Vegetable protein is an important source of plant based proteins for non-meat eaters such as vegans and vegetarians.
When most people think of sources of plant protein, nuts and seeds may come to mind, the last thing we associate with vegetables is their protein content, yet there are vegetables that contain high concentrations of plant proteins.
Vegetables are packed full of vitamins and minerals and some vegetables have surprisingly high levels of protein that can boost your daily values (DV) protein intake for people following a non-animal food diet.
Popular vegetables with a good source of protein include, spinach, peas, asparagus, brussel sprouts and broccoli.
List of Vegetables That Are a Good Source of Protein
1 – Raw Soybean Sprouts
Soybean sprouts are a good source of plant protein. The soybean sprout is a vegetable grown by sprouting soybeans, this is done by watering soybeans and placing them in the shade until the roots grow long.
The soybean sprout can be incorporated into many plant based recipes, the sprout is very popular in the Far East but is now widely available as a nutritious food across the world. Mainly used in salads or stir-fry’s they provide a good source of protein, popular dishes include Kongnamool from Korea.
- Protein per 100g – around 7g
- Fibre per 100g – 3.5g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 4.5g
- Fat – per 100g – 2.5g
Nutritional information for Soybean sprouts.
2 – Green Peas
Green peas are a very common vegetable eaten in meals and provide a good source of nutrients and protein. For every 100g of raw green peas they provide 81 calories, 5.1g of fibre, 5.4g protein and a low fat content of 0.4g.
Peas are high in vitamins such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K and a good source of dietary minerals including copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus.
There are plenty of ways to boost your daily intake of plant protein by incorporating green peas into your diet with lots of vegan pea recipes to choose from, popular recipes include green pea soup to more exotic dishes such as spicy tofu and pea curry.
- Protein per 100g – around 5.4g
- Fibre per 100g – 5.1g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 14.4g
- Fat – per 100g – approximately 0.4g
Further information on nutrients in green peas…
3 – Kale
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and is part of the cabbage group of plants, they can have either green or purple leaves. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables available and provides a wide range of minerals and vitamins to people’s diet whilst also being a rich source of plant protein.
100 grams of raw kale contains around 4% protein, 9% of carbs and is very low in fat at around 1%. Kale is abundant in vitamin K and 100g provides around 3.7 times the daily value (DV).
This super-green vegetable leaf is packed full of goodness and is a nutritious ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian recipes, it is either served on the side or added into a savoury main course meal which helps boost peoples protein and nutrients intake, further info on kale nutrition…
- Protein per 100g – about 3g
- Dietary Fibre per 100g – 1g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 4.4g
- Fat – per 100g – approximately 1.49g
4 – Brussel Sprouts
The Brussel sprout belongs to the cabbage group of vegetables and look like miniature cabbages. They are a good source of protein and are packed full of vitamins, especially vitamins K and C.
Whilst many people disliked brussel sprouts as a kid they are very tasty when roasted or shredded in a salad, adding brussel sprouts to a main course meal enables you to gain extra vegetable protein and nutrients into your diet.
- Protein per 100g – around 3.4g
- Dietary Fibre per 100g – 3.8g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 8.95g
- Fat – per 100g – approximately 0.3g
Nutrients Source for Brussel Sprouts – U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
5 – Spinach
Spinach is a dark green vegetable and one of the most nutrient rich vegetables you can include in a plant based vegan diet. Spinach is a good source of protein and 100g of spinach contains loads of nutrients and 2.9g of protein.
To benefit from the nutritious qualities and the protein boost that spinach provides, you can incorporate it in many different dishes and recipes. Spinach can be used in salads, smoothies or as in tasty main course meals such as Spanish spinach with chickpeas.
A 100g (3.5 oz.) serving of raw spinach provides only 23 calories, yet it has a high nutritional value and is a rich source (20% of more of daily value) of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, magnesium and manganese.
- Protein per 100g – around 2.86g
- Dietary Fibre per 100g – 2g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 3.63
- Fat – per 100g – approximately 0.39g
6 – Broccoli
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable from the cabbage family and its large flowering head and stalk is a popular edible vegetable.
Broccoli is very nutrient rich and is high in vitamins K and C and the minerals potassium and iron, it also has a higher protein content (approx. 3g per 100g serving) than most other vegetables.
If you are looking for a way to incorporate broccoli into your diet there are plenty of recipes to choose from. There are recipes such as Roasted Broccoli with Creamy Basil Dressing that are both delicious and help your intake of proteins and nutrients.
- Protein per 100g – 2.82g
- Fibre per 100g – 6g
- Carbohydrates per 6.64g – 20g
- Fat – per 100g – approximately 0.37g
7 – Collard Greens
Collard is a loose leaf vegetable related to the cabbage family. Raw collard greens contain a high amount of nutrients, especially vitamin K (100g provides 388% of daily value), and has a protein content of around 2.7g per 100g.
Collards have been eaten and cultivated in Southern and Eastern Europe for thousands of years, and today they are incorporated into many dishes, salads and recipes, such as Quick Collard Greens. Adding collards into a plant based diet provides a boost of nutrients and protein.
Carbs and fats are very low for collard greens, however they provide a rich source (20% or more of DV) of vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese.
Nutritional value of 100g raw Collard Greens:
- Protein per 100g – 2.7g
- Dietary Fibre per 100g – 4g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 6 g
- Fat – per 100g – approx. 0.7g
8 – Asparagus
Asparagus is a widely available and popular vegetable that provides a good source of plant proteins and nutrients. Asparagus has 2.2g of protein for every 100g, and also is a good source of vitamin K.
Asparagus has a very strong flavour and the vegetable is a key ingredient in many recipes, main course meals and it is also commonly used in salads. Incorporating asparagus into your diet provides your body with a good source of plant protein, vitamins and minerals.
100g (3.5 oz.) of Raw Asparagus contains the following:
- Protein per 100g – 2.2g
- Dietary Fibre per 100g – 1g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 3.88g
- Fat – per 100g – 12g
9 – Cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, other vegetables in this plant family includes brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage.
Raw cauliflower has around 1.9g of protein per 100 g (3.5 oz.), and has a high content of vitamin C (58% DV) and moderate levels of several vitamins including vitamin K and several B vitamins.
This versatile vegetable is used widely in many recipes, cauliflower can be roasted, steamed, grilled and fried and incorporating cauliflower into your diet can help boost your plant protein intake.
100g (3.5 oz.) of raw cauliflower contains the following:
- Protein per 100g – 1.92g
- Dietary Fibre per 100g – 2g
- Carbohydrates per 100g – 4.97g
- Fat – per 100g – 28g
Data Sources and References