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Vegetable proteins – foods, recipes and useful things to do with vegetable protein

vegetable proteins nuts tofu spinach legumes high-protein vegetables

Although dietary patterns are constantly changing according to controversial beliefs, there has been a lot of debate lately about which source of protein to prefer. Are proteins of animal or vegetable origin better? With regard to global nutrition trends, according to the latest studies, the consumption of animal protein tends to decrease, especially in industrialized countries. But why do vegetable proteins take priority? What makes the difference between animal and plant-based protein sources, why is plant-based protein so important for the body and which plant-based foods contain a lot of protein, you will find out below.

What are vegetable proteins?

chia quinoa protein powder dried fruit hemp seeds protein vegetable

Proteins are complex chemical compounds that consist of several individual amino acids. In order to maintain the body’s own protein structures, protein intake through food is essential. Proteins are essential components of our cells. Muscle, tissue and bones consist to a large extent of synthetic proteins. Many of the body’s own enzymes and hormones consist primarily of proteins. If the supply of carbohydrates and fat is insufficient, the protein is also used as an energy source. Vegetable proteins contain essential amino acids, which are found in different concentrations in every vegetable food.

Vegetable vs. animal protein

animal proteins versus vegetable proteins legumes fish meat

The human organism is dependent on a high-quality protein supply, which is not only obtained from animal proteins. The protein requirement can also be met with a purely plant-based diet. What is the difference between proteins from plant and animal origin? The concept of biological value describes the quality of food proteins. The more the composition of the amino acids in a certain food corresponds to the amino acid requirement in our organism, the higher its biological value. In general, animal products have a higher biological value than vegetable proteins.

vegetable protein food lentils beans chickpeas

By combining different foods with different protein quality, however, the biological value of a protein-containing meal can be positively influenced. According to researchers, people who prefer plant-based proteins over animal proteins live healthier lives. How to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases if you increase the increase in vegetable protein. Of course, it cannot be concluded from this that animal protein sources can be described as unhealthy. If you limit the consumption of red meat, for example, and choose protein sources from plant-based foods, you can improve your health and general well-being and minimize the risk of various diseases.

Vegetable Proteins Benefits

vegetable proteins lentils types of food

Vegetable proteins can provide energy, activate healing and regeneration processes and compensate for nutritional deficits. As a high-quality source of protein, they are not only recommended for athletes. Vegetable proteins are recommended if you want to lose weight. They supply the body with a multitude of vital substances and are particularly satisfying due to their high nutrient density. Vegetable proteins also have the best digestibility. In this way, you can boost weight loss. Proteins from plant-based foods help the body to regenerate and recharge after illness or pregnancy. Vegetable proteins are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and slow-digesting starch, which has several nutritional benefits. For example, the consumption of pulses in diabetics can keep the blood sugar level in check and even prevent type 2 diabetes.

Protein needs

beans tomatoes vegetable proteins food protein supplier

The German Nutrition Society recommends a daily protein intake of 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight. 9-11% of the daily energy intake should be covered by protein. An increased protein requirement arises, for example, during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the growth phase of infants and children.

Vegetable Proteins in Food – Where to find vegetable proteins?

As you have already seen, vegetable proteins are in no way inferior to animal proteins. If you want to add high-quality proteins to your diet, whether health related or ethical, you will need to resort to good sources of vegetable protein. But what are the foods that are high in vegetable protein?


Combine nuts, vegetable proteins in the right way

The nuts are particularly rich in proteins and also provide healthy fats. As an excellent source of protein, hazelnuts and walnuts are made up of around 16% protein. Hazelnuts contain 12 g protein per 100 g, cashew nuts 17 g and almonds 22 g. In addition to proteins, they have a high proportion of minerals and trace elements. They supply the body with calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. The peanuts contain a whopping 25 g of protein and Brazil nuts are also an excellent source of selenium.

Seeds and seeds

powder flaxseed chia quinoa protein plant-based food

The high-fat seeds from which cooking oils are made are excellent sources of protein. Peeled hemp seeds, for example, are rich in high-quality fats and provide 30 g protein per 100 g and sunflower seeds 20 g. Flaxseed and sesame are more than 20% protein. Sunflower seeds provide 26 grams of protein per 100 grams and pumpkin seeds even 36 grams. With seeds, you can easily increase the daily protein intake, for example by adding them to the salad. Hemp seeds and chia seeds are also great sources of vegetable protein. Hemp seeds contain 25 g protein per 100 g as well as vitamins A, B1, B2 and the minerals iron, zinc, copper, potassium and calcium. Fenugreek seeds are high in fiber, stimulate the appetite and contain 23 g per 100 g. Chia seeds not only convince with their high protein content (17 g per 100 g). They are particularly rich in antioxidants, fiber, potassium and omega 3 fatty acids.


legumes buckwheat rice chickpeas beans protein vegetable

Although legumes contain a slightly smaller amount of plant-based protein, they deserve a safe place on the high-protein plant-based food list. Well filling and low in calories, they are an ideal food as part of a calorie-conscious diet. Kidney beans provide almost 8 g of protein per 100 g, peas and lentils around 5 g and soybeans even 12 g of vegetable protein. If you follow a vegan diet, you should use pulses more often to avoid protein deficiencies. Even 100 g of cooked lentils have as high a protein content as meat. Include green, white, red or black beans in your diet and ensure that you not only consume important protein-rich foods, but also that your daily menu is deliciously varied. Legumes can be used in the form of pastes as a spread or as an addition to other dishes.

