One of the biggest misconceptions about a vegan diet is that you won’t be able to get enough protein. The good news is you can absolutely meet your protein needs without eating meat—you just have to know where to get it! Continue reading to discover the seven best vegan protein sources you should incorporate into your diet.
Willow serves vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!
What You Need to Know About Protein
Protein is one of three main macronutrients the body needs in large amounts in order to sustain life. It’s essential for building, maintaining, and repairing the tissues in your body, including hair, nails, muscles, bones, and organs. Protein also gives your body energy, keeps your immune system strong, and helps you feel fuller longer.
Protein is made up of 21 building blocks known as amino acids. They can be broken down into two types: nonessential and essential. Of the 21 amino acids, the body can produce 12 on its own. These are known as nonessential amino acids. The remaining nine amino acids are essential, which means you must get them from your diet.
The Best Vegan Protein Sources
While protein is present in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, there are plenty of vegan protein sources that make it easy to meet your needs:
It may sound evil, but seitan (pronounced SAY-tan) is 100% cruelty-free. This protein-packed meat alternative is made from gluten, which is the main protein in wheat. It contains 46 grams of protein per ½ cup. Seitan is incredibly versatile, and due to its meat-like texture, it’s often sliced thin like deli meat or cut thick for “steaks.”
See what seitan is all about with our Cherrywood Smoked Pastrami or “Steak” Frites from Willow Vegan Bistro. Order now!
Tofu is the original vegan protein. Dating as far back as 2,000 years, this solid white block of condensed soy milk contains 20 grams of protein per cup. Tofu also has an advantage over other plant proteins because it’s a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids that you need to get from food.
Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food that can be used in stir fry or to make tempeh bacon. Just like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, making this meat alternative a complete protein. However, tempeh has tofu beat when it comes to protein. One-half cup of tempeh contains 16 grams of vegan protein!
Just like the real thing, plant-based meat is also a rich source of protein. For example, a 4oz Impossible Burger patty contains 19 grams of protein, which is the same amount of protein you’d find in a ground beef patty.
Sink your teeth into Willow’s Cheeseburger Sliders or Eggplant Lasagna, both made with Impossible meat. Order now!
Lentils are the protein king of the legume family. In one cup of cooked lentils, you’ll get 18 grams of protein. Lentils come in many varieties, including brown, green, and red.
If you’re looking to load up on a complete protein but don’t want to eat tofu or tempeh, go straight to the source! One cup of cooked edamame or soybeans contains about 18.5 grams of protein.
If lentils are the king of the legume family, then chickpeas are the queen. The main ingredient in everyone’s favorite dip, hummus, contains 16 grams of protein per cup.
Visit Willow in NYC!
We hope you enjoyed learning about the seven best vegan protein sources. If you’d like to try some delicious vegan cuisine in NYC, stop by Willow today! Our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online. We look forward to serving you an outstanding meal!