9 Ways to Get Protein When You’re on a Plant-Based Diet

Updated: Apr. 13, 2023

Worried about getting all the protein you need on a plant-based diet? Luckily, there are loads of meatless protein-rich foods to get your fix.

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Chickpea & Potato Curry
Taste of Home

If you’ve recently adopted a plant-based diet, you might be wondering just how to get all the protein that you need. Sure, it’s not as easy if you’re skipping meat, but it’s not hard either. Whether your vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or otherwise, these foods will help you get the protein your body needs. (Need vegan recipes that even meat-eaters will love?)

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Sweet Potato Lentil Stew
Taste of Home


Sometimes, the very best protein sources are the simple ones. Whether you add them to your tasty Buddha Bowl or enjoy them spiced up in dhal, you shouldn’t overlook lentils. Half a cup of dried lentils contains a whopping 26 grams of protein, according to Lentils.org. Adding these to your meal packs a real punch.

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Vegetarian chili with red and black beans, cheddar and pumpkin seeds
Shutterstock / Elena Veselova

Kidney Beans

Are you full of beans? Kidney beans work well in most Tex-Mex dishes, but that’s not the only reason to chomp on them. Just one cup of these legumes gives you more than 15 grams of protein. They’re a natural in chili recipes, but don’t forget to add them to salads, casseroles and stews. And for an even meatier taste, learn how to create umami flavor in plant-based dishes.

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Colorful quinoa salad
Taste of Home


Making a fresh and tasty salad? You may want to start with a base of quinoa. One cup of quinoa offers more than 8 grams of protein, so quinoa recipes are a great way to power up your plant-based diet. Bonus: quinoa is gluten-free.

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fresh green pea in bowl on wooden background

Green Peas

Do you eat your greens? Maybe you should start! The simple green pea adds more to the plant-based diet than you might guess at over 8 grams per cup. And don’t shy away from frozen peas, they’re just as nutritious as fresh-picked.

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Soy milk in glass and soy bean on spoon it on white table background with lighting in the morning
somrak jendee/Shutterstock

Soy Milk

When you choose to adopt a plant-based diet, you may find it hard to do without milk! Luckily, there’s a wealth of substitutes out there which you can try for yourself. Perhaps one of the most nutritionally valuable is soy milk. One cup of this milk alternative contains around 7 grams of protein. These were our favorite dairy-free milk drinks. Soy is also commonly found in some of our favorite plant-based meat brands.

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Pineapple Oatmeal
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Is there any better way to start the morning than by eating some delicious overnight oats? We don’t think so! You likely already know that oats are a good source of protein for a grain, and so it makes sense to add them to your plant-based diet. Plus, an oatmeal breakfast will give you a whole load of energy!

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Healthy superfood: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia on wooden table
Shutterstock / Ekaterina Kondratova


Snacking on seeds could be way better for you than you think. For instance, just one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains as much as 5 grams of protein. (Roasting pumpkin seeds at home is easy.) If you’re hoping to sneak more into your diet, why not sprinkle them on the top of soup, salads, casseroles and side dishes?

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Spinach blueberry salad
Taste of Home


Remember how obsessed Popeye was with eating spinach? Well, he may have been on to something. This particular leafy green is filled with protein–one cup of cooked spinach contains more than 5 grams. Try it sauteed with mushrooms, onion and garlic for a quick and tasty side dish.

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Cauliflower & Tofu Curry
Taste of Home


Rounding out your plant-based diet with protein-heavy foods doesn’t have to be difficult. Tofu is one of the most common meat substitutes and includes about 12 grams of protein in 6 ounces. Try marinading your tofu before adding it to your meal for an extra kick of flavor. We promise, tofu recipes really are delicious! Check out more of the best meat substitutes, too.