7 Best Vegan Protein Sources

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!

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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:

Seitan

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

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

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!

Vegan Meat

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

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.

Edamame

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.

Chickpeas

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!

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Is a Vegan Diet Healthy?

More and more people are turning to a vegan diet because it’s generally accepted as healthy. But is it really? Keep reading to find out the benefits of a vegan diet and how it can impact your health.

Willow serves vegan dishes with innovative preparations. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Here are five ways a vegan diet can benefit your health:

Rich in Nutrients

Many people have a hard time believing that you can get all the nutrients you need from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plants. But the truth is, plants are great sources of protein, calcium, iron, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

May Decrease Risk of Cancer

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one in three cancers are linked to diet. But their research also shows that a vegan diet can lower your risk of developing cancer by 15%.

May Decrease Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

More than 100 million people in the United States have diabetes or are likely to develop it at some point in their life. Luckily, research from PLOS Medicine shows that following a vegan diet can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 33%.

May Decrease Risk of Heart Disease

A vegan diet is the definition of heart-healthy. According to a 2014 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, vegans have a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease. Vegans also lower their risk of high blood pressure by up to 75%!

May Decrease Risk of Obesity

Compared to other diets, people who eat a vegan diet have a lower body mass index or BMI. Of course, if you eat a lot of highly-processed vegan foods, it can lead to weight gain.

Are Supplements Necessary on a Vegan Diet?

No matter how you choose to eat, most diets lack some nutritional element. While a vegan diet can be healthy and rich in many vitamins and minerals, vegans may need to supplement with certain nutrients to avoid deficiencies:

  • Vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage and protects the heart. It’s naturally found in dirt, and because animals eat dirt, it’s also found in animal products. Some vegan products are fortified with B12, but supplementation may be needed due to the body’s ability to absorb it.
  • Vitamin K2 regulates calcium deposition. It ultimately reduces bone loss and the rate of osteoporosis. It’s only found in a few plant-based foods, specifically fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.
  • Iodine is important for healthy thyroid function. The only plant foods with high iodine levels are iodized salt and seaweed.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids can be broken down into three different types: ALA, EPA, and DHA. All three are critical to your health, but DHA is particularly important for your brain. Flax seeds and chia seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Zinc is necessary for immune function and repairing cells. This mineral is present in beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, but it may be difficult to absorb due to their phytate content.

A Word on Vegan Junk Food

Just because a food is vegan doesn’t automatically make it a healthy option. In fact, if you eat a lot of overly-processed vegan foods, it’s almost as bad as the Standard American Diet.

For example, let’s compare a regular hamburger with an Impossible Burger. The hamburger is full of cholesterol, saturated fat, heme iron, and other ingredients that may be harmful to your health. So in this case, the Impossible Burger is better for you. But if you compare it to a vegan bean burger made from whole foods, the Impossible Burger wouldn’t be the healthier option because it contains high amounts of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and other additives. 

Although meat alternatives of your favorite junk foods are helpful when transitioning to a vegan diet or even for an occasional treat, a vegan diet that consists of mostly whole, plant foods is better for your long-term health.

Visit Willow in NYC!

A vegan diet is healthy when you make the right food choices. 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.

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Try the Best Vegan Dessert in NYC at Willow

Manhattan is home to some of the hottest vegan restaurants. But if you’re looking to try the best vegan dessert in NYC, Willow Vegan Bistro is the ultimate destination to satisfy your sweet tooth. From creamy cheesecake to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, here’s what you’ll find on Chef Guy Vaknin’s newest plant-based menu that will make you want to order dessert first!

Willow offers a variety of vegan desserts with upscale plating. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Vanilla Bean Cashew Cheesecake

People travel near and far to the Big Apple to experience an authentic slice of New York-style cheesecake. At Willow, we’re breaking all the rules when it comes to this classic dessert!

Instead of a graham cracker crust, our cashew and yogurt-based cheesecake filling is nestled inside of a crumbled chocolate chip cookie crust. The topping is also non-traditional. Instead of a raspberry or blueberry sauce, our vegan cheesecake is expertly drizzled with rich, hot fudge.

