Top 10 Complete Vegetarian Protein Foods with All the Essential Amino Acids
Protein is necessary for the proper growth, development, and repair of the human body.
Vegetarian foods can be a great source of protein, and contrary to popular belief, most plant-based sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids. When quantities of particular amino acids, like methionine and lysine, are low, combining these foods below helps to balance their amino acid content and make them even more complete.
This list provides the top 10 complete vegetarian protein foods, and assumes vegetarians eat dairy and eggs. If you are "pure vegetarian" or vegan, just leave these animal foods out.
Vegetarian foods high in protein include tofu, beans, lentils, yogurt, milk, cheese, green peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains, peanut butter, eggs, and white button mushrooms. The current daily value (%DV) for protein is set at 50 grams per day and is meant as a general target for most people. People should eat 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight, and more if they are active.
Below is a list of vegetarian protein foods ranked by common serving size, for more vegetarian protein food ideas see the articles on high protein beans, high protein nuts, and protein rich vegan foods.
Vegetarian Foods High in Protein
- 87% DV (43.5g) protein per cup
- 48% DV (24g) per 200 calorie serving
- 35% DV (17.3g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 36% DV (17.9g) protein per cup
- 31% DV (15.6g) per 200 calorie serving
- 18% DV (9g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 28% DV (14g) protein per cup
- 41% DV (20.5g) per 200 calorie serving
- 11% DV (5.7g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Nutrition Facts for Non-Fat Yogurt.
- 18% DV (9g) protein per oz
- 82% DV (40.9g) per 200 calorie serving
- 64% DV (32.1g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Other Cheese High in Protein %DV per oz (28g)Romano (18%), Parmesan (16%), Swiss (15%), Mozarella (15%), Provolone (15%), Gouda (14%). Cottage Cheese provides 28% DV per 1/4 cup.
Nutrition Facts for Cheddar Cheese (Non-fat or Fat Free).
- 17% DV (8.6g) protein per cup cooked
- 26% DV (12.8g) per 200 calorie serving
- 11% DV (5.4g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 17% DV (8.5g) protein per 1oz handful
- 21% DV (10.4g) per 200 calorie serving
- 60% DV (29.8g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Other Nuts and Seeds High in Protein %DV per ozPeanuts (14%), Almonds (12%), Pistachios (12%), Sunflower Seeds (11%), Flax Seeds (10%), Chia Seeds (9%), and Cahsews (9%).
See more high protein nuts.
Nutrition Facts for Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seeds (Unsalted).
- 16% DV (8.1g) protein per cup
- 15% DV (7.3g) per 200 calorie serving
- 9% DV (4.4g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 15% DV (7.7g) protein 2 tblsp
- 16% DV (8.2g) per 200 calorie serving
- 48% DV (24.1g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
- 13% DV (6.3g) protein in 1 large egg
- 32% DV (16.2g) per 200 calorie serving
- 25% DV (12.6g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
1 cup of hard boiled eggs provides 34% DV.
Nutrition Facts for Hard Boiled Eggs.
- 8% DV (3.9g) protein 1 cup
- 55% DV (27.5g) per 200 calorie serving
- 7% DV (3.6g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Other Mushrooms High in Protein %DV per cup cookedPortabella (8%), and Shiitake (7%).
Nutrition Facts for White Button Mushrooms (Stir-Fried).
More Complete Protein Rich Foods for Vegetarians
|#1 Natto||39% DV (19.4g) in 100grams||68% DV (34g) in 1 cup|
|#2 Tempeh||41% DV (20.3g) in 100grams||67% DV (33.7g) in 1 cup|
|#3 Soy Protein Isolate||177% DV (88.3g) in 100grams||50% DV (25.1g) in 1oz (~4 tblsp)|
|#4 Toasted Wheat Germ||58% DV (29.1g) in 100grams||17% DV (8.3g) in 1 oz|
|#5 Spirulina||115% DV (57.5g) in 100grams||8% DV (4g) in 1 tblsp|
|#6 Falafel||27% DV (13.3g) in 100grams||5% DV (2.3g) in 1 falafel|
|#7 Cocoa Powder||39% DV (19.6g) in 100grams||2% DV (1.1g) in 1 tblsp|
|#8 Whey Powder||26% DV (12.9g) in 100grams||2% DV (1g) in 1 tblsp|
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Data Sources and References
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.
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