Vegans, You Need Some Protein

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But you already know that. Because one of the biggest misconceptions about a vegan diet is that it lacks protein. On the contrary, nature provides us with a diverse selection of non-animal foods packed with muscle-building protein that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Go vegan without fear with these protein powerhouses.

Soybeans (Edamame)

Credit: Tammy Green/Flickr
Credit: Tammy Green/Flickr

Soybeans are so packed with protein that Chinese planters call them the “meat of the field.” These delicious beans are also rich in brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, iron (another mineral usually found in meats), fibre, magnesium, calcium, and more. Raw or cooked, soybeans make a healthy addition to soups, salads, sandwiches, and just about anything else you can think of.

Tempeh

Credit: FotoosVanRobin/Wikipedia
Credit: FotoosVanRobin/Wikipedia

Also known as fermented soy, tempeh is delicious, nutritious, and easy on your digestive system. Like soy, tempeh is also rich in a variety of essential minerals. Try making a tempeh wrap or burrito in place of beef or pork – you won’t regret it.

Tofu

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Once shunned in the west as a dull, gimmicky food, tofu is now taking global cuisine by storm, starring in appetizers, entrees, snacks, breakfast options, and desserts. With a little creativity, you can make tofu taste and feel almost however you want. You can find tofu at your local health food store or at any Asian grocery market.

Lentils

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This little legume is a favorite among nutritionists, and for good reason. Just one cup provides nearly a full day’s worth of folate, over half a day’s worth of iron, dietary fiber, and zinc, and high amounts of a dozen other nutrients.

Black Beans

Credit: Stacey Spensley/Flickr
Credit: Stacey Spensley/Flickr

A staple in Mexican cuisine, black beans are unique in that they pack high amounts of antioxidants alongside protein. Add them to stir-fry dishes, pastas, salads, soups, and of course, burritos.

Chickpeas

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Also called garbanzo beans, chickpeas aren’t just an ingredient for hummus, they’re a rich and versatile source of protein and an excellent source of iron, phosphorous, and several B-vitamins. Combine them with soybeans, black beans, and lentils to create the ultimate legume triumvirate.

Quinoa

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Gluten-free dieters rejoice – quinoa is a cereal-like grain that combines high-quality protein with fibre, manganese, and other trace nutrients. It’s also about as versatile as tofu. Use quinoa in place of refined grains, which lack fiber and can spike your blood sugar.

Nut Butters

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Top it on desserts, crackers, meals, or just eat it by the spoonful. Nut butters give you a quick burst of protein, essential fats, and antioxidants.