Yesterday, I wrote that vegans get on average 70% more protein in their diet than needed. If that surprised you, it really shouldn’t.
Because the best plant-based protein sources are also the most versatile ones. They work at breakfast, lunch and dinner – and in delicious vegan brunches too. And that’s saying something!
Designed to do the work of breakfast and lunch, brunch has a lot on its plate. A healthy brunch should supply plenty of essential nutrients, including protein.
But what about a plant-based brunch? Could it possibly replace the protein-packed omelets, quiche, frittatas, hashes or chaffles at the heart of the SAD-based brunch?
You bet! Our list of 10 plant-based protein sources turns any brunch into a healthy, muscle-building feast.
Beans and legumes burst with heart-healthy compounds. In Dr. Michael Greger’s words, “… eating more protein from beans… while cutting back on refined carbohydrates reduces the risk of heart disease.”
Edamame and soybeans (18.5 g and 31.3 g protein/1 cup, respectively): Eaten green, tender and straight from the pod, they’re edamame. Allowed to mature on the vine, they’re soy. Either way, they’re some of the tastiest, most versatile brunch ingredients around.
White kidney (cannellini) beans (18 g protein/1 cup): A staple of Italian cooking, these creamy-textured beans blend well with a range of popular brunch ingredients.
Adzuki beans (17.3 g protein /1 cup): Known for their distinctive white stripe, red adzuki beans have a sweet, nutty flavor. They don’t need soaking and cook faster than most other beans.
Note: Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) also deserve a mention. Depending on the USDA page you look at, their protein content is either 14.5 g or 40.1 g /1 cup. With no way to account for the difference, I’ve gone with more reliable figures.
Calorie for calorie, our three brunch vegetables out-protein 85/15 ground beef — and without any artery-clogging fat!
A 100-gram serving of 85/15 ground beef has 250 calories and not quite 26 grams of protein (about 1 g protein per 10.4 calories).
Compare those stats to 100 g of:
White mushrooms, with 3.09 g protein and 22 calories, or 1 g per 7.1 calories.
Spinach, with 2.86 g protein and 27 calories, or 1 g per 7.7 calories.
Asparagus, with 2.2 g protein and 20 calories, or 1g per 9.1 calories.
Fruit adds a light, refreshing element to a plant based brunch heavy on cheese, egg or meat substitutes. Our three choices:
Golden raisins (5.41 g protein/1 cup). Plump, sweet and great in oatmeal bread or cookies.
Avocado (2.92 g protein/1 cup). Avocado toast. Need I say more?
Blackberries (2 g protein/1 cup). Perfect in a waffle-topping compote or as a brunch-ending cobbler.
With 8.4 grams of complete, gluten-free protein per cooked cup, quinoa is #10 on our list of plant based protein sources. It multi-tasks as a salad ingredient, side dish or the foundation of a brunchtime breakfast bowl.
To help you get started, this salad inspired by Edamam incorporates quinoa and five more high-protein plant based superfoods!
Quinoa with Adzuki Beans
1 cup cooked quinoa
15 leaves very lightly steamed spinach
3/4 cup cooked adzuki beans
3/8 cup thawed edamame
1 medium ripe avocado, sliced
Toss everything in a bowl, top it with ginger-miso dressing, and enjoy!