5 Plant Foods That Contain As Much Protein As Meat

When getting your daily protein fix for your bodies (especially in muscle growth), you more often than not think of meat. However, contrary to popular belief, protein can also be found in plant-based food. 

While you can get over 20 grams of protein from 3 ounces each of chicken and steak, plant-based alternatives deliver nearly the same amount —

without worrying about where they came from. Whether you are planning on ditching meat for good or you are simply curious about how plant-based eating is like, these will help you fill in the void left by reducing your intake of (if not totally cutting off) meat from your diet. 

With all else said, the following plant foods below contain as much protein as meat:


A staple of Indian cuisine, these yellow, red, green or brown-colored legumes can last for months on kitchen shelves, whether bought dried or canned. Each bite gives you high doses of nutrients, including protein, iron, calcium and fiber, in addition to heart-healthy polyphenols. 

One cup of lentils is equivalent to 18 grams of protein per serving.

Black Beans

Black beans are certainly high in carbs (40 grams), but these carbs are naturally formed and not refined as in the case of those found in bread and pastries. Besides protein (15 grams per one-cup serving), part of their carb source is fiber specifically soluble fiber, "which is linked to lowering LDL cholesterol," according to registered dietitian Samantha Cochrane of Ohio State University. She explained that this is why black beans are often considered as heart-healthy food since high cholesterol levels can cause heart disease and other heart-related problems. 

Aside from protein and fiber, black beans are also rich in other nutrients, including 46 milligrams of calcium and antioxidants such as plant-based phytochemicals, which Cochrane noted to help decrease cancer risk.


Packed with high amounts of protein — 15 grams per one-cup serving, chickpeas serve as the base of healthier versions of classic comfort foods, from pasta and rice to even chips and ice cream.

"Chickpeas are versatile, nutritionally dense, allergen-friendly, and inexpensive as an ingredient," Kelly Landrieu, global coordinator of local brands for Whole Foods, told health and wellness website Well+Good.


Compared to most other plant-based protein food sources on this list, edamame is higher in protein content — 19 grams per a single-cup serving. Cooked and served inside their pods, these immature soybeans are not only loaded with protein, but are also good sources of fiber, folate and potassium.


This flavorless soy milk-based brick can give you all the plant-based goodness you will like once you go creative and cook them properly. It soaks up spice like a sponge and is increibly versatile when it comes to preparation. You can make tofu super crispy, blend it into sauces or turn it into dairy-free cheese — the possibilities are endless. 

One cup of tofu is equivalent to 20 grams of protein per serving.

chickpeas Enjoying chickpeas goes beyond being staples of regional cuisines. jackmac34 / Pixabay