What are Vegan Protein Supplements?
Even in today’s hyper-connected modern world, many of us struggle to get optimal protein intake. For vegans, this challenge might as well be amplified x5 compared to omnivores.
It’s harder for vegans to consume enough protein because, compared to animal flesh, plants are naturally lower in EAAs (Essential Amino Acids). These amino acids are what form protein.
Which leads us to our next point…
Amino acids are the foundational building blocks of protein.
You might have heard this one before (it’s rather common to say), but it’s nevertheless true. Getting enough complete protein (all the amino acids required to build a protein) is critical.
See, when you eat a plant, say ‘peas’ for example, your body will break down the pea’s protein into its base parts, or individual amino acids. It will then check with its reserves and, depending on how much of what acids you have or need at the time, begin to synthesize its own protein.
An easier way to think about it is giving your car fuel.
Not enough fuel (protein) can disrupt and harm your vehicle (body).
The best way to keep your vehicle running smoothly is to give it.. well, more fuel. It’ll magically do the rest. Problem is, that brings us right back to square one- plants don’t have much protein. Thanks, plants.
So, what’s the best way to get more vegan protein?
We’re glad you asked! In cases where you can’t eat enough through the diet for whatever reason (work, busy schedule), supplements are the knights in shining, oh-so-good powdery armor.
Taking a quality supplement is an easy and cost-effective way to mend the nutritional gap. For vegans in particular though, they might as well be an angel descending from the sky.
Moreover, it shouldn’t go without saying Vegan protein isn’t perfect. While healthy, it’s not the best tasting. If you want something less Earthy, check out these 10 tasty whey protein powders.
On that note, we won’t keep you any longer. Here are the latest 10 best vegan protein powders!
Our Top 10 Vegan Protein Powders
10. Garden of Life RAW Vegan Protein
Made by Garden of Life (GoL), RAW is the brand’s flagship vegan-friendly protein powder. Designed with value in mind, RAW has traditionally been the go-to powder for many people. However, the brand has recently reformulated and changed a lot of ingredients in the process. To clarify, we’ll be reviewing the latest GoL RAW formulation and what makes it effective.
For starters, each canister of the new GoL contains 20 servings of powder and 22 grams of plant-based protein per serving. It’s also USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO project verified, certified vegan, and is third-party lab tested and certified free of banned substances by LGC. And, for those with sensitive stomachs, RAW includes probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Interestingly, GoL RAW protein is extracted from 15 different healthy plants- most of which are sprouted. When it comes to flavor and mixability, we found it’s still just as tasty and smooth.
Garden of Life Vegan Protein Highlights:
- 20 servings (620 grams) per canister
- 22g of organic protein per serving
- Made with 15 different protein sources
- Added raw probiotic and enzyme blend
- Helps extend satiety (stomach fullness)
- Organic, Vegan, and Non-GMO Certified
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
9. Plant Fusion Plant Protein Powder
Plant Fusion (PF) is a popular choice for people looking for solid vegan protein powders. This is because PF is best known for its product safety (third-party lab tested for toxins) and dosages. More specifically, each 2lb jar contains a full month’s worth (30 servings) of beneficial powder.
Contained inside one serving is 21 grams of plant-based protein derived from USDA Certified Organic peas, artichokes, sprouted amaranth, sprouted quinoa, and whole algae. It also has 100 mg of the digestive enzymes Bromelain and A-Galactosidase to aid digestion and absorption.
Lastly, in terms of taste and mixability, Plant Fusion performs pretty well. While not perfect by any means, we found it tasted sweet and didn’t have any sort of ‘chalk’ or earthy type texture.
Plant Fusion Vegan Protein Overview:
- 30 servings (900 grams) per container
- 21g of plant-based protein per serving
- Includes enzymes to support digestion
- Hypoallergenic; free of major allergens
- No artificial flavors, dyes, or additives
- Excellent taste and smooth texture
- Great alternative to whey based protein
8. Amazing Grass AIO Plant Powder
Formulated by Amazing Grass (AG), Protein Superfood has a well-established reputation and long history of healthy plant-based protein. Made with quality in mind, each 11 serving tub contains fruits, vegetables, and is sourced from USDA Certified organic peas, rice, chia, quinoa.
What interests us most though is its distinct approach to protein supplementation. While most brands typically utilize straight, bland plant-protein (Standard method), AG differs in that it aims to supply a multitude of nutritionally dense whole foods in addition to its 20 grams of protein.
