Following up our hugely successful post last week about low carb vegetables (seriously, you guys went nuts over it!), I’ve decided to do another similar post, but this time focusing on High Protein Vegetables.
There’s numerous reasons why you might be wanting to include more protein in your diet, but there’s only so much chicken breast and steak you can stomach. Or maybe you’re a vegetarian or vegan and you struggle to get a good amount of protein in your diet.
Well… that’s what this post is for. I’ve compiled a massive list of the 30 Highest Protein Vegetables to include in your diet. Some of these items are a bit out there and might not technically be a vegetable (legumes, algae, seeds) but if you can eat it as a vegetable, then I’ve put it on the list!
Complete Proteins. You’ve probably heard people talking about this before but might not be sure exactly what it’s all about. If you’re interested, head to the end of the article where I’ve outlined what this is and how it effects you.
Ok let’s get into it.
#30 – #21, Reasonably High Protein Vegetables
These first 10 vegetables aren’t going to take any awards home for being the highest source of protein available, but they’re delicious, healthy and are a reasonable source of protein. Eat lots of these 🙂
30. Wakame Seaweed – 3.0 g per 100g
Kicking off this list is a variety of seaweed called ‘Wakame’. This edible brown or green seaweed is common in Japanese, Korean and Chinese dishes.
Wakame is a good source of Iodine which is helpful in maintaining balance of the thyroid gland and hormone regulation in your body.
29. Leek – 3.0 g per 100g
Leeks are an amazingly under-rated food. Super cheap and packed full of nutrients they’re a great way to add some weight and nutrients to any hearty winter dish.
28. Bean Sprouts – 3.1 g per 100g
These delicious little wonders of nature are actually super low in carbs too which makes them pretty damn cool in my books. A delicious fresh nutty flavour you can add to many meals. My favourite… Laksa!
27. Alfalfa Sprouts – 3.2 g per 100g
If you can put aside the fact you’re eating baby alfalfa’s then these are the food for you 😉 Tasty, fresh and oh so good on a salad sandwich. Alfalfa sprouts have 3.2g of protein per 100g.
26. Vine Leaf – 3.6 g per 100g
Taking out spot number #2 in last week’s roundup of low-carb vegetables is the amazing vine leaf, shown here in their most widely consumed method as Dolma’s. These leaves pack a respectable 3.6g of protein per 100g. Who you calling a lightweight!
25. Snowpeas – 3.6 g per 100g
Yum yum yum. That’s the best way to describe these awesome crunchy fresh parcels of tastyness. Snowpeas are pretty low in carbs, and are a good source of protein too. Best consumed when you pick them fresh off the vine in your backyard veggie patch 🙂
24. Bok Choy – 3.7 g per 100g
The backbone vegetable of any good stir fry is the fun-to-say bok choy! Go on, say it out loud, you know you want to 🙂 These crunchy, fresh green vegetables are packed full of nutrients and are usually available all year round. #noexcuses
23. English Spinach – 3.7 g per 100g
What is a list of the highest protein vegetables without including the most famous muscle inducing plant, the humble english spinach!
Just look what happens to PopEye – do you really need any more proof that vegetable will make you nice and strong??
Don’t forget to add this protein-packed veggie into your Protein Savoury Muffins, our favourite combo? Spinach and Feta… Yum Yum!!
22. Brussel Sprouts – 3.8 g per 100g
Have you tried them since you were a kid? I promise they’re not that bad!
Brussel sprouts contain a huge amount of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin B6, so if you can put aside your child-hood phobia of these mini cabbages, your body will thank you!
21. Kohlrabi – 3.9 g per 100g
Aka the Turnip Cabbage, or the German Turnip, these awesome coloured root vegetables are great when sliced thinly and added to a salad or you can try roasting them – creating a low carb, high protein wedge to go with your winter roast lamb!
#20 – #11, High Protein Vegetables
Now we’re getting into the good ones, we’ve got vegetables ranging from 4g of protein through to 6g per 100g. There’s one here which I bet you didn’t know was high protein, best of all, it’s delicious too!
20. Ung Choi (Water Spinach) – 4.1 g per 100g
Ung Choi goes by many names; kankun, water spinach, morning glory and even swamp cabbage (I’m not really selling it very well).
Strange names aside, this nutritious leafy green is a great addition to any stir fry especially with garlic and shallots, or steamed and served as a fresh, simple side-dish.
