6 grams
Seeds & Nuts    
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup 9 grams
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6 grams
Almonds 1/3 cup (dry) 6 grams
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 5 grams
Peanut butter 1 Tbsp 4 grams
Powdered peanut butter 2 Tbsp 6 grams
Pistachios 1/4 cup 6 grams
Walnuts 1/4 cup 5 grams
Quinoa 1/4 cup 6 grams
Whole wheat bread 1 slice 4 grams
Whole wheat pasta 2 oz. 6 grams
Rolled oats 1/2 cup 7 grams
Protein Powder    
Brown rice protein powder 1 scoop 11 grams
Plant protein powder 1 scoop 22 grams
Tofu 4 oz. 10 grams
Veggie burger 1 patty 13 grams
Soymilk 1 cup 6 grams
Soy yogurt 8 oz. 6 grams
Dairy protein    
Greek yogurt 6 oz. 18 grams
Low-fat cottage cheese 4 oz. 11 grams
Low-fat cheese 1 oz. 6 grams
1% milk 1 cup 8 grams

For a quick, protein-packed snack that doubles as a meal replacement, add a scoop of brown rice protein powder and a tablespoon of Vitacost’s new powdered peanut butter–PBSLIM–to a simple smoothie. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:

Scoop in some PBSLIM for a smoothie packed with protein and peanut butter flavor!

PBSLIM Peanut Butter-Banana Protein Smoothie

Protein count = 43 grams

1 Tbsp. PBSLIM Powdered Peanut Butter
1 scoop vegetarian vanilla protein powder
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
½ banana
½ cup soymilk
Ice cubes


Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.