Plants That Have Just As Much Protein As Meat

Written by: Brandi Monasco

Americans eat too much meat. Studies show cutting down on the amount of meat that we eat is beneficial to our health and to the environment. Yet, Americans are still slow to make this change. Part of the reason people don’t stray from their meat-dominant ways is because they worry about protein intake.

Most of us don’t equate plants to protein, but plants have a lot to offer in the protein department. You’ll get lots of great fiber, too, which is essential for making you feel good and helping your body run smoothly.

If you’re one of the many people that wants to give up meat for one reason or another and are worried about how you’re going to get your protein for the day, then read on to see what plants have just as much protein as meat!


Chia, sesame, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, etc., are mineral rich as well as protein rich. Seeds are versatile and can be added to foods like yogurts without much notice. Chia seeds are particularly popular because of how versatile they are as a food.

Seeds contain on average 32 grams of protein per cup.


Lentils are a renowned food for their ease of cooking and high content of protein, carbs and fiber. They’re often used as a replacement for beef, but can be used to top salads or make delicious meals on their own.

Cooked lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup.


Quinoa is used in the same manner as rice and thus makes a perfect high protein substitute. It can also replace hot or cold cereal and be used as a skillet meal on its own. Yum!

Cooked quinoa contains about 16 grams of protein per cup.

Nutritional Yeast

This cheesy tasting food is a staple for vegetarian based diets. Not to be confused with active yeast, it contains no dairy. It’s most often used for making liquid foods such as dips, dressings and sauces.

Nutritional yeast contains 4 grams of protein per tablespoon.


Beans are a great source for a beef substitute. They’re delicious (especially in salads!) on their own, too! Plus, there are many different bean types to choose from, so you’re sure to find some to fall in love with.

Beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cup.


Nuts are often referred to as a superfood due to their high content of minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and protein. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts and walnuts are some of the best and most common nuts around. Use in baking, as a granola, on salads, or even make desserts and butters from them.

Beans contain around 32 grams of protein per cup.


Edamame beans, tofu and tempeh are versatile, delicious plant-protein sources that are also high in all amino acids, fiber and healthy fats. Tofu and tempeh are excellent for absorbing flavor and can be used as fillings or meat substitutes for almost any cooking situation. Edamame beans are commonly on the menu at sushi restaurants. Boil and then top with chunky sea salt for a delicious snack or side dish.

Soy products contain about 20 grams of protein per serving.

What’s your favorite plant-based protein source? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!

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Brandi Monasco

Brandi Monasco

Health Advocate at Gettin' Healthy
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
Brandi Monasco

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