12 High Protein Alternatives To Meat

Please leave a comment below to welcome our newest guest poster, John Smith, to the blog today ~ Mel

If you normally consume a great deal of meat, you may find it initially quite difficult to adapt to vegetarian alternatives.

However, more and more people are adding vegetarian options to their menu on a regular basis. One of the reasons for this is that good cuts of meat are exorbitantly expensive, and given the economy, many of us need to cut back a little.

12 high protein alternatives to meat


1. Seitan

Seitan is made from wheat, and the texture is actually very similar to that of wheat. Seitan is the most densely-packed source of vegetable protein known, with 20 to 30 grams of protein in a four-ounce portion. You can add Seitan to your favorite dishes and it will pass for meat, so it is pretty versatile.

2. Soy

Soy protein is not just very healthy, but is also low in fat, and contains phytochemicals such as saponins, phytc acid and isoflavones. Soy protein and its associated phytochemicals are thought to help reduce heart disease, osteoporosis and the risk of cancer. It contains around 29 grams of protein per cup.

3. Tofu

Tofu has been an Asian staple for 2,000 years. Known for its nutritional benefits, it is a versatile food, that can be eaten raw in salads, or steamed, cooked or baked. It is basically soy curd, like soft cheese. Bland and slightly sweet, tofu absorbs other flavors beautifully, which makes this food really easy to cook with.

4. Almonds

The king of all nuts, almonds are high in calcium and protein. They are also low in carbohydrate, and make an excellent and filling snack. A great source of natural fiber, almonds can be eaten raw, roasted, ground and added to salads, stews, shakes and baking, amongst other things.

5. Yogurt

Natural, bio yogurt is high in calcium, living cultures and protein. Try to make it one of your snacks each day. It can be eaten plain, or with some fruit added, blended into a smoothies, or added to main meals, such as curry and soups.

6. Tempeh

Tempeh is a high protein meat alternative, which is widely used in Thailand and Indonesia. It is made from fermented soy beans, and has a nutty flavor, which tastes very good when fried. It can taste quite bland, however, so I recommend marinading it before cooking.

7. Legumes And Beans

Legumes such as black beans, lentils and chickpeas, or beans such as French, broadbeans and runners, make excellent sources of protein. They are filling, contain good quantities of fiber, and are super cheap. A cup of almost any starchy bean contains 12 to 15 grams of protein, with a cup of lentils providing 18 grams of protein.

8. Cheese

Cheeses of all types are excellent sources of protein. Try organic cheddar or mozzarella cheeses along with your pasta, salads, soups and sandwiches. Cheese does contain a considerable amount of fat, however, so make sure you factor the correct portions into your diet — around 1 ounce per day is enough.

9. Quinoa

The highly nutritious quinoa is called the “Mother Grain” of the Andes. Quinoa is high in protein, high in iron, and contains the necessary amino acids. It has a pleasant nutty flavor, which many people like, and takes less time to cook than rice. It may be eaten with steamed vegetables, gravies, or cooked and served cold in salads. You can also buy quinoa flour and pasta, so it is extremely versatile.

Mel: Check out the comments under this post on Dietriffic, for lots of suggestions on what to do with quinoa from our readers.

10. Broccoli

For a green vegetable, broccoli is pretty high in protein. It contains around 5 grams of protein per cup, which is pretty good for a vegetable, so try to make it one of your veg portions each day.

11. Spinach

Follow in Pop-Eye’s footsteps and get 3 grams of protein per cup of spinach. You can eat baby spinach leaves raw in salads, or it can be steamed, added to curries, stews and soups, etc. Try not to overcook your greens, though, as they will lose their taste and a certain amount of their nutritional value. For best taste, lightly steam spinach and eat it seasoned with black pepper and a little olive oil.

12. Milk

Milk is so common place in almost every home that people don’t think of it as a source of protein. But, 1 cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein. As we all know it is a very versatile food. You can drink it straight from the carton, add it to your tea and coffee, or use it in any number of dishes and desserts.

Mel: Check out my previous article on protein sources for vegetarians.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Taleen August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

Love this info again, thank you!!!!

