These 19 Vegetables Are Surprising Sources of Protein

Go ahead and feed your muscles.

Paul Kita |

Maybe you’re looking to move toward a more plant-based diet. Maybe you just like vegetables. Or maybe you’re just looking for more sources of protein. Whatever the reason you have for being here, good on you.

If there’s one thing that doctors and dietitians 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.

Related: 15 Fresh Food Delivery Services To Try In Lockdown

And some vegetables contain protein—but let’s set a few things straight before heading into the list of 20 vegetables with protein.

First, vegetables do not contain as much protein as animal sources. 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.

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 20 vegetables (and legumes) that are surprising sources of protein.

Related: 5 Protein-Packed Egg Recipes To Make For Your Next Meal


Edamame, a vegetable high in protein, in a bowl
Food photo created by jcomp –

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.

Sugar Beans

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

Harricot 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.

Related: The Truth About Sweet Potatoes: Are They Good or Bad for Weight Loss?


Spinach, which is a source of protein, in a bowl on table
Food photo created by Racool_studio –

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 something.


One bunch of this bitter green contains a mighty 17 grams of protein—but, admittedly, that’s a lot of rapini. 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

button mushrooms in a blue bowl on a blue table
Food photo created by azerbaijan_stockers –

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.

Related: 5 Immune-Boosting Mushroom Recipes To Try This Week

Turnip Greens

If you tire of spinach, try these fibrous greens, which have the hearty texture of kale, but a mellower flavor. 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.

Mange Tout Peas

One cup of raw mange tout peas has two grams of protein, which isn’t much. But it’s something?


Kale in a silver bowl on a table
Image by Anna Sulencka from Pixabay

Everyone’s favourite superfood is one of the good sources of 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?

Related: The 9 Best Healthy Snacks You Could Eat, According To A Dietitian


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


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.

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