What’s with all the hype around eating meat to get protein? You don’t see bulls walking around munching on steaks but they’re still solid blocks of muscle.
Rather than relying on fatty, heavy meats or dairy-based protein shakes, consider switching to a vegan protein powder. It’s chalked full of protein yet healthy and environmentally friendly.
But do you know which powders to buy?
Vegan protein powders contain just as much protein as dairy-based protein powders. Also, they’re often healthier and better for the environment than non-vegan options.
However, there are many different varieties of vegan protein powders so take time to check multiple brands before settling on just one.
We understand how difficult it can be to find the best vegan protein powders. With so many brands and so many different formulas, it’s not always easy to know which will work for you.
To help out, we’ve carefully tested 7 of the best powders on the market and presented them for you to review. Check them out here and let us know what works for you!
The Top 7 Best Vegan Protein Powders In 2022
Before presenting a list of vegan protein powders, we had to carefully test each brand to identify which had the best formulas, contained the purest ingredients, and gave the best results.
No two products are exactly the same so we had to set clear criteria before judging them. Check out how we narrowed our list down to 7 top products further down in this review.
#1. Huge Vegan Protein (100% Plant-Based)
Huge Supplements is renowned for its wide variety of nutritional workout supplements. After first introducing a range of whey and non-vegan protein powders, they quickly realized they were missing something—a healthy dairy-free, vegan-friendly option.
By carefully blending a variety of protein-rich ingredients, they were able to produce the best all-around protein powder.
Each serving of Huge Vegan contains 20 grams of protein with no more than 122 calories. Some flavors are slightly more calorically dense than others but with only 122 calories at the upper extreme, this is one of the healthiest, least calorically dense products on the market. Flavors include:
- Cookies; Cream
- Birthday Cake
- Graham Cracker
- Cinnamon Crunch
- Marshmallow Madness (Our favorite!)
Huge Vegan Protein is formulated from a blend of rice, pea, mung bean, and fava bean extracts, helping to maximize the amount of protein in each scoop.
Each tub of Huge Vegan Protein contains 25 servings and you can find it by clicking here, it’ll take you to Huge Supplements’ official website.
#2. ProteinSeries Organic Vegan
Just as their name suggests, Transparent Labs has found success by being as transparent about its formulas as possible. All of their products are designed according to scientific research to maximize their benefits while simultaneously reducing harmful side effects.
This commitment to transparency holds true with their ProteinSeries Organic Vegan protein powder.
Every serving of ProteinSeries Organic Vegan powder contains 24 grams of protein sourced from 100% USDA Organic Certified vegan ingredients. It’s completely free of artificial flavorings and sweeteners, so you know you’re getting the purest protein possible. Best of all it’s easy on the digestive system.
Their formula is based on a 2:1 ratio of rice to pea extracts, helping to create a creamy texture free from grit. It also packs an added 4 grams of fiber to help move the mixture through your belly. Find it in the following flavors at Transparent Labs’ official website:
- French Vanilla
You can purchase up to 3 tubs at a time and each tub contains 30 servings. Buy it today and experience the benefits of pure organic vegan protein.
#3. ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein
If you’re unfamiliar with ALOHA, they’re one of the latest manufacturers to join the growing B Corps movement. With a commitment to transparency, fair labor practices, and environmental sustainability, ALOHA’s products are all made from USDA Organic Certified, Non-GMO plant protein.
Yet, not only are their products vegan friendly but they’re also engineered to meet any dietary need.
ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein contains 18 grams of protein in every serving, paired with an added 5 grams of fiber to help keep you regular. Their protein is completely soy and gluten-free, relying instead on pea, brown rice, pumpkin, and hemp seed protein extracts.
You won’t find any artificial sweeteners, stevia, or sugar alcohols either. You can purchase ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein on Amazon in the following flavors:
Our only complaint about this brand is that each tub only contains enough powder to make 15 shakes. This makes it slightly more expensive compared to other brands that contain more powder for roughly the same price.
