28 Protein Sources For Vegetarians On Keto | Getting Protein The Healthy Way

You’re one step away from hopping on the Keto train. You just can’t take that step. You hear how protein is crucial on Keto, and you’re a vegetarian. So where would you get enough protein from if not from meats? Well, look no further. I’m bringing you here today 18 healthy sources of protein that will ease your worries about getting enough protein on Keto.

Before we dig deep into the protein sources you must understand two principles. The first has got to do with Keto itself and its effect on protein requirements. The second is about something you can add to your routine that can also have a positive effect on your protein needs.

  • Keto and Protein

Ketone bodies (the new energy source for your body when you’re in ketosis) prevent the amino acid, Leucine, from oxidizing. That way, a lot of the amino acids in your body will be recycled over and over again. Thus, you don’t have to consume them (as food or supplements) as much as you used to before.

Take Away Point: The Keto diet is very protein-sparing. That means, when your body gets into ketosis, it requires less protein than it priorly did. That requires you to test again and figure out the amount of protein your body needs now.

  • Intermittent Fasting and Protein

Intermittent Fasting when done right, and for the appropriate window of time, can trigger Autophagy in your body. If you haven’t heard it yet, autophagy is an incredible process that when turned on, allows our bodies to eat its damaged sell, to make new ones. Autophagy literally means to “eat itself”.

This is an incredible process that can help us fight inflammations, early aging, and many other diseases. What’s important for our discussion today, is that autophagy can also reuse old proteins and amino acids, which reduces the amount of protein you need to be consuming on a daily basis.

Take Away Point: This is amazing news for those with busy, outside-the-house lives, that barely find the time to eat. If you’re that person, then you’re already not eating that often. That’s why it’s gonna be a lot easier for you to do intermittent fasting at 16:8 or 18:6, test reducing your protein intake as a start, and watch the miracle happens.

Now, as promised, 28 healthy protein sources for those on a Vegetarian Keto Diet.

1- Cottage Cheese

This is one of the tastiest cheeses ever in my opinion. Which makes it incredible to realize that it’s not only Keto and Vegetarian-friendly, it’s also known for being high in protein. Try, though, to opt for the full-fat, plain cottage cheese, and you can eat in an endless variety of ways: a base for a keto-friendly dip, a spread on a sandwich with a drizzle of olive oil, in salads.. etc.

Calories: 98

Protein: 11g

Fat: 4.3g

Total carbs: 3.4g

Fiber: 0g

Net carbs: 3.4g

(In every 100g)

2- Almond Milk

I wanted to put almond milk even before regular milk because it has less than half the amount of calories and about a third amount of carbohydrates. This makes it tempting for the Keto diet. However, it only has about one-eighth the amount of protein. And since our main focus for today is protein, you’ll also find regular milk down here in the list.

Each cup (240ml) of almond milk provides:

Calories: 39

Protein: 1g

Fat: 3g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 0.5g

Net carbs: 3.5g

3- Ricotta Cheese

It goes without saying that everything on this list should be consumed moderately and not be the focus of a day or the entire routine, in order for you to be able to eat a variety of foods and have a bigger chance of hitting your macros and micronutrients. However, in the case of Ricotta cheese, it’s even more important to stick to eating moderately because it has a larger carb amount than other cheeses. The reason I like it is because of the range of essential nutrients it packs, including vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B12, Vitamin K, iodine, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

Not to mention, a good amount of protein: 11g in every 100g.

Calories: 150

Protein: 7.5g

Fat: 61g

Total carbs: 7.5g

Fiber: 0g

Net carbs: 7.5g

(In every 100g)


Milk has a good amount of protein: 8g per cup (244g). That cup also has 12g of carbs. So the decision is yours whether or not this can fit into your diet. For a long time, I was OK with consuming that much carbs in one cup, because I just loved milk too much. It’s a matter of priorities, your end goal, and how strict on carbs you’re going

Each cup (240ml) of milk provides:

Calories: 103

Protein: 8g

Fat: 2.4g

Total carbs: 13g

Fiber: 0g

Net carbs: 13g

5-Baked Cheese Snacks

Arguably, the best kind of dairy out there for Keto is cheese. (Not all kinds of cheese) In general, cheese is known for a big percentage of fat, moderate protein, and a very little amount of carbs. That’s perfect keto, right? Now imagine being able to take them with you wherever you want.

They’re delicious, easy to make, and small, but can keep you full for a long time, thanks to the fat in them. There are some really easy recipes for them out there, and they can also be found ready-to-buy for you in stores and online. And honestly, I’ve never been able to prepare them as delicious as the ones I buy.

