Best Vegan Protein Powders
For a meal on the go, it can be quite difficult, especially for a vegan. The best option for an on-the-go meal is protein powder. As opposed to animal-based protein, plant-based protein provides fruits and vegetables which have tons of healthy fibers and aid in digestion. Plus, they cater to people who suffer from specific allergens.
We have listed some criteria to help you not only find a great vegan protein powder that fits into your lifestyle but also some things to look at when looking for a great vegan protein powder as well.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
Made from real, whole food ingredients
Can be easily shaken with water or added to smoothies
Provides 50 percent of your daily intake recommendation for vitamins and minerals
- Vega Sport
- Olly Plant Based
- Optimum Nutrition Gold
- Garden of Life Raw Organic
- Veggie Elite
- San Rawfusion
- Vega Greens
- Tone It up
- Now Foods Complex
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Vega Sport
Made from real, whole food ingredients
Can be easily shaken with water or added to smoothies
Provides 50 percent of your daily intake recommendation for vitamins and minerals
When mixing it, it can be very messy and tends to stains clothing
Vega has yet another top branded protein powder and this one is their Sport version. As opposed to their All-in-One, their Sport Protein Powder provides more proteins but can also be very messy when you are mixing it.Read more
A protein blend, which consists of 30 grams, from peas, pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, and alfalfa is included in this mix. Also, it boasts six full grams of amino acids.
As it is a plant-based protein, it is certified by Vegan Action to be made without the use of animal ingredients. As such, it is free from honey, eggs, dairy, and gluten.
This is not only ideal for pre-workouts but also post-workouts and everyday intake. It aids in faster fatigue recovery and will also help build your muscles. Thus, making you feel stronger as a result.
The choice is yours from either mocha, chocolate, berry, or vanilla, in terms of flavor options.
As for the taste, this will always vary from person to person, this powder seems to have a somewhat-endearing flavor. Some will think otherwise as, after all, everyone’s taste buds are not the same.
2. Olly Plant Based
9 grams of sugar per serving
The All-in-One Protein Powder from Vega is exactly what it says it is, an all-in-one powder. It provides everything you would expect from a protein of its caliber including excellent nutrition, a 50 percent daily intake of vitamins and minerals, and a 25 percent intake of fiber.Read more
This includes 18 grams of premium protein from flaxseed and peas. In addition, this mixture includes some sweeteners, which may be preferable for some people and not others. The sweetness comes from cane sugar, coconut juice powder, and stevia. This powder is also packed with vitamins from 12 fruits and vegetables. This powder is produced in a factory that also processes soy and dairy. This may not be a great choice for those with specific allergies.
Not only does this protein powder provide you with the nutrition your body needs to boost your energy and health, it also will crave your sugar cravings late at night.
While there isn’t a giant selection of flavors available, the basics are offered. This powder is available in Pure Chocolate, Velvet Vanilla, Salted Caramel, or Strawberry.
Most users agree that the flavor is great. In addition, not uncommonly for a protein powder, the texture is a bit gritty and chalky.
3. Optimum Nutrition Gold
Several users rave about the great taste
It is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and stevia-free
Is an excellent source of iron and magnesium
Some have stated the texture is not the best
One of the best aspects of this protein powder is the fact that there is no stevia and no artificial sweeteners included. In addition, it is free from major allergens including gluten, soy, and dairy.Read more
There are 13 whole food ingredients in this blend and they include organic pea protein, organic pumpkin seed protein, and organic hemp seed protein. In addition, each serving provides four grams of sugar, three grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein, and 150 calories.
Because there are no artificial sweeteners or stevia (which is very sweet in its own right), some users report a reduction of their headaches and nauseated feeling from other protein powders. Reviewers agree that this shake is filling and something they actually look forward to drinking.
If you suffer from celiac disease (which means you can’t digest gluten), are lactose intolerant or are allergic to soy, you are covered with this powder as it is free from any ingredients associated with these.
There really is a flavor for everyone as you can select from vanilla, chocolate, and mixed berry.