Since you can’t have too much of a good thing, each plate is garnished with a trio of chocolate coconut truffles. The best part about this dessert? It’s the perfect size for one person, which means you don’t have to share!

Bananas Foster Cake

This may be New York, but you can still “let the good times roll” with our best-selling dessert. Created by the head chef of the iconic Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Willow’s bananas foster cake is a slice of southern comfort.

Chef Guy pulls out all the stops for his veganized version. To start, ripe bananas are caramelized and then flambéd in a rum sauce fit for Mardi Gras. Next, a scoop of our vegan vanilla bean ice cream is spooned on top of the cake. Finally, for the pièce de résistance, we add a drizzle of strawberry coulis.

If you’ve never had bananas foster, it’s hard to describe how amazing these flavors taste when they all come together. Luckily, you can experience it for yourself without traveling to NOLA!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

Chef Guy’s spin on the chocolate chip cookie is the definition of unique. This classic cookie features the power couple of the dessert world: chocolate and peanut butter. Since nothing warms the soul quicker than that fresh-out-of-the-oven feel, we bake our vegan chocolate chip cookie in an individual skillet. We then top it off with a generous scoop of rich and creamy vegan chocolate ice cream, a decadent drizzle of peanut butter sauce, and a sprinkling of peanuts and sea salt.

Vegan Ice Cream

Willow’s vegan ice cream will simply melt all your troubles away. Here’s the scoop: our chocolate and vanilla bean coconut-based ice cream is so rich and creamy, you won’t believe it’s dairy and egg-free. The only thing left to decide is how many scoops you want! Also, most of the desserts at Willow are served with one of our ice cream flavors, so why not have your cake and eat a scoop, too!

Visit Willow in NYC!

We invite you to try the best vegan dessert in NYC at Willow Vegan Bistro! The next time you have a sweet tooth, stop by our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online!

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What’s the Difference Between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-Based?

If you’re confused by the different types of plant-based diets, you’re not alone! Even though they’re built on the same foundation of eating fruits and vegetables, there are a few variations to each. Here, we’ll break down the difference between vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based diets to help you better understand their nuances.

Willow serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. Visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

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Vegetarian

Nearly 20% of the world’s population is vegetarian. Many people choose to follow a vegetarian diet for ethical, health, environmental, or religious reasons. Out of the three diets, most people seem to understand that vegetarian means meatless.

People who follow a vegetarian diet do not eat the following: 

  • Red meat
  • White meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Shellfish
  • By-products from animal slaughter (e.g. gelatin and animal stock)

A vegetarian diet, however, isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet. There are actually several variations of vegetarianism.

These are some of the most common types of vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet. A vegetarian with this diet won’t eat meat, fish, or poultry, but they will eat eggs and dairy products. “Lacto” comes from the Latin word for “milk” while “ovo” comes from the Latin word for “egg.”
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet. This variation of a vegetarian diet excludes meat, poultry, and fish, as well as dairy products due to the dairy industry’s cruel practices. Ovo-vegetarians still eat eggs and foods that contain eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet. Lacto-vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. They do, however, eat dairy products.
  • Pescatarian. People who follow a pescatarian diet don’t eat meat or poultry, but they do eat fish. They may or may not eat dairy products or eggs.

Vegan

A vegan diet completely eliminates all meat and animal-derived products. This includes red and white meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, dairy products, eggs, honey, gelatin, and other additives. Unlike a plant-based diet, a vegan diet doesn’t exclude processed foods or oils.

Raw Veganism

A popular variation of veganism is raw veganism or raw foodism. A raw vegan diet consists of eating foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that aren’t cooked or processed. A food is considered raw if it’s never been heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C). Since you can’t cook your food, alternative food preparations like juicing, dehydrating, soaking, and sprouting are popular. People who follow this type of vegan diet usually do so for health purposes, because they believe that cooking foods destroys the natural enzymes and reduces their nutrient content.

Veganism as a Lifestyle

For many vegans, their eating habits are more than just a diet—it’s a lifestyle rooted in compassion. The Vegan Society defines veganism as, “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.”

