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Highest Protein Vegetables

When we think of protein, we think about red meat, fish, chicken, and tofu, right? We know protein is an essential macro-nutrient in our daily diets.
UPDATED ON Jun 26, 2023

But let’s be real, it can be hard to hit the perfect amount of daily protein for your body (generally 1-2g per kilo of bodyweight depending on how active you are).

There’s only so much chicken your stomach can take before it sends you the signal that it’s way too full to fit anything else in. 

So how do we actually hit our daily protein targets? Especially if we’re on a vegan diet?

Vegetables might just be the answer. 

We’ve put together a list of the top 20 highest protein veggies for when you’re looking to ramp up your protein intake in a way that’s tasty and easy to digest. 

All grams of protein figures are based on a per 100g basis, FYI. We’ve also used the term vegetable broadly to include things like beans and legumes

Top 20 Highest Protein Vegetables

1. Seaweed Spirulina

Protein: 58g

Seaweed spirulina wins the title of the veggie with the highest protein. It’s a highly nutritious micro saltwater algae, and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals – including B12, iron, magnesium, potassium and more. It does have a strong taste, so we like to add a serving to smoothies to dampen the flavour.

2. Edamame

Protein: 10.6g

Who doesn’t love a side of edamame with their sushi? It just so happens edamame is an incredibly high protein snack. Edamame are actually just cooked soybeans and they are packed with protein. They can be eaten in a range of ways too, whether on their own, pureed into a dip, in a stir fry… you name it!

3. Dried Mushrooms 

Protein: 10g

Dried mushrooms rank second in our list of high protein vegetables – coming in ahead of fresh mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal and come in a wide variety of types and flavour profiles. They can be found at most major food shops but more commonly at Asian grocery shops. Add to stir fry, an omlette or even a salad for a real protein hit.

4. Lentils 

Protein: 9g

Lentils are another delicious superfood that are filled with protein, folate, potassium and copper. They are vegan friendly, low calorie and high fibre that can be added to salads, curry, or soup… or even made into a dip as well!

5. Black Beans

Protein: 8.9g

Black beans aren’t only filled with protein but also are rich in fibre, potassium, folate, B6 and other phytonutrients essential for a healthy and balanced diet. We love how versatile black beans are as well – from salads to burger patties, you can do a lot with black beans. Oh, and they’re super cost-effective too.

6. Chickpeas 

Protein: 8.8g

Most of us can appreciate chickpeas in the pured form of hummus, but that’s not all this high-protein bean can do! From protein-filled falafels to baked chickpea snacks, salads, soups and even chickpea pancakes, there’s so much you can do with this humble little bean while also increasing your protein count.

7. Mung Beans 

Protein: 7g

Packed with antioxidants, mung beans are tiny powerhouses of nutrition that can be added to salad, a sandwich, curry or soup. Easy to find in your local supermarket, easy to cook with … you can’t go past mung beans when shopping for high protein vegetables. 

8. Soybean Sprouts

Protein: 6.5g

Soybean sprouts are a tasty and fun addition in stir-fry, or as an added crunch in a salad. High in fibre, soybean sprouts are a great swap if you’re tired of beans and legumes in every meal. 

9. Green Peas 

Protein: 5.4g

Green peas often get dismissed because on their own, they aren’t exactly bursting with flavour. But, if you know how to use this tiny green vegetable, you’re going to help bolster your daily protein count with ease. Not only are they budget friendly, they’re always available in the frozen veg section and are incredibly versatile. From adding to rice, pureed with another veg like broccoli or blended into soup, green peas are a must in your diet. Not to mention they are high in Vitamin A, K and C!

10. Fava Beans 

Protein: 5.1g

Continuing the bean streak is the delicious fava bean (AKA broad bean). It’s a delicious and protein-rich addition to soups, salads and hummus dips, while also boosted with fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

11. Broccoli

Protein: 5g

I never liked broccoli as a child, but these days, it’s a staple in my diet. It’s high in protein, fibre and has been known to have cancer-preventing properties. I love frying up broccoli to go with my dinner, but it’s great in a stir fry, or even pureed into a vegetable soup. 

12. Wild Rice 

Protein: 4g

“Rice isn’t a vegetable!” I hear you cry. True, it’s not. But wild rice is because it comes from certain species of grass. Fun fact! You can cook wild rice in the same way you’d cook regular rice, but feel happy in the knowledge that with wild rice, you’re easily bumping up the protein content of your meal. 

13. Brussels Sprouts 

Protein: 3.4g

Not known for being the tastiest of vegetables, we’re asking you to reconsider these nutritional gems. If you know how to cook them right, they can be an absolutely delicious addition to your daily high protein veggie arsenal (just don’t boil them, whatever you do!)

14. Corn

Protein: 3.5g

Corn on the cob has to be one of the most satisfying vegetables. When food like corn exists, it makes healthy eating a breeze. Corn is packed with protein, fibre, folate, thiamin, phosphorus, vitamin C, and magnesium. So tasty, so good for you.

