Vegan Complete Protein Sources

By Gianna Rose

Protein is an essential part of your diet. Protein is required for tissue growth and repair and is an important part of every cell and organ. It isn't difficult for vegans to get enough protein in their diets, according to the Vegetarian Resource Group. Foods provide either complete or incomplete protein, depending on whether or not they contain all of the necessary building blocks of proteins, or amino acids. There are vegan sources of complete protein.


Quinoa provides all the amino acids necessary to be a complete protein. Quinoa is grain-like and described as having a crunchy, fluffy and creamy texture and a nutty flavor. It has 9 grams of protein per cup. It is also a good source of the minerals manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. Quinoa typically cooks in 15 minutes, and it can be dry-roasted before cooking to increase its nutty flavor.


Soy is a complete protein. It's found in many foods and prepared many different ways, including soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, soy milk and soy flour, and in vegetarian foods such as veggie burgers and meatless hot dogs. Soy may have other benefits beyond providing high-quality protein, according to Aaron J. Michelfelder, M.D., in the January 1, 2009 issue of the journal American Family Physician. Soy may improve cholesterol levels, help maintain strong bones, and prevent fractures and diminish hot flashes in menopausal women, Michelfelder says.

Complementary Proteins

Foods that are incomplete proteins don't provide all of the necessary amino acids. Complementary proteins are foods that provide the missing amino acids and complete the protein in the body when eaten in the same day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As an example, beans and rice are both incomplete proteins, but together they provide all the necessary amino acids. It was commonly believed that complimentary proteins had to be eaten at the same meal, but experts now say that the body can combine them as long as they're eaten in the same day.

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