Last updated on May 9th, 2023 at 10:09 am
Here are the top 10 veggies high in protein! Eat these high-protein vegetables if you want to get a lot of muscles, abs, biceps, lose weight, have good skin, hair, nails and well, maintain life.
Did you hear there’s not enough protein out there? The protein is nooooot enough…(007? The world is not enough? No? Fine, I’m the loser because I remember songs from 56 years ago.)
In fact, I’ve heard you’re more likely to dig out a diamond in the local park than to find protein in those old fashioned foods some people still eat these days.
Well, new research has shown, there is, actually, enough protein in our food, and we don’t need to get paranoid about it. I did this research using this database and here we’ll see the results.
I focused specifically on high-protein vegetables and surprise: some of them actually have more protein than meat. Which ones? I didn’t know, but I learned something new and you will too when you scroll down!
But before we start with the list of vegetables high in protein, let’s ask a question nobody seems to ask these days, because we feel protein is super scarce.
Why TF Do We Even Need Protein?
You might have heard you need to eat a ton of protein to gain muscles, to lose weight and to be super fit. That’s probably true, but there’s more to protein than making you look like Arnold (from Hey, Arnold, obviously!).
Proteins are pretty much like transformers because they can do so many things inside the body. Here are some functions of protein in the body we don’t seem to acknowledge anymore:
- As enzymes: Proteins are needed as an “assistant” to make different reactions and processes happen in the body. Without those enzymes, we won’t be able to digest food, produce energy or use the muscles we’ve built.
- As hormones: Proteins and peptides can act as hormones. Which means, they help different cells in the body communicate. Some examples are insulin, human growth hormone, and antidiuretic hormone.
- As part of the immune system: Proteins are also antibodies. The molecules your immune system can build, for example, when you’ve gone through infection or vaccination. These antibodies circulate through the body protect us from getting sick again.
- Tissue Building. And of course, we need protein for growth and for the ongoing maintenance of our tissues – skin, hair, nails, muscles – everything needs to be built and rebuilt consistently. We need protein for that.
Where Can You Find Protein?
I know, I also see a chicken breast in my mind when this question comes up. But here are some other sources:
- fish, eggs, beef, and even cheese
- chickpeas, beans, lentils and even quinoa
- nuts and seeds, especially chia and hemp seeds
- tempeh or tofu
- high-protein vegetables like those listed below
And these are many other dietary sources of protein. But remember that food should be about more than one nutrient. So yes, you can get a ton of protein in your diet, but what about the macronutrients that help your body utilize that protein and actually use it? The point is don’t look at just one nutrient, even if your only goal is to build muscle.
How Much Do We Need?
I’ve heard many stories. From we don’t need much protein to we need 1g of protein per pound. Here’s what we absolutely need according to NIH:
- infants: 1.5 g/kg/day
- toddler (1-3y) 1.1 g/kg/day
- Ages between 4 and 13: 0.95 g/kg/day
- Teenagers between 14-18: 0.85 g/kg/day
- Adults: 0.8 g /kg/day for adults
- Pregnant (using pre-pregnancy weight) or Lactating woman: 1.1 g/kg/day
Based on these numbers, a woman who is 55 kg or 121 pounds would need around 44g protein per day, not 121g of protein.
As always these numbers are very individual and also depend on your lifestyle (someone with a more active lifestyle would need more protein than someone who sits for a living, even at the same height and weight!). But if you’re struggling, no need to eat protein powder with a spoon – do something better for your body and simply add these high-protein vegetables to your meals.
Top 10 High-Protein Vegetables
Well, finally, here are the best high-protein vegetables to add to your diet:
- Broccoli. 1 cup of chopped broccoli contains 2.57 g protein, 2.4 g fiber and 31 kcal.
- Green Peas. 1/2 cup of green peas has 3.93 g protein, 4.1 g fiber and 59 kcal
- Mushrooms (more protein than meat!). 1 cup whole white mushrooms contain 2.97 g protein, 1.0 g fiber and 21 kcal. That’s 14.24g of protein per 100kcal, which beats ground beef!
- Asparagus (more protein than meat!). 1 cup asparagus contains 2.95 g protein, 2.8 g fiber and 27 kcal. That’s 10.91g protein per 100kcal, which again beats ground beef.
- Artichokes. 1 artichoke contains 4.19 g protein, 6.9 g fiber and 60 kcal
- Brussels Sprouts. 1 cup Brussels Sprouts contain 2.97 g protein, 3.3 g fiber and 38 kcal
- Cauliflower. 1 cup chopped cauliflower contains 2.05 g protein, 2.1 g fiber and 27 kcal
- Edamame (more protein than meat!). 1 cup frozen edamame contains 13.24g protein, 129 kcal, and 5.7 g fiber. Aaaand, with 10.32g protein / 100kcal edamame is doing much better than ground beef.
- Spinach (more protein than meat!). 100g of spinach have 2.86g protein, 20 kcal, and 2.2g fiber. That’s 12.30g protein per 100kcal, beats ground beef and makes it cry.
- Arugula (more protein than meat! 100g of arugula have 2.58g protein, 25 kcal, and 1.6 g fiber. Seriously, this green has 10.32g protein per 100kcal and ground beef is really sad by now.
About This List Of High-Protein Vegetables
Okay, you saw the list of high-protein vegetables. Now let me clarify two things:
- One. So, I decided to do something fun. I decided to compare the protein per 100 kcal of the X vegetable, to the 9.71g of protein found in 100 kcal ground beef. Fun right? Yes, it was. And it was totally not a waste of my time. I also do realize that nobody eats 5 cups of mushrooms for lunch every day…but a little bit here, a little bit over there – it will add up. Use these veggies, it’s in your best interest.
- Two. I also included the amount of fiber, because fiber in combination with protein is essential to keep you full and satiated (super important if your goal is to lose weight!)
Well, I hope you found this list helpful, in case you want to up your protein intake and don’t like powders or bars – eating these protein-packed vegetables can be an easy way to do it.
More Healthy Foods To Eat:
And if you did find this list of high-protein vegetables helpful, you can pin the graphic to Pinterest, print it out and put it under your pillow, put it on your desktop and blow kisses to it when you’re bored. I won’t judge you, where do you think I came up with these options in the first place? Now, if you’re looking for other healthy foods to add to your diet, here are some ideas to check out:
- 15 High-Protein Low-Carb Vegan Foods To Eat
- 24 High-Fiber Low-Carb Foods To Eat
- 5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Eat Every Day
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Cut the Brussels sprouts in halves.
- Stir in a nonstick pan with olive oil and salt and pepper at medium high, then cover the pan with a lid and let cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Please do not stir the entire time, let them "roast" for a little and then stir making sure to flip the Brussels sprouts so they can get nicely brown on each side.
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 121Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 181mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g
Originally published in August 2019 and last updated in May 2023.