Top 7 Sources of Plant-Based Protein

By Rich Roll

I say it all the time. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only possible to optimize your health on a plant-based diet; when done right, I actually recommend it. 
But where do you get your protein?
field this question constantly. Despite deeply ingrained but misleading
conventional wisdom, the truth is that you can survive without meat,
eggs and dairy. Believe it or not, you can actually thrive, and never
suffer a protein deficiency. Because no matter how active your
lifestyle, a well-rounded whole food
plant-based diet provides more than enough protein to satisfy the
body’s needs without all the artery-clogging saturated fats that
dominate the typical American diet.
I speak from experience. As a vegan
endurance athlete, I place a high tax on my body. And yet my
plant-based diet has fueled me for years without any negative impact on
building lean muscle mass or recovery. In fact, at age 45 I continue to
improve and am as fit, healthy, and strong as I have ever been.
Here’s a list of my top-7 plant-based foods high in protein:
1. Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup
A grain like seed, quinoa
is a high protein alternative to rice or pasta, served alone or over
vegetables and greens. It provides a good base for a veggie burger and
is also a fantastic breakfast cereal when served cold with almond or
coconut milk and berries.
2. Lentils: 17.9g  Protein / Cup
nutritious and super easy to prepare. Trader Joe’s sells them
pre-cooked and I’m not afraid to just eat them cold right out of the
package for lunch or a snack on the run.
3. Tempeh: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces
fermented soybean-based food, tempeh is a healthy protein-packed
alternative to it’s non-fermented cousin tofu. It makes for a great
veggie burger and doubles as a tasty meat alternative to meatballs in
pasta, or over brown rice and vegetables.
4. Seitan: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces
excellent substitute for beef, fish and soy products, one serving
provides about 25% of your RDA of protein. But not for those with gluten sensitivities, as it is made from wheat gluten.
5. Beans (Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto): 12-15g Protein / Cup
love beans. Great on a veggie burrito, in chili and soups, on salads or
over rice with vegetables, beans of all varieties are a daily staple of
my diet.
6. Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams
blue-green algae, spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete protein
containing all essential amino acids. At 60% protein (the highest of any
natural food), it’s a plant-based protein powerhouse that finds it way
into my Vitamix blends daily.
7. Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 Tbsp
a perfect ration of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA’s, hemp seeds are another
bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and
great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads
to smoothies to vegetables and rice.


Bonus: Here’s a little inspirational video!