Being Vegan and Gaining Muscle Mass: The Best Plant Protein Sources and 8 Vegan Recipe Ideas

November 03, 2022
A diet containing a good amount of protein is basic to maintaining good muscle health. Of course, those who want to gain muscle mass by exercising will also need to modify their protein intake so that muscle mass can form.

However, vegans may have a more difficult time achieving the necessary protein intake per day to meet their goals than omnivores. In any case, difficult does not mean impossible, and with these plant protein sources and recipes, anything can be achieved.


The Best Sources of Plant Protein


  • Dried seaweed


Dried seaweed is one of the plant foods that contain the most protein. Some of them, such as spirulina or nori seaweed contain up to 58 grams of protein per 100 grams of product in the case of spirulina, or 31 grams per 100 in the case of nori seaweed.


In addition, they have the advantage of being easily included in our recipes of soups, smoothies, breakfasts, or even bread or other recipes that we can think of.


  • Soy in Almost All Its Forms


Soy is another food with a very good amount of protein. The convenience of soy is that we can find a good contribution of protein both in the soybean by itself, as in textured soybeans or soy flour. This makes it easy to include it in different recipes.


Soybeans contain 35 grams of protein per 100 grams of product. For texturized soybeans, the protein contribution is even higher, with 53 grams per 100, since the protein is separated and rejoined. While soy flour offers 39 grams per 100 grams of the product.


  • Nuts and Dried Fruits


Nuts are one of the best sources of vegetable protein we can find. Especially the peanut - which we include in the nuts despite being a legume - as it contains about 25.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. 


In addition to peanuts, we can opt for other nuts such as almonds, pistachios, or cashews. All of them have more than 17 grams of protein per 100. Walnuts, pine nuts, and hazelnuts are also good protein options, with around 14 grams per 100 grams.


  • Legumes


Along with nuts, legumes are another basic and easy vegetable protein source. Black beans are the type of legume - in addition to soybeans and peanuts - that provide us with the most protein.


Thus, in them, we can find about 25 grams of protein per 100 grams of product. Dried beans, beans, dried peas, and lentils also provide us with amounts of protein close to 25 grams per 100 grams. Chickpeas and white beans have around 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of product. Adding legumes to your diet is a simple way to obtain good amounts of vegetable proteins.


  • Brussels Sprouts and Kale


The amount of protein is significantly reduced in vegetables. In any case, vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and kale contain about 4.5 grams of protein per 100 grams of product. Indeed, the amount is not very large, but it is very easy to consume a large amount of these foods even several times a week.


  • Other Vegetables and Fruits


Artichokes and bimi broccoli are other vegetables that have more protein, around 3 grams per 100 grams. It is not too much, but considering that with artichokes we quickly reach more than 100 grams of product, it will be easy to get protein through them.


As for fruits, guava, capers, or avocado are some of those that provide us with more protein. The amount of protein in fruits is not high, but it is easy to include them in recipes or eating patterns that include more protein foods, which will add up the daily protein intake. 


8 Recipes to Include Plant Proteins In Your Diet


  1. Spirulina and yogurt smoothie: for this recipe, we will also need yogurt, but we can use soy yogurt without any problem, which will include even more protein.
  2. Peanut butter, banana, and yogurt ice cream: the same happens with the peanut butter ice cream as we again need yogurt. In any case, soy yogurt can work perfectly. In addition, if we want, we can make the peanut butter for separate consumption, and we will have yet another recipe with lots of protein.
  3. Sautéed zucchini with textured soybeans and sesame: textured soybeans can be included in many recipes and can serve as "meat" in many recipes. We particularly like this stir-fry because it is simple and quick and provides a fair amount of protein.
  4. Seaweed and Chinese mushroom soup: including seaweed in our diet can be complicated, but doing it in soups is simple and gives an Asian touch to our diet. In this recipe, we can include as much seaweed as we want and boost protein intake. 
  5. Nori seaweed pancakes with onion confit: if you are not too fond of soups, you can always include seaweed in foods such as pancakes. This recipe is suitable for vegan diets as it does not include eggs or dairy products. If we want to increase the protein content, we can use soy or chickpea flour. 
  6. Pinto beans with rice and vegetables: for the winter, a bean stew with rice is ideal and brings us back to our grandma's kitchen. This recipe is healthy, full of nutrients, and with an admirable protein intake.
  7. Lettuce tacos with lentils: we tend to prepare legumes always the same way, and getting protein through them can be boring. This recipe is original, it allows us to eat lentils differently and we can add the protein from the avocado.
  8. Vegan meatballs with broccoli, chickpeas, and rice: a recipe that combines legumes and rice for a complete protein intake. In addition, it does not contain eggs, so it is ideal for vegans looking for protein.

    Final Word


    We know that muscle mass gain depends mostly on high animal protein intake, thus vegan athletes must pay more attention to their diet and include all plant-based proteins on the daily menu.