What’s more, each serving is free of potential allergens such as GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, and grains (gluten). With that said, its taste is better than most and certainly enjoyable, but it’s not a sugar milkshake, either. For optimal mixability, we highly suggest using a shaker cup or blender.
Amazing Grass Vegan Protein Highlights:
- 11 servings (341 grams) per bottle
- 20 grams of full protein per serving
- Derived from Pea, Rice, Chia, and Quinoa
- 100% USDA Organic Certified ingredients
- Added Greens and Fruit/Veggie blends
- No GMOs, gluten, dairy, soy, or grains
- Decent overall value, although the price is high
7. Optimum Nutrition Vegan Protein
Created by the supplement titan Optimum Nutrition (ON), Gold-Standard Plant-protein is designed for those who are mindful of what they eat and where their nutrients come from. Each of its 19 servings provides 24g of protein made from organic peas, sacha inchi, and brown rice.
In addition to its complete amino acid profile, ON also includes a gluten-free USDA Organic Certified complex of the ancient grains amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and chia seed.
What impresses us most though is just how good it tasted for a plant-based protein powder! As many of you know, plant-protein tends to be chalky, clump up, taste Earthy, or be all 3 at once. However, despite containing zero artificial flavors and only healthy organic ingredients, ON drove the nail home with both flavor and texture. In fact, we ended up ordering a second tub.
Optimum Nutrition Plant Protein Overview:
- 19 servings (684 grams) per tub
- 24 grams of protein per serving
- Made with rice, pea, and sacha inchi protein
- Includes grain complex with pomegranate
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- USDA Organic Certified, Non-GMO, and Gluten-free
- Tastes absolutely wonderful! (We liked Chocolate best)
6. Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein
Naturally high in both protein and fiber, Nutiva sets the bar with its cold-processed hemp seeds. The protein found in hemp seeds are easy to digest, making them great for sensitive stomachs. Each bag of Nutiva hemp protein is USDA Organic certified and packaged in a BPA-Free bag.
In terms of dosages, you’ll find each carton has a full 30 day supply (28 servings), of which each serving comprises of 15 grams of hemp protein alongside 8 grams of healthy dietary fiber.
When it comes to flavor and taste, we wouldn’t get too excited. Because this is hemp and only hemp, it’s not gonna taste great, but it’s not nearly as bad as we thought it’d be. This is because there are no added enhancers. At the same time though, it’s important to remember what it can do. If you’re looking for something sweet though, we’d suggest reading below.
Nutiva Hemp Protein Highlights:
- 28 servings (840 grams) per bag
- 15 grams of raw protein per serving
- 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving
- Cold-processed for optimal quality
- USDA Organic certified hemp protein
- Contained in a versatile BPA-Free bag
- Will definitely help clear you of cell waste
5. Naturade VeganSmart AIO Blend
Naturade VeganSmart is ideal for those looking for a solid AIO nutritional blend. Each serving provides 20g of protein, 22 vitamins and minerals, and enzymes to aid digestive processes. It also has 9 different functional fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids to support wellbeing.
Likewise, you’ll also find 6 grams of clean dietary fiber, too. Naturade’s protein is blended, complete, organic, and sourced from foods like peas, quinoa, chia, potatoes, and chlorella.
It also tastes very good considering it doesn’t have any artificial additives. The chocolate was mostly rich and not at all chalky (unfortunately way too common), which was a big plus to us.
Naturade VeganSmart AIO Overview:
- 15 servings (690 grams) per tub
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- No GMOs, gluten, dairy, nuts, or soy
- 22 different vitamins and minerals blend
- No artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives
- Added digestive enzymes, fiber, and prebiotics
- All in one (AIO) plant-based nutritional shake
4. Naked Nutrition Premium Pea Protein
Naked Nutrition is a brand with a longstanding positive history among educated consumers. Formulated with simplicity, Naked PEA provides exactly what you need, and nothing you don’t. Contained in each jar are 76 servings of powder at 27 grams of protein per serving, which is fantastic value. Moreover, it should be noted Naked PEA only has one ingredient: Yellow Peas.
With that being said, Naked PEA is free of GMOs, soy, gluten, dairy, and doesn’t have artificial sweeteners or colors. While it doesn’t taste bad per se, we recommend disguising it in a shake.
