These 23 Vegetables Are Surprising Sources of Protein

IDEANEWSINDO.COM - If it's one thing that doctors and dieticians across the planet agree upon (and they don't agree upon much), it's that eating more vegetables is good for you. 

Vegetables contain satiating fibre, disease-fighting antioxidants, and a host of important and essential vitamins and minerals that help you feel generally awesome.

And some vegetables contain protein, that vaunted macronutrient that can help you build and maintain muscle.

But let's set a few things straight before heading into the list of 23 vegetables with protein.

First, vegetables do not contain as much protein as animal sources. This is one of the challenges of following a vegetarian or vegan diet—especially if you're active.

For comparison's sake, one cup of chopped or diced chicken breast has 43 grams of protein. (Just keep this in mind as you move through the list.) 

While the vegetables that follow are high in protein relative to other vegetables, they aren't high in protein relative to other animal-based sources.

Now, processed plant products like tofu, plant-based "meats," and seiten can all carry more protein, but this list isn't about those products. 

It's about straight-up, straight-out-of-the ground vegetables.

And, second, for the purposes of creating a diverse group of plant-based options for you to choose from on this list, legumes are considered a vegetable. 

That's also largely because legumes tend to have more protein than, say, leafy greens. 

If any biologists want to debate this as a sticking point, by all means go ahead, but don't you have more pressing biology-related issued to attend to?

With all that out of the way, here's a list of 23 vegetables (and legumes) that are surprising sources of protein.


They're soy beans in a pod. They're snack-able, especially clobbered with flaky sea salt and dipped into soy sauce. And they have about 11 grams of protein per cup.

Pinto Beans

Another legume, yes. (See the intro if you feel like squabbling.) Pinto beans have seven grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Use them as you would any other bean—mixed with rice, stirred into chilli, laced into tacos.

Navy Beans

One half cup of these broad, white beans has eight grams of protein per cup. Like all beans, they're a strong source of fibre too.


Yeah, peas! If you eat roughly 3/4 cup of these little green guys, you'll consume five grams of protein.

Baked Potatoes

Mmmmmm, baked potatoes. One large potato has seven grams of protein. Filling too.


For every cup of fresh spinach you eat, you'll consume about one gram of protein. Not a ton, yes, but if you eat a salad with four cups of spinach, that's at least something.

Broccoli Raab

One bunch of this bitter green contains a mighty 17 grams of protein—but, admittedly, that's a lot of broccoli raab. That said, a half bunch is pretty reasonable serving and a still delivers a decent about of the nutrient.

Brussels Sprouts

One cup of the cruciferous vegetables, boiled, contains four gram of protein—plus the same amount of fibre.

Button Mushrooms

Also known as white mushrooms, a cup of these contain three grams of protein. Technically, mushrooms are a fungi, and not a vegetable, but whatever.

Turnip Greens

If you tire of spinach, try these fibrous greens, which have the hearty texture of kale, but a mellower flavour. One cup of cooked turnip greens has has about five grams of protein.

Sweet Corn

One medium cob carries about three grams of protein and three grams of fibre. Tastes like summer too.

Oyster Mushrooms

Like white button shrooms, these fungi contain three grams of protein for every one cup, sliced. Unlike white button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms have a meaty texture and mild flavour.


One cup of raw snowpeas has two grams of protein, which isn't much. But it's something?


Everyone's favourite superfood delivers on the protein too. Or, at least a bit of the nutrient. One cup of cooked kale has about three grams.


Just one cooked medium artichoke contains three grams of protein and a fibre payload of seven grams.


One cup of chopped broccoli contains about four grams of protein. If you smother it in nacho cheese, yes, that would add some more protein. But at what cost?


Like it's cruciferous cousin, broccoli, cauliflower contains a little protein. Specifically, one cup carries about two grams of the nutrient.

Dandelion Greens

These bitter greens have a little protein to them. One cup of cooked dandelion greens has two grams of fibre. They make a nice pesto.


One cup has about half a gram of protein. So four cups would have two grams. Not terrible for salad green.

Beet Greens

A cup of these cooked greens has about four grams of protein, plus a healthy dose of disease-fighting antioxidants.


One avocado has four grams of protein, but also a massive 14 grams of fibre, so watch yourself there.


Eight delicious spears of cooked asparagus contain roughly three grams of protein and 1,325 grams of tastiness.


They make a dang good vegetarian chili and a half cup cooked has nine grams of protein.

Writer: By Paul Kita


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