Nonetheless, ALOHA’s commitment to organic, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan products sets them apart and makes them worth the extra cost.
#4. KOS Organic Plant Protein
As a brand, KOS has made it their ambition to improve not only your health and wellbeing but also the health and wellness of the planet. Named after Kos—the Greek Island home to Hippocrates—KOS has focused specifically on reducing humans’ reliance on meat. This ambition extends to their organic plant protein.
KOS Organic Plant Protein is slightly more calorically dense than other products, with between 150-165 calories depending on the flavor, but with those calories, you also get a whopping 20 grams of pure, organic plant protein.
Like ALOHA, KOS protein powder is also gluten and soy-free, relying on a blend of 5 proteins extracted from pumpkin seeds, quinoa, flax, peas, and chia seeds, as well as an added helping of essential vitamins and minerals.
Unlike ALOHA, though, KOS does use stevia to sweeten its products. Stevia is a natural sweetener, though, so don’t get it twisted and assume KOS uses artificial ingredients.
Find KOS Organic Plant Protein on Amazon in the following fun flavors and try it out today:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Blueberry Muffin
- Chocolate Chip Mint
- Salted Caramel Coffee
You can purchase tubs in a variety of serving sizes, ranging from 10 to 30.
#5. Vega Protein and Greens
VeGa has a longstanding history of producing quality nutritional supplements from organic plant-based sources. What sets them apart, though, is their reliance on greens rather than beans and seeds. VeGa is B Corps certified, meaning their commitment to fair labor and environmentally friendly practices have been vetted and approved.
Each serving of VeGa Protein and Greens powder contains 20 grams of protein with only 120 calories. Their formula is unique in that it blends standard plant protein sources, such as pea and brown rice extracts, with non-standard ingredients such as inchi protein, spinach, broccoli, kale, and alfalfa.
These ingredients help boost VeGa Protein and Greens mineral and vitamin contents higher than most other products.
VeGa Protein and Greens is available on Amazon in the following flavors:
- Salted Caramel
- Coconut Almond
The flavored varieties are sweetened with stevia but VeGa understands that not everyone can consume stevia. Therefore, their unflavored variety is completely free of any sweetener.
Find it in small, medium, and large tub sizes, offering up to 25 servings in a tub.
#6. Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein
Garden of Life is one of the larger companies on our list but don’t let their size lead you to think that they’re not as committed to eco-friendly, organic practices as others. Garden of Life is 100% carbon neutral and certified organic by the USDA. They offer a wide range of nutritional products, including their iconic Raw Organic Protein.
Each serving of Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein contains 22 grams of protein, making it one of the most protein-dense powders on our list. Garden of Life manages this high-protein density thanks to a unique blend of 13 different sprouted grains and grasses, including:
- Pea sprout
- Brown rice sprout
- Amaranth sprout
- Cracked wall chlorella
- Quinoa sprout
- Chia seed sprout
- Garbanzo bean sprout
- Flaxseed sprout
- Sunflower seed sprout
- Sesame seed sprout
- Pumpkin seed sprout
We should note that although it doesn’t contain soy or gluten products, Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein is processed in the same plant as soy and gluten products. Therefore, it cannot be classified as a soy and gluten-free protein powder.
Find it online at Amazon in Chocolate, Vanilla, Vanilla Spiced Chai, and Unflavored varieties. Each tub contains 20 servings
#7. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein
Last but not least, we wanted to introduce you to Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein. Unlike other brands, Orgain wasn’t founded by an athlete, bodybuilder, or environmental activist.
Instead, it was founded by a doctor with a commitment to provide all the necessary nutrients you need to build healthy muscle without all the added junk.
Every serving of Orgain Organic Protein contains 21 grams of plant-based protein, extracted from rice dextrin, rice bran, rosemary, chia, and pea.
Our only complaint about Orgain products is that they’re rather high in sodium, with roughly 12% of your daily recommendation in each serving. As well, Orgain protein powders are flavored with stevia, which not everyone can consume.
