30 of the Best Plant-Based Protein Sources

Last Updated on December 24, 2021 by Michael Joseph

Protein can come from two different types of food: animal-based proteins and plant-based proteins.

Many people understandably link plant-based proteins to vegan diets.

However, some of these foods can be very nutritious, and they can fit perfectly well into any diet, whether omnivore or vegan.

This article looks at plant-based protein sources that offer the highest amounts of protein.

The amount of protein per typical serving, per 100 grams, and per calorie will be shown for each source.

The source of all nutritional data is the USDA’s FoodData Central database.

Various Plant-Based Protein Options.

1) Soy Protein Isolate

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1 oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
88.3 grams25.0 grams26.4 grams

Soy protein isolate is a plant-based protein powder supplement, and it provides a significant amount of protein.

A typical ounce (28g) serving of soy protein isolate provides 25 grams of protein (1).

2) Pea Protein

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1 oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
86.4 grams24.5 grams19.0 grams

Pea protein powder is another popular supplement and an easy way to increase protein intake.

Based on an ounce (28g) serving size, pea protein will provide 24.5 grams of protein (2).

3) Brown Rice Protein

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1 oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
80.0 grams22.7 grams26.7 grams

Brown rice protein is another of the most popular plant-based protein powders.

A regular ounce (28g) serving of brown rice protein will provide 22.7 grams of protein (3).

4) Seitan (Vital Wheat Gluten)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
75.2 grams21.3 grams20.3 grams

Seitan, also known as vital wheat gluten, is a food made from gluten, a type of protein found in wheat.

It is exceptionally protein-dense and provides 21.3 grams per ounce (28g) serving (4).

5) Spirulina (dried)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 2-tablespoon (14g) servingProtein per 100 calories
57.5 grams8.0 grams19.8 grams

Spirulina is a type of algae that contains a wide range of nutrients, including good amounts of protein.

It is available in fresh and dried form, but the latter is far easier to find since it is more widely available.

Per 2-tablespoon serving, spirulina offers 8 grams of protein (5).

6) Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per cup (68g) servingProtein per 100 calories
51.5 grams35.0 grams15.7 grams

Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a product made from defatted soybeans.

Since soybeans are already high in protein, the defatting process allows TVP to provide even higher amounts.

There are 35 grams of protein in a cup (68g) serving of textured vegetable protein (6).

7) Peanut Butter Powder

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per tablespoon (13g) servingProtein per 100 calories
46.2 grams6.0 grams10.0 grams

The production of peanut butter powder involves roasting and defeating peanuts and then making them into powder.

As a result, the leftover powder is richer in protein than regular peanuts, and it offers six grams of protein per tablespoon (7).

8) Soybeans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (62g) servingProtein per 100 calories
36.5 grams22.6 grams8.2 grams

Soybeans are among the most famous plant proteins, and they are a key ingredient for many protein-rich soy foods.

Based on their dried weight, a 1/3rd cup (62g) serving of soybeans provides 22.6 grams of protein (8).

9) Lupin Beans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (60g) servingProtein per 100 calories
36.2 grams21.7 grams9.8 grams

Despite not being as well known as soybeans, lupin beans are just as good a source of protein. They even offer more protein per calorie.

Lupin beans provide 21.7 grams of protein per 1/3rd cup (60g) serving (9).

10) Hemp Seeds

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
31.6 grams9.0 grams5.7 grams

Hemp seeds contain a wide range of essential nutrients, and they offer high amounts of protein.

A typical serving of three tablespoons (30g) of hemp seeds provides 9.5 grams of dietary protein (10).

11) Pumpkin Seeds

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
29.8 grams8.5 grams5.2 grams

Pumpkin seeds are nutrient-rich seeds obtained from several varieties of pumpkin and squash.

As well as being an excellent source of micronutrients, these tiny seeds provide a decent amount of protein. An ounce (28g) serving of pumpkin seeds offers 8.5 grams of protein (11).

12) Peanuts

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per oz (28g) servingProtein per 100 calories
26.2 grams7.4 grams4.6 grams

Despite being known as nuts, peanuts are botanically a type of legume.

Like most legumes, peanuts are quite protein-rich and contain 7.4 grams of protein per ounce (28g) serving (12).

13) Lentils (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (64g) servingProtein per 100 calories
24.6 grams15.7 grams7.0 grams

Lentils are another popular legume, and they offer a wealth of essential nutrients.

Every 1/3rd cup (64g) serving of lentils contains approximately 15.7 grams of protein (13).

14) Mung Beans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (69g) servingProtein per 100 calories
23.9 grams18.5 grams6.9 grams

Mung beans are not as well known as some other beans, but they are among the best legumes for protein content.

Per 1/3rd cup (69g) serving, mung beans provide 18.5 grams of protein (14).

