With more protein than any other bean variety, cooked soybeans have about 28 grams per cup, roughly the amount of protein that can be found in 150 grams of chicken. More important, soybeans are one of only two complete plant proteins, the other one being quinoa. A serving of soybeans also contains 17 grams of carbs and 15 grams of fats, 58 percent of which are essential fatty acids. The insoluble fiber in these beans promotes digestive health, while the unsaturated fat promotes cardiovascular health.
Protein content: 28.6 g per cup (boiled)
Edamame—immature soybeans that are boiled or steamed in the pod—contains 16 grams of protein per cup. Pair that with your main protein dish, and you’ll be well on your way to the recommended 30 grams of protein per meal.
Protein content: 16.9 g per cup (cooked)
From string beans to chickpeas, beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein. When it comes to legumes, lentils are among the winners. They contain about 18 grams of protein per cup when cooked, and at 230 calories per serving.
Lentils are also a great source of dietary fiber and contain a high amount of the micronutrients folate, thiamin, phosphorus, and iron. Put them into a cold salad, use them in a soup, or even mold them into a protein-packed patty.
Protein content: 17.9 g per cup (boiled)
One cup of chopped broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein all on its own. And unlike your standard animal-based protein, a cup of these green florets also packs over 100 percent of your daily need for vitamins C and K. Broccoli is also a good source of folate.
Protein content: 2.6 grams per cup
Peas contain just under 9 grams of protein per cup. They’re also a good source of vitamin A, C, thiamin, phosphorous, and iron. Additionally, the generous amounts of B vitamins and folate found in peas can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Each serving also contains 5.5 grams of fiber. Add to a salad or add them to a hearty pasta primavera.
Protein content: 8.6 g per one cup
Aside from being a diuretic, asparagus is considered protein-rich in the vegetable world. Just 100 grams contains 2.4 grams of protein. Asparagus is also the number one plant source of vitamin K, as well as a good source of potassium and antioxidants.
Protein content: 2.4 grams of protein per 100 grams
- Pumpkin Seeds
Roasting pumpkin seeds provides a good snack alternative to chips, but did you know that just one ounce provides more than 5 grams of protein, more than half of the protein found in an egg? Pumpkin seeds are also rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Facing a sleepless night? The L-tryptophan in pumpkin seeds has been suggested to encourage a good night’s sleep.
Protein content: 5.2 grams per ounce (roasted)
- Mung Bean Sprouts
Whether incorporated as part of a veggie stir fry or as an added crunch to a salad dish, mung bean sprouts are a great choice for some additional plant-based protein. One cup of cooked beans contains 2.5 grams of protein, and is packed with other nutrients such as lecithin, which may lower cholesterol, and zinc, a mineral that plays an important role in optimizing physical performance.
Protein content: 2.5 grams per cup (cooked)