Cooking and Meal Prep Recipes 8 Delicious High Protein Vegetables By Jane Anderson Jane Anderson Facebook Twitter Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet. Learn about our editorial process Updated on January 05, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and nutrition and exercise healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN Medically reviewed by Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN Facebook Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and macro social worker. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Most people don't think of vegetables as a major source of protein. But many are actually quite high in protein—high enough that they can add significantly to your daily protein needs. Knowing which vegetables are packed with protein is especially key if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It can be tricky to make sure you get enough protein on a meat-restricted diet. Even carnivores can benefit from adding high-protein vegetables to their diets as these vegetables are very nutritious. 1:26 Watch Now: What to Eat to Get Healthy Hair Complete vs. Incomplete Vegetable Proteins A crucial factor to consider when sourcing your protein from vegetables is that most of them include incomplete rather than complete protein. This matters because whole proteins provide all of the nine essential amino acids the body needs. Soybeans and quinoa are two of the only plant-based sources of complete protein. Other options still provide ample protein, but you'll need to eat a wide variety of them to end up with a diet rich in all nine of the needed amino acids. Fun Fact In addition to the nine essential amino acids, there are 11 more that the body can produce on its own, for a total of 20. There are many more vegetables to choose from that will boost your protein intake. We've compiled a comprehensive guide of eight of the top high-protein vegetables, including their nutritional benefits and how to use them in recipes. 7-Day High-Protein Meal Plan & Recipe Prep 1 Lentils R. Tsubin / Getty Images Nutrition There's a reason lentils top this list of high-protein vegetables. Ounce for ounce, these tiny legumes contain more protein than virtually any other vegetable. Each cup of lentils contains 16 grams of protein, which makes up a good portion of the protein you need each day. They are also packed with dietary fiber and micronutrients, such as folate, iron, thiamin, and phosphorus. Where to Find You can purchase lentils dried or in cans at the grocery store. If you use dried lentils, plan to soak them in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to cooking them. Recipes / Use There are so many delicious ways to use lentils that it's impossible to list them all. Use them ground into a dip for crackers, like hummus, for example. Here are a few other recipes to try: Indian potato and lentil stew Shredded Brussels sprouts and roasted lentil salad Kale and lentil stuffed sweet potatoes Lemon-herb lentil dip (a good anti-inflammatory recipe) 2 Edamame Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Nutrition Edamame (immature soybeans) are versatile, simple-to-prepare beans. Half a cup of shelled edamame—about the amount in a typical serving—gets you a whopping 9 grams of protein. That's around 20% of your total protein need for the day, with dry roasted edamame containing even more protein per serving. This veggie also contains fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron. Where to Find Edamame is often available in the snack food aisle, near the nuts, and sold in single-serving packs in a variety of different flavors. You can also find plain edamame in the freezer section of your grocery store, either shelled or unshelled. Recipes / Use There are plenty of great ways to use this vegetable. The simplest is to roast your own edamame and eat it as a healthy snack food. Or you can put it in recipes such as these: Ginger glazed edamame Pasta with prosciutto, edamame, and carrots Healthy, spicy edamame dip Fresh edamame mixed with walnuts, olives, and garlic Edamame is often served steamed as a side dish at Japanese restaurants. 3 Asparagus Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Nutrition Asparagus' delicious green sprouts are among the first vegetables to appear in farmer's markets each spring. And they contain a lot more protein than you'd expect, along with lots of other nutrients, such as riboflavin and vitamin K. Just 10 spears of asparagus provides nearly 4 grams of protein. You might even find it hard to only eat 10 spears of asparagus, especially if it's fresh from the farm—they're that delicious! Where to Find Look for asparagus in the produce section of your favorite supermarket. The fresher it is, the better it tastes. Choose asparagus that's standing tall with no limpness in the stalk and no deterioration around the tips. Recipes / Use The simplest way to serve this versatile vegetable is roasted or grilled. For more complex flavors, try: Asian-inspired roasted asparagus Stir-fried asparagus with bell peppers and cashew nuts Mozzarella chicken asparagus rolls 4 Beets Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Nutrition One cup of raw sliced beets contains 2.2 grams of protein. That's not a huge amount, but it adds up when you combine beets with other high-protein vegetables to help meet your daily requirements. What's more, beets contain only a tiny amount of fat, in the form of healthy polyunsaturated fat. Also, they are a good source of folate, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Where to Find You can buy beets either canned (which generally come sliced) or fresh. Be aware that many brands of canned beets contain added salt, so you may want to look specifically for no-salt-added varieties. If you're buying fresh, look for firm purple or golden beets in the produce section. Peeling them is easy, especially after cooking. Recipes / Use It's easy to be intimidated by beets. They're bulbous, earthy roots that are difficult for some to envision as part of a meal, especially if you grew up eating the sometimes slimy canned variety. But once you get to know beets, you'll likely love how they add beautiful color and a terrific, sweet-tangy