You can find Orgain Organic Protein on Amazon in the following flavors:
- Peppermint Hot Cocoa
- Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt
- Iced Coffee
- Chocolate Coconut
Each tub comes in a large size, containing 20 servings
Choosing The Best Vegan Protein Powders
It wasn’t easy to narrow our list down to just 7 top products. We had to carefully test each brand, assess their formulas, and then eliminate products that simply couldn’t compete.
No two products have the exact same formula, so we had to base our judgments on clear-set criteria.
In this section, we want to explain how we chose the best vegan protein powders so you can too.
When you first start taking a protein powder supplement, you should care about more than just building massive muscles. You should also consider what you’re putting in your body. Health and wellbeing should always trump quick gains if they’re not going to add to the overall quality of your life.
Therefore, we had to carefully assess each product to guarantee that they used quality ingredients.
As you probably noticed as you went through our list, nearly all of the brands we shared, use USDA Organic Certified ingredients. By sticking with organic brands, we could guarantee that the all-natural ingredients used to source protein were made without harmful GMOs, pesticides, or herbicides. That way, you know you’re getting the best.
We were also careful to select brands that transparently listed their ingredients. Anyone who tried hiding their protein sources as a proprietary blend was immediately eliminated. This way, we could openly and honestly review their formulas and assess just how healthy they are.
Lastly, we made sure to include brands that meet a wide range of dietary needs. We understand that not everyone can consume gluten, soy, or stevia, so we made sure to share a handful of products that are made from a vast range of protein sources.
Keep this in mind as you start looking for protein powders as many are produced from soy and gluten-heavy grains.
Complete Protein Profiles
Close your eyes and imagine protein. Odds are your mind didn’t go straight to alfalfa. Instead, it probably went to a hunk of meat. But why? Sure, meat is a prime source of the 9 essential amino acids needed to produce protein but it’s not the only protein source, right?
While that’s true, meat and dairy can provide more protein in a single serving than most plants.
Plants might be rich in protein but most lack all 9 of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Therefore, we had to carefully assess each product’s formula to guarantee that it provides a complete protein profile. Otherwise, you won’t get the full serving of amino acids needed to build strong and healthy muscles. You’ll be wasting your time.
Fortunately, some of the most commonly consumed plants contain all 9 essential amino acids—if not individually then certainly when combined together. These plants are often cited as superfoods and include:
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Rice + Beans
With this list in mind, go back through all of the protein powders we’ve shared above. You’ll quickly notice that all of them contain at least one or more of these ingredients.
Most vegan protein powders source protein from soy or a blend of brown rice and pea extract. Others add in a variety of proteins from quinoa, buckwheat, chia, and other protein-rich plant ingredients.
As you start looking for vegan-friendly protein powders, be sure to search for these ingredients. They’ll provide all the essential amino acids your body needs to build new protein and strong muscles.
Don’t get us wrong—quality ingredients and complete proteins certainly matter but if you’re not going to enjoy drinking a protein powder, what’s the point of buying it?
Taste can often be the make-or-break factor in which product you finally settle on and for good reason.
Unflavored protein powders often taste terrible, resembling bitter chalk that you wouldn’t feed to your worst enemy. To work around this problem, most protein powders are flavored with cocoa, salt, and sweeteners. Yet some flavors are better than others. As we went through our list of products, we made sure to include a handful of brands with exciting flavors.
Sure, a few of the products listed above only come in chocolate and vanilla but we made sure to share brands like Orgain and KOS, which are known for their exciting and broad range of flavors. However, take caution with heavily flavored brands as they often contain more calories and may also be sweetened with stevia.
Stevia is a natural sugar substitute made from the stevia rebaudiana plant, native to Brazil. It’s favored for its low caloric content and alarmingly sweet flavor but it’s not something everyone can consume.
A small population has reported experiencing bloating and abdominal pain after consuming stevia so, if you fall into this category, we recommend mixing an unflavored variety into a fruit smoothie.
