Proteins are large molecules made up of long chains of amino acids. They perform a variety of essential functions in the body, such as serving as structural components of cells and tissues, facilitating chemical reactions, and transporting molecules throughout the body. Proteins are synthesized through a process called translation, which occurs in the ribosomes of cells. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be used to build proteins, and the sequence of these amino acids determines the structure and function of the protein.
High Protein Vegetables Foods
1 cup: 8.6 g protein
Peas are a super versatile vegetable that is surprisingly packed with protein. It is also a good source of fiber, with 35% of the daily recommended per cup. Add peas to your favorite pasta, stir-fry, or soup tonight for a nutrition and protein boost.
1 cup: 5.2 g protein
Along with being the second-highest protein vegetable on this list, spinach has a lot going for it. It is full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C, which support a healthy immune system, protect vision, promote healthy blood flow, and more. This ranking refers to cooked spinach, so make it pantry-friendly by trying one of our recipes that start with a bag of frozen spinach.
1 cup: 4.8 g protein
Like many other vegetables on this list, artichokes are packed with protein, fiber, and many other nutrients. Artichoke is a flavorful, earthy vegetable that deserves a spot on your plate. Enjoy canned or fresh artichokes with these easy preparation tips.
1 cup: 4.7 g protein
Contrary to what some may think, sweet corn is a nutritious food with impressive health benefits. Similar to green peas, it is a good source of fiber (12% of the RDA per cup) which helps keep you full and satisfied, especially when paired with protein. Keep some in your freezer to throw together some of our favorite easy corn recipes.
1 cup: 4.6 g protein
There are so many reasons to enjoy avocados, from managing weight to boosting your heart health. Along with protein, avocados are a good source of potassium and fiber. While we love a classic avocado toast, there are many ways to enjoy this high-protein vegetable that are not in toast form.
1 cup: 4.3 g protein
Asparagus is a high-protein, low-carb vegetable with a number of nutritional benefits. It is a great source of folate and vitamin A, which are important for cell growth, vision, and healthy skin. Plus, you can enjoy the benefits in the form of Garlic-Parmesan Asparagus—need we say more?
1 cup: 4 g protein
Brussels sprouts pair fiber and protein with several vitamins and nutrients to keep you feeling full and nourished. Not to mention, they have health benefits ranging from keeping you mentally sharp to fighting cancer and lowering blood pressure. With 4 g of protein present in every cup uncooked, enjoy them roasted with garlic and Parmesan.
1 cup: 4 g protein
Mushroom’s meaty flavor sets it apart from other vegetables. Not only are they earthy and flavorful, but these fungi also contain more protein than several vegetables—One cup of cooked mushrooms provides about 4 g of protein! Moreover, mushrooms are packed with B vitamins, and for those mushrooms grown under UV light, vitamin D is a nutrient that many people are not getting enough of. Check out our Healthy Mushroom Recipes for meal ideas.
1 cup: 3.5 g protein
Kale gained a reputation for being a nutrient powerhouse, and its impressive nutrition profile backs up the claims. It is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients that help stave off chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. To savor this highly nutritious veggie that provides nearly 4 g of protein per one cup serving cooked, add it to soups and salads, make kale chips, or try one of our delicious kale recipes.
1 cup: 3 g protein
Potatoes have a bad rep for being a high-carb vegetable. In reality, though, they are a good source of several nutrients—one cup (160g) of cooked potato boasts 20% of your daily needs for potassium and 25% of your vitamin C needs. They are also a filling option for a starchy vegetable, offering three g of protein per serving cooked. Check out our tips for turning a baked potato into a healthy and delicious meal.
Total protein: 18.46 grams per cup (prepared from frozen)
If you normally only eat edamame at your local sushi restaurant, it’s time to start enjoying it at home. It’s packed with healthy plant protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Total protein: 17.86 grams per cup (boiled)
Lentils, which resemble tiny beans, are actually a pulse found in the legume family. But you won’t find a better option when it comes to an inexpensive, readily available vegetarian-friendly protein.
Total protein: 15.41 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Pinto beans are popular in Mexican cooking. They work well in burritos, as a salad topper, in soups and chilis, or just as a side. Try cooking dried pinto beans instead of using the canned type for even more health benefits.
Total protein: 14.53 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a main ingredient in hummus. They have a subtle, nutty flavor that works well in a variety of dishes.
Enjoy snacking on roasted chickpeas or using them as a staple in curries, soups, or vegetable bowls.
Total protein: 14.18 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
Mung beans are part of the legume family and offer plenty of protein per serving. They’re also a good source of iron and fiber.
Total protein: 12.92 grams per cup (boiled from dried)
In their pods, fava beans look like edamame or green beans. Try adding these nutritious legumes to stews and salads or making them into a tasty dip.
Total protein: 11.58 grams per cup (boiled)
This little legume packs a nutritious punch with plenty of potassium, fiber, and iron. While some people don’t like the taste, recipes like the ones below can help with that.
Total protein: 8.14 grams per cup (cooked)
This popular health food is high in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Quinoa cooks in just 15 minutes and is a great addition to salads, veggie burgers, pilaf, casseroles, and much more.
Total protein: 5.97 grams per ounce (dry roasted)
Shelling pistachios may be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. Pistachios are not only delicious by the handful, but are versatile enough to enjoy in baked goods, on top of salads, and as a coating for fish.
Total protein: 5.94 grams per ounce (dry roasted)
Almonds are delicious and nutritious. They’re a great source of protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Get the most nutrients by eating almonds with the skin intact.
Total protein: 4.69 grams per ounce (dried)
These tiny black seeds have earned their superfood status. Even a small amount has a ton of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients. Chia seed pudding is a popular choice, but don’t be afraid to try out these seeds in other dishes.