19. Corn (Fresh on Cob) – 4.2 g per 100g
I was super delighted to see these popup in researching this article. If you haven’t yet tried raw corn fresh off the cob then you’re missing out. Bonus points if you’re standing in the paddock eating it 🙂 Fresh corn is amazingly delicious and juicy. It’s high in fibre and has a decent amount of protein too! If you’re watching the carbs, don’t get too carried away though, all that sweetness means it packs a punch in the carb department!
18. Broccoli – 4.4 g per 100g
The go-to vegetable of the body-builder’s diet is the amazing broccoli. It’s super low carb (0.4g per 100g), has a tonne of both soluble and insoluble fibre and per calorie, has more protein than steak!
Cooking tip: Try roasting broccoli in the oven with lots of garlic, olive oil and a good pinch of salt. It’s an awesome new way to rekindle your love affair with these miniature green trees.
Baking Tip: Try our Cheesy, Broccoli & Bacon Savoury Muffins for something different next meal prep!
17. Horseradish – 4.5 g per 100g
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that this might not be the most pleasant vegetable to eat copious amounts of, nor should you. But it is a vegetable and it is pretty high in protein so I’ve decided to include it on the list! It’s been used extensively throughout the world as a medicine for all sorts of ailments and can also help add some spice to your sushi 🙂
If you’re wondering what to do with this weird and wacky vegetable, check out this article.
16. Lentils – 4.8 g per 100g
Nudging up near 5% protein is the amazing lentil. A favourite of vegans and vegetarians everywhere these awesome little legumes can be used in a tonne of delicious dishes. Yes. Even some without meat! Shock!
15. Lima Beans (Butter Beans) – 5.2 g per 100g
These golden little beans are also knowns as Butter Beans due to their creamy, buttery texture. They make a great mash as a lower-carb replacement for potatoes or whole, as an addition to a soup or stew.
14. Green Peas – 5.9 g per 100g
Whilst these were great for flicking at your sister when you we’re a kid, they’re even better if you actually eat them (Mum was right!).
Green Peas have a decent amount of protein as well as being a good source of phytonutrients such as saponins, phenolic acids and flavanols – the health benefits of which are just starting to be discovered.
They’re also a very environmentally-friendly crop to grow, returning nitrogen back to the soil to be used by other crops.
13. Potato Skins – 6.0 g per 100g
The humble potato is a wonderfully versatile vegetable. If you’re trying to avoid eating too many carbs, but just can’t say “No” to a good baked chip, then all you need to do is peel them and eat the skins!
Potato skins are the least carb intensive part of the root and also contain the most protein, a whopping 6g per 100g!
Check out this awesome recipe for baked potato skins, you can thank me later 🙂
12. Garlic – 6.1 g per 100g
Best friends with onion, and the start of most dinners at my place is the very good garlic (I need to work on my alliteration). There’s many varieties of garlic, however we generally only get two main ones in the supermarkets in Australia – these are the Classic White Garlic, or the Red Garlic as shown here.
11. Mushrooms (Fresh) – 6.2 g per 100g
Get your beef stroganoff ready for a big dose of protein-packed mushrooms. These magical little things are super delicious, easy to cook with, and very nutritious – packed with Vitamin D, Folate and Vitamin B2.
They’re also low-fat and low-carb too – just 0.5g per 100g for each.
#10 – #1, Super High Protein Vegetables
Ok, we’re getting into the heavy weights now! These next 10 are the Highest Protein Vegetables around. If you’re lacking in Protein intake then make friends with these guys.
10. Cannellini Beans – 6.2 g per 100g
Very Italian, very creamy, pretty high in protein – what’s not to love!
These beans have a slightly nutty, mild flavour with a great fluffy texture. Canned cannellini beans are pretty good, but like most beans, if you can find them and aren’t in a huge rush, buy them dried and re-hydrate them yourself for a much better flavour and texture. Timing varies depending on the type of bean, so follow the instructions on the pack.
9. Chickpeas – 6.3 g per 100g
Another personal favourite of mine, the chickpea. Great for making hummus, oven roasted with chicken, or added fresh to a salad.
Fun fact: Chickpeas are called Garbanzo beans in some parts of the world.
They’re incredibly cheap to buy which is great if you’re on a budget, and they’re wonderfully versatile. A good source of protein and fibre.
8. Broad Beans – 6.3 g per 100g
Tying with chickpeas with a respectable 6.3 g of protein per 100g is the Broad Bean (Vicia faba – Fava Beans). Broad Beans frequently feature in a lot of Mediterranean cooking.
