If it'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.
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.
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.
2. Pinto Beans
Another legume, yes. (See the intro if you feel like squabbling.) Pinto beans have seven grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Use them as you would any other been—mixed with rice, stirred into chilli, laced into tacos.
3. Navy 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.
5. Baked Potatoes
Mmmmmm, baked potatoes. One large potato has seven grams of protein. Filling too.
Fresh, frozen—this classic green is a decent source of protein. For every cup of fresh spinach you eat, you'll consume about one gram of the nutrient. Now that's not that much, you might argue, but that's fresh spinach, which cooks down. Eat four cups of sauteed spinach, and you're at four grams.
7. Broccoli Raab
One bunch of this bitter green contains a mighty 17 grams of protein—but, admittedly, that's a lot of broccoli raab. That said, a half bunch is pretty reasonable serving and a still delivers a decent about of the nutrient.
8. Brussels Sprouts
One cup of the cruciferous vegetables, boiled, contains four gram of protein—plus the same amount of fibre.
9. Button Mushrooms
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.
10. Turnip Greens
If you tire of spinach, try these fibrous greens, which have the hearty texture of kale, but a mellower flavour. One cup of cooked turnip greens has about five grams of protein.
11. Sweet Corn
One medium cob carries about three grams of protein and three grams of fibre. Tastes like summer too.
12. 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.
Just one 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?
Like it's cruciferous cousin, broccoli, cauliflower offer contains a little protein. Specifically, one cup carries about two grams of the nutrient.
18. Dandelion Greens
These bitter greens have a little protein to them. One cup of cooked dandelion greens has two grams of fibre. They make a nice pesto.
One cup has one gram. If you figure a good-sized salad would have about four cups of arugula, that's four grams.