In terms of mixability and texture, Naked PEA is a very fine fluffy powder. In our experience, it mixed and tasted pretty good in a shaker cup with some fruit and a few spices like cinnamon.
Naked Pea Protein Highlights:
- 76 servings per huge container
- 27 grams of protein per serving
- Only one ingredient: Yellow Peas
- Third party lab tested for toxins
- Free of soy, dairy, gluten, and GMOs
- No artificial flavors, dyes, or additives
- Excellent value relative to size and cost
3. KOS Organic Vegan AIO Protein Blend
Made by KOS, this protein powder is an excellent all-around supplement. For starters, each tub provides a full month supply of powder (30 servings) and has 20 grams of protein per serving. KOS’s ingredients are USDA/CCOF Organic Certified and consist of a 5-protein blend made up of peas, flax, quinoa, pumpkin, and chia seed. It also has added enzymes to help aid digestion.
Furthermore, KOS continues to impress by choosing to not include artificial additives or colors.
We attempted a few different methods to determine its mixability. First, we manually stirred it in a cup of milk- don’t try this. Our second test involved a shaker cup, which, in all honesty, did mix a little better. Our third and most effective method was adding KOS to a blender for 15 seconds. On that note, we found its flavor to be truly delicious and only left us wanting to eat more of it.
KOS AIO Vegan Protein Highlights:
- 30 servings per container
- 20 grams of protein per serving
- 5 non-gritty, great tasting proteins
- No artificial colors, flavors, or additives
- USDA and CCOF Certified Organic ingredients
- Added enzymes, vitamins, and minerals
- Free of dairy, gluten, soy, and GMOs
2. Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
When it comes to vegan protein, Orgain is often the supplement of choice- and it’s not hard to see why. Available in 6 unique flavors, each 2lb canister supplies 20 servings of powder that consists of 21g of pea, chia, and rice protein as well as 15g of complex carbohydrates to boot.
In addition to its solid dosages, we found Orgain to be Kosher, Certified Organic, and free of potential allergens like gluten, soy, and GMOs. It’s also 100% free of unnecessary ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and chemical food dyes.
This makes it a great choice for people who prefer hypoallergenic foods. That said, we’re big fans of the chocolate flavor. It’s organically sweetened, creamy, and has a rich taste.
Orgain Plant-Based Protein Overview:
- 20 servings (920 grams) per container
- 21g of protein, 15g of carbs per serving
- 5 grams of healthy organic dietary fiber
- Kosher, Vegan, gluten-free, soy free, non-GMO
- USDA Organic Certified pea, chia, and rice protein
- No artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives
- Keeps you satiated for several hours at a time
1. Transparent Labs Organic Pea/Rice Protein
Designed by Transparent Labs (TL), this vegan protein supplement is number one on our list for a few reasons. For one, each bag contains 30 servings packed with protein and 4g of healthy fiber. More specifically, each serving is made up of 24 grams of proper 2:1 rice to pea protein.
What’s more, you get to feel good about the powder you’re consuming. This is because TL ProteinSeries is 100% USDA Organic certified and provides complete label transparency. Basically, you don’t have to deal with any hidden ‘junk’ ingredients like in other brands.
Lastly, we couldn’t recommend it if it didn’t exceed flavor and texture expectations. We’re glad to say both flavors (vanilla, chocolate) tasted and mixed quite nicely and left us wanting more.
Transparent Labs Vegan Protein Highlights:
- 30 servings (961 grams) per bag
- 24 grams of whole protein per scoop
- Gluten-Free and Non-GMO ingredients
- Tastes delicious and feels creamy; no grit
- USDA Organic Certified rice and pea protein
- No artificial sweeteners, dyes, or preservatives
- Full ingredient transparency; no hidden substances
Final Thoughts on Vegan Protein Powder
In the end, supplements are a great way to fit that extra bit of clean, vegan protein into the diet. The hard part about vegan protein is deciding which supplement is best for you and your family.
So, to help you read between the lines (and save you some time), we’ve outlined the 10 best vegan-friendly protein powders currently on the market for safety, value, quality, and efficacy.
In most cases, vegan protein supplements are best taken in addition to a well-rounded diet. That said, whether you’re newly vegan (welcome) or seasoned in the ways, we can all stand to benefit from these 10 protein-rich vegan foods.