taste to your dishes. Beets are particularly delicious when roasted in the oven. But they are also delicious in: Roasted beet and feta salad Russian-style red beet borscht Red-purple beet hummus Beet, carrot, and apple juice 5 Potatoes Andrei Puzakov / EyeEm / Getty Images Nutrition Many people think they should avoid potatoes because they're high in carbohydrates. But potatoes also contain a significant amount of protein that actually helps to balance out those carbs. Just one medium-sized potato gives you over 3 grams of protein. So, if you eat a large stuffed potato or serving of mashed or sautéed potatoes, you'll get plenty of protein. Potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C and heart-healthy potassium. Where to Find You'll find potatoes throughout the grocery store, from canned to ready-to-eat mashed, but the best way to buy potatoes is fresh. Look for Russet potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, and even purple potatoes. Purple potatoes are a gorgeous color and actually contain much more protein than regular potatoes. Some have 6 grams of protein per purple spud. Recipes / Use Oven-roasted potatoes are about as easy a recipe as you can find, but there are so many other great ways to prepare potatoes, such as: Crispy Hasselback potato with simple guacamole Potato, leek, and white bean soup Kale and potato hash with fried egg and tomato (Kale is another high-protein vegetable.) 6 Broccoli Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Nutrition One cup of raw broccoli contains nearly 2 grams of protein and only 24 calories, and 1 cup of steamed broccoli contains nearly twice that amount at almost 4 grams. While this is only a fraction of the protein you need each day, don't discount it. There are so many other health benefits of eating broccoli, which contains practically no fat and is high in fiber. Plus, research has shown that a diet high in broccoli may help to reduce your risk of certain cancers including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer. Where to Find Look for firm, bright green broccoli in the produce section or purchase frozen broccoli florets. Recipes / Use There are so many ways to use broccoli that it's impossible to list them all. You can use it in: Asian broccoli stir-fry Chinese-style beef and broccoli Broccoli and cheese stuffed baked potatoes 7 Bok Choy Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Nutrition Bok choy is extremely nutritious with plenty of fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, vitamin B-6, and beta carotene in every stalk. Plus, bok choy contains a significant amount of protein: 1 cup of cooked bok choy has over 2.5 grams. As with broccoli, you can't meet all your daily protein needs with bok choy. But this leafy green vegetable adds a protein boost to any dish, with practically no calories or fat. Where to Find You can find fresh bok choy in most larger supermarkets, especially those that feature extensive produce sections. Look for tight stalks with fresh, unwilted tops. You'll find that the entire stalk (minus the very bottom) is edible either raw in salads or cooked. Recipes / Use Bok choy is a close relative of broccoli and cabbage, but it has a lighter taste that some people prefer. It's found most often in Chinese and other Asian cuisines, so you may have eaten bok choy without even realizing it. There are plenty of healthy and easy ways to prepare bok choy. Use it in any dish that might feature broccoli or other green vegetables, such as: Bok choy and oyster mushroom stir-fry Ginger chicken with baby bok choy Peanut noodles with tofu and vegetables Bok choy is also a popular addition to a raw food diet, where it can be an easy way to add in a little extra protein. 8 Green Peas Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman Nutrition Green peas are tiny but pack a significant amount of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, thiamin, and folate. They're also one of the most versatile vegetables around. Since green peas are a legume, they're also pretty high in protein. One-half cup of raw green peas contains about 2 grams of protein and over 4 grams of dietary fiber. If you make a habit of adding peas to any vegetable dish, those nutrients will add up fast. Where to Find Although it's possible to purchase fresh peas at farmer's markets and in the grocery store—peas grow quickly and are one of the first vegetables available in late spring—most people buy frozen peas, which are easy to store and defrost quickly. Recipes / Use Green peas can add protein and nutrition to almost any dish. For example, try: Easy lemon mint pea dip Spring vegetable quinoa salad Creamy spring vegetable risotto A Word From Verywell There are plenty of high-protein vegetables that can help you meet your daily protein requirements, regardless of whether you follow a plant-based diet or if you eat meat. If you're looking for more options, kale, sprouts, artichokes, chickpeas, corn, and pumpkin seeds are also good protein sources. Ideally, mix and match vegetables and experiment with salads, stir-fries, and other dishes to add variety (and extra protein) to your diet. How Much Protein Do You Need? 9 Sources Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Lentils, from dried, no added fat. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Edamame, cooked. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Asparagus, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Beets, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Potato, NFS. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Broccoli, raw. American Institute for Cancer Research. AICR Food Facts: Foods That Fight Cancer: Broccoli & Cruciferous Vegetables. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Cabbage, chinese (pak-choi), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Peas, green, raw. Additional Reading U.S. Department of Agriculture. Choose My Plate: All About the Protein Foods Group. By Jane Anderson Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from companies that partner with and compensate Verywell Fit for displaying their offer. These partnerships do not impact our editorial choices or otherwise influence our editorial content.