15 Plant-Based Sources of Protein That Aren’t Insects

15 Plant-Based Sources of Protein That Aren’t Insects

  • Hannah Bugga
  • Hannah Bugga

As the world becomes more aware of the devastating impacts animal agriculture has on the planet, many people are searching for alternative sources of protein. And although nuts, beans, and many other animal-free foods are packed with protein, some have suggested eating insects.

If the thought of eating insects makes you squirm, you’re not alone. But there are plenty of reasons to avoid eating insects besides the “ick” factor. The truth is that insects are amazing and deserve to live their lives in peace! Here are a few facts you might not know about some of the insects humans commonly eat.


There are over 12,000 ant species around the world, with the queen of one species capable of living an impressive 30 years. Ants are also one of the strongest animals (in relation to their size, of course), with the ability to carry more than 50 times their own weight. They are also extremely social, living in colonies and working together to build and maintain a nest.


Each of the over 900 cricket species has a unique chirp. How cute is that? Crickets make their distinctive sounds by rubbing their wings together and are known to chirp faster when it’s hot outside.


Fossil records show that modern grasshoppers have ancient ancestors who lived before dinosaurs—over 300 million years ago! Today’s grasshoppers are often known for their signature melodious sound, which they make by rubbing their wings against their hind legs.


Scientists know of over 350,000 species of beetles on Earth, but many more are likely undiscovered. Beetles can be found in almost every environment and range in size from almost microscopic to 20 centimeters long. The variety of species leads to endless fascinating characteristics. Some even glow in the dark!

Plant-Based Protein

Have you fallen in love with insects yet? Luckily, we don’t have to eat these incredible little animals to help save the planet.

By simply switching to plant-based food, we could remove up to eight billion metric tons of CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere each year! We would also save a tremendous amount of land and water.

In fact, about 83 percent of the world’s agricultural land is used to feed farmed animals, even though they provide only 18 percent of our calories.

Here are a few delicious sources of plant-based protein to get you started! Each of these 15 options has at least 15 grams of protein:

  • One cup of tofu
  • One-half cup of chickpeas
  • One cup of lentils
  • One-half cup of peanut butter
  • Two cups of hemp seeds
  • Two cups of cooked quinoa
  • One cup of black beans
  • One-half cup of seitan
  • Two cups of soy milk
  • Two cups of oats
  • One cup of sunflower seeds
  • Two cups of green peas
  • One Beyond burger patty
  • One Impossible burger patty
  • Four Gardein Crispy Tenders

These tasty foods sound a lot better than bugs, right? Check out our FREE veg starter guide for more tips on making environmentally friendly food choices.