Various users have negatively commented on the texture, but several have raved about the flavor, in general. This is rather uncommon for this type of drink and even if you do not prefer the taste, you can mix it with your favorite shake.
4. Garden of Life Raw Organic
Does not include pesticides or fungicides
Features 1.5 billion probiotics and enzymes as an aid in digestion
Boosts your energy and health
Various users have claimed the taste is extremely poor
If it gets warm, the flavor is almost unbearable
Includes essential ingredients that make protein powders healthy, check. Will help boost your energy, check. Can be taken by people with common allergies, check. Is flavorful, well there is that. About the only aspect that prevents this from climbing up is the taste.Read more
There are over 40 superfoods included which consists of organic grass juices and various fruits and vegetables. Likewise, this is packed with 21 vitamins and minerals and delivers 20 grams of protein and six grams of fiber.
Being organic and a plant-based protein, it is free from gluten, dairy, and soy. Also, it is Informed Choice Certified and non-GMO.
After you have concluded a long workout, this meal replacement is as ideal as they come. Simply drink this and it will assist in boosting your energy back up and even build lean muscle.
Garden of Life provides four different and distinct flavors to choose from. They include vanilla chai, vanilla, lightly sweet and chocolate.
Protein powders can’t be expected to taste like smoothies and milkshakes that you receive from an ice cream shop. But, they still must be tolerable. Users agree that this specific protein drink is pretty sad in terms of taste.
5. Veggie Elite
Includes essential amino acids to aid in muscle growth
You can choose from either vanilla or chocolate
Is free from major allergens
Has a chalky texture
The addition of stevia makes it very sweet (maybe too sweet for some)
While the Veggie Elite Protein Powder has a high amount of sodium and does include stevia (which has a potent flavor and may not be for everyone), it remains a suitable choice for most due to its health advantages and the addition of all essential amino acids.Read more
Overall, the Veggie Elite Performance Protein has a great combination of protein and essential amino acids. However, it has a high content of sodium which could prove problematic for some people.
As have the protein powders that have preceded this on the list, this is naturally free from any ingredients pertaining to gluten, milk, soy, or animal. Plus, it is cholesterol-free for those who have issues with that.
The addition of essential amino acids comes into play when you are digesting the protein and also when your muscles are recovering from a hard day at the office or at the gym.
Even though there are only two flavors available, which may not seem like a lot, it is nice that you are provided the option for either vanilla or chocolate.
There is no masking the undeniable flavor of stevia, which is a very sweet flavor that almost resembles the flavor of Sweet ‘N Low. For those who are trying to avoid sweet protein powders, this may not be for you.
6. San Rawfusion
There are several different flavors to choose from
Has a low amount of sodium content
When mixing, does so very well
The container is misleading and only holds around half or a third of what it seems
The flavor may be too sweet for some
Some users will prefer whey because of the protein intake it provides. However, SAN’s RawFusion Protein Powder manages to create an amino acid profile that mimics what you would find in whey.Read more
Indeed, due to its unique blend of pea protein isolate, artichoke protein concentrate, and sprouted brown rice protein it mimics the amino acid profile you would find in whey. Past this, the sunflower oil matrix is rich in essential fatty acids.
If you are looking for a solution for your much-needed protein and nutrition, this is an ideal choice as it is extremely high in both.
Much like the other entries on this list, this is a vegan protein that is non-GMO, free of any gluten, and also free from soy. Thus, making it ideal for a wide range of people around the globe.
This powder has a wide range of flavors and most of them are very distinct. For example, this includes vanilla bean, banana nut, chocolate strawberry, natural chocolate, peanut chocolate fudge, and unflavored.
Again, the taste will vary but many users agree that this is a very sweet powder. If this is your personal preference, then you will be very satisfied with the flavor.
For whatever reason, and this is a small blimp to point out, the actual container only holds around a half or a third of the powder (very misleading). Besides this, its protein intake is off the charts and its flavor will appeal to those who prefer sweetness.