15) Black Eyed Peas (Raw Weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (56g) servingProtein per 100 calories
23.5 grams13.1 grams7.0 grams

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are small white and black beans.

Nutritionally, one third-cup serving (56g) provides 13.1 grams of protein (15).

16) Split Peas (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (65g) servingProtein per 100 calories
23.1 grams15.0 grams6.4 grams

Split peas are a variety of green pea grown for drying (and splitting).

These mature dried peas offer a good range of nutrients, and they are relatively high in protein. One-third of a cup (65g) supplies 15 grams of protein (16).

17) Kidney Beans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (61g) servingProtein per 100 calories
22.5 grams13.7 grams6.7 grams

Kidney beans are one of the most popular legume varieties, and they provide a good source of protein.

Per 1/3rd cup (61g) serving, kidney beans provide 13.7 grams of protein (17).

18) Peanut Butter

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 2-tbsp (32g) servingProtein per 100 calories
22.5 grams7.2 grams3.5 grams

Just like peanut butter powder and whole peanuts contain a good amount of protein, so does peanut butter.

A regular two-tablespoon (32g) serving of peanut butter provides 7.2 grams of protein (18).

19) Navy Beans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (69g) servingProtein per 100 calories
22.3 grams15.5 grams6.6 grams

Navy beans are ivory-colored beans that are also known as haricot beans. These beans are available to buy canned, dried, and in products like Baked Beans.

The protein content of navy beans is 15.5 grams per 1/3rd cup (69g) serving (19).

20) Black Beans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (65g) servingProtein per 100 calories
21.6 grams14.0 grams6.3 grams

Black beans are a popular bean used in various foods internationally.

A 1/3rd cup (65g) serving of black beans will provide 14 grams of protein (20).

21) Pinto Beans (raw weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (64g) servingProtein per 100 calories
21.4 grams13.8 grams6.2 grams

Pinto beans are a relatively common legume with a brown color.

Per 1/3rd cup (64g) serving, pinto beans offer 13.8 grams of dietary protein (21).

22) Chickpeas (Raw Weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (67g) servingProtein per 100 calories
20.5 grams13.7 grams5.4 grams

Chickpeas are a good source of protein and several other nutrients. They are also a key ingredient in various condiments, such as hummus.

Per 1/3rd cup (67g) serving, chickpeas offer 13.7 grams of protein (22).

23) Tempeh

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 3 oz (85g) servingProtein per 100 calories
20.3 grams17.3 grams10.6 grams

Tempeh is a soy product made by fermenting cooked soybeans, and it originated in Indonesia.

Tempeh is an excellent protein source, and a 3-ounce (85g) serving provides 17.3 grams of protein (23).

24) Adzuki Beans (Raw Weight)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (66g) servingProtein per 100 calories
20.3 grams13.1 grams6.0 grams

Adzuki beans are small dark red colored beans, and they are prevalent in East Asian cuisine.

However, they are available globally, and they offer an excellent source of protein. For example, one-third of a cup (66g) of adzuki beans provides 13.1 grams of protein (24).

25) Natto

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/3rd cup (59g) servingProtein per 100 calories
19.4 grams11.4 grams9.2 grams

Natto is a popular Japanese food made from fermented soybeans that is something of an acquired taste. However, it is very nutritious and provides a good range of nutrients.

Since it contains soybeans, it is also protein-rich, with a third-cup serving providing 11.4 grams of protein (25).

26) Plant-Based Meat (Beyond Meat)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 4 oz (113g) servingProtein per 100 calories
17.7 grams20.0 grams7.7 grams

In recent years, many plant-based meat alternatives have appeared on the market.

While these products vary in nutritional quality, they tend to offer a good source of protein.

A 4-ounce (20g) serving of Beyond Meat’s ‘Ground Plant Protein’ provides 20 grams of dietary protein (26).

27) Tofu (Firm)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 1/2 cup (126g) servingProtein per 100 calories
17.3 grams21.8 grams12.0 grams

Generally speaking, all tofu is a good source of protein.

However, firm tofu contains more soybeans and less water weight, which gives it a higher protein density.

A half-cup (126g) serving of firm tofu offers 21.8 grams of protein (27).

28) Mycoprotein (Quorn)

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 3 oz (85g) servingProtein per 100 calories
15.3 grams13.0 grams11.8 grams

Mycoprotein is a protein source that comes from a type of fungus, and it is often sold under the brand name Quorn.

Per 3 oz (85g) serving, mycoprotein ‘meatless grounds’ provides 13 grams of dietary protein (28).

29) Edamame

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per cup (118g) servingProtein per 100 calories
11.2 grams13.2 grams10.2 grams

Edamame is fresh and immature soybeans, and they are often sold as vegetables rather than as a legume.

It is possible to find both fresh and frozen edamame, but the latter can be easier to find more widely.

A cup (118g) serving of frozen edamame contains 13.2 grams of protein (29).

