Find your local SPAR
Use my location

Veganism is on the rise. With more people than ever before ditching meat in favour of healthier, more sustainable options. And there’s no better time to transition to a plant-based diet than Veganuary.

According to the Vegan Society, there are now upwards of 150,000 vegans in the UK, and as Veganuary approaches, that number is sure to skyrocket.

Vegan protein sources: Fruits & Vegetables

But what is Veganuary, exactly? (Other than a snappy portmanteau.)  Simple, Veganuary is campaign aimed at encouraging people to try a vegan diet for a month, in the hope that they might make the change permanent, having witnessed first-hand how easy (not to mention satisfying) it is.

FYI: A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy foods. Essentially eating anything that comes from a plant – fruit, vegetables, seeds, pulses, nuts, beans, and grains, which, as we’ll discover shortly, can be great sources of protein for vegans.

Of course, vegan diets still require balance, with meals that hit each required food group. And people often worry that excluding meat and dairy will negatively impact their protein levels. But that isn’t the case, and there are numerous vegan protein sources that can be easily worked into your plant-based diet.

Protein-rich foods are vital for the growth and repair of muscles as well as cognitive development. But where do vegans get protein, you ask? Well, there are a range of readily available options including beans, nuts, seeds, and pulses. Remember Amino acids? Well, they're the building blocks of protein, and eating some of them is essential because the body can't produce it on its own.

And with that in mind, here are five of the best protein sources for vegans:

Beans

The first of our vegan protein sources also happens to be the most versatile. And you probably already eat them regularly: the humble bean. A great source of protein for vegans, beans are a great source of fibre and are naturally low in fat.

But which beans should you be your go-to? Well, kidney beans are an amazing source of phosphorus, which combines with calcium to help form strong bones.

A lot of people take supplements for added manganese, however, pick up some butter beans and you're getting a remarkably high source straight out of the can.  Manganese makes and activates a range of enzymes naturally produced in your body, so it's a win-win!

Nuts

Eaten as a healthy snack or used as a brilliant addition to a meal, nuts are a staple in most vegan diets; and with good reason as not only are nuts a high-ranking entry on the list of great protein sources for vegans but they also pack a healthy potassium punch (lowering the risk of high blood pressure).

The nation’s go-to nut is, of course, the peanut which is both readily available and easy to factor into a diet as a quick snack, but there are a wide variety of nuts to be tried and enjoyed! From almonds to pistachios, hazelnuts to pine nuts, and pecans to cashews, nuts are a delicious and versatile source of protein.

Oh, and a special mention to walnuts as they're one of the few rich plant-based sources of Omega 3.

Nuts. Who knew!?

Seeds

You heard us correctly. Seeds. An unsung hero in the realm of vegan protein sources, seeds – such as sunflower or pumpkin - are both a versatile ingredient that can be used in a range of meals; from stir-fries to soups, salads to shakes and beyond.

Plus, they're a great source of nutrients! When you hear calcium, you probably automatically think of dairy, right? Well, sesame seeds especially are a great non-dairy source of calcium (great for strong bones and teeth!).

Tofu 

Often dismissed as flavourless, tofu is anything but, and its versatility lends itself to a wide variety of dishes, making it one of the best vegan protein sources on offer. Derived from soy, tofu provides 8 grams of protein per 100-gram serving.

And what do you serve tofu in, you ask? Anything you like! Whether cooked into a stir fry, sprinkled into a soup, or scrambled on toast, tofu is a hero ingredient in any vegan diet, and your first veganuary act should be to snag a box and begin experimenting.

Quinoa

Pronounced ‘key-noir’, quinoa is a small ingredient that packs a colossal protein punch of 4 grams per 100 gram (cooked weight) serving, making it a mighty way to round out our list of vegan protein sources.

An ideal alternative to carbohydrates if served as a side dish, quinoa can also be used to boost a plant-based chili or elevate a garden salad to protein nirvana.

And there it is. A round-up of the best vegan protein sources. Got any tips for first-time herbivores? Share them with us on social.  Grab everything you need for Veganuary from your nearest SPAR. And be sure to sign up to our E-newsletter for more Veganuary recipes and inspiration.