5 High-Protein Vegetables That Are Great Alternatives to Meat

5 High-Protein Vegetables

Unlike most content on the site, this is a guest post, written by Amanda Wilks.

If there’s anything meat can be held in high regard for, it’s just how protein-heavy a food source it happens to be. Not everyone can make the ethical or dietary choices necessary to enjoy a meat-heavy diet (although, meat does offer many health benefits).

Rounding out a veggie-friendly diet with enough nutrients to make it through the day is a vital part of constructing an eating plan, after all, and knowing the ins and outs of high-protein vegetables to take the place of traditional meat sources is a vital skill to have.

The advantages of a plant-based protein are many and varied, between the digestibility of non-meat proteins and their ability to pack in huge amounts of nutrients in relatively small caloric densities. Pound for pound it’s easy to push meat out of the top protein spot when you consider just how healthy the right veggies can be for your diet. Different vegan protein sources exist and with a good motivation and a bit of dilligence, you will easily be able to go to vegan protein only.

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1. Kale

Kale in a Bowl

Is there anything kale can’t do? Everyone even thinking about a vegetable-based diet has probably been briefed on the amazing health properties of kale.

Between its nutrient-packed superfood status and cancer-fighting potential, working it into any eating habit should be a top priority, but there’s a catch: To get the most out of your kale when it comes to protein, it needs to be cooked. Most recipes use raw kale, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to eke out every bit of protein you can from your veggies.

2. Mushrooms

Mushrooms for protein

Another popular choice for those abstaining from meat, mushrooms have a certain flavor profile and mouth feel to them that leaves them perfectly suited for many an application normally fit for meat. The fact they have as much protein as they do is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

However, much like meat itself, mushrooms suffer from a short shelf life that requires them to be kept at a proper level of moisture and temperature to keep them viable. Apply a few handy ways to extend the shelf life of mushrooms and you’ve got yourself a stellar star for your dinner plate.

3. Lentils


When versatility is key, lentils step up to the plate and manage to win every time. Containing lean protein that delivers without adding unnecessary cholesterol and fats to your diet, lentils also carry the added benefit of being suitable to many a culinary application.

Fighting the malaise that comes with eating the same foods can require a creative touch but being able to turn a staple food into faux-burgers, salad toppings, dips and more makes lentils a solid addition to any pantry.

4. Potatoes


While not the highest spot on any protein list, potatoes are something of a sneaky way to put more protein in your diet while also getting in a dinner staple that is delicious no matter how it may be served. The secret is keeping the skin on your potato whether you eat it baked or mashed, allowing maximum diet returns on your eating while boosting fiber, protein and other essential building blocks for your body to take advantage of.

You’ll have to resist the urge to slather them in butter or fry them every time you’re in a starchy mood, however, and the calorie count of a single potato means you won’t be eating as much protein per calorie as if you went with another entry on the list. Still, working potatoes into your diet can help shore up nutritional shortcomings and dig you out of a leafy green rut should you find your diet lacking variety.

5. Soybeans

Soy Beans

Soy has taken nearly every shape and form possible when it comes to arriving at the dinner table. You can turn soybeans into hummus, put edamame into wontons or even whip up a healthy garden salad with soy standing front and center. You’ll get more than enough out of these high-protein vegetables to keep your muscles happy and the upsides to soybeans are so plentiful that you can eat them guilt-free.


Working protein into your diet that you’ve sourced from natural vegetables is almost as easy as sourcing from meat. As long as you know how to prepare your favorite veggies in a way that keeps their nutrients intact while still being tasty to eat, packing in high-protein vegetables is a diet goal worth striving for.

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5 High Protein Vegetarian Options

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