Alternatively, you can add protein powder to a handful of recipes such as:
- Pancakes and banana fritters
- Vegan scrambled eggs
- Mashed potatoes
You can find more recipes using protein powder here or simply add it to your coffee as a creamer substitute.
Last but not least, there’s no denying that price factors into any purchase. The damage a protein powder does at checkout can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, pushing you towards a different product. But it’s not always easy to determine the overall price of a brand. You have to consider the following points:
- Protein-to-Weight Volume – Some brands are more expensive but offer more protein in each serving. In this case, you won’t have to consume as much as you would with a lower-protein alternative, thereby saving a little more money in the long term. However, the difference is often marginal with vegan protein powders.
- Number of Servings – One tub may seem more expensive than another but always check how many servings it has. If two products list for the same price but one contains more powder, you’ll save money by buying the brand with more servings. This goes both ways, though. As we noted above, ALOHA tubs only contain 15 servings, so you’ll end up spending more in the long run.
- Quality of the Ingredients – Quality products inherently cost more than inferior brands. Certified organic and B Corps manufacturers spend more on their production processes to guarantee quality controls, fair labor practices, carbon neutrality, and eco-friendly sustainability. Although you’ll pay more for these products, their purity and quality make up for the added hit to your wallet.
A good way to look at it is that you get what you pay for. Invest in a quality vegan protein powder and you’ll get quality results.
Vegan Protein Powder Sources
Although we’ve briefly hinted at it throughout this review, we wanted to go through a few of the all-natural plant ingredients prized for their high protein contents.
It’s essential that vegan protein powders contain at least a few of these ingredients, otherwise they won’t provide the 9 essential amino acids and necessary proteins needed to grow healthy, strong muscle. Check them out and learn how they help.
Pea protein is isolated from ground yellow peas and then concentrated into a dense form of vegan-friendly protein. Peas contain all nine of the essential amino acids, making them a favorite ingredient in most vegan protein powders. Furthermore, they are easily digested and contain natural fiber.
Pea proteins are soy and gluten-free, as well as a rich source of dietary iron and relatively low sodium. We recommend taking pea protein with vitamin C to help absorb its naturally high iron content.
Rice is often consumed as a carbohydrate but it’s also got a decent amount of protein. Although it lacks all nine of the essential amino acids, when paired with other protein-rich ingredients, such as peas and beans, it helps round out the full range of necessary amino acids. Rice is filling and moderately easy to digest.
Most protein powders that use rice protein rely on brown rice because it’s slightly more protein-rich. You may also see it listed as rice bran or rice dextrin.
Beans are magical and we aren’t just talking about the ones from Jack and the Bean Stalk. Beans such as soy, fava, mung, and garbanzo are excellent sources of protein and usually contain all nine of the essential amino acids. Along with protein, most beans also contain these essential macronutrients:
Most protein powders that rely on beans use soy or garbanzo but, if you’re allergic to soy products, we recommend avoiding these.
Hemp protein is extracted from a strain of the cannabis plant but unlike its narcotic cousin, contains none of the heady THC or CBDs. Instead, it contains all nine essential amino acids and one of the highest protein-to-weight volumes. It’s comparable to soy and egg whites, yet without the risk of allergy that those two products carry.
Hemp protein is pretty common in vegan protein powders but it’s usually only added as a secondary source. Check the ingredients list to see if it’s there and, if so, enjoy all 9 of its protein-building amino acids.
Although soy is a type of bean, we couldn’t finish this list without giving it its own place in the spotlight. As far as plants go, soy is arguably the most protein-rich, comparable to eggs and chicken. It’s also far healthier and more sustainable than meat. However, soy does come with a few downsides.
Many people are allergic to soy products, meaning you should be careful with certain vegan protein powders. If it a product doesn’t contain soy, it may have been manufactured around soy. After all, soy is one of the most common protein sources in vegan protein powders.
