Protein Content in Vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals in the everyday diet. They’re often low in calories, fat, and sugar so they are a great and important addition to any diet. But what about protein? Would eating a diet based in vegetables give you enough daily protein?

The short answer is No.

While some vegetables do contain protein, most do not contain enough protein by themselves to be considered as a good source of high quality protein. Vegetable protein is considered to be incomplete, which means if you eat a diet based in vegetables you are probably not getting all of the essential amino acids your body needs to function.

Instead, it’s important to pair nutrient rich vegetables with other high protein foods such as meat, dairy, or beans in order to get enough protein in your daily diet. If you are a vegetarian or vegan you can get protein from soy products, beans, and grains.

There are a few high protein vegetables that can help to fully complete a healthy meal, such as spinach, cauliflower, okra, broccoli, and asparagus. All of these vegetables are good sources of protein.

Since vegetables are a great source of nutrients with high levels of vitamins and minerals, it’s important to include them in your diet, just not as your main protein source.

We’ve put together a chart of the amount of protein in vegetables per every 100 grams. This way you can better plan a nutritious and healthy meal.

Vegetable (100 grams)Protein (g)
Asparagus3
Aubergine1
Beetroot2
Broccoli3
Brussel Sprouts3
Cabbage1
Carrot0.5
Cauliflower3
Celery0.5
Cucumber0.5
Fennel1
Leek1.6
Lettuce0.7
Mushrooms2
Okra2.4
Onion0.7
Spring Onion2
Parsnip1.5
Peppers1
Pumpkin0.5
Radish0.7
Spinach2
Swede0.5
Sweet Corn2.5
Tomatoes2
Turnip0.8
Yam2

Try to incorporate your favorite vegetables into every meal for a good source of important nutrients, remember to pair vegetables with high protein foods such as brown rice, poultry, or lentils and you’ll have a great, healthy complete meal.


11 Responses to Protein Content in Vegetables

  1. ArB_Owen says:

    You haven't distinguished between grain protein and legume protein,and your chart doesn't list beans. I have heard that the two vegetable proteins must be combined to produce complete protein. I would like to see lists showing vegetables with their type of protein, grain or legume. Thanx, ArB.

  2. Preeti says:

    ArB, you're right, we should make a list of grains and legumes and how to create a complete protein.

  3. Cathy Kayser says:

    The notion of protein being "incomplete" or "complete" has been debunked almost 20 years ago. The amino acid profile of different foods are unique. Vegans get ample protein from vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. The only food defficientin protein content is fruit.

  4. Preeti says:

    Cathy, you can read more about complete and incomplete proteins here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002467.htm

    Plant based proteins lack some of the nine amino acids, therefore, mixing certain plant based proteins can create a "complete" protein.

  5. Jane says:

    What about potatoes? Is there protein content in them? If so, how much?

  6. Jane says:

    I am on a very low protein count due to kidney disease and would appreciate any information available.

    • ReneeR says:

      Hi Jane,
      Working with a dietitian who specializes in kidney disease would be of most help to you. A dietitian will be able to advise a plan and make recommendations specific to you and your lifestyle. However, for more information on kidney disease and diet check out DaVita's website: http://www.davita.com/
      I hope this helps!

  7. Jane says:

    Thank you ReneeR. I will be seeing a dietician in about 3 weeks. I have been to DaVita's website and it is very helpful. I am just trying to do what I can unttil I see the dietician.

  8. SilentLegacy says:

    I am a vegetarian and have been for two years, I was initially concerned about protein deficiency but my doctor has reviewed my diet which contains beans about once a week, almonds two or three times a week and grains three or more times and she assures me I am getting plenty of protein. Vegetarians can live a very healthy life without risking protein deficiency.

  9. richards says:

    My husband needs to gain weight. He has lost a lot of body weight and muscle due to illness. Please I need advise on the best diet for him.
    Kind regards

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