Very easy to digest
Is free of all major allergens
Free of any artificial flavors or sweeteners
Some feel the taste is too sweet
Very high in sodium content
Speaking of protein powders that will not be for everyone, here is the blend from PlantFusion. Why so? Given the high amount of sodium, 390 milligrams, this is not ideal for people who need to cut back on this element.Read more
Despite the fact that it is high in sodium content, there are 21 grams of plant-based protein that are provided by this formula. In addition, each serving is around 120 calories.
As you have come to expect from plant-based protein powders, this is free of all major allergens that people suffer through. Including intolerance to rice, gluten, eggs, dairy, soy, nuts, and fish.
If you are stressed out on a daily basis or never seem to have an appetite, put this in your system and be amazed by the difference that follows. Even more so, it will improve your energy throughout the day.
PlantFusion provides their consumers with an excellent range of flavor options which includes naturally unflavored, vanilla bean, chocolate raspberry, cookies n’ crème, and chocolate.
Most agree that the taste is fairly bland and as such, mixes with other smoothies pretty well (not an overbearing flavor). Of course, there are others who complain it is too sweet.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle present here is sodium. Granted your body can withstand it and your doctor has not ordered you to cut back, this is an ideal protein powder to help boost your energy and enhance your appetite.
8. Vega Greens
Features 20 grams of protein
Includes an inner vented seal to prevent oxygen from seeping through
Does not add any sugar to the blend
Has an incredibly thick makeup and may not be tolerable for some
Vega has produced yet another exceptional protein powder and this time, it is their Protein & Greens. As opposed to some of the others, this is a very thick shake and if you prefer smoother shakes then you will need to dilute it with plenty of water.Read more
There is no sugar in this formula and overall, the blend of spinach powder, organic kale powder, and broccoli account for 20 grams of protein. For one serving, expect around 110 to 120 calories.
As there are only 15 amino acids, with 20 being required by the body for protein synthesis, this is technically not a “complete” protein source. Notwithstanding this, it is still an ideal way to add protein to your diet.
This verified blend of ingredients does not include anything that would affect people suffering from celiac disease. In addition, it is non-GMO verified.
With flavors that include vanilla, tropical, natural, coconut almond, chocolate, and berry, there should be enough variety to appeal to everyone.
Users have typically back and forth over the flavor of this powder. However, more noteworthy is how thick it is. It can be diluted with water to make it smoother but remember, this will also diminish the overall flavor.
9. Tone It up
It is high in both protein and fiber
Includes only three main ingredients
Is naturally rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides
Many claim the taste is very bland
As opposed to other protein powders that are bogged down with countless ingredients, Tone It Up Organic Plant Based Protein only used coconut powder, cocoa powder, pumpkin powder, and organic pea powder. Plus, they did not add sugar which could be important for some.Read more
The aforementioned three ingredients that are included in this blend account for 20 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber for each serving. More so, no sugar has been added.
Overall, if you are looking for a great way to add protein in your diet (which is one of the main benefits of this product in the first place) then this is the way to do so.
This powder has been certified by the USDA for being naturally organic and it is also free from any gluten, casein, whey, or lactose.
Tone It up Organic made several flavors including vanilla, chocolate, and coconut, which they have labeled as “natural” flavors. However, they mention some great smoothie recipes that this can be used in conjunction with.
To be honest, the coconut and vanilla generic taste can actually be a benefit. But, within the three main ingredients, the peas tend to stick out the most. However, with the exclusion of sweeteners, this is ideal for mixing with your favorite smoothie.
10. Now Foods Complex
Very easy on the stomach and digests well
If mixed with a shake, it does not interfere with the flavor too much
Leaves you feeling refreshed and nourished
Includes sweeteners which could prove problematic for some
Only has one flavor
Clearly, this next protein powder secured a spot on this list because it offers many of the same benefits as the previous powders. Now, because there is one flavor, if you do not prefer it then you may not be interested in this particular protein powder.Read more
For each scoop of this blend, you can expect 22 grams of protein, around 3,900 milligrams of branched-chain amino acids and also about 1,800 milligrams of L-Arginine.
