The Prophet loved meat but did not over-indulge in it. During the time of the Prophet the wealthiest people ate meat at most once a week.

BUT WHERE DID THEY GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM?!” you ask in bewilderment. There are plenty of plant-based foods that are rich in protein, low in fat, and easier than meat to digest. Quinoa, spinach, beans… list goes on and on.

What kind of plant-based protein-rich foods do you love?

1. Quinoa

Protein: 8 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked

Full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese, quinoa is a terrific substitute for rice.

2. Chia

Protein: 4 grams per 2 tablespoon serving

Chia seeds are the highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, and they contain more fiber than flax seeds or nuts. Chia is also a powerhouse of iron, calcium, zinc, and antioxidants, but the best thing about these little seeds is that they form a goopy gel when combined with milk or water. This makes them fantastic for making healthy puddings, or thickening smoothies.

3. Soy

Protein: 10 grams per ½ cup serving (firm tofu), 15 grams per ½ cup serving (tempeh), 15 grams per ½ cup serving (natto).

4. Rice and Beans (aka Mujaddara)

Protein: 7 grams per 1 cup serving

One of the simplest, cheapest, and vegan-est meals in existence is also one of the best sources of protein around. Most beans are low in methionine and high in lysine, while rice is low in lysine and high in methionine. Put ‘em together, and whaddaya got? Protein content on par with that of meat. Subbing lentils or chickpeas for beans produces the same effect. These meals are a great way to load up on protein and carbohydrates after an intense workout.

5. Hummus and Pita

Protein: 7 grams per 1 whole-wheat pita and 2 tablespoons of hummus

The protein in wheat is pretty similar to that of rice, in that it’s only deficient in lysine. But chickpeas have plenty of lysine, giving us all the more reason to tuck into that Middle Eastern staple: hummus and pita.

6. Lentils

Protein: 1 cup cooked lentils = 18g protein

7. Spirulina

Protein: 2 tablespoons spirulina = 8g protein

Spirulina is incredibly protein rich, it’s one of the few sources of plant-based proteins that are mostly protein by dry weight, about 70%. It’s deep blue-green in color and changes everything you mix with it that color green. A great addition to your post-workout smoothie. (But beware of ingested from an unknown source).

8. Seeds

Protein: 1/4 cup seeds = around 7-9g protein

Seeds such as sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp, flax, and pumpkin seeds are all not only mineral rich, but also protein rich. 

9. Nuts

Protein: 1/4 cup nuts = around 7-9 g protein

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and more are not only rich in minerals, Vitamin E, and healthy fats, but also protein rich. 

10. Spinach

Protein: Cooked spinach contains 5.3 g of protein per cup.

What is your favorite source of plant-based protein?

Dana Habayeb
Dana Habayeb, MSc, CNC, ACE Certified Personal Trainer Dana Habayeb holds an MS in Public Health and Health Systems and a joint BS in Health Sciences and Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She has conducted quantitative and qualitative research in social psychology, cognitive psychology, and the health sciences. In addition, Dana is an ACE certified personal trainer and certified nutritional consultant from Weill Cornell Medicine. She specializes in teaching clients how to lose fat through proper nutrition and fitness. Her focus is on helping her clients understand the psychology and science behind fat loss so that they can achieve the results they want. Follow her on instagram for inspiration and updates @DanaIsBananas!