Time-tested vegan proteins

More and more these days I'm getting requests for vegan and vegetarian recipes. While I'm not a vegetarian as I've stated here before, I like to eat a daily menu that's light on meat, and am always interested in vegan and vegetarian protein options.

There are several what I'd call factory-manufactured vegan or vegetarian protein products out there, from TVP to quorn. I'm sure (or fairly sure) they are safe and wholesome to eat, but I'm more interested in traditional, or time-tested, vegan/vegetarian protein alternatives.

This is the list I've come up with so far. They are Japanese-centric, since that's what I'm most familiar with. Do you have any others to add?

  • Soy bean products:
    • Boiled soy beans
    • Green boiled soy beans (edamame)
    • Fermented soybeans (natto(J), tempeh(SEAsia))
    • Fermented black soy beans (mostly Chinese)
    • Fermented soy bean paste (miso and related products; Japanese, Chinese, Korean)
    • Tofu and tofu variations - fried, etc. See Looking at tofu.
    • Soy milk
    • Yuba (skimmed soy milk sheets)
    • Okara (soy bean bran left over from making soy milk or tofu (thx for the reminder toontz!)
    • Kinako (toasted and ground soy bean powder)
  • Chickpeas and chickpea products:
    • Hummus
    • Chickpea flour
    • Cooked whole chickpeas
  • Other beans and legumes (also often available ground)
    • Lentils/ Dal
    • Azuki beans (also called red beans)
    • White beans or navy beans
    • Black beans
    • Kidney beans
    • Lots of other beans
  • Whole grains
    • Brown rice and other whole-grain rices (black rice, red rice, etc.)
    • Whole wheat and products made from whole wheat flour (bread, pasta, couscous, etc)
    • Quinoa (particularly high in protein)
    • Millet
    • Whole oats
    • Buckwheat
    • Amaranth
  • Seeds and nuts and products made from them
    • Sesame seeds
    • Tahini
    • Flax seeds
    • Peanuts
    • Peanut butter
    • Almonds
    • Cashew nuts
    • Walnuts
    • Hazelnuts
    • All kinds of other nuts
  • Other whole foods
    • Chestnuts
    • Chestnut flour
    • Coconut
    • coconut milk
    • Avocado
    • Lotus root (not a major source of protein but contains some. Also has a substance that helps protein absorption.)
  • Traditional processed proteins (other than soy bean based ones)
    • Fu (toasted and dried wheat gluten, 25-30g of protein per 100g, see more)
    • Seitan (also wheat gluten)
    • Kanpyou (dried gourd strips, 7.1g protein per 100g)
  • Protein-rich sweets
    • An or anko (sweet azuki or white bean paste)
    • Annin dofu (almond jelly, made with agar-agar)
    • Many Indian sweets and Persian sweets are bean, chickpea based
    • Ice cream! (well it is lacto-ovo-vegetarian :))

And you also have the lacto-ovo proteins if you loosen up your rules to extend to milk and eggs:

  • Lacto-ovo/non-vegan proteins:
    • All kinds of eggs - chicken duck, quail, ostrich...
    • All kinds of milk - cow, goat, sheep, etc.
    • All kinds of cheeses - from cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, etc. milk
    • Other milk products: butter, yogurt/yoghurt, kefir, cream, buttermilk....

Not a good protein source

  • Mushrooms are not a protein source, even though they are often used in vegetarian dishes as a sort of meat substitute. They may taste meaty, especially the heartier ones like portobellos (which are just overgrown brown button mushrooms) but are basically just fiber and water with small quantities of Vitamin B1 (thiamin) and B2 (riboflavin), calcium, Vitamin C and iron. They are on the other hand tasty and very low in calories. You're getting a lot more protein from the bun part of a portobello burger than from the 'burger'.

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