I had tofu in a spicy stew last night. Tofu is one of my favourite foods now…I absolutely ADORE it! It is so versatile due to its own lack of flavour but redemptive ability to take on flavour from everything else. I also LOVE the texture of both firm and soft tofu. It is marvellous in packet in soups, stews, grilled on a BBQ or as a snack with some good soy sauce and sesame seeds. I also eat it with kimchi as it absorbs the spice wonderfully. Some people fry it too which gives it a crisp coating and softer centre but I’m just not personally a fan of fried foods.

I’m eating lots of broccoli with dinner tonight too so I’m all chuffed with this article!!! ;)

I ALWAYS look forward to the next exciting update on dietriffic!


Melanie August 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Right, I am definitely going to try it out again after reading your comment Taleen. Watch this space :-)


Scott Jones August 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Can’t deal with anything soy. I continue to read more and more bad things about it. Plus, I’m a cynic at heart. Thanks


Melanie August 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Hi Scott,
I know there is a lot of controversy about soy, it’s certainly something I haven’t set my heart on completely as yet. Is there anything in particular you’ve heard about it that puts you off?


Ruth August 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Enjoyed this artical!! Not so into tofu! Can’t seem to get a taste for it and I can eat most things. Eating more and more beans which I love.

Thanks for this


Melanie August 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

I’m a bit like that with the tofu, Ruth, but I’ll admit I have not experimented with it. That would make a good article, perhaps I’ll do a bit more research on that :-)


Nicola August 3, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Great read. I’m currently looking for alternatives to meat. Why are there no eggs on your list? eggs aren’t meat


Ruth August 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

Nicola if you click on a comment left by Mel herself at the end of no 12, she has a link for protein sources for vegetarians which includes eggs. :)


Melanie August 4, 2011 at 10:15 am

Thank’s for sharing that page again Ruth, here is the link Nicola, in case you missed it: http://www.dietriffic.com/2011/02/23/protein-sources-for-vegetarians/


Taleen August 4, 2011 at 3:07 am

Ruth, I guarantee you a different outlook on tofu after September….guarantee it!!!!


Melanie August 4, 2011 at 10:13 am

lol Taleen


Ruth August 4, 2011 at 9:36 am

I have never heard of seitan! Must investigate that one. :)Thanks


Nicola @ Eat Well NZ August 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Interesting post, I’d never heard of Seitan before.


Melanie August 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Hi Nicola, I must say I’ve never tried it either.


Joaquim April 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Another source of complete protein (like quinoa and soy) is buckwheat.


Melanie April 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Yes, thanks Joaquim.


Caitlyn March 10, 2013 at 4:19 am

Hello, who r u?


Caitlyn March 10, 2013 at 4:21 am

What is Seitan? Is it a veg or something?


Caitlyn March 10, 2013 at 4:29 am

Hello? Hello? Anyone there? Humph… Nowadays no one cares about talking to kids anymore. Anyway, I visited this website to learn more about what kinds of meat and alternatives have protein and I’m going to log out now since there’s no one here to talk to.
Caitlyn, 11


Caitlyn March 10, 2013 at 4:33 am

I must say I have a learnt a lot from this website thanks a lot Ms Melanie.


Christel March 10, 2013 at 4:35 am

Hi Caitlyn,
I’m here to talk to u.


Caitlyn March 10, 2013 at 4:36 am

Thanks christel but got to go now bye


Susan April 22, 2013 at 5:45 am

Hi… I have been eating soy based products and discovered I cannot any longer do to my hypothyroidism. Apparently soy and properties of soy interfere with my medication.. So I am looking for alternatives to substitute meat. Thanks for the informative article. :)


Jesus April 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm

You want me… to eat Seitan?


phil lapp July 15, 2013 at 2:38 am

http://www.eatneat.com – a new healthy replacement for meat.


prairiefence and prairiedeck green building November 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

At this time I am going away too do my breakfast, when having my breakfast comming
over again to read other news.


beatrizeloise.deviantart.com December 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm

A ‘Find us on Facebook’ icon would be ideal to let your visitors know where to contact you on Facebook, and by
extension, any interactions they make with your page will be communicated to their friends, giving you some useful
publicity. They need a top 10 list each year
of the items we want them to work on (immigration,
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