Fruits and Vegetables Richest in Protein

Baked beans
A dish of beans on a table. . (Image: vikif/iStock/Getty Images)

Though the word "protein" usually conjures up images of meat, fruits and vegetables can also be good sources of protein; they are lower in saturated fat and higher in dietary fiber than animal sources and when regularly eaten can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, according to the American Heart Association. Plant proteins, unlike animal proteins, only contain some of the nine essential amino acids that we cannot make ourselves, so they must be combined with other protein foods in order to ensure adequate intake.

Soy

Soybeans are the No. 1 source of vegetable protein, and are a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. Each cup of cooked soybeans offers 29 g protein. Soy products such as tofu have less protein, coming in with 11 grams in every 4 oz. serving.

Beans

Beans pack a punch of protein. White beans and lentils contain about 19 g protein per cup, providing many essential amino acids such as isoleucine and lysine. Black beans contain 15.2 g per cup, while kidney, lima, black-eyed, navy and pinto beans contain about 14 g per cup.

Broccoli

Broccoli is another vegetable that contains an abundant amount of protein. Its protein content is 34 percent of its dry matter, offering 4.6 g of protein per cup of cooked broccoli. Cauliflower, a cousin of broccoli, is not too far behind at 27 percent, or about 3 g per cup.

Spinach

Known for its excellent nutrient profile, spinach is also a good source of protein. Cooked spinach contains 5.3 g of protein per cup, while frozen or canned, drained spinach contains slightly more at 6 g per cup.

Other Vegetables

Corn, artichokes, and potatoes are other vegetables that contain a decent amount of protein. Corn provides about 5 g per cup. Artichokes might take a while to cook, but are worth it -- a medium artichoke contains about 4.2 g of protein per cup. A potato with its skin provides about 5 g of protein; removing the skin drops its protein content by 2 grams. Sweet potatoes have about 3 g of protein per potato.

Fruits

Fruits, on the whole, contain less protein than vegetables and legumes. Cantaloupe’s protein content is 11 percent of its dry matter, which is about one-third of the amount of protein in some vegetables. Fresh strawberries are 7.5 percent protein, while navel oranges contain 7.2 percent protein. Watermelons and bananas are 6.4 and 5.1 percent protein, respectively. Other fruits contain less than 5 percent protein.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.