When you think about protein rich foods, vegetables are not usually the first thing that springs to mind, but you can get all the protein your body needs from vegetable sources. The only thing to bear in mind is that plant proteins are not complete proteins, so you do need to eat a good mixture of different vegetables and whole grains to get all the proteins that you need. Despite what some people say, a varied vegetarian diet will give you all vitamins, minerals, and the protein that your body needs, and you won’t need to take any supplements. Here are ten vegetables that have high levels of protein in them and we think that some on this list will surprise you!
1. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are not everyone’s favourite vegetable and they are certainly not popular with the kids, but these little green veggies are absolutely packed with nutritional goodness. Just half a cup of Brussels sprouts will give you two grams of protein, as well as a good amount of Vitamin K and potassium.
Most people know that spinach is loaded with minerals and vitamins and is a very good source of iron, but did you know that spinach is a very good source of vegetable protein too? The claim that some make that spinach has more protein than beef is not quite true, but 30% of spinach is protein, so adding it to your varied diet of vegetables will certainly boost your protein intake.
Peas are not often thought of as being up there amongst the other superfood vegetables, but they do contain 5 grams of protein in every 100 grams. They also contain a good supply vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B and C, iron, and phosphorous. Another ingredient found in peas is folate, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Beans are probably the best known plant based food for their protein content and lentils are one of the best. They contain about 18 grams of protein per cup and they are also a great source of fibre, iron, folates, and thiamine. The other great thing about lentils is that they are low in calories, so a typical serving will only contain about 230 calories.
As well as being the only vegetable source of Vitamin D that there is and their wonderful immune, mushrooms are also a good vegetable source of protein. Of course, there are many different varieties of mushrooms and each one has its own special blend of nutrients, but as a guide, the average white mushroom will provide you with about 3 grams of protein per cup of whole mushrooms
Although it is often eaten as a side vegetable with meat, broccoli is a good source of protein on its own. A single cup of the little green trees will provide you with 2.6 grams of protein, no fat, and more than 100 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamins C and K.
Asparagus is another protein rich vegetable and those little thin green veggies weigh in at 2.4 grams of protein per 100 grams serving. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants, Vitamin K, and potassium, making it an ideal vegetable to include in anyone’s healthy diet.
Kale is one of nature’s true superfoods. It is high in fibre and it contains an impressive array of minerals and vitamins, including vitamins C, K, and A, calcium, copper and magnesium. It’s also very high in antioxidants that have cancer fighting properties. In terms of protein, chopped kale will give you 2.9 grams in every cup.
This list just wouldn’t be complete without a mention of soybeans. They are the food that everyone associates with plant based sources of protein. Strictly speaking, beans of any kind are not vegetables, they are legumes, but, because soybeans are one of only two plant sources of complete proteins, they get a mention here. You will get about 28 grams of protein from one cup of cooked soybeans and that’s approximately the same as you would get from chicken.
10. Mung bean sprouts
Our final choice of protein rich vegetables is mung bean sprouts. They are great with stir fries and they add a wonderful crunch to a salad. They will also provide you with 2.5 grams of protein in every cup as well as a good dose of lecithin, which is believed to be able to lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood, and zinc, which helps optimise physical performance.