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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What are vegetarian protein sources other than tofu and beans?

Is there another way for a vegetarian to get protein other than tofu and beans?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Quinoa Tabbouleh

There are so many great choices for getting protein. Some are more complete than others, meaning that they contain all of the essential amino acids. One reason soy products are so desirable is that they offer a complete protein, but so does buckwheat and quinoa. Eggs and dairy products are also complete proteins, but many vegetarians avoid both eggs and dairy.

The best strategy to get the complete set of amino acids is to combine two of grains, legumes or nuts, and seeds. For instance, Red Beans and Rice has legumes (red beans) and rice (grain) together. Or polenta (grits - a grain) with pine nuts (seeds). Your body does a good job of combining those amino acids, so you need not worry about having them in the same meal: just eat some of each at some point in the day.

Here are some choices for you:


Whole wheat baked goods
Whole wheat pasta
Cornmeal (Polenta)


Black Beans (Turtle Beans, Mexican Black Beans, Spanish Black Beans)
Cranberry Bean
Fava Bean (Broad Bean, Butter Bean, Windsor Bean, English Bean)
Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)
Great Northern Bean
Lima Beans
Navy Beans (Yankee Bean, Boston Bean, Boston Navy Bean)
Pinto Beans
Red Bean
Red Kidney Beans (Mexican Beans, Red Beans)
Soy Bean (Edamame, Soya Bean)
White Kidney Bean (Cannellini Bean, Fazolia Bean)
English Peas
Black Eyed Peas
French Green Beans (Haricot Verts)
Green Bean (String Bean)
Runner Bean (Italian Flat Bean)
Wax Beans
Snow Peas (Chinese Pea, Chinese Snow Pea)

Nuts and Seeds

Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Pine nuts
Pumpkin seeds