Vegan Protein List & Seed Comparison Chart

March 2, 2013

vegan protein list

Vegan Protein & Seed Comparison

(Download your FREE Vegan Protein List here)

Most vegans will agree that the first question we are ever asked about our diet is “where do you get your protein?”

I don’t know how the vegan protein myth got started, but getting enough protein on a vegan diet is simple.

Eat a healthy whole foods plant-based diet that includes grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, leafy greens and small amounts of healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado. That’s it. That is all you have to do.

I would also like to mention that a healthy plant-based diet contains a robust balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids when you include seeds.

Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are “essential fats” that your body can't produce and must obtain from food. These fatty acids play an important role in heart and brain function, along with normal growth and development.

Studies have shown that people who have a good balance of these fatty acids are less likely to develop chronic disease.

That is why I am a big advocate of hemp, chia and ground flax seeds because all of these seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Let's start with my favorite – hemp seeds. Hemp seeds provide more protein than flax or chia seeds and no other food contains the ideal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 like the mighty hemp seed.

Eating hemp seeds is as simple as sprinkling them on top of beans, greens, salads or mixed in your morning oatmeal. They are delicious and have a pleasant, nutty taste.

Chia seeds have the added bonus of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber fills you up quickly and helps slow down the absorption of sugar. Great for diabetics.

Now on to flax seeds. Besides being an excellent source of 3 and 6 fatty acids, ground flax seeds are rich in lignans which add extra protection against many types of chronic disease. I include ground flax seeds when baking muffins, cookies etc., and in my morning oatmeal.

The beautiful thing about all these seeds is that there are easy ways to include them in all your daily meals without relying on smoothies. I recommend 2 tablespoons of hemp, chia or ground flax seeds every day.

So how do these seeds compare? Here is a chart for my favorite seeds and vegan protein information for all the foods we love to eat on a plant-based diet.

My Favorite Seeds Comparison Chart (1 tablespoon)



Omega-3s 2300 mg 2400 mg 1000 mg
Omega-6 600 mg 800 mg 2500 mg
Protein 2 grams 2.5 grams 3.3 grams
Fiber 3 grams 5 grams 0.3 grams
Calories 55 calories 60 calories 57 calories

Vegan Protein in Vegetables, Grains, Legumes, Fruits and Healthy Fats

1 medium avocado – 4.2 grams
1 medium artichoke – 3.4 grams
6 spears of asparagus – 2.1 grams
1 cup broccoli – 5 grams
1 cup Brussels sprouts – 3.9 grams
2 cups raw spinach – 1.8 grams
2 cups cooked kale – 5 grams
1 cup boiled peas – 8.5 grams
1 cup cooked sweet potato – 5 grams
1 cup bok choy – 2.6 grams
2 cups of butternut squash – 1.8 grams
1 cup cooked cauliflower – 2.2 grams
1 cup celery – 1.2 grams
1 large ear of yellow corn – 4.6 grams
1/2 cup raw mushrooms – 1 gram
1 medium baked potato – 4.3 grams
1 medium sweet potato – 2.2 grams
1 medium zucchini – 2.4 grams

1 cup of pitted chopped dates – 3.6 grams
1 cup of Guava – 4.2 grams
1 nectarine – 1.5 grams
1 cup cherries – 1.4 grams
1 cup diced cherimoya – 2.5 grams
1 cup fresh breadfruit – 2.3 grams
1 cup of grapes – 1 gram
1 cup mulberries – 2 grams
1 medium orange – 1.2 grams
1 cup of fresh passionfruit – 5.1 grams
1 plum – 1 gram
1 pomegranate – 4.7 grams
1 small box raisins (1.5 ounces) – 1.3 grams
1 cup raspberries – 1.4 grams
1 tomato – 1 gram
1 medium slice of watermelon – 1.7 grams

• 1 cup soybeans – 28 grams (1 cup tofu – 22 grams, 1 cup tempeh – 30 grams) Organic only
• 1 cup lentils – 18 grams
• 1 cup black turtle beans – 39 grams
• 1 cup garbanzo beans (and hummus) – 14.5 grams
• 1 cup pinto or kidney beans – 13-15 grams

Nuts and Seeds
1 oz. cashews – 4.4 grams
2 tablespoons Hempseed – 6.6 grams
2 tablespoons Chia seeds – 4 grams
1 oz. sesame seeds 6.5 grams,
3 tablespoons of tahini – 8 grams
1/4 cup (2 oz.) walnuts – 5 grams
1 oz. pistachios – 5.8 grams
2 tbsp almonds – 4 grams
Nut butters – peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter – 2 tablespoons has about 8 grams of protein

1/2 cup serving firm tofu – 10 grams
1/2 cup serving tempeh – 15 grams

Non-dairy milk
Almond milk – 1 cup gets you 1-2 grams of protein depending on how many almonds they actually use.
Soy milk – 1 cup can get you up to 8 grams of protein
Cashew milk – 1 cup equals 1 gram of protein
Coconut milk – under o.5 grams in one cup

Quinoa is versatile and delicious. 1 cup cooked – 8 grams.
Buckwheat – 1 cup cooked – 6 grams
Seitan, or flavored wheat gluten, has about 52 grams per cup, but it may not be a good idea to eat too much of it.
Oatmeal – 1 cup – 6 grams.
Amaranth, bulgur, brown rice, wheat germ, oat bran are other grains with a high protein content.
Sprouted grain bread products – buns, tortillas, bread. Pack a sandwich or a wrap and you'll get 4-5 grams from the bread alone, but always check the ingredients to make sure there isn't any processed ingredients, dairy or high sodium. Better yet, make your own!