15. Artichokes

Protein: 3.3g

Strong in flavour and strong in protein, artichokes are a fun way to beef up your protein intake with plenty of health benefits. Excellent as dips, this low-calorie, high nutrient veg is filled with folate, Vitamin C and K. Add them to a salad or throw them on top of a pizza, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this yummy veg. 

16. Kale

Protein: 3g

A superfood leafy green, kale has about 3g of protein per 100g. This tasty green is also packed with vitamins A, C, and K. Toss it in a salad, make some crunch kale chips or even blend it in a smoothie for a real superfood meal.

17. Spinach 

Protein: 2.9g

Popeye was clearly on to something when he’d down a can of spinach and grow huge muscles and that’s because spinach has high levels of protein in it. We know spinach is great for us in terms of its nutritional value, but it really does pack a punch in terms of protein, along with calcium, folic acid, iron, fibre and Vitamins K and C. Great in an omelette, sauté, a smoothie, a salad or a sandwich, there’s so much you can do with Popeye’s favourite treat. 

18. Snow Peas

Protein: 2.4g

Crunchy and versatile, who knew snow peas had a decent amount of protein in them? Tasty in both its raw and cooked form, not only do snow peas have a good dose of protein but they are also low-carb with a high dose of fibre and vitamin C too!

19. Asparagus

Protein: 2.2g

Asparagus is a great building block of many plant-based meals because it’s rich in protein, folate, and vitamins A, K and C. It’s great baked as a side dish, fried or even raw! I personally love adding it to my morning omelette. 

20. Sweet Potatoes

Protein: 1.6g

Sweet potato chips, anyone? While not as high protein as other veggies, sweet potatoes are still a great source of protein and work with nearly any meal from soups to smoothies, pizza and even ice-cream (yes, sweet potato ice-cream is a thing!) Sweet potato veggies are also rich in beta-carotene, which is good for healthy vision, skin, and your immune system. 

General FAQs

Are vegetables a complete protein?

Let’s define a complete protein first. A complete protein is a protein source which contains a good dose of all 9 of the essential amino acids. These 9 amino acids are vital for our bodies to grow and to repair on a regular basis. Most veggies aren’t complete proteins on their own as they normally only contain a few amino acids.

However, if you include a big variety of veggies, grains and legumes in your diet, you’ll no doubt cover off all the essential amino acids throughout the day. On the other hand, meat always contains all the 9 essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein.

Is quinoa a vegetable?

Quinoa is a grain, not a veggie, so it’s not on this list. However, in terms of protein, it’s certainly one of the higher protein grains you can add to your diet.

Will eating high vegetables help me grow muscle mass?

Eating high protein foods is one of the fastest ways to put on muscle mass (when combined with a good weight routine too). So, eating high protein foods – including vegetables – while undertaking a weekly weight routine – will certainly help in your goal to grow muscle mass.

Do I need to take supplements on a vegan diet?

Depending on who you ask, you may or may not be told to take supplements on a vegan diet. Some health care providers will suggest you take a B12 supplement. Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products are high in B12, and these are all non-vegan foods. But you can find B12 in vegan foods like Nutritional Yeast, Vegemite, soy and almond milk, plant-based meats, tempeh, nori seaweed and more. If you’re concerned about your B12 levels, speak with a dietitian or registered health care provider.

  • Plant-Based Meats.
  • Fortified Cereals.
  • Tempeh.
  • Chlorella.
  • Nori Seaweed.

What’s the best plant protein powder?

We have a whole guide on it here!

Is a high protein vegetable diet good for weight loss?

To lose weight, most health professionals will advise you to follow a reduced-calorie, high-protein diet filled with lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Will a high protein vegetable diet help lower blood pressure and cholesterol?

Many studies show that eating high-levels of certain proteins in plant-based foods can lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness leading to better heart health. if you’re having trouble with blood pressure and cholesterol, it’s always best to seek gudiance from a health professional or dietitian.

Are high protein vegetables low in carbohydrates?

Not necessarily! Starchy vegetables like sweet potato and potato, as well as some beans, can be higher in carbs than other vegetables. So don’t assume all high-protein vegetables are low in carbs.

Can a meal plan help me add more protein to my diet?

A meal plan is an excellent way to increase the protein count in your diet. Whether you have a daily goal you want to hit or are trying to increase your veggie intake, following a dedicated meal plan can really help you achieve those personal nutrient goals.

Ally Burnie
Ally Burnie
Health & fitness journalist and presenter based in Melbourne/Naarm with a passion for – you guessed it - health and fitness, cooking, outdoor adventures, hiking, and travel.
Have a question? Contact us


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Ally Burnie
Ally Burnie
Health & fitness journalist and presenter based in Melbourne/Naarm with a passion for – you guessed it - health and fitness, cooking, outdoor adventures, hiking, and travel.
Have a question? Contact us