6- High-Protein Low-Carb Cereals

This is probably the reason why you’ve put off Keto for a long time. (Just kidding.) But seriously, that’s what I keep hearing from people. It’s one of the most things they miss in their new diet. And I understand. For some people, those doing a strict Keto and trying to cut carbs as much as humanly possible, this is something they might want to forget for now.

But for those of us who only want to stay in ketosis and eat healthily. We can incorporate substitutes for our favorite pre-Keto foods. And this is one of them. Frankly, there’s one type of Keto Cereals that are high in protein that I keep eating even when I’m off ketosis. Because it’s simply that good.

7-Greek Yogurt

Dairy is generally controversial on Keto. There are some kinds of it that everyone uses, like butter. While other types, like milk and Greek yogurt, have mixed opinions surrounding them.

The bigger problem with Greek yogurt is that people are used to eating it with fruits, fruit-flavored, or with a lot of sugar, which does not fit into the Keto routine. What you can do, though, if you like Greek yogurt and have a larger carbs limit, is to opt for Keto-friendly Greek yogurt that comes high in fat and low in carbs.

Generally, Greek yogurt packs 4g of carbs and 9g of protein.

8- Edamame

While edamame has a high amount of carbs, half of it is fiber. That alongside the good amount of protein, makes edamame more acceptable for a Keto diet, especially for vegans and vegetarians, who need more fiber and protein.

Each 100g of cooked edamame has 11g of protein and 5g of net carbs.

Calories: 98

Protein: 17g

Fat: 8g

Total carbs: 15g

Fiber: 8g

Net carbs: 7g

(In every 100g)

9- Eggs

This is what should make you grateful that you’re a vegetarian, and not vegan. At the time I went vegetarian, this was my go-to snack, meal, and dessert. I’m exaggerating, but you get the point. Eggs were one of the things I really missed when I did Vegan Keto.

Eggs are incredible. They are the chicken that you can eat. I mean literally. They are chickens, that just aren’t born yet. This is another food that is a small sample of what Keto should look like: a lot of fat, moderate protein, and little to no carbs.

Pro Tips: When thinking of eating eggs, if you find yourself still needing a lot of fat in your day alongside some protein, fry the entire eggs (white and yolk). Frying the eggs instead of boiling them, makes the meal fattier, thanks to the butter (or other types of fats) you’re cooking it with.

If, instead, you only want your protein fix with some fat, eat the eggs boiled.

Lastly, if you want considerably more protein than fat, you should try frying them with a little bit of butter, crack 2-3 whole eggs, and then only add the whites of 4 more eggs (numbers are just an example).
Ninja Tip: Don’t throw away the egg yolks. Put them aside to make some Mayonnaise later this week.

One large, boiled egg (50g) provides:

Calories: 98

Protein: 6g

Fat: 5g

Total carbs: 0.6g

Fiber: 0g

Net carbs: 0.6g

10-Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella cheese is one of the dairy products that are strongly recommended for Keto. With 17g of fat, 3g of carbs, and 28g of protein in every 100g. I think reading these nutrition facts and remembering the melty miracle that’s called mozzarella, is enough to sell anyone doing Keto on it.

Calories: 280

Protein: 28g

Fat: 17g

Total carbs: 3.1g

Fiber: 0g

Net carbs: 3.1g

(In every 100g)


Lentils are a part of the legume family, which is known for being high in carbs. That’s why it is usually avoided on Keto. However, if you’re not doing strict Keto and looking for something that has a good amount of protein, you might want to consider adding it to your diet in small amounts.

Calories: 116

Protein: 9g

Fat: 0.9g

Total carbs: 20g

Fiber: 8g

Net carbs: 12g

(In every 100g)

12-Black Beans

This is another member of the legume family. What makes it special even though it’s high in carbs, that, unlike other high-carb foods, it has a low glycemic index, which means there’s a much smaller spike in blood sugar that happens after consuming it. It goes without saying that this too, should be lightly incorporated into your diet.

Another thing I love about black beans, especially for you, vegetarians, is that they can be a big part of the vegetarian burger recipes.

Calories: 114

Protein: 7.5g

Fat: 0.4g

Total carbs: 20g

Fiber: 7.5g

Net carbs: 12.5g

(In every cooked, half cup (85g))


This is the third and last part of the legumes family I will mention. It’s worth talking about because of the delicious way it can be incorporated into your diet: Hummus. Adding olive oil and tahini to it to prepare Hummus, will make it even richer in protein and fats, and many essential micronutrients.

