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Top 10 High Protein Vegan Breakfast Ideas

It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While the topic is debatable for some, there is growing evidence that a high-protein breakfast can help promote a sense of fullness throughout the day, increase energy, improve calorie burn, and help control weight. (1) But since many traditional breakfast foods rely on animal proteins, what are the options if you follow a plant-based diet? Read on to discover which high-protein foods to incorporate into your morning routine along with some easy breakfast ideas that require virtually no cooking skills at all.  

High Protein Vegan Breakfast Foods

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Tofu, Tempeh, Edamame

These popular and powerful protein sources all come from soybeans, which themselves are a complete protein that gives your body the nine essential amino acids it needs. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame make versatile breakfast ingredients and each contains 10-19 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)  

Legumes

Lentils, chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), black beans, kidney beans, and most other beans are excellent sources of vegan protein. Lentils boast 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), while chickpeas and other beans have about 15 grams of protein. They're also low glycemic and have a good amount of fiber, iron, and other nutrients. (2)  

Spirulina

This green algae is an excellent choice for your breakfast smoothies and protein shakes—spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, containing 60% protein and numerous beneficial compounds. Two tablespoons (30 ml) has 8 grams of complete protein as well as 42% of the recommended daily intake of copper.  

Quinoa, Amaranth

These ancient grains are naturally gluten-free and each provides 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). Quinoa and amaranth are also one of the rare grains that are complete proteins, plus they're loaded with phytochemicals that are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (3)  

Hemp Seeds

No, you can't get high on hemp seeds but you can get high levels of protein. These tiny powerhouses are packed with 10 grams of complete protein per ounce (28 grams), which is almost twice as much as chia seeds and flaxseeds. Hemp seeds are also loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are linked to lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health. (4)  

Nuts & Nut Butters

Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, cashews, and products made from them—almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter—are great protein sources. Depending on the nut, one ounce (28 grams) contains between 5–7 grams of protein as well as plenty of healthy fats, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients. (5)  

Soy Milk

Although you could opt for nut milks, oat milk, and other dairy-free milks, soy milk naturally has more protein. Each cup (240 ml) has 7 grams of protein as well as potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. While the controversy about soy and its estrogenic properties are still a topic of debate, it's considered safe for most people. (6) That said, you could also alternate among the different non-dairy milk options.  

Oats, Oatmeal

A no-brainer when it comes to breakfast, oatmeal is a warm way to start the day. A half cup (120 ml) of dry oats provides about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Oats are also high in beta-glucans, which are compounds also found in mushroom, that are strongly tied to a healthy immune system and heart. (7)  

Chia Seeds

Small but mighty, a little over one ounce (35 grams) of chia seeds offers 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. A good addition for smoothie bowls, chia seeds expand up to 27 times their weight when added to liquid so they fill you up fast. Chia seeds also have omega-3 fatty acids and a high antioxidant capacity, which is good for overall health. (8)  

Nutritional Yeast

You know it as the yellow powder or flakes that give food a cheesy flavor (no wonder it's a go-to ingredient for scrambled tofu), but nutritional yeast is also a vegan source of complete protein. One ounce (28 grams) offers a whopping 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.  

10 High-Protein Vegan Breakfast Recipes

Need some top-of-the-morning food inspo? We got you.These vegan breakfast ideas promise a yummy start to your day!  

1. Tofu Scramble

Sure, you could have another straight-up tofu scramble, but why not mix things up a bit and serve it inside soft, warm corn tortillas? Blend with nutritional yeast and turmeric for an anti-inflammatory boost, throw in some black beans for extra protein, and top with sliced avocado and chipotle cream sauce. You can even add high-protein veggies like spinach or watercress.
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2. Breakfast Bowl

Scroll through Instagram and it's clear that breakfast bowls are still trending. Aside from being pretty, these starters offer a healthy breakfast loaded with just about anything you want from fruits and veggies to grains, seeds, and nuts. Make it with bananas or berries for a sweet sensation or use vegetables and beans for a savory breakfast idea.
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3. Hummus Toast

Everyone knows about avocado toast, but why not try hummus toast? When you really want to pump up your protein intake, hummus is a flavorful and oh-so easy option. Spread it on whole grain or gluten-free toast, top with sesame seeds, nuts, and serve with a side of fruit.
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4. Protein Smoothies

It doesn't get any easier than throwing a handful of ingredients into a blender and drinking your first meal of the day. Vegan protein smoothies offer endless options. Try green smoothies with spinach and spirulina or chocolatey versions with cocoa powder and peanut butter. (Bonus: You can always add a scoop of our mushroom extracts for added health benefits without changing the taste!) Check out our guide to learn everything you need to know about vegan protein powders.
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5. Breakfast Burrito

When you feel like starting off your day with some festive flavors, you can't go wrong with a tasty breakfast burrito. Instead of meat, veganize your wrap with beans, bell pepper, avocado, butternut squash, zucchini, or any veggies you have on hand. Top with pico de gallo and you'll have a strong start with plenty of protein.
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6. Chickpea Scramble

Much like a tofu scramble, a chickpea scramble offers a protein-packed meal with limitless combinations. Saute with high-protein veggies such as spinach or broccoli and add some red potatoes (with the skin on) for added fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium. Serve with a side of arugula or mixed greens for a boost of antioxidants.
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7. Protein Pancakes

Although pancakes might not seem like the healthiest way to start the day, it's a fun treat every now and again. Use chickpea flour to amp up your pancake protein quotient and drizzle with just a touch of pure maple syrup or honey, both of which are rich in antioxidants and lower on the glycemic scale.
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8. Tempeh and Sweet Potato Hash

Tempt your taste buds with this sweet-and-savory breakfast idea. While you'll get plenty of protein (and probiotics) thanks to the tempeh, the sweet potatoes are a great low-carb alternative to regular potatoes with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. Try adding more root vegetables such as onions, garlic, turnips, beets, and radishes for extra nutrients.
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9. Oatmeal

An oldie but a goodie, oatmeal is one of those tried-and-true breakfast foods that always manages to feel like a warm hug in the morning. For a comforting and nutty flavor, try almond milk or macadamia milk with whole hazelnuts, peanuts, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. For a sweeter taste, add fresh fruit and swirl in a spoonful of nut butter for added protein.
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10. Protein Bars

While a quick stop at the market can get you just about any protein bar you can imagine, it's not hard to make these morsels yourself. All you really need is a bit of protein powder—don't miss these easy tips on DIY vegan protein powders—along with a few other simple ingredients. Here's a no-bake recipe that requires only four ingredients.
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Breakfast of Champions

When you follow a plant-based diet, it's important to get enough protein, especially when it comes to your first meal of the day. Now that you know about some of the best high-protein vegan breakfast foods, it's time to put these recipe ideas into action. After all, the right food choices will help fuel you for the day ahead.
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