30) Soy Milk

Protein per 100 gramsProtein per 240-gram cup servingProtein per 100 calories
3.6 grams8.5 grams9.3 grams

Last but not least, soy milk can provide a good source of protein.

A regular 240-gram cup of soy milk will provide 8.5 grams of protein (30).

Which Plant-Based Protein Source Has the Most Protein?

Firstly, determining the ‘best’ sources of plant-based protein depends on how we define what is best.

Do we want to know which contains the most protein per 100 grams? Or per typical recommended serving?

Likewise, someone on a diet who is tracking calories may wish to get the most protein per calorie.

For this reason, the following tables show a ranking of the best plant-based protein sources by each of these metrics.

(Note: as an isolated source of protein, protein powder supplements will tend to rank the best.)

The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Per Serving

The table below shows a ranking of plant protein sources based on the highest protein content per serving.

NameAmount of Protein Per Serving
1) Textured vegetable protein35.0 g
2) Soy protein isolate25.0 g
3) Pea protein24.5 g
4) Brown rice protein22.7 g
5) Soybeans22.6 g
6) Tofu21.8 g
7) Lupin beans21.7 g
8) Seitan21.3 g
9) Ground plant protein (Beyond Meat)20.0 g
10) Mung beans18.5 g
11) Tempeh17.3 g
12) Lentils 15.7 g
13) Navy beans15.5 g
14) Split peas15.0 g
15) Black beans14.0 g
16) Pinto beans13.8 g
17) Kidney beans13.7 g
18) Chickpeas13.7 g
19) Edamame13.2 g
20) Black-eyed peas13.1 g
21) Adzuki beans13.1 g
22) Mycoprotein meatless grounds13.0 g
23) Natto11.4 g
24) Hemp seeds9.0 g
25) Soy milk8.5 g
26) Pumpkin seeds8.5 g
27) Spirulina 8.0 g
28) Peanuts7.4 g
29) Peanut butter7.2 g
30) Peanut butter powder6.0 g
The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Per Serving

The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Per 100 Grams

The following table shows an at-a-glance ranking of the best plant-based protein sources per 100 grams.

NameAmount of Protein Per 100 Grams
1) Soy protein isolate88.3 g
2) Pea protein86.4 g
3) Brown rice protein80.0 g
4) Seitan75.0 g
5) Spirulina (dried)57.5 g
6) Textured vegetable protein51.5 g
7) Peanut butter powder46.2 g
8) Soybeans36.5 g
9) Lupin beans36.2 g
10) Hemp seeds31.6 g
11) Pumpkin seeds29.8 g
12) Peanuts26.2 g
13) Lentils24.6 g
14) Mung beans23.9 g
15) Black-eyed peas23.5 g
16) Split peas23.1 g
17) Kidney beans22.5 g
18) Peanut butter22.5 g
19) Navy beans22.3 g
20) Black beans21.6 g
21) Pinto beans21.4 g
22) Chickpeas20.5 g
23) Tempeh20.3 g
24) Adzuki beans19.9 g
25) Natto19.4 g
26) Ground plant protein (Beyond Meat)17.7 g
27) Tofu17.3 g
28) Mycoprotein meatless grounds15.3 g
29) Edamame11.2 g
30) Soy milk3.6 g
The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Per 100 Grams

The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Per 100 Calories

For those looking for the highest protein to calorie ratio, here is a ranking of the most protein-rich plant protein sources per 100 calories.

NameAmount of Protein Per 100 Calories
1) Brown rice protein26.7 g
2) Soy protein isolate26.4 g
3) Seitan20.3 g
4) Spirulina (dried)19.8 g
5) Pea protein19.0 g
6) Textured vegetable protein15.7 g
7) Tofu (firm)12.0 g
8) Mycoprotein meatless grounds11.8 g
9) Tempeh10.6 g
10) Edamame10.2 g
11) Peanut butter powder10.0 g
12) Lupin beans9.8 g
13) Soy milk9.3 g
14) Natto9.2 g
15) Soybeans8.2 g
16) Ground plant protein (Beyond Meat)7.7 g
17) Lentils7.0 g
18) Black-eyed peas7.0 g
19) Mung beans6.9 g
20) Kidney beans6.7 g
21) Navy beans6.6 g
22) Split peas6.4 g
23) Black beans6.3 g
24) Pinto beans6.2 g
25) Adzuki beans6.0 g
26) Hemp seeds5.7 g
27) Chickpeas5.4 g
28) Pumpkin seeds5.2 g
29) Peanuts4.6 g
30) Peanut butter3.3 g
The Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Per 100 Calories

Final Thoughts

As shown in this guide, there are many protein-rich plant proteins. All of these foods can fit into both plant-based and omnivorous diets.

There are several potential nutrients of concern to know about in the case of plant-exclusive (or vegan) diets.

However, as this guide shows, protein need not be one of them.

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