8 Plant Based Protein Sources for Muscle Growth

Are you looking for a plant based protein source to help you build muscle? If so, then you’re in luck! Plant based proteins are becoming increasingly popular as people transition to vegan lifestyles or just want to incorporate more plant-based proteins into their diets. There are a variety of vegan proteins that can help you meet your muscle building goals without sacrificing flavor or texture. In this blog post, we’ll discuss 8 of the best plant based protein sources for muscle growth. So whether you’re looking to bulk up or just add more plant-based proteins to your diet, you’ll find something here that’s perfect for your needs.

Plant vs Animal Protein

Animal proteins such as meat, eggs, and dairy are high in protein but come with high levels of saturated fats. Plant-based protein, on the other hand, is lower in saturated fat and higher in fiber, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients.

Plant-based proteins can come from various sources:
– legumes
– whole grains
– nuts
– seeds

These sources provide all the essential amino acids needed to build and repair muscle, and many of them also offer additional health benefits such as reducing inflammation and supporting digestion.

It’s important to note that plant-based proteins may have a lower bioavailability compared to animal proteins. This means that the body may not absorb them as efficiently. However, by incorporating a variety of plant-based protein sources, you can still meet your daily protein needs for muscle growth and recovery.

Benefits of Plant Based Protein

Incorporating plant-based protein into your diet has numerous benefits for muscle growth and overall health. Here are some benefits of plant-based protein:

Lower in saturated fat:

Plant-based protein sources are generally lower in saturated fat and higher in heart-healthy unsaturated fats.

High in fiber:

Many plant-based protein sources are also high in fiber, which can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation. 

Rich in antioxidants:

Plant-based protein sources are often rich in antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and improve recovery after exercise.

Better for the environment:

Plant-based protein sources are generally more sustainable and environmentally friendly than animal protein sources.

Variety of sources:

With a wide variety of plant-based protein sources available, it’s easy to find ones that fit your dietary preferences and taste preferences. 

1) Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten, is a plant-based protein that is perfect for muscle growth. This protein-rich food is made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Seitan is not only an excellent source of protein but also low in fat and cholesterol-free.

In terms of protein content, seitan packs a powerful punch with approximately 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. This high protein content makes it comparable to many animal-based proteins.

Aside from being an exceptional source of protein, seitan also contains essential amino acids, such as lysine and methionine. These amino acids are important for muscle growth and repair. Additionally, seitan is also rich in iron, calcium, and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for bone health and overall well-being.

Seitan’s versatility also makes it a popular choice among those looking to build muscle. It can be used in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries, sandwiches, and stews. With its meaty texture and ability to absorb flavors, seitan can easily replace meat in many recipes, providing a substantial amount of protein while being cruelty-free.

2) Lentils: A Powerhouse of Protein

Lentils are one of the best plant-based protein sources for muscle growth. These small, lens-shaped legumes are packed with nutrients and are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They’re also a great source of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, and a range of vitamins and minerals.

Just 1 cup of cooked lentils provides around 18 grams of protein, which is more than the amount found in 2 eggs. This makes lentils an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans looking to build muscle mass.

Lentils come in various colors and can be used in soups, salads, and stews, as well as mashed into dips and spreads. They’re also a great addition to meat-free burgers and patties, providing a protein boost and texture.

What’s more, lentils are an affordable and accessible source of plant-based protein that can be easily added to a variety of meals.

3) Quinoa: The Complete Protein Grain

Quinoa has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous health benefits. It’s a superfood for muscle building, and it’s one of the few plant-based proteins that is considered a “complete” protein source. This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body needs to build and repair muscle tissue.

Quinoa is also rich in fiber, which can help improve digestion and keep you feeling fuller for longer periods. Additionally, it’s gluten-free, making it an excellent option for those with gluten sensitivities.

Quinoa is versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from breakfast bowls to salads to stews. It’s also a great substitute for rice and can be used as a side dish or a base for a veggie bowl.

Adding quinoa to your diet can help you meet your daily protein requirements while also providing numerous other health benefits. It’s a delicious and easy way to boost your muscle-building potential while maintaining a plant-based diet.

4) Chickpeas: Protein-packed Legumes

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are not only delicious but also a fantastic source of plant-based protein. These legumes are an excellent addition to any muscle-building diet.

One cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 15 grams of protein, making it an ideal choice for those looking to increase their protein intake. In fact, chickpeas provide more protein than other common legumes like black beans and lentils.