Someone who follows a vegan lifestyle usually avoids the following: 

  • Buying leather or fur
  • Supporting businesses that exploit animals (e.g. zoos and circuses)
  • Supporting hunting and killing animals for sport
  • Purchasing products that were tested on animals, like makeup

Plant-Based

A whole-food, plant-based diet consists of whole, unrefined, and/or minimally processed plant foods. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Those who follow a plant-based diet typically avoid highly-refined and processed foods like bleached flour (e.g., all-purpose flour), refined sugar, and oils.

Now to address the elephant in the room: What about meat? A majority of plant-based doctors promote plant-based diets that are free of meat and animal products because of the growing body of research that shows how they can negatively impact your health. However, a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean meat-free. Someone who follows a plant-based diet may still eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products, but in smaller amounts.

Also, while veganism is more of a lifestyle, people who label themselves as plant-based are usually just referring to their diet. It’s not uncommon for those who follow a plant-based diet to become more aware of their choices and eventually follow certain vegan practices.

Visit Willow in NYC!

We hope you better understand the difference between vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based diets. If you’d like to try some of the best vegan food 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 vegan meal.

Order Online

Willow Offers Vegan Comfort Food in NYC

Comfort food is like a warm hug on a plate. Luckily, Willow offers the best vegan comfort food in NYC. Stop by our cozy and contemporary vegan bistro for an outstanding meal!

Willow serves vegan comfort food with upscale plating. Learn more below, and visit us today for dine-in, delivery, or takeout!

Order Online

Comfort Food, Elevated

Many people turn to their favorite dishes as a source of comfort. Seeing a need for vegan comfort food in New York City, executive chef Guy Vaknin and his wife Tali created a space where they can share their twist on classic American food with the community. The 100% vegan and kosher menu is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Enjoy the nostalgia of your favorite comforting meals with our elevated bistro food!

Menu Sneak Peek

Here’s a preview of the vegan comfort food you’ll find on the menu at Willow:

  • Vegan Calamari. Made from king oyster mushrooms, these deliciously deep-fried rings are perfect for dunking in our herb marinara sauce and horseradish mayo.
  • Truffle Mac-and-Cheese. Is there anything more comforting than mac-and-cheese? An elevated twist on the childhood favorite, this skillet mac-and-cheese is a triple threat with black truffles, a blend of creamy vegan cheeses, and crispy “bac’n.”
  • Buttermilk Fried Chick’n Sandwich. You don’t have to sacrifice texture or flavor to get your fried chicken fix! Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, our vegan chick’n patty is piled high with cabbage slaw, avocado slices, and pickles. All of this is held together with a brioche bun that’s slathered with spicy horseradish aioli.
  • “Steak” Frites. This hearty and satisfying dish brings a whole new meaning to steak dinner. Inspired by the French classic, our plant-based version uses seitan that’s marinated and grilled to perfection. The “steak” is paired with hand-cut wedge fries and a creamy wild mushroom demi-glace.
  • Eggplant Lasagna. If you’re looking for Italian comfort food, you’ve come to the right place. Chef Guy’s re-creation of this dish features hand-rolled lasagna noodles filled with roasted eggplant, Impossible meat, herb “ricotta,” marinara sauce, and a generous sprinkle of vegan mozzarella.
  • Vanilla Bean Cashew Cheesecake. Our creamy cashew and yogurt cheesecake filling is nestled inside a crumbled chocolate chip cookie crust. The decadence continues with a generous drizzle of hot fudge and a garnish of chocolate coconut truffles. This dessert is perfect for sharing, but we won’t judge you if you ask for only one spoon!
  • Bananas Foster Cake. This dessert is a bestseller and for a good reason. A veganized version of the classic New Orleans dessert, this Bananas Foster Cake is served with all of the fixings, including caramelized bananas, rum flambe sauce, and strawberry coulis. Then, it’s topped with a scoop of vanilla bean vegan ice cream.

Giving Back

Not only will Willow’s vegan comfort food make you feel good, but it will also do good in the community. A portion of sales provides vegan meals for New Yorkers in need through our charity partner, Support and Feed.

Visit Willow in NYC!

Willow offers the best vegan comfort food in NYC! So, the next time you’re craving vegan in New York City, stop by our restaurant at 199 8th Avenue. You can also place pickup or delivery orders online!

Order Online