Getting on the vegan protein powder train might be causing some serious headaches for you, and we get it. There are just so many options on the market that can become overwhelming before it can ever be helpful.
But the thing is – searching for the right vegan protein powder doesn’t have to produce anxiety or cause you heartburn. We’ve decided to go on the hunt for you and let you decide from our top 8 choices what makes the most sense for you!
Vegan protein powders are a special breed all of their own. They come with their own nuances and tips and tricks. Finding one that you like doesn’t mean your workout partner will like it, too. And who cares? It’s not about what others like. It’s about what you want and what your body needs.
What Makes a Protein Powder Vegan?
There are tons of protein powders lining health food shelves and online stores, but they are not all vegan. For a protein powder to be considered vegan, it must be derived from plant-based ingredients. To get protein from plants, sourcers will use soy, rice, peas, and hemp. Soy is often used as protein in vegan protein powder because it’s cheap.
You want to look for a vegan protein powder that has protein from several different plant protein sources. The more sources your powder can get protein from, the more likely you’re getting a wide range of amino acids and other nutrients the body needs.
Do Vegans Really Need Protein Powder?
A vegan lifestyle can cause some concerns in the protein department. Without the incorporation of meats and other animal products, while living a vegan lifestyle, protein might be lacking in your diet. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that you are getting the amount of protein you need.
The amount of protein that you need depends on your goals. For easy conversion, if you’re 140 lbs, you’ll want to get about 98g of protein. However, if you’re looking to build muscle and lose fat, go for 1g of protein per pound of weight.
Vegan protein powder keeps true to your goals of living a vegan lifestyle while giving you the nutrients you need to fill in the missing pieces your diet may have. So, if you’re a vegan, do you really need protein powder? Yes, absolutely!
Pros and Cons of Vegan Protein Powders
Pros of Vegan Protein Powder
– Easy to Digest
– Contains Fiber
– Great Sources of Omega Fatty Acids
– Better Tolerated than Animal Protein Sources
Cons of Vegan Protein Powder
– Fewer Options on the Market
– More Expensive than Non-Vegan Protein Powder
– Not the Greatest Taste/Texture
What Is the Best Vegan Protein Powder?
We’ve done our share of digging and research to find the best vegan protein powder out there. And we found something you’re going to love. Ora So Lean & So Clean is a vegan protein powder that is packed with 21 grams of protein per serving. It also has two complete servings of greens and only 4 grams of net carbs in each serving.
What we really like about Ora So Lean & So Clean is that is made from over 20 organic superfoods! This means that your body will get everything (and more) that it needs to boost its performance and overall health in one serving of this vegan protein powder. Some protein powders can contain extra sugar, which seems counterintuitive, right? Ora has only 1 gram of sugar per serving, which makes it ideal for everyday use.
You’ll get all of the goodness of the digestive enzymes, amylase, protease, cellulase, lactase and lipase, and even more nutrients that will help your body breakdown and digest all of the goods it needs.
What Is the Best Tasting Vegan Protein Powder?
Vegan protein powder is known for having a different taste and texture than regular protein powder. It’s grittier, chunkier, and sometimes blander than non-vegan protein powders. We’ve found one that we think has a nice texture and a taste that beats most other vegan protein powders on the market.
Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder has a great vanilla taste with just the right amount of sweetness and very little grittiness. We like it because it blends well in the blender and mixes with other ingredients that make the taste factor even better.
Its protein is derived from peas and is packed with 20 grams of protein per serving! With seven nutrient-packed ingredients, Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder is tasty and nutritious (which is exactly what everyone is looking for in their vegan protein powder).
Different Types of Vegan Protein Powder
Vegan protein powder must get its protein from somewhere other than animals. That’s why health enthusiasts have found different types of protein sources to create their vegan protein powder. Let’s look at the different types of protein sources vegan protein powders are using on the market today.
Finding a complete protein in a plant protein is highly unlikely, but soy is a complete protein. A great thing about this complete protein source is that it helps support the strengthening and growth of muscles.
Not only does soy protein lower your cholesterol, but it also has anti-cancer compounds that can help with reducing the risk of breast cancer.
While some people have been turned off of soy protein powder because of the genetically modified soy products as well as soy allergies, manufacturers have done a great job creating soy protein powder this not genetically modified.
Be sure to know how your body reacts to soy before purchasing a soy protein powder as the source of protein in your vegan lifestyle.
You might hear the word pea and think of the small, green peas that are sweeter in flavor. However, peas that are used to get protein from are yellow split peas. These small but mighty vegetables are low in amino acid methionine. It is rich in branched-chain amino acids, however. This can help your muscles work more efficiently and give your body the stimulation it needs to produce more muscle protein.
