Protein Substitutes

In my previous post Why Use Protein Powder, I discussed why your body needs protein and the benefits from getting a proper amount. Here I’ll introduce some different protein substitutes other than meat products or powder. Hopefully, reading this list will lead to some nutritious ideas for your next meal!

protein substitutes

What Are The Different Types of Protein Substitutes?


Soybean curd is made by curdling fresh, hot soy milk with a coagulant. Tofu is chameleon like in flavor and has an amazing ability to take on the flavors of other items it is combined with. This great protein substitutes can be found in 3 main varieties.

  • Firm – The highest in protein and good when you need it to maintain its shape and stay solid.
  • Regular or Soft – The most common one good for most recipes.
  • Silken – A smooth and creamy tofu good for creams, sauces, and deserts.

Approximately 2 grams of protein per ounce.



Also known as legumes, beans come in many varieties and are an excellent source of protein! How many kinds of beans can you name? Do you have a favorite?

Approximately 1.6 grams of protein per ounce.



Also known as a garbanzo bean or Indian pea and in the legume family. These protein substitutes have a high versatility and high fiber content and are fantastic addition to any snack or meal. Try them in salads, stews, and casseroles.

Approximately 1.5 grams of protein per ounce.



Tempeh is also made from soybeans. Tempeh has a higher amount of protein and due to its texture, works great as a meat substitute. Tempeh is considered more flavorful than tofu and is often described as tasting nutty.

Approximately 10.3 grams of protein per ounce.

Portobello Mushroom


Known as either portobello or portabella , portobello mushrooms are a good meat substitute due to their size and texture. Use them as the “meat” of a burger or diced up in soup, and countless other ways.

Approximately 2.5 grams of protein per ounce.



Gluten or wheat meat is an alternative to soybean products. Seitan’s texture is similar more to meat than other protein substitutes due to a chewy or stringy texture. Chances are, if you’ve ever eaten mock chicken, beef, or pork in a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, then you’ve had seitan.

Approximately 6.9 grams of protein per ounce.


Source: USDA Nutrient Database.

Perhaps you have a great recipe that includes one or more of these protein sources? Please share in the comments section!

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