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How to Get Enough Protein Eating Meat, Dairy, Soy and Gluten-Free


Going vegan and learning more about nutrition has lead me to cut other various ingredients from my diet, including soy and gluten. Yes, I’m one of those meat, dairy, soy, and gluten-free eaters (but, no, I don’t “just eat leaves” either). How, then, do I get my protein, I am often asked. You see, many vegans get a good amount of protein from soy or gluten-based substances like tofu, tempeh, soybeans, and seitan. But as a soy and gluten-free vegan, all of that obviously doesn’t fly. Yet, I still understand that having protein in my diet is important, and, I’ve found that with a little bit of research and prep, you can easily meet your protein needs even on a diet like mine – no substitute meats or gluten required.

To start with, let’s review how much protein we really need: according to Reed Mangels, Ph.D. and R.D., “The RDA recommends that we take in 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh.” So, let’s say you weigh 175 pounds. You should then be aiming for around 63 grams of protein per day. Now, for some tips on how to achieve this feat, all the while staying plant-based, as well as gluten and soy-free.

Learn to Love LentilsSavory Lentil Pie

Lentils are a protein powerhouse at around 18 grams of protein per cup. They’re also cheap and versatile. A triple win!

Hail the Hemp SeedsMango-and-Hemp-Seed-Smoothie-1200x762

Hemp seeds weigh in at 16 grams of protein per 3-tablespoon serving. I like to add these seeds atop salads and throw them into smoothies whenever possible.

Beans Are Your Friendblack bean loaf

Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and lima beans … all of them will give you, at minimum, 15 grams of protein per cup. Throw beans on or in to at least one of your meals, and you’ll get a good bit of protein. I like to sneak beans into my breakfasts to get a nice morning protein boost.

Pass the PeasMediterranean Pizza With Roasted Chickpeas

Other legumes, like chickpeas or black-eyed peas, are a great protein source that can be made into veggie burger patties or cooked in soups, placed on salads, and so much more! These will bring in from 13-15 grams of protein per cup.

Quick, Eat Quinoa!cheesy mexican quinoa

The gluten-free eater’s go-to rice substitute, quinoa is a staple for me and so many other gluten-free vegans. I eat it probably once every day, either at lunch or dinner. Two cooked cups will add 16 grams of protein to your daily count.

Get Those GreensGrilled Mushrooms With Spinach Kale Pesto 2

Even your greens can be a source of protein – especially if you eat them in abundance! Spinach totals at 5 grams per cooked cup, while broccoli will give you 4 grams of protein per cooked cup. If you’re a healthy vegan, you’re eating greens in copious amounts – so add these and other protein rich greens in throughout the day, and it’ll add up fast.

Now, let’s put some of this together to see how easy it can be. If you made a dinner of, for example, 2 cups quinoa (16 grams protein) + 1 cup of black beans (15 grams protein) + a sprinkling of 3 tablespoons hemp seeds (16 grams protein) + 2 cups each of spinach (10 grams protein) and broccoli (8 grams of protein), all stirred up with some delicious vegan stir-fry sauce, your lunch or dinner would be giving you 65 grams of protein – above what is recommended for one day for the average 175 pound person! And we did it with no gluten or soy, too! See how easy that was?

There are so many multiple variations of this to explore – let us know how all of you gluten and soy-free plant-powered people out there get your protein fill!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!


Lead image source:Anastasia_Panait/Shutterstock

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164 comments on “How to Get Enough Protein Eating Meat, Dairy, Soy and Gluten-Free”

Click to add comment
9 Months Ago

Yeah, the only issue with your quina recipe is that it\'s a whopping 908 calories if you were planning on eating all of that for your one protein serving... that\'s crazy

1 Years Ago

"A single cup of fresh spinach contains less than 1 gram of protein per serving."


Mathew Muldoon
2 Years Ago

Why eat soy and gluten free at all?

Beatriz Betin
05 Jul 2016

I have soy intolerance for example.

Mathew Muldoon
05 Jul 2016

Wow never heard of a soy intolerance. Ok fair enough.

Hannah Tai
06 Jul 2016

if you have no allergies, soy and gluten can be good protein sources. What's wrong if it's organic?

06 May 2017

Actually soy can be processed (ex. textured soy protein) in such a way that it lacerates your intestines. Studies show that, I recall reading. I think silky tofu is ok, soy sauce too but the way they make it textured like meat makes it bad for you. I am not sure about soy beans as beans. I am sure it can be found by looking it up. In me it gives me migraines which was why I looked in the first place.

Ally Sheehan
2 Years Ago

Karena Thompson Isabella Preisz

Jenn Loscalzo
2 Years Ago

We don't need meat.

Sam Chouinard
2 Years Ago

Sylvie Chouinard

Áine McCarthy
2 Years Ago

Áine Farrell

Áine McCarthy
30 Nov 2015

(For when you don't want to eat tofu)

Michael Munoz
2 Years Ago

Aimee Archambeau

Rebekkah Connors
2 Years Ago

Arielle Kavanagh Du RessacMaddy Hunt

Jessie Achee
2 Years Ago

Quinoa and avocado yum!! Marie Justmarie


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