Studies have shown that pea protein can help you feel fuller and even lower blood pressure at the same time. This sounds like a great protein option for those looking to increase their vegan protein intake.
Hemp has a slightly negative reputation for those unfamiliar with what hemp actually is. The hemp that is used to create hemp protein does not come with euphoric capabilities (unlike its marijuana counterpart). It is made from cannabis, but it is not used to get you high in any capacity.
This protein is rich in fiber, iron, zinc, magnesium, and alpha-linolenic acid. It is also great as a source for omega-3 fatty acids. It is not a complete protein like pea protein, but if you ingest it regularly, you can certainly fill that gap where the hemp protein is lacking.
Many people enjoy pumpkin seeds as their healthy choice for protein and fat sources when they eat them in raw form. When they’re turned into protein powder, the fat (and thus the caloric intake) is reduced significantly.
Pumpkin seed protein powder is low in essential amino acids threonine and lysine, but it is not a complete protein. That doesn’t mean it isn’t nutritious. In fact, pumpkin seed protein powder is high in magnesium, zinc, iron, and other minerals that are needed for a healthy lifestyle.
Pumpkin protein has been shown to reduce inflammation and bring antioxidant properties to the table. You can even lower your bad cholesterol and increase your antioxidant activity in your blood!
The great thing about brown rice protein is that it’s easy to find and is cheaper than most protein choices. While it may be less expensive than other protein sources, it is still a great source of protein with 22 grams of protein per quarter-cup serving. While it is low in essential amino acid lysine, it is a good source of BCAAs, which are great for building muscle. This makes it a great protein to use for weight training.
A quick word to the wise: brown rice can become easily contaminated with the heavy metal arsenic. This can be costly and cause serious issues with your health if consumed. It is easily tested for, and many companies do test for it. If you can find a manufacturer that tests for arsenic, brown rice protein could be a good choice!
Sunflower seed protein is quite new to the vegan scene, but it is an excellent protein powder option! It is a great source of muscle-building BCAAs and is low in essential amino acid lysine. It is a good source for other essential amino acids, though, which is great news.
It may be a new protein on the scene, but it is proving to hold its own and provide significant benefits to those who choose it as their protein source!
Some of the best vegan protein powders are made with chia protein. One quarter-cup serving provides you with 10 grams of protein and only 50 calories. Like other vegan protein sources, it is low in amino acid lysine.
Positively, chia protein powder is easy to digest! The body does a great job absorbing the amino acids found in the protein powder, which means digestion is on top of its game with this protein powder.
Another great thing about chia protein powder is the amount of fiber it contains per serving (which is 8 grams). It is also a great source of several vitamins and minerals such as biotin and chromium. These are the gaps that chia protein powder can fill in when living a vegan lifestyle.
What Type of Vegan Protein Powder Is the Best for You?
It’s not really as simple as the question implies. Finding the best vegan protein powder for you does not have a clear cut answer. What works for you might not work for others. Your body may digest chia protein powder better than sunflower seed protein powder. The only way to know that is to try the different types out and see which ones work for you.
It is also important to look into the health benefits and positives that the protein powder brings to your lifestyle. If you’re looking for muscle building, there is a protein powder that is perfect for that goal. However, if you’re looking to lose weight, there is a protein powder that is also great for that goal. There are many options for you out in the market right now that can help you live the vegan lifestyle you’ve always wanted while still giving your body the nutrients it needs.
Things to Avoid
Not all vegan protein powder is created equally. In fact, some protein powders claim to be vegan but don’t have all of the right ingredients your body needs. Some of the vegan protein powders often contain ingredients that your body could do without. Here are some things to avoid when looking at the ingredients list on your vegan protein powder packet/tub.
Some protein powders have caffeine, which isn’t always a negative thing. However, your goals might be to cut back on caffeine, or maybe your body doesn’t react well to caffeine. If this is the case, you should avoid a protein powder that has caffeine as one of the ingredients.
Genetically Modified Ingredients
Ingredients that are not natural and are genetically modified are never ideal. There are many manufacturers out there who use GM (genetically modified) ingredients, so it is important to take note of that before buying anything. You can find vegan protein powders that have non-GM ingredients, which means you can easily find something good for you and made from natural ingredients.
Multiple Sources of Protein
Some people get thrown off by the fact that the protein powders aren’t complete protein sources. But that doesn’t really matter. Your body will do what it needs to do without needing various protein powder sources. Researchers note that your body’s amino acids will even out throughout the day without the need for multiple protein sources.
