Vegan Protein Sources

Not sure how to get protein as a vegan? It’s actually really reasy!

Credit: Christopher Shoebridge

vegan protein

It’s a common myth that we need meat to get enough protein, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There may be a lot of protein in meat, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist anywhere else. It does! And vegans simply do what elephants, bison and rhinos do. We go straight to the source – plants.

While protein is an essential macronutrient, protein deficiency is not a concern for most of the UK population. That said, it’s important to be aware of what plant-based foods are protein-rich, and to include a variety of plant-based proteins in your meals.

what is protein?

There are 20 amino acids that make up protein and our bodies are able to make most of these themselves. However, there are nine that we need to get from food, and these are known as essential amino acids.

Individual vegan foods contain most of these, but there are two that we need to be more aware of – lysine and methionine. Typically, cereals such as rice and wheat are lower in lysine, and legumes like beans, pulses and peas are lower in methionine.

By ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet that includes both cereals and legumes, you’ll be getting all of the essential amino acids you need.


So where do vegans get protein? Here are some of the best vegan protein sources you can include in your diet:

  • Tofu a high-protein food made from soybeans
  • Tempeh a food made from fermented soybeans
  • Seitan a high-protein food made from wheat gluten
  • Legumes – beans, peanuts and peanut butter, peas, lentils and soya
  • Grains – quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa, bulgur
  • Nuts – Brazil, peanut, cashew, almond, pistachio and walnut

High-protein Vegan meals

Here are some delicious, protein-packed recipes.

Want to optimise your macronutrients on a plant-based diet? Check out these high-protein, low-fat vegan foods.

Thinking of trying vegan?

Veganuary inspires and supports people all over the world to try vegan for January and beyond. Millions of people have already taken part.
Will you join them?