As well as being high in protein, they’re also a great source of fibre, vitamins A and C, iron and potassium.
7. Blackeyed Pea (aka Cowpea) – 7.7 g per 100g
With such hits as the ‘Where is the love’, ‘I gotta Feeling’ and ‘My Humps’ this amazing band… oh wait wrong Blackeyed Pea.
This Blackeyed Pea – the edible type – is also known as the Cowpea, is really quite high in protein with almost 8g per 100g. They also contain and abundance of anti-oxidants are low in fat and high in fibre.
This legume is a little more obscure so you’re more likely going to find it dried rather than canned.
6. Black Beans (Boiled) – 8.9 g per 100g
I first fell in love with these delicious little black beans thanks to some Brazillian housemates I had a few years back. The black bean is a staple in Brazil and much of South America and they use it to create a wonderful dish called Feijoada filled with pork ribs, chorizo and all things delicious. You can check out the recipe here.
Nutrition-wise, it’s a powerhouse containing almost 9g of Protein per 100g and a good amount of fibre, potassium, magnesium and iron!
5. Sun-Dried Tomatoes – 11.2 g per 100g
I was super excited when I found this out. How many more reasons do you need to love sun-dried tomatoes! All the deliciousness of the tomato compressed down and enriched by the sun. Delish!
I’ll definitely be including much more of these now that I know they’re high in protein. #gainz
Check out our Italiano Protein Bites recipe for a great protein-packed snack, perfect for entertaining!
4. Kidney Beans – 12.8 g per 100g
These guys having been hiding in plain sight almost everywhere. They’re the main bean in baked beans, part of most 3 (or 4) bean mixes or available by themselves. Whichever way, they’re delicious and they’re a great source of protein, potassium and magnesium.
3. Soy Beans – 13.5 g per 100g
Soy has received a lot of bad press as of late due to health concerns around phytoestrogens as well as general association with GMO. I’m not going to go into that here.
As a vegetable, (actually a legume), they’re an awesome source of protein with 13.5 g per 100g. Soy beans are also high in fibre and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Like anything, consume in moderation.
2. Dried Mushrooms – 38.8 g per 100g
Taking out the silver medal in this list of the 30 Highest Protein Vegetables (as well as #11 (when fresh)) is the super special Dried Mushroom.
Dried Mushrooms can be bought in most supermarkets, if not almost all Asian Supermarkets. They come in an huge variety of shapes and flavours. Due to their high water content, when dried out, their already-high protein source becomes concentrated into a serious protein hit!
1. Seaweed Spirulina – 57.5 g per 100g
It’s done it again. Taking out position number #1 in this list of the 30 Highest Protein Vegetables is the amazing Seaweed – which also took out position number #1 in last weeks list of the Top 50 Lowest Carb Vegetables!
Spirulina is a highly nutritious micro salt water algae. It’s an incredible source of protein (3~4 times higher than fish or beef) has a heap of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin B12, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and more.
This incredible plant has even been identified by NASA as a way of feeding astronauts due to it’s high growth rates and minimal energy overheads.
So there we go, the Highest Protein and Lowest Carb vegetable doesn’t grow on land, but underwater!
You’ll often hear people saying “it’s a complete protein” or “so and so food isn’t good because it’s not a complete protein” confused? Don’t worry!
What makes a protein complete? Well there’s a few things, 9 of them in fact.
A complete protein (or whole protein) is a protein source which contains a reasonable amount of all 9 of the essential amino acids. These 9 amino acids are necessary for us to live, to grow and to repair our bodies after exercise.
Most vegetables aren’t complete proteins as they generally only contain a select few of these 9 amino acids. If you eat a wide variety of vegetables, grains and legumes, you’ll almost certainly cover off these essential amino acids, so as much as bacon is delicious, you can get all you need from vegetables!
Meat on the other hand, always contains all 9 of these essential amino acids which makes them a complete protein.
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So, there you have it, a complete list of the Top 30 High Protein Vegetables.
If you’re following a low-carb diet and missed my last article, make sure to check it out. I compiled an even bigger list of the Top 50 Lowest Carb Vegetables!
The 50 Lowest Carb Vegetables - The ...
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- An avid barefoot trail runner, explorer, creator, and keen learner. I'm incredibly humbled by everyone who's helped The Protein Bread Co. to grow to where it is today – actively supporting our mission to help 5M Australians and 20M people globally to live fitter, healthier and happier lives. You can reach out to me via Twitter or Instagram @thelowcarbgiant, Facebook @lukehopkins, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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