Not only is this non-GMO, but it is also free from soy or dairy. Thus, making it ideal if you can’t intake either of those two substances.
After intaking this protein powder, while not immediately, you will begin to feel refreshed and nourished. Also, it assists in muscle strength.
Consider this a lack of variety. Unfortunately, the one flavor that is displayed is creamy vanilla. However, Amazon also has another version that tastes like chocolate mocha.
The grit that this powder has is certainly not as potent as various other brands. But, it is naturally sweetened with Stevia and Xylitol and you are able to tell with the flavor.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Many people will not bother ever reading the label on a product, while others are forced too because of an intolerance that they have. Either way, the ingredients of vegan protein powders is vitally important. But, it may not be necessary to focus on everyone (as that is a bit excessive). Instead, focus on ingredients such as the protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber, sugar, and sodium. Clearly, protein is the main point of this type of product (hence the name) but each brand may have differing amounts. Then, there are vitamins and minerals which are essential nutrients for the human body that help in boosting the immune system and shoring up bones.
Fiber, which also has health benefits, is important for your body, as well, due to its ability to help control your sugar levels and lower your cholesterol. But, there can be some ingredients to be wary of such as sodium and sugar. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure are create an unnecessary burden on your heart. Meanwhile, too much sugar can also raise your blood pressure and eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
The main reason people want to drink protein powders, whether plant-based or animal-based, is the effectiveness that they have on their bodies. While many may think animal-based protein holds distinct advantages, and while this guide is not meant to debate which one is superior, plant-based protein powders can hold their own and also offer many advantages to your body. This includes boosting your metabolism and energy throughout the day. Because of the fiber that is in plant-based powders, hence why fiber is so important, it takes a while for your body to digest what it is consuming. Once your body becomes accustomed to this, it will then be better at burning the extra fat that you are trying to dispose of.
Also, when exercising, vegan protein powders can also help you build your muscles and help you recover when you are finished working out for the day. Lastly, this type of powder also has the advantage of easy digestion (which is key for a lot of people). Overall, ensure that the brand you are getting excels in effectiveness because that is truly the whole purpose.
The Variety of Flavors
Alright, so let’s get this out of the way right now, vegan protein powders are not meant to be the tastiest product in the world. Still, it is nice when you are provided with a variety of flavors to choose from. For instance, if you do not like vanilla, giving you the option for mixed berry, or chocolate, or even an unsweetened flavor. Now, of course, this is also important to note. When you see a vanilla-flavored protein powder, do not expect that it is going to taste like a vanilla milkshake from your local ice cream shop. Remember, these are supposed to be healthy and even though healthy does not automatically signify it tastes bad, they will not resemble the taste of what you are envisioning in your mind.
But, because these can also be mixed with other smoothies and such, you may actually want a specific flavor. So, determine what flavor would go best with your favorite smoothie and decide from there. No matter, variety is the spice of life and you can never have too many options.
The Overall Taste and Texture
When it comes to food and drinks, taste and texture truly are everything, are not they? If something does not taste good or you do not prefer the texture, do you really want to consume it? The answer to this should be a resounding no. But, it gets tricky with products such as protein powders. Just because they do not taste amazing, they offer too many benefits to toss to the side. However, you still would like the taste to be tolerable and the texture to be decent (at the very least).
It has already been mentioned that protein powders are not meant to be super-tasty. Though, you should still be able to stomach it. This is where customer feedback and reviews come in handy as you can get a decent grasp of the flavor. Watch out for brands that are very sweet and those that are bland. Truly, it is all about your preferences. As far as texture, most will be gritty and chalky. This is hard to avoid but again, some will be more potent than others.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
There are many ways to get the health benefits from your vegan protein powder! You can even use it as a flour substitute and make your snack gluten-free, as well as vegan. Protein powders are great at absorbing moisture and will keep your baked goods tasting fresh and delicious.
The serving size is an important thing to look at because you don't want to over do it on one certain ingredient for the day. Another reason the serving size is important is because if you have double the amount of powder in your smoothie than you should, this will also affect the taste and the texture.
