10 High Protein Plant-Based Brunch Superfoods

10 High Protein Plant-Based Brunch Superfoods
10 High Protein Plant-Based Brunch Superfoods

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!

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