5 sources of plant-based protein

These vegetarian protein options are easily-digested, delicious and packed with health benefits. Plus, get a quinoa-beet veggie burger recipe.
By Marni Wasserman
Alfalfa Sprouts Getty Images

Plant-based proteins are often considered inferior to those from animals because they’re labeled incomplete. An incomplete protein is one that doesn’t contain the full spectrum of amino acids (in order for proteins to work properly, you need a variety of amino acids). But by combining a few plant proteins throughout your daily meals you can complete this spectrum — with protein that the body easily digests. Unlike animal proteins, plant-based alternatives do not place a burden on the kidneys or liver plus they help build muscle and tissue.

Five plant-based proteins to include in your diet

1. Quinoa Not only a high source of protein, quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids and is therefore considered a complete protein. Quinoa is an amazing option for breakfast porridge, lunch salads or dinner pilafs.

2. Hemp Also considered a complete source of protein, hemp seeds are easily digested and absorbed by the body. Hemp’s nutritional profile remarkably contains 36 percent protein. Hemp also contains the exact ratio of healthy fats the body needs for optimal health.

3. Protein powder
A plant-based protein powder is an easy and delicious way to get a healthy intake of protein. Choose a sprouted brown rice powder for maximum grams of absorbable and digestible protein. You can include protein powder in a morning smoothie, berry bowl, or even a power shake post workout.

4. Tempeh A fermented version of tofu, tempeh has a unique nutty flavour and is denser than tofu, resulting in a more satisfying meal choice. Tempeh adapts to the flavours of other foods and marinades well, making it easy to incorporate into many dishes.

5. Sprouts Sprouts are full of essential nutrients that support optimal health. When something is sprouted its nutritional value doubles. The process of sprouting seeds increases the quality of nutrients like protein. Sprouts are low in calories and fat, and are rich sources of vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and protein.


If you’re looking for a way to enjoy summer grilling minus the meat, try this protein-rich veggie burger recipe (store-bought veggie burgers can contain preservatives and loads of sodium):

Beet-Quinoa Veggie Burger

Ingredients: 1 cup cooked quinoa 1/4 cup sunflower seeds 1 clove garlic, chopped 2 tbsp chopped parsley 1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped 1/4 cup grated carrot 3/4 cup cooked white beans 2 tbsp grated beets 1 tbsp tamari (an alternative would be soy sauce) 2 tbsp brown rice flour 1 tsp kelp granules 1/2 tsp mustard powder 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp tapioca powder (see substitutions here) 3 tbsp fresh parsley

Directions: 1. Line a tray with parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 350F (optional).

2. Grind sunflower seeds (in the bowl of a food processor if possible) until a fine flour is made. Add the quinoa, garlic, parsley, onion and carrot, pulse (mix) until combined.


3. Add the white beans and continue to blend until smooth.

4. Put this mixture in the mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until everything is mixed together.

5. Take approx. 1/4 cup of the mixture out, divide and form into 6-8 patties.

6. Place on baking tray and into the oven for 20 minutes. Ten minutes each side to get them crispy.

7. Alternatively, place the patties on a grill for 3-5 minutes.


8. Once they are done, you can load them onto a sprouted bun, wrap, top on a salad, wrap in some collard greens or eat just as is.


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