**Seitan – Often called “wheat meat” used to substitute the texture of meat made from wheat gluten.  Low in calories and carbohydrates yet high in protein. A three-ounce portion can contain 21 grams of protein.

I hope all this information helps you understand how easy it is to get your vegan protein on a healthy plant-based diet. To learn more about vegan protein and for more free plant-based recipes, sign up here.



25 thoughts on “Vegan Protein List & Seed Comparison Chart

  1. I love a good list, Nancy! I have them posted on the inside of my cabinets so I see them every time I open them. I like the new website, too. Things are easier to find.

  2. These particular lists are the best ever. Reluctant vegans (“oh dear what will I do without MEAT”) can be directed to facts; and I will not dither at the supermarket/farmers market. My shopping lists are a bit of a muddle. It will be so easy to be resolute and organised in 2018. I will write again after I have tried your delicious looking recipes. Thank you very much.

  3. I notice the Vegan Protein List says 1 cup of black turtle beans contains 39 grams of protein. That can’t be right — especially with the same size portion of soybeans listed as 28 grams of protein, which does sound right.

    1. Hi Anya – I thought the same thing but according to the USDA that is correct for black turtle beans which are different from black beans – here is the link. Thanks for being part of our healthy community!

  4. Hi Nancy
    I’m new to the community and I love this website. I passed it along to two of my friends. You have some really good recipes which I plan on trying. I transitioned from pescaterian to vegan last year. I’m finding that eggs were hard for me. I can’t seem to find the Follow Your Heart brand of vegan eggs at the Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. My friend told me to try scrambling tofu with sauted onions and mushrooms and sprinkle some nutritional yeast. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Hi Lizette – Thank you so much for your compliment and I appreciate you spreading the word to others. I agree with your friend and I love scrambled tofu with a little nutritional yeast or turmeric or both – here is one of my favorite recipes.
      I also just posted this vegan egg yolk recipe last week. I think it is delicious and a great replacement. I personally don’t care for the Follow Your Heart brand very much and look forward to someone else launching something that mimics scrambled eggs.
      As far as binding goes, I always use aquafaba liquid now. Here is a blog about it. I think it is the best egg replacement binder out there.
      Hope that helps and thanks for being part of our healthy community!

  5. Hello! I am confused with the protein content in the black turtle bean. Some sources say 39g of protein and others have the standard amount for black bean. How do I determine the difference?

    1. Hi Zach – Yes I was confused too but what I found out was that black turtle beans are a different variety of black beans and have a different nutritional composition. This bean is very popular in Cajun and Latin American cuisine. You need to purchase that specific dried bean variety. The dried varieties include Black Magic, Domino, Nighthawk, Valentine and Blackhawk.I have never seen them cooked in a can. I recommend buying them online like this Dried Black Turtle Bean variety from Bob’s Red Mill. Here is the link. Hope that helps and have a wonderful day.

  6. My bride and I are just getting started on the vegan journey!
    We love it. I really appreciate reading the comments from everyone as their experience is so valuable. I have made the decision to forego what doctors describe as a grueling cancer treatment and tackle the problem from my kitchen instead by arming my body with nutrition and a total plant-based diet.

    1. Hi Richard – Thanks for being here and so sorry to hear about your struggle. The best thing you can do is switch to a plant-based diet so congratulations, but also stay on top of your medical advice. I recommend a smoothie of 2 tablespoons of organic dried broccoli (you can find online) 1/2 cup of pineapple, and 1/2 cup of spring water. You could add some chopped dates for sweetness. A study done in China in 2014 showed the sulforaphane in broccoli helps get rid of harmful pollutants in our body. It helps you excrete the toxins. Hope that helps and sending you lots of best wishes and compassion. Nancy

  7. Hi everyone ! I’m new to your site and am anxious to give animal protein a hard boot. I’m feeling a lot of odd symptoms but the biggest is GAGGING! The first small bite is tolerable but can’t even swallow the next and give it to my husband. I like the chart. It will be helpful and a place to start. Wish it was bigger. I want to learn all I can about Plant based so, how many grams of protein should the general person be eating / day? Don’t want to eat to few or to much. So many Q’s and not sure where to start. Thanks for listening.

    1. Hi Mary – Thanks for stopping by and congratulations on your new compassionate diet. I recommend eating a healthy whole food plant-based diet to get all your protein needs. A vegan power plate includes a grain, a bean, vegetables, fruit and a small side of healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado. This can be a simple plate of food, a bowl, a stir fry or soup. Try to avoid the processed vegan foods but if you need some to get over the hump that’s ok. Liven up your beautiful plate of food with salsa or citrus. You won’t believe how good you are going to feel by eating so clean. Hope that helps and good luck. We are rooting for you! Nancy

  8. Wow I really like ,I just finished the one year course for Holistic Nutricion Couch
    and this kind a questions I stared getting here in there above proteim

  9. Hi Nancy, This list would be more helpful if you specified whether when you say 1 cup of beans (or whatever) you tell us if this is dried or cooked. As you know, beans, grains, etc. can more than double in volume when cooked in liquid. Please clarify this on your lists. I am really surprised that nobody else remarked on that. Rather important, no?

    1. Hi Susan – you are so right! I sent it off to my graphic designer and will make it more clear. Thanks for stopping by and for being part of our healthy community. The new version should be up in a few days.

  10. A long time ago, I had a nutrition course that combined different vegetable proteins to make Complete proteins, like rice and beans. Where can i find a list like that, again?

    1. Hi Carol – A complete protein or whole protein is a food source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of each of the nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet.There are some very powerful sources of complete proteins in a plant-based diet – Quinoa, hemp seeds, soy, and chia seeds. I don’t know about a list but it is a good idea and maybe I will come up with one. Thanks for stopping by and for being part of our healthy community!

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