Food & Nutrition

Vegetarian plant based protein sources

9 vegetarian recipes packed with plant-based protein sources.
Published 23 August 2017

Plant-based protein sources

When looking for a protein source, many people might opt to put meat on their plate. While most meats are indeed high in nutrients, putting some plant protein on the menu can also be a great way to create a well-balanced meal—especially if you’d like to increase your vegie intake or if you’re one of the 2.25 million Australians currently living a ‘meat-free life’. Meat is a good source of protein but it’s not the only option. Legumes including lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas, soy products, grains, nuts and seeds are also sources of protein, as well as fibre and minerals.

Plant-based protein sources

Cannellini, borlotti, black and red kidney beans

1 cup cooked = 15-18g protein

0 SmartPoints value per serve

Add to salads and stews or blend into dips.

Lentils and chickpeas

1 cup cooked = 11-13g protein

0 SmartPoints value per serve

Add to salads, soups and curries or use as a mince substitute to make burgers or bolognaise. Lentils are a type of legume however they don’t require soaking prior to cooking. Lentils have a nutty flavour and hold their shape when cooked.

Legume recipes

Hemp seeds

3 tablespoons = about 10g protein

5 SmartPoints value per serve

Add to smoothies or on top of cereal, salads and yoghurt or use as a breadcrumb substitute to coat chicken or fish.

Find out more about hemp seeds

Tofu and tempeh

75-100g = 10-12g protein

0 SmartPoints value per serve

Add to salads and stir-fries or use as an egg substitute to make breakfast scramble. Tofu is made from soybeans and comes in a number of different forms including silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm.


½ cup cooked = 7-9g protein

3 SmartPoints value per serve

Add to salads, soups and stews, use as a porridge base or as a mince substitute in tacos and stuffed capsicums. Quinoa is technically a seed and is rich in protein, plus fibre and other vitamins and minerals. It has a sweet, nutty flavour and can be used in many different ways.

Quinoa recipes

The amount of protein you need in your diet depends on your weight. As a rough guide, the recommended dietary intake for protein is 0.75g/kg for adult women, 0.84g/kg for adult men and around 1g/kg for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for men and women over 70 years.