What sets chickpeas apart is their amino acid profile. They are particularly high in essential amino acids lysine and arginine which are crucial for muscle repair and growth. These amino acids help to rebuild muscle fibers after intense workouts, aiding in muscle recovery.

Not only are chickpeas rich in protein, but they also offer a range of other essential nutrients. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, iron, folate, and magnesium.

Including chickpeas in your diet is simple. They can be enjoyed in various forms, such as hummus, salads, stews, or even roasted for a crunchy snack. With their protein-packed goodness, chickpeas are a plant-based powerhouse for muscle growth.

5) Hemp Seeds: A Superfood for Muscle Building

Hemp seeds may be small, but they are mighty when it comes to their nutritional benefits. They are packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, making them an excellent choice for building muscle.

Hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source. They also have a high concentration of the amino acid arginine, which can help to promote muscle growth and repair.

In addition to their muscle-building benefits, hemp seeds are also rich in essential fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Hemp seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet. They can be added to smoothies, salads, or even used as a topping for oatmeal or yogurt. You can also find hemp protein powder, which can be used as a supplement to help boost your protein intake.

Overall, hemp seeds are an excellent choice for anyone looking to build muscle on a plant-based diet.

6) Chia Seeds: Tiny but Mighty Protein Source

Chia seeds may be small, but they are packed with essential nutrients, including protein. These tiny black or white seeds are rich in amino acids, the building blocks of protein, making them a great option for plant-based eaters looking to build muscle. 

Just two tablespoons of chia seeds provide around 4-5 grams of protein, as well as 10 grams of fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, chia seeds are a versatile ingredient that can be easily incorporated into a variety of meals and snacks. Add them to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or salads for an extra boost of protein.

But that’s not all. Chia seeds also contain antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium, making them an excellent addition to a well-rounded diet. Not to mention, they can help you stay fuller for longer due to their high fiber content. 

Incorporating chia seeds into your diet is easy, and their many benefits make them a great choice for anyone looking to build muscle or improve their overall health. Try adding them to your meals and see the difference for yourself.

7) Tempeh: A Nutritious Fermented Protein

Tempeh is a nutritious fermented protein that is gaining popularity in the world of plant-based eating. Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh is not only a great source of protein but also packed with other essential nutrients. 

One of the main reasons why tempeh is a fantastic choice for muscle growth is its high protein content. A 100-gram serving of tempeh provides approximately 19 grams of protein, making it an excellent option for those looking to increase their protein intake.

What sets tempeh apart from other plant-based proteins is its fermentation process. During fermentation, the natural bacteria in tempeh help break down the proteins and carbohydrates, making them more easily digestible. This results in a protein that is not only more bioavailable but also contains beneficial probiotics, which can aid in gut health and overall digestion.

Tempeh also boasts an impressive nutrient profile. In addition to protein, it is a good source of iron, calcium, and several B vitamins. These nutrients are essential for muscle recovery and growth, making tempeh an ideal choice for those looking to build and maintain lean muscle mass.

Incorporating tempeh into your diet is easy and versatile. It can be sliced and grilled, crumbled into stir-fries or chili, or even used as a meat substitute in burgers and tacos. With its nutty flavor and firm texture, tempeh is a delicious and nutritious addition to any muscle-building meal plan.

8) Spirulina: The Protein-Rich Algae

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein and essential amino acids, making it a great plant-based protein source for muscle growth. It is also rich in other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Studies have shown that spirulina supplementation can increase muscle strength and endurance, as well as reduce muscle damage and inflammation. Additionally, spirulina has been shown to improve immune function and reduce oxidative stress, which can further support muscle recovery and growth.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate spirulina into your diet is through supplements, which can be found in powder, capsule, or tablet form. You can also add spirulina powder to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for an extra boost of protein.

Overall, spirulina is a nutrient-dense, plant-based protein source that can support muscle growth and recovery, as well as overall health and wellness.


In conclusion, building muscle on a plant-based diet is not only possible, but it can also offer a range of health benefits. Seitan, lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, hemp seeds, chia seeds, tempeh, and spirulina are just a few of the best plant-based proteins that can help you reach your muscle-building goals. So, whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into your diet, don’t let your diet restrict your fitness goals. With the right nutrition and exercise plan, you can achieve the muscle growth you desire. Start experimenting with these plant-based proteins and enjoy the benefits of a healthier and fitter you!