Calories: 164

Protein: 9g

Fat: 2.6g

Total carbs: 27g

Fiber: 8g

Net carbs: 19g

(In every 100g)


You should really appreciate the fact that nuts are allowed on Vegetarian Keto. If you pick the right kinds of nuts and incorporate them moderately into your diet, they can help you get more fat, protein, omega-3, potassium, magnesium, and a lot more. If you look deep enough into the numbers below, you’ll mostly find that nuts have bigger amounts of fat than protein. However, there are some that do have a decent amount of protein. What I suggest you do is have a mix of nuts on a small plate as a snack. That way, you can have some that you like more, and some that give you more protein. Generally, if you do that, you’re more likely to get more of the nutrients that you need from the nuts you’re consuming.


They are probably the most popular nuts out there. I’m actually a decent fan of them and even a bigger fan of its butter, which we’ll be getting into in a bit. Peanuts have a big portion of protein, compared to other nuts.

Calories: 164

Protein: 7g

Fat: 14g

Total carbs: 6g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 4g

(In every ounce (28g))


If you’ve been researching keto information, you’ve probably come across almonds and all of their glory and variable derivatives: Almond butter, almond milk, almond flour, and almond: the nut. Almond dominates the Keto diet. Here are some insights on what the actual nut consists of:

Calories: 164

Protein: 6g

Fat: 14g

Total carbs: 5g

Fiber: 3g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))


This is my number one favorite Keto-friendly nut. If your eye has gotten used to reading the nutrition facts of Keto-friendly foods, you can easily see how this nut was created specifically for Keto dieters. Though, has less protein.

To make you love it even more, this nut has been proven to improve insulin sensitivity, which is huge when you’re trying to lose weight in general, and especially when you’re trying to take on the Keto diet.

Calories: 196

Fat: 20g

Protein: 3g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 3g

Net carbs: 1g

(In every ounce (28g))

Macadamia Nuts:

We owe this great nut to Australia. But lately, it has been very easy to find in the United States and pretty much everywhere in the world. It doesn’t have a relatively big amount of protein, but I like it because It keeps you full for longer, and has positive effects on diabetes, and protecting your brain from numerous diseases, including, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and oxidative stress. It’s also naturally high in fat, as you can see:

Calories: 204

Fat: 21g

Protein: 2g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))


Walnuts are some of the tastiest and healthiest nuts out there. They have proven to improve brain functionality, as well as lowering the levels of LDL. They are also a great source of vitamin E, among other vitamins and minerals.

Calories: 185

Protein: 4g

Fat: 18g

Total carbs: 4g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))


Are you missing all the chocolate you’ve cut out since you’ve started Keto? Well, I’ve got a vegetarian-keto-friendly treat just for you. Hazelnuts are some of the tastiest nuts that can heal your chocolate nostalgia. You can use its flour, when appropriate, when making Keto-friendly desserts, as a substitute for regular flour, thereby adding a great flavor to the recipe.

Calories: 178

Protein: 4g

Fat: 17g

Total carbs: 5g

Fiber: 3g

Net carbs: 2g

(In every ounce (28g))

Brazil nuts:

All of the nuts we’ve talked about so far are great, and for many of you, might be enough. However, what makes Brazil nuts also special and worth mentioning, is that it’s an incredible source of Selenium, a trace mineral that is crucial for reproduction and muscle building.

Calories: 185

Protein: 4g

Fat: 19g

Total carbs: 3g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 1g

(In every ounce (28g))

Here’s a table that summarizes the main differences in macros in each nut:

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Almonds1 ounce (28g)1656g14g6g3.5g2.5g
Almond flour1/4 cup (25g)1506g11g6g3g3g
Brazil nuts1 ounce (28g)1655g18g3g2g1g
Cashews1 ounce (28g)1504g12g10g1g9g
Macadamias1 ounce (28g)2072g23g4g0.5g1.5g
Hazelnuts1 ounce (28g)2206g22g8g4g4g
Pecans1 ounce (28g)2012.7g20g4g3g1g
Pistachios1 ounce (28g)1507.5g12g7.5g3g4.5g
Walnuts1 ounce (28g)1904g18g4g2g2g


Not many people give enough attention to seeds. Don’t be one of them. Seeds are generally packed with fat, omega 3, protein, and many other nutrients that you need when you’re following a strict diet like Vegetarian Keto. Here are my top favorites seeds and what makes each of them special.

Hemp seeds:

In addition to having a decent amount of protein (35%!) and fat, this seed was proven to improve high blood pressure and protect against Alzheimer’s.

Each ounce of Hemp seeds packs:

Calories: 155

Protein: 9g

Fat: 14g

Total carbs: 2g

Fiber: 1g

Net carbs: 1g

Chia Seeds:

These tiny, black-and-white seeds easily win my number one pick any day of the week. They are packed with fiber, protein, and omega-3. Moreover, studies have shown more weight loss and anti-inflammatory effects for people who regularly consume Chia seeds.

