Time to ditch the steak and chicken? Dig in to these vegetarian foods which are big on protein instead

Surprising sources of meat-free protein

Via: Sainsbury's

Protein is essential as part of a healthy diet for building and repairing muscles, but sometimes you just don't fancy a big slab of steak. Whether you're dabbling in a #MeatFreeMonday or you're one of the UK's three million vegetarians, you might be on the lookout for some meat-free sources of protein.


The good news is, there are plenty to choose from. And they're all delicious. Here are the 7 best non-meat sources of protein...


1. Lentils: 7.6g of protein per 100g (boiled in unsalted water)


Via: Sainsbury's

Lentils are versatile little things that are delicious thrown into soups, stews, curries, vegetarian burgers or even nut roasts. Take your pick and get some inspo from this assortment of lovely lentil recipes.


2. Chickpeas: 7.2g of protein per 100g (canned in water)


Via: Sainsbury's

Have a can of these in your cupboard and you'll never go hungry again. As well as bulking up any veggie meal, they're a fantastic source of protein. Give this warming chicken, chickpea and kale pot a go for a tasty dinnertime win. 


3. Pumpkin seeds: 24.4g of protein per 100g

Pumpkin seeds

Via: Sainsbury's

Sprinkle these little guys on salads or soups, roast them in a little oil, or whizz them up into a dip... the possibilities are endless. Or treat yourself and bake a batch of these pumpkin seed, black treacle and ginger squares.


4. Edamame​: 11g of protein per 100g (cooked)

Edamame beans

Via: Sainsbury's

Everyone's favourite pre-sushi snack is surprisingly high in protein. Eat them on their own or take a bite out of these super-tasty mushroom and edamame burgers.


5. Avocado: 1.9g of protein per 100g


Via: Sainsbury's

Our world was turned upside down with the news that avocados make amazing desserts, and now it turns out this humble green fruit is also high in good fats and protein too. Try out this avocado, bean and wild rice salad for a hearty but healthier lunch choice.


6. Cottage cheese: 9.4g of protein per 100g

Cottage cheese

Via: Sainsbury's

It's got a bit of a 'love it' or 'hate it' texture, but this soft cheese is delicious dolloped on top of a salad, jacket potato or even a spicy stew. And as a bonus, it's a source of protein too. Check out this light lunch of cottage cheese, carrot and rocket pittas.


7. Greek yogurt​: 5.7g of protein per 100g

Greek yogurt

Via: Sainsbury's

Keep a family-sized tub of yogurt in your fridge, and get a bit of protein every time you stir it into a dish. Great on its own, with fruit or granola, or stirred into soups and stews, we'd recommend using it for a tasty fruit smoothie, whizzed up fresh to start the day the right way.