Added Sugars and/or Artificial Sweeteners
This one is a no-brainer. Anything artificial is not good for your body. This includes artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. You will want to make sure that whatever protein powder source you use is completely void of anything added or artificial. Stevia is a good sweetener, though, so that is not an ingredient that is completely out of the question.
Less than 15 grams of Protein Per Serving
If you are looking to substitute your protein with a vegan protein powder due to your vegan lifestyle, you do not want a powder that has less than 15 grams of protein per serving. It would not do the job you need it to do. Keep a close eye on this factor as you look for the right vegan protein powder.
Any type of fiber filler may cause your stomach to become upset and/or bloated. This is not ideal, obviously! You could have things like flax seed, cranberry seeds, and other probiotics that could act as the fiber boosters you need. Anything such as guar gum or chicory root could cause your stomach to feel off and rather upset all around.
Now that you know the ins and outs of vegan protein powder and their ingredients, it’s time to look at some of our top choices for you to add to your diet! These eight vegan protein powders are excellent sources of protein and other nutrients that your body needs to thrive. You don’t need to skimp on some of the most crucial pieces of anyone’s needed nutrients simply because you live a vegan lifestyle! Let’s dig into some of our top choices!
Top 7 Vegan Protein Powders
1. Ora So Lean & So Clean Vegan Protein Powder
Because getting protein is crucial to the overall health of your body, you want nothing but the best in your body as your protein source. Ora So Lean & So Clean is free from dairy, gluten, soy, GMOs, peanuts, tree nuts, added sugars, filler ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. This is what makes this vegan protein powder the best choice for your body! And what’s even better is how great it tastes.
The taste is derived from organic cocoa and goes down smoothly like a cold glass of chocolate milk! What we liked even better about this vegan protein powder is that it has 20 organic superfoods that give your body a complete serving of amino acids. With 22 grams of plant-based protein, So Lean & So Clean is great for getting you the crucial ingredients your body needs without sacrificing taste or effectiveness.
Customers love that they can use this vegan protein powder in their kids’ foods without them even knowing! They love the taste as much as their parents. Users also noted that the product doesn’t leave an aftertaste, which is a huge complaint of most vegan protein powders on the market!
A word to the wise, customers did note that it can be a little sweet, but that problem is easily remedied with an extra pinch of spinach!
Overall, customers loved this vegan protein powder and would recommend it to anyone looking for a vegan protein source!
- 22 grams of plant-based protein per serving
- USDA Organic Certified
- Great taste (both during and after consumption)
- A complete serving of amino acids your body needs
- Flavor derived from organic cocoa powder
- Different package sizes (single servings and tubs available)
- No unsweetened option available
- Stevia can be overpowering
- Some did not like the taste
2. Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder
Next on our list is Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder! It is on the top of our list because of its impressive stats in the vegan protein powder game. One of the greatest things about Bob’s vegan protein powder is the overall taste. It is hard to find a protein powder (especially vegan) that isn’t gritty and sandy-like. But Bob’s does the job.
With the right amount of sweetness (for most) and a nice ability to blend with almond milk, Bob’s Red Mill Vanilla Protein Powder is a great protein source for vegans. It is a pea-based protein powder that uses non-organic ingredients, which might be a turn off for some. However, it does pack a punch with 20 grams of protein per serving and has a high serving of iron and Omega-3s.
Customers really liked that this vegan protein powder was easy to blend and had a pleasant taste overall. When it is blended with fruits and milk, this vanilla protein powder makes smoothies taste that much better.
It was pretty unanimous that customers would buy this vegan protein powder again, which should make you feel confident that this is a great vegan protein powder choice.
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- Vegan ingredients
- A high serving of iron
- A high serving of omega-3s
- Non-organic ingredients included
- Can be too sweet for some
- Slightly gritty taste (but better than competitors)
3. Naturade Vegan Smart
If you want something that is smooth and sweet (but not too sweet), you’ve found it with Naturade Vegan Smart! It is a great choice for a vegan protein powder because it has 20 grams of protein per serving and is easy to blend with other ingredients including a variety of protein bases such as peas, hemp, chia, potatoes, and chlorella.
As noted above, it is important to have a variety of protein sources in your vegan protein powder, so this makes Naturade a great protein source. It also comes with added vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help give your body the overall health benefits it needs.
Customers weren’t big fans of the fact that the flavor could be a little too sweet, but that wasn’t a major concern for most! They really liked that the texture was smooth and not chalky, which made digestion even easier.
One concern for some customers was the fact that the ingredients weren’t all organic. Vegan lifestyles call for the healthiest of healthy ingredients, and this was not the case for Naturade. If you’re not concerned with this fact, you could sidestep that and embrace the other great things Naturade has to offer.
