7 Vegetarian Protein Sources

vegetarian protein

“Do you get enough protein?”

As a lifelong vegetarian, I’ve gotten used to this question. While it used to annoy me, it’s valid. Us humans need around 10-35% of our calories to come from protein. People are right to be concerned. Without eating meat, which is almost entirely protein, it can be hard to reach the recommended level, which means feeling hungry, tired, and sick.

Don’t be worried about me, though; I tend to get more than enough of the recommended level. Here are some of my favorite ways to do it: 


They’re a classic for a reason. They’re filling, versatile, and 37% protein. When I’m rushing between classes, a hardboiled egg makes a great snack on the go. Just don’t get too egg-cited.

0% Greek Yogurt

0% yogurt is great for you, weighing in at 78% protein. For a quick breakfast, try some yogurt with berries sprinkled on top. If you have some more time, blend a banana, a handful of berries, yogurt, and milk into a delicious, nutritious smoothie.

Light String Cheese

Bring back your childhood. Light string cheese is 56% protein. It also makes for some fun entertainment when your third lecture of the day is dragging on a little too long.

Whole Wheat Bread

To get more protein, sub your bread for 100% whole grain bread. Some varieties, like the kind I buy from Trader Joe’s reach 20% protein, although 15% seems to be more of the norm. Either way, for a carboholic like myself, whole wheat bread is an easy way to add protein into meals I already eat.


Tofu is versatile, easy, and delicious. It lasts forever. You can experiment with it. Throw chopped extra firm tofu into a wrap. Blend silken tofu into a smoothie. My personal favorite is marinating diced tofu in a half a jar of salsa for a day or two. Afterwards, I bake it for around 20 minutes. Delicious, and 42% protein.


Chickpeas are easy to incorporate into your daily diet. Add some to a salad, throw some into a pasta dish, or eat some hummus (we recommend the chocolate kind). At 20% protein, they’re an easy way to eat more protein without even thinking.

Bonus: Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Here at Penn Appétit, we’re big fans of mac, nutrition aside. Although it’s not the healthiest dish, if you want an excuse to indulge, Trader Joe’s guiltless mac ‘n’ cheese is 22% protein.

P.S. We’re food bloggers, not dieticians. None of this article is intended to be medical advice. If you want to speak with a professional, Student Health has a nutritionist on staff.