Soy products

soy products soy milk tofu soy flour vegetable protein

As a protein-rich vegetable food that contains all essential amino acids, soy is certainly the most widely used food among vegetarians. Would you have thought that soybeans contain more protein and iron than beef? The soy protein content varies depending on the product form. With this in mind, 100 g of soybeans contain around 36 g, while soy flour provides up to 45 g of protein per 100 g. Even small amounts of it can improve the protein balance. As a protein supplier, soy can be used in many ways in the kitchen.


spirulina alga drink powder wholesome food protein supplier

Another wholesome food that consists of 60% easily digestible vegetable protein and has the highest concentration of ss-carotene, vitamin B12, iron and trace elements is spirulina algae. It was already used by the Aztecs and offers an impressive composition of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that has not yet been found in any other food. Spirulina offers 20 times more protein than soybeans and 200 times more than beef.

Cereals and pseudograins

vegetable proteins food list quinoa millet legumes

High-quality vegetable protein is also found in cereals. The grains spelled, rye, oats and barley as well as whole grain rice and millet are rich in protein. The list of plant-based, protein-rich foods also includes pseudo-grains, as, in addition to high-quality proteins, they also provide amino acid lysine, which is relatively rarely found in high concentrations in plants. Quinoa provides 14 g of protein per 100 g. The gluten-free quinoa also contains iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc. The ingredients of the fiber and protein-rich quinoa make it something special and very popular with vegetarians and vegans.

amaranth pseudo-grain protein source gluten-free

With their 18% protein content, the tiny amaranth seeds are a good source of protein for a meatless diet. With a high proportion of fiber, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and lecithin, amaranth is a complete alternative for those who want to avoid animal products. How about a handful of delicious buckwheat seedlings in a salad or in a soup? Buckwheat is rich in easily digestible proteins, high-quality minerals and vital substances. Although buckwheat contains less protein than wheat, it provides all eight essential amino acids.

Vegetables and dried fruits

dried fruits figs dates nuts protein vegetable

The consumption of vegetables is essential for a balanced diet. Most vegetables provide 1-3 g of protein per 100 g. Kale and Brussels sprouts (4.5 g), as well as mushrooms (4.1 g), alfalfa sprouts (4 g), broccoli (3.8 g) and spinach (2.8 g) are also among the protein-rich vegetables. Among the leafy vegetables, the nettles (7 g) and dandelions (3 g) are the foods richest in protein. The dandelion can bring a healthy variety to your salad buffet and you can prepare wholesome soups with nettle. Dried fruits, including tomatoes, are not to be neglected in terms of protein content if you are looking to replace animal proteins with plant-based ones. Dry tomatoes not only convince with their antioxidant properties, they also guarantee a protein intake of 7.5 g per 100 g. High protein dried fruits include apricots, grapes, plums, guavas, and figs.

Vegetable protein recipes

After you have received a brief overview of the foods in which protein of plant origin is present, we have selected two recipes for you that you can integrate into your diet as great sources of protein.

Peanut Butter Chickpea Protein Bar

protein bars vegetable proteins recipes chickpeas chia seeds

If you want to start the day with a healthy protein-rich snack, these homemade protein bars with lots of fiber and complex carbohydrates might be something to suit your taste.

Ingredients for 8-10 bars:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 maple syrup
  • 65 g peanut butter
  • 30 g almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt

combination of vegetable proteins protein bars chia chickpeas

Put the chickpeas, dates, peanut butter and maple syrup in the blender and process everything into a smooth mass. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix everything well until a smooth dough is formed. Spread the batter mixture on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, smooth the mixture with a spatula and bake it at 175 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let the baked mass cool and cut into pieces. You can store the protein bars in a lockable container in the fridge or freezer.

Quinoa salad with broad beans

mix vegetable proteins properly combine broad beans quinoa

This quinoa salad with fava beans is a delicious, spring-like and protein-rich dish that is delicious both warm and cold.


  • 170 g quinoa
  • Vegetable broth
  • 170 g broad beans
  •  a handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper

Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet. Remove broad beans from the pods and blanch them in the boiling water. Remove the outer layer of wax and mix the beans with the rest of the ingredients.