The 20 Highest Protein Veggies (And Other Plant-Based Foods) You Can Eat

Maybe you’re jumping on the vegan bandwagon, trying to lighten your carbon footprint, or simply scaling back on meat because you’re sketched out by the factory-farmed stuff. Whatever your reason, relying less on animal products can be a great first step in upping your intake of nutrient-rich whole foods and crowding out overly processed crap. But how are you going to get enough protein? Don’t sweat it—we did the math for you. Here, we’ve ranked 20 of the highest-protein veggies, legumes, and minimally processed meat alternatives, like tempeh, for your convenience.

1) Organic Edamame

Protein: 18 grams per 1-cup serving (cooked)

Talk about healthiest appetizer ever–just a cup’s worth of edamame (or cooked soybeans) packs a huge protein punch. Be sure to pick an organic variety, though, as most soybeans in the U.S. are genetically modified and heavily treated with pesticides. Try edamame in this stir-fry: Edamame with Asparagus, Scallions, and Egg.

2) Organic Tempeh

Protein: 16 grams per 3 oz serving

Tempeh is made by fermenting cooked soybeans and shaping it into a dense cake that can be sliced and pan-fried like tofu. It’s nutty, chewy, and packs significantly more protein and fiber than tofu—and because it’s fermented, it’s easier to digest for some. Try it in these awesome Tempeh Meatballs.

3) Organic Tofu

Protein: 8 to 15 grams per 3 oz serving

Ah, tofu, the classic vegetarian blank slate made from curdled soymilk that’s wonderful pan-fried, sautéed in a stir-fry, and even scrambled. Though it’s not quite as protein-packed as tempeh, its taste may be more tolerable. Opt for organic varieties to avoid genetically modified soy and funky pesticides. Learn how to pan fry tofu (the right way!) here.

4) Lentils

Protein: 9 grams per ½-cup serving

Low-cal, high-fiber, and high-protein lentils can be morphed into a nutrient-dense side dish, veggie burger, or even whipped into a hummus-like dip. Bonus: They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease. Try this deliciously “meaty” Wild Mushroom Lentil Burgers.

5) Black Beans

Protein: 7.6 grams per ½-cup serving (cooked)

Black beans are also packed with heart-healthy fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and a range of phytonutrients. They also make a killer batch of black bean brownies!

6) Lima Beans

Protein: 7.3 grams per ½-cup serving (cooked)

What, you haven’t had these since you were 10? Well, good news: In addition to filling protein, lima beans contain the amino acid leucine, which may play a big role in healthy muscle synthesis among older adults.

7) Peanuts or Peanut Butter

Protein: 7 grams per ¼-cup serving (or 2 Tbsp peanut butter)

Not only are peanuts and peanut butter great for munching and whipping up classic childhood comfort food, they’re also super versatile—really, you can even use them in a pizza! They’ve also been shown to help you eat less at lunch if you consume them at breakfast—a.k.a. the second-meal effect. PB and banana, anyone?

The 20 Highest Protein Veggies

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