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While grocery shopping, you peruse the produce aisles knowing full well that fresh veggies are one of the best foods for you. Most shoppers know they’re a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, but did you also know that some veggies earn high marks for their impressive protein content?
We’ll help you stock up on a delicious variety of protein-packed produce year-round. It’s a smart and sustainable strategy for simplifying meal prep, and enjoying healthy, plant-based alternatives to beef, chicken and seafood.
Let’s take a look at which green vegetables are high in protein, full of flavor and easy to cook.
10 Vegetables Packed With Healthy Protein
High protein foods are a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Keep these 10 green vegetables on your list of must-have protein-packed picks.
1. Mineral-Rich Artichokes
With just one medium artichoke, you enjoy 4.2 grams of protein. That same serving delivers high levels of magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. The artichoke is a type of thistle, but it’s a healthy, edible plant that deserves a spot on our list. Simmer trimmed artichokes on the stovetop or cook in the microwave for a quick protein-packed pick-me-up.
2. Nutritious Asparagus
It’s good for your brain and digestive system. Asparagus fills your plate with beneficial nutrients, and is an excellent low cal choice for dieting. With 4 grams of protein per cup, steamed asparagus is a favorite springtime vegetable.
3. Buttery Avocados
While technically a fruit, we included avocados on our list because it’s such a popular and healthy choice for those looking for a nutrient dense, high protein snack. They may have a high fat content, but buttery avocados are actually rich in monounsaturated fat. That’s good news for everyone who wants to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Add 4 grams of protein per avocado, and you have a nutritious option that goes with more than just toast
4. Versatile Brussels Sprouts
One cup of Brussels sprouts puts 3 grams of protein on your plate. The small, round cruciferous vegetables are a low-calorie source of fiber and healthy nutrients. Make the most of versatile brussels sprouts in crispy salads and slaws, steamed sides and sautéed vegan entrees.
5. Fiber-Rich Broccoli
Fresh broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables, with high levels of protein and fiber. Just one cup contains 2.6 grams of healthy protein. That same cup also delivers as much vitamin C as an orange, along with potassium, folate and beta carotene. Toss broccoli with a little oil, and roast it to an appetizing crunch in a hot oven.
6. Low-Carb Edamame
Look for tray-packs of bright green edamame pods in the produce department. You can also pick them up pre-shelled in the frozen vegetable case. These young soybeans serve up 17 grams of protein per cup. Green edamame pairs well with pastas, rice and even scrambled eggs.
7. Plump Fava Beans
Fava beans are another example of nutrient-packed vegetables high in protein. One cup of the green legumes contains impressive levels of manganese, folate, copper, magnesium and iron. Fava beans also deliver 10 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Try using fava beans to make a batch of deliciously different falafel.
8. Sweet Green Chickpeas
Green chickpeas are harvested at peak freshness and flash frozen to preserve their sweet flavor. The green garbanzo beans are a favorite high protein vegan food weighing in with 15 grams per cup. They’re delicious additions to salads, rice dishes, humus and guacamole.
9. Hardy, Leafy Kale
Leafy kale is a nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable that serves up generous amounts of fiber, calcium, iron and antioxidants. A cup of cooked kale contains 5 grams of protein as well as vitamins A, C and K. Hardy kale can be braised or sautéed as a side and even oven-baked into crunchy snack chips.
10. Tender Green Lima Beans
Low in calories and big in buttery taste, lima beans are one of nature’s healthiest legumes. A half-cup serving delivers 8 grams of protein along with folate, riboflavin and vitamins B6 and K. Fresh or canned, tender limas are flavorful, stand-alone sides and tasty additions to soups, succotash and humus.
Plant Based & Protein-Packed
We hope this list of protein-packed veggies helps you on your journey to better health!
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.