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Best Vegetarian Protein Sources

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January 20, 2023

Whether you have a consistent vegetarian lifestyle or looking for alternative protein ideas for Meatless Mondays, there are a wealth of meat-free options out there. If you are looking for versatile ingredients that deliver flavor and health benefits, check out these five high-protein vegetarian foods.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Every human body requires protein. Protein, a chain of essential amino acids, helps your body make and repair cells. You need it for everything from making muscles to helping fight infection. However, many of us might not realize how much we need daily to stay healthy. For the average person, it is recommended to have a little over 7 grams per 20 pounds of body weight. Since many people get their daily dose of protein from meat-based sources, it’s essential that vegetarians and flexitarians pay attention to how many grams they are getting from other protein sources.

5 best alternative protein options: Greek yogurt, Lentils, Cottage cheeses, Eggs, Quinoa.


5 Best Alternative Protein Options

1. Greek Yogurt 

Greek yogurt packs a protein punch and is versatile enough for savory and sweet dishes. It makes for a creamy addition to smoothies or is delicious paired with fresh fruit and granola. You can also use it in place of sour cream on vegetarian chili, add it to macaroni salad, or make tzatziki for falafel.

Greek yogurt is also known for its probiotic properties, which means it’s great for gut health, too!


Nutritional Value: 23g of protein per cup

Try this recipe: Greek yogurt cornbread

Order online today: Zoi Greek Yogurt

2. Lentils

These tiny legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Plus, you can use them in a variety of ways. Cook them with veggies for a hearty stew, bind them with breadcrumbs for a burger alternative, or add them to salads. Lentils come dried, which means you can stock up without worrying about their shelf-life. 

In addition to protein, lentils are a great source of fiber, with 8g per cup! Fiber has a wealth of health benefits, including boosting heart health and lowering the risk of type-2 diabetes.


Nutritional Value: 9g of protein per half cup (cooked)

Try this recipe: Lentil and cauliflower tacos

Order online today: Fiesta Lentils

3. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is having a moment right now, and it’s no wonder. Those delicate little curds are made with whole milk and are low-carb, low-fat, and protein-rich. You can go old-school and eat it by the spoonful, but there are many detectable ways to enjoy cottage cheese.

Serve it with sliced pears or apples, with a drizzle of honey, or use it in place of ricotta in your homemade lasagna. The options are endless!


Nutritional Value: 14g of protein per half cup 

Try this recipe: Cheesy broccoli casserole

Order online today: Darigold Cottage Cheese

4. Eggs

We couldn’t talk about protein powerhouses without discussing the humble egg. Eggs can be worked into every meal of the day, from simple breakfast dishes to casseroles, baked goods, and shakshuka.

Egg yolks are high in vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.


Nutritional Value: 6g of protein per whole, large egg

Try this recipe: Vegetarian Scotch egg

Order online today: Large Grade AA Eggs

5. Quinoa

Why do people love quinoa so much? Not only does it contain lots of protein, but also all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. That is something not all plant-based proteins can claim. Quinoa is a perfect salad topping, makes an awesome chocolate chip cookie, or is excellent as a meatless patty.

As if that’s not enough, quinoa is totally gluten-free and is rich in essential minerals for your body.


Health Info: 8g of protein per cup (cooked)

Try this recipe: Mediterranean quinoa bowl

Order online today: Indian Harvest Tri Color Quinoa

Bulk Up On Vegetarian Ingredients and More

Whether you are looking for plant-based proteins or farm-fresh dairy, we have it all and more at US Foods CHEF’STORE. You discover a wealth of high-quality products at exceptional prices, perfect for your home-cooked meals. Plus, we offer everything from paper goods to cleaning supplies, beverages, and cooking essentials. 

Visit your local CHEF’STORE today or get our premium goods delivered directly to you.

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