Five Of The Most Protein-Rich Vegetables

High protein vegetables. Source Pexels.
High protein vegetables. Source Pexels.

Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet. For many people, however, protein is synonymous with meat. With more people opting for a more plant-based diet, the question of how to find protein from a non-meat source is becoming more prevalent.

Thankfully, although meat does offer a boost of protein, it is far from the only source available. There are a whole host of fruits, vegetables and legumes packed with not only protein, but also other vitamins, mineral and nutrients.

According to Health.com, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. That equals around 46 grams for the average woman. Of course, this figure will be different for everyone, depending on body size and personal lifestyles and goals. On the whole, only around 10% of your daily calories need to be made up of protein.

With that in mind, reaching your daily protein allowance through plant-based sources is entirely possible, even if you are following a protein-rich diet to optimize muscle mass. Here are five of the most protein-heavy vegetables. All figures are taken from the USDA.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli. Source Pexels.
Broccoli. Source Pexels.

This mighty green vegetable packs 2.57 grams of protein in 1 cup. It is an easy veg to include as a side dish and can be eaten raw as well as cooked. One cup will also provide you with 135% of the RDA for vitamin C.

2. Potato

Potato. Source Pexels.
Potato. Source Pexels.

The humble potato has been a staple food for years. It is incredibly versatile and is easy to incorporate into your cooking. You may be surprised to hear that just one medium potato contains 4.37 grams of protein (including the skin).

The mild taste and fluffy consistency of this classic food also makes it a hit with children. Leave the skin on for the maximum amount of nutrients.

3. Edamame

Edamame. Source Pexels.
Edamame. Source Pexels.

Edamame is bursting with nutrients and goodness. One cup (155 grams) packs a powerful 18.5 grams of protein. Considering that the average woman only needs around 46 grams of protein a day, a serving of edamame will go a long way towards that. Release it from its izakaya confines and incorporate it into your everyday diet.

4. Spinach

Spinach. Source Pexels.
Spinach. Source Pexels.

It’s no secret that spinach is good for you. While it may not be the most exciting green on your plate, it is a great addition to salads, smoothies and curries. In fact, 30% of the calories in spinach are made up of protein. Each 100 gram serving offers 2.86 grams of protein. A 1-cup serving will also provide 181% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin K.

5. Peas

Peas. Source Pexels.
Peas. Source Pexels.

Whether you buy them frozen or still tucked in their pods, peas are a great source of protein. A 1-cup serving will give you 7.86 grams of protein. Peas are also one of the easiest and quickest vegetables to serve. Keep a pack of frozen peas on hand to add an extra side of protein to your meals.

These five vegetables are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to plant-based sources of protein. Other protein-rich options include asparagus (2.9 grams per 1 cup), Brussels sprouts (3 grams per 1 cup), cauliflower (2.1 grams per 1 cup) and mushrooms (3 grams per 1 cup).

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Hannah Blanton
Hannah is a writer, reader, linguist, wife and dog fanatic from the UK. She is currently based in Calgary, where she lives with her Canadian husband and has to frequently try not to accidentally offend Canadians with her dry British humour. When she's not working, she likes to spend time dreaming about how to make the world a better place and expand her writing career. A graduate of Durham University in Modern Languages, Hannah has spent a lot of time working and travelling abroad trying to perfect her French and Spanish accents and language skills, as well as dutifully testing out all manner of tapas, French cuisine and patisseries. She also has her own blog, Ripple Justice, a platform focusing on social and environmental issues to help inform and encourage people to make a difference. She is a firm believer that protecting our planet inherently means protecting its people too, and so you'll often see her finding new and creative ways to minimize waste, make delicious meat-free meals and seek social justice in her local community and beyond.