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7 High-protein vegetarian foods

A marketing, advertising and communications diva who traded her power-suit for a rolling pin and apron. I have written original recipes for brands like Green Giant and Jimmy Dean. I contribute to large online magazines like SheKnows.com ...

Mother Nature has provided us with some vegetarian protein-packed gems.

vegetarian food

Photo credit: Bill Boch/Stockbyte/Getty Images

There's a common misconception that in order to get a substantial amount of protein you need to eat meat or dairy. False. Mother Nature has provided us with some vegetarian protein-packed gems in this short list of grains and veggies.

Quinoa

This Bolivian-grown grain holds 8 grams of protein per cup of cooked quinoa. High in fiber, low in cholesterol, this wonder grain can be ready in just 20 minutes!

Pumpkin seeds

A holiday favorite come October, pumpkin seeds can be purchased year-round and are an excellent source of protein, packing 7 grams per ounce.

Beans

Beans have always been an excellent substitute for meat. Now you can order black bean burgers, bean burritos and many other bean dishes that feature 12 grams of protein per cup. Lentils and chickpeas are also excellent sources of protein in the bean family.

Soy milk

A common first step towards a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is to substitute soy milk for dairy milk. Soy milk provides 8 grams of protein per cup.

Seitan

An exotic product that is still making its introductions here in the U.S. is seitan. Seitan is made from wheat gluten and it provides 18 grams of protein per 3 ounces, and is used as a vegetarian and vegan substitute for chicken due to its texture.

Almonds

This miracle food strikes again. Almonds have so many valuable nutrients when it comes to heart health, diabetes and much more. Packing a whopping 6 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving is just another notch in its belt.

Peanut butter

While peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, you want to watch your serving sizes. They have 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving, but also have a higher fat and cholesterol content than unrefined raw nuts.

I'm not advocating a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle at all, but it's nice to know that protein can be found in many vegetables and grains as well as meat and dairy products.

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