Vegetables are a Surprising Source of Protein

comments (0) May 21st, 2018

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Fresh corn on the cob is one of the protein-rich cereal grains vegetable gardeners can grow.Click To Enlarge

Fresh corn on the cob is one of the protein-rich cereal grains vegetable gardeners can grow.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

The familiar refrain of "eat your vegetables" seems to mean more these days. That's because plant protein is gaining ground as a tasty meat substitute for those who've eliminated or reduced the amount of meat they eat. Many people are choosing alternative sources of protein for health, environmental or personal reasons.

Vegetable gardeners are already taking advantage of planting and growing their own protein-rich vegetables. Vegetables are easy-to-grow protein sources that can fit just about any garden or taste.

At the top of the list is quinoa, the original supergrain. Quinoa is called a supergrain because it's a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. Other cereal grains that are rich in protein include:

  • Corn
  • Millet

Legumes are also known as good protein providers, such as:

  • Lima beans
  • Peas
  • Edamame 
  • Dried beans (especially black beans)

Seeds that are high in protein are typically roasted before eating, like these favorites:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds

Leafy greens also add protein to a meat-free diet, including:

  • Kale
  • Spinach

Other protein-rich vegetables that are easy to grow in home gardens include:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini (a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes

If you're looking for a variety of different protein sources to fill in on Meatless Mondays – or meatless every day – now's the time to add a few new plants to your vegetable garden. 

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