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- Added vitamins, minerals, fiber, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and more
- A variety of protein used for the protein source
- Sweetness and texture are perfect
- Too sweet for some taste pallets
- Ingredients weren’t all organic
4. Vega Sport Performance
This vegan protein powder is great for sports performance as it has various protein sources such as pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and alfalfa. This means that the protein powder will be a well-rounded protein source, even if it’s not a complete protein source. While the texture is good, the taste is a bit too sweet for some people. If you blend it with the right ingredients, you may be able to cut down the sweetness. Overall, Vega Sport Performance Vegan Protein Powder is a good protein source for any vegan lifestyle.
It was obvious that the number one complaint was the sweetness of the protein powder. However, it didn’t turn too many people away. Customers liked that the protein powder had 15 grams of protein per serving, which meant they were getting the recommended protein serving without the nasty taste.
- 15 grams of protein per serving
- Includes probiotics and turmeric
- Blends well with other ingredients
- Made with non-GMO ingredients
- Great multiple sources of protein
- Overpowering sweetness flavor
- Lower protein per serving than other vegan protein powders
5. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend
This vegan protein powder is one-of-a-kind and brings powerful ingredients to the surface to help your body run on optimal performance. With real, raw protein sources such as pea, hemp, and goji berries as the protein sources, Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is known for bringing the top ingredients to the forefront of their formula while giving your body exactly what it needs. You won’t find any soy in this product, which is great for those who suffer from soy allergies.
It is also dairy, gluten, GMO, and artificial ingredients-free. This leaves you with the confidence knowing that what you’re putting into your body is top quality! You can easily add this vegan protein powder to your smoothies or your favorite drink!
Most customers preferred the vanilla flavor over the chocolate flavor, but some customers reported liking both flavors equally! What they especially liked about the vanilla powder is that it is not too sweet or overpowering (as some protein powders can be). The fat content is also another positive for vegans as it allows for the consumption of good fat that they may be missing otherwise.
- 18 grams of protein per serving
- Helps boost fat content
- Good taste and flavor
- Smooth texture
- Multiple sources of protein (pea, hemp, goji berry)
- All organic ingredients
- Somewhat of a bitter taste for some
- Not easily blended with other ingredients
- Consistency can be difficult to stomach
6. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein
With 21 grams of protein per serving, Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is one of the best options for non-GMO vegan protein powders on the market. Ingredients that are not genetically modified fit right in with the vegan lifestyle, which makes this protein powder a no brainer. How well does it blend with other ingredients? That’s a great question. It does mix well (and stay mixed well), which makes drinking it a whole lot easier than some competitors’’ powders.
The one downfall we found was that it only had a pea protein base. This is not what we like to see most of the time since we know that multiple protein sources are the way to provide your body with exactly what it needs when it’s not getting protein from animal sources. However, the fact that the ingredients lists were so small, we feel confident that the pea protein will do the job.
One of the funniest things that customers reported on was that the protein powder didn’t look quite appetizing at first. However, upon further taste investigation, customers found that the flavor was tasty, and the consistency was palatable.
- 21 grams of protein powder per serving
- non-GMO ingredients
- Only three ingredients in the entire formula
- Stays mixed well/blends well
- Slight chalky texture
- Can be too sweet (especially at the end)
- No other booster ingredients to give you added nutrition like other competitors’
7. Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins +
Coming in with 15 grams of fermented protein per serving, this plant-based protein source is great for giving your gut an easier time in the digestion department. It comes with fermented vegan protein that has more of a balanced amino acid profile as well as added benefits for gut health. While most plant-based vegan protein powders are hard to digest, this one is not! In fact, it is known for helping nourish the gut itself. It doesn’t only have seven ingredients, which means it has a wide range of different nutrients you may need.
Customers really liked that the taste was smooth and very little chalkiness was found. They also liked that there was an unflavored option, which took out some of the sweetness. It was also easy to blend. Users have noted with other vegan protein powders that blending in mixers or blend is a problem for them. That’s why they like Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins + powder. What they didn’t like was that the flavor could be a bit off, so blending it with the right ingredients is a must.
- No bloating
- All plant-based protein sources
- Only 90 calories per serving
- Balanced amino acid profile included
- USDA approved ingredients
- Great for adults and kids alike
- Made with 11 of the best ingredients
- Comes in an unflavored option
- 7 different protein sources (pea, brown rice, hemp, quinoa, alfalfa, spirulina, and mung bean sprout)
- Can cause bloating
- Taste can be unsettling