Other Factors to Consider
As you probably noticed right away throughout this list, plant-based (or vegan) protein powders hold a great advantaged when it comes to allergens. The reality is, some people cannot simply purchase random products without paying attention to the product label. Whether through a diet or in worse cases, allergies and diseases. Some of the more common ones that are addressed with this specific protein powder are the celiac disease (which has to do with gluten), lactose intolerance and soy.
Let’s start with celiac disease. Some people want to cut gluten out of their diet and make it a life choice. However, there are other individuals who are literally allergic to it and when they intake it, it resembles poison. Lactose intolerance is very similar and when you buy animal-based protein powders, they may include dairy in some fashion. Same goes for soy, and really any other allergy that you have, as you must pay attention to this.
Frequently Asked Questions
The taste of vegan protein powders has been beaten like a dead horse, so we are not going to bring up that the taste can be brutal again. Instead, to avoid that, what are some ways to improve it? To be honest, this question could have a different answer from person to person. But, here are a few surefire ways (for most people) to improve the flavor. First off, blend it in with a smoothie filled with all your favorite fruits and vegetables. Even if you never had made a smoothie, experiment and toss some protein powder in with your preferred fruits and vegetables.
You never know what you could find and as long as you continue to try new combinations, you should be able to find (if nothing else) a tolerable solution. However, you could also include ingredients such as peanut butter and cocoa powder (as who does not like chocolate and peanut butter)?
Really, there probably is not a wrong time to drink a protein shake but there are times where it will be more beneficial. One such time is early in the morning; preferably among the first substance that you consume. The reason for this is while you sleep, your body is not receiving and nourishment. So, when you wake up, depending on how long you sleep, having the first meal of the day be high in protein is ideal as this can build your muscle and boost your energy for the day.
However, another ideal time is when you exercise. If you intake the protein in the morning, by the time you workout, your body will be ready to go. But, you should also do so around 30 to 60 minutes after your workout has concluded. Because this can also aid in muscle recovery.
For any of you who are on the fence when it comes to plant-based versus animal-based, this is a major gripe that people have with the former. Animal-based proteins, which contain whey, have all nine essential amino acids that are needed for humans to function. Because whey has all nine of these, it is considered a complete protein. Unfortunately, typically, plant-based proteins will miss one or two of these essential amino acids that are needed. Therefore, they are not usually labeled as a complete protein. This is not always the case but reigns true most of the time.
However, all you need to do is combine the protein powder with another. Thus, filling the nutritional gap left behind by a certain brand. Sure, it would be nice if all nine could be combined into one blend but that (most of the time) is one of the bigger drawbacks of plant-based.
Most of the time, if there is an answer to a regular question, the answer changes when you add “pregnant woman” to it. Life gets complicated for women when their belly begins to protrude outwards. If you are pregnant or are knowledgeable about the topic, then you are probably aware that pregnant women need more protein than they typically do (around 10 grams per day more). Thus, plant-based protein would seem like a match made in Heaven, right?
Yes and no, and here is why. Yes, because all plant-based protein powders (that are all-natural) are considered to be safe for women who are pregnant. But, there have been skeptics about the topic that state this can be a dangerous intake. If a brand has several additives then yes, it could be unhealthy during pregnancy. Despite anything you read online, however, consult your doctor or practitioner and see what they advise you to do. Take their word for it, as they should know what they are talking about.
Is there ever too much of a good thing? Honestly, yes, and this will always be the answer to matter what you think. Plant-based protein is no different and that begs the question of how frequently you should intake it. First off, do not think that you should replace your current meals with this. Instead, use it to supplement your current meals and whole food sources. Also, if you plan on working out on a specific day, limit your intake to around 2 to 3 shakes. Of course, if you plan on mixing it with a smoothie that is loaded with fruits and vegetables, this could vary.
Another note, ensure that you are paying attention to the number of vitamins and minerals you are consuming. In one serving, a lot of vegan protein powders will have as much as 50 percent of the daily recommended total. Exceeding this recommended total can actually lead to health issues.
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