How to Get Enough Protein as a Vegan
Being a vegan isn’t the easiest of life choices. By eliminating meat, dairy, and eggs, you eliminate three of the most protein-dense food sources in the human diet. But that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of protein entirely.
Protein is an essential macronutrient and, without it, your body wouldn’t be able to perform basic tasks or develop new tissue.
Many vegans opt to restructure their entire diets to work in extra protein but it doesn’t have to be that hard. Vegan protein powders are an excellent way to pad out your protein requirements without making huge dietary changes. They’re also in line with most people’s monthly food budgets.
Each scoop of a quality vegan protein powder contains around 20 grams of protein. Scientists and doctors recommend consuming around 40 to 50 grams of protein every day. By adding just two scoops of powder to coconut water or your food, you can safely consume all the protein you need without eating animal products.
Many vegan protein powder manufacturers understand their target market and produce products in line with their values. They rely on organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade ingredients and are committed to protecting the environment.
If you’re vegan, we highly recommend trying out a protein powder to meet your daily requirements.
Why Protein is So Important
Whether you’re a pro-athlete, a bodybuilder, or a stay-at-home parent, everyone needs protein. Protein is one of the three essential macronutrients necessary for sustained human life. Without it, you wouldn’t live more than a few weeks. Here’s what it does and why it’s so important.
Protein Builds Lean Muscle Mass
Proteins are a class of macro-nutrients necessary for human growth and development. Although they are often thought of as a single element, proteins are actually a range of different macromolecules produced from long chains of singular amino acids.
Our bodies can produce most of these amino acids but nine of them must come from our food. These include:
We can consume these amino acids by eating protein-rich foods and breaking down those proteins into their essential parts. You can also look into taking a BCAA powder supplement.
Our cells then reassemble the amino acids into new chains that are looped and swirled into a variety of proteins. Some proteins carry out work in our cells while others go on to build new muscle mass.
This is why we often think of protein when we talk about bodybuilding. It’s the basic building block. Without protein, our bodies wouldn’t be able to build lean muscle tissue nor maintain our existing skeletomuscular support system. Therefore, protein is ABSOLUTELY essential for anyone, including vegans.
Protein Speeds Up Recovery
Keeping in mind that protein is the essential building block for muscle, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to assume that protein helps speed up recovery. When we exercise, stress produces small microlesions in our muscles that have to be repaired before doing work again.
When our muscles repair, they grow larger and stronger, allowing us to do more work.
This recovery process needs protein, though. Without protein, our muscles would remain damaged and likely atrophy. Yet, if you consume the proper amount of protein every day, your body will heal faster and produce healthier muscle tissue.
Therefore, it’s essential that you get your daily requirements to grow stronger and healthier.
Protein Helps with Weight Loss
It may sound like a stretch but protein helps you lose weight and not just in one way. Protein simultaneously burns more calories and reduces appetite. Keep in mind that proteins are made of long and complex chains of amino acids.
These molecules are far more complicated than simple carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, they take longer to digest.
While protein slowly passes through your digestive system, it takes up space, making you feel fuller and more satiated than carbs and fats. Slower digestion also burns more calories.
One study found that consuming protein can burn as much as 15% more calories than other foods. This translates to faster weight loss and a thinner waistline.
There’s no doubt that protein has an image problem. It’s often lumped together with fatty meats and dairy, yet protein doesn’t have to come from animal sources.
Plenty of mammals get all of their essential amino acids and proteins from plant-based diets and you can too.
Vegan protein powders contain all nine of the essential amino acids needed to produce healthy and strong muscle tissue. By combining superfoods such as quinoa with common legumes and rice, they’re able to supplement a healthy diet.
As you start looking for quality vegan protein powders, be sure to check the ingredients, stick to organic brands, and find delicious flavors. Our to-go option is Huge Supplements’ Vegan Protein, as it’s a high-quality yet delicious product.
Remember, everyone needs protein to grow and maintain healthy musculature. Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you don’t need it too.
This article has been supplied by Huge Supplements, a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.