Protein source for vegans & Vegetarians
  • Understand the Importance
  • Know the Adequate Protein Intake
  • List of Food Sources
Protein source for vegans & Vegetarians

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Protein-Rich Food For Vegetarians

India has the largest population of vegetarians, with approximately 200 million people representing the 20% of Indians who only consume a vegetarian diet. However, one of the most common concerns about strictly plant-based and vegetarian diets is that they may have inadequate protein intake.

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, and it may vary depending from person to person. According to health experts, a well-planned, strictly plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients the human body needs, including protein.

Indeed, certain vegetables or fruits contain primarily more nutritious elements than meats, and based on the research, higher protein intake can enhance muscle strength, feelings of fullness, and weight loss.

It is quite common that a vegetarian's diet may lack sufficient protein because it's hard to stick to a well-rounded vegan diet. So stay tuned with us and keep reading for a curated list of protein-rich foods for vegetarians.

Need of Protein In Human Body

Adequate intake of protein on a daily basis leads to a healthier lifestyle. It comprises amino acids that unite together to form long chains. For instance, it's like a string of beads in which each bead contains an amino acid. Protein helps to strengthen the muscles or repair damaged body tissues.

It drives metabolic reactions, maintains pH and fluid balance, and enhances the immune system. If you consume inadequate protein, you may get sick often due to a weak immune system, leading to muscle weakness.

Here is a rough summary of adequate daily protein intake for the human body based on weight.


Minimum Daily Protein Required for Male

Minimum Daily Protein Required for Female

40 to 50 Kg50 - 90 grams a day50 - 90 grams a day
50 to 60 Kg60 - 108 grams a day60 - 108 grams a day
60 to 70 Kg70 - 126 grams a day70 - 126 grams a day
70 to 80 Kg80 - 144 grams a day80 - 144 grams a day
80 to 90 Kg90 - 162 grams a day90 - 162 grams a day
90 to 100 Kg100 - 180 grams a day100 - 180 grams a day

Top Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians


Seitan is a healthy addition to any Indian recipe, packed with several nutritional values and protein, perfect for vegetarians and vegans. It is often referred to as wheat meat or mock meat in India and is one hundred percent vegetarian.

It is packed with 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), making it an excellent source of protein for vegans. Seitan is also a rich source of selenium and contains iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

Tofu and tempeh

If you're looking for a delicious and healthy meat substitute, consider adding tofu and tempeh to your diet. It is one of the well-known superfoods in East Asian cuisine, derived from soybeans.

However, studies indicate that soybeans are a whole source of protein, which means they provide the human body with all the important amino acids it needs.

Tofu and tempeh are a healthy addition to a variety of recipes, starting from stews, curries, and soups. It may also contain iron, calcium, and 12–20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.

Lentils (Dals)

Lentils are a healthy addition to a daily diet that contains plant-based protein, making it a perfect option for vegan and vegetarian meals.

It has approximately 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (198 grams). However, lentils are not considered a complete protein source, but you can combine them with veggies and grains to ensure you get all important amino acids.

Even lentils are quite popular worldwide, affectionately known among locals as dal, and used in various dishes, from salads to hearty soups and spice-infused dals.


Add legumes to your daily diet, including beans, peas, soy, or peanuts, to ensure adequate protein intake. Undoubtedly, pulses like beans have the highest protein content of all vegan foods.

It is also rich in the amino acid lysine, which is generally low in other plant foods. A cup of (170 grams) of cooked-up beans contains about 15 grams of protein and is a rich source of carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.

Studies indicate that beans and other legumes can reduce bad cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar, manage blood pressure, and help lose weight.

Soy Milk

Whether you're looking for a dairy milk substitute or a rich source of protein, you can add almond and soy milk to your daily diet. It is made from soybeans filled with several minerals and vitamins.

Even a cup of (244 mL) of soya milk contains 6 grams of protein and is rich in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. It is easily available in supermarkets, but choose unsweetened varieties whenever possible.

Oats and oatmeal

Oatmeal is an ideal instant breakfast for vegans, packed with sufficient protein. It is a rich source of fiber, which enhances fullness, reduces the insulin response, and improves gut health. Adding on your daily breakfast is one of the easiest ways to ensure a protein intake daily.

A cup of (40 grams) of dry oats contains 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. However, it is consumed mostly for breakfast, but it's safe to consume oats at lunch and dinner.

The bottom line

Protein deficiencies in vegetarians and vegans are rare, especially in individuals who eat a balanced and healthful diet. However, there are several reasons why some people might want to consume more plant protein. Anyone looking to increase their intake of plant-based proteins can use the list mentioned below as a resource.

Protein-Rich Food For Vegetarians: FAQ's

1. Which Indian food protein is ideal for vegans?

Lentils, tofu, soy milk, legumes, and nuts are included in the protein-rich Indian diet plan.

2. Which Dal is high in protein?

Urad dal, or black lentil, is packed with nutritious pulses, making it a perfect option for vegan and vegetarian meals.

3. Where do vegans and vegetarians get protein?

Without meat and dairy, vegans can get their protein from plant-based vegetables or fruits.

4. Are protein deficiencies common?

Yes, it's quite common in India; approximately 80% of the Indian population doesn't meet their daily protein requirements.

5. What is the most common vegetarian deficiency?

The research shows the risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies is quite common in vegetarians and vegans.

6. Why is protein deficiency common in infants and children?

Protein deficiency is common among infants and children because kids have transitioned from breastfeeding to a less adequate diet.

7. Do vegetarians miss protein?

It may depend on person to person, but if you don't plan your diet properly, it may eventually lead to a protein deficiency.

8. Can being vegan cause health issues?

The most common health issue vegans develop is the risk of deficiency in vitamin B12.

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Sahil Singh Kathait

Written By: Sahil Singh Kathait

Sahil is a passionate content writer with over two years of expertise in the insurance domain. He uses his knowledge in the field to create engaging content that the customer can relate to and understand. His passion lies in simplifying insurance terminology, ensuring a hassle-free understanding for potential policyholders. With his outstanding collaborative efforts with people, he understands different perspectives and keeps readers' viewpoints at the forefront of his content writing approach.