Ways to incorporate it into your diet include adding it to stir-fry recipes, smoothies, salads, salad dressings or even using its powder instead of breadcrumbs for coating meat or chicken.

Each ounce packs:

Calories: 138

Protein: 5g

Fat: 9g

Total carbs: 12g

Fiber: 10g

Net carbs: 2g

Flax Seeds:

I hope you haven’t had the bad experience with this seed that I keep hearing from people, which is always due to one mistake: eating it raw, right from the bag. First of all, you won’t be getting the same benefits if you’re eating it that way, and second; you’ll hate it because it’ll keep sticking in your teeth. Here are two great ways for you to enjoy this amazing seed:

1) Grind it. If you want a nutty, buttery addition to a smoothie or a porridge.

2) Roast it. If you want a crunchy addition to a recipe

Each ounce of flax seeds has:

Calories: 131

Protein: 6g

Fat: 9g

Total carbs: 9g

Fiber: 8g

Net carbs: 1g

Sesame Seeds:

With tons of antioxidants, and proven protection against heart disease and so much more, you should really consider including this seed into your diet.

Each ounce of seasme seeds has:

Calories: 160

Protein: 5g

Fat: 13g

Total carbs: 7g

Fiber: 5g

Net carbs: 2g

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Chia seeds1/4 cup (30g)1455g10g12g10g2g
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup (30g)1809g14g4g3g1g
Sesame seeds2 tablespoons (18g)1033.2g9g4g2g2g
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup (30g)1606g15g6g3g3g
Hemp seeds1/4 cup (30g)1559g14g2g1g1g

16-Nut and Seed Butter

Nut and seed butter are amazing for Keto. It’s a real blessing being able to eat them on Vegetarian Keto, thanks to their low-carb portions. Not only do they pack fats, but they also have decent amounts of protein and different micronutrients to help you meet your macros and still be eating healthy. Sure, there are some types better than the others, and I will have a table down below, showing you the basic differences in macros, for you to figure out what fits best into your diet.

The following are my favorite types of nut and seed butter. Whatever you choose to purchase, just make sure it has no added oils or carbs. You want to buy natural nut/seed butter without any additions or flavor enhancers. If you can’t find these in the market, you can make them yourself. You’ll only need a good food processor.

1- Almond Butter

2- Pistachio Butter

3-Peanut Butter

4-Sunflower seed Butter

5- Walnut Butter

6- Hazelnut Butter

FoodServing SizeCaloriesProteinFatTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Coconut butter1 tablespoon (16g)1051g10.5g4g2.5g1.5g
Almond butter1 tablespoon (16g)983.5g9g3g1.51.5g
Cashew butter1 tablespoon (16g)943g8g4.5g0.5g4g
Macadamia butter1 tablespoon (14g)972g10g2g1g1g
Sunflower seed butter1 tablespoon (16g)992.8g9g4g1g3g
Tahini1 tablespoon (15g)892.6g8g3g1g2g

17 Whey Protein

Whey protein is one of the two types of protein that get extracted from milk. It’s a high-quality protein that can quickly be digested in your body. It has two types: Concentrate and Isolate. The main difference is in the protein to carbs ratio. So, while generally, one scoop of protein has averagely 25g of protein, and 0-5g of carbs. The fact that it’s concentrate or isolate determines where it belongs in that range.

18-Casein Protein

This is the second type of protein derived from milk. The main difference between casein and whey is the absorption time. While whey is an easy-to-digest protein, casein takes longer to be digested and absorbed. Which makes it perfect as a before-bed shake. Your body would be happy that you gave it something to chew on during all these hours.

19-Rice Protein Isolate

What makes this protein powder special is that it’s the least ever to cause an allergic reaction. So, if you’re someone who has given up on finding a protein that you’re not allergic to, then this might be the one for you. (Remember to consult your physician first.)

21-Pea Protein

The way this protein is prepared is by grinding dried peas and extracting the carbs out of the powder. Which makes it a perfect protein powder for those on a Vegetarian or a Vegan Keto diet.

20-Soy Protein

This is also made by grinding soybeans, and then isolating the soy protein so that the result is a high-protein powder that has almost zero carbs.

22-Almond Flour

Almond flour has the ability to turn many non-keto recipes into Keto-friendly ones. Especially those that include baking. It can work in bread, pizza, cake, pancakes.. you name it. Cooking with almond flour also gives you the benefits that we’ve already talked about that are packed in the almond nut since it’s basically grounded almonds.

The carb amount in almond flour varies between different brands. You should always opt for those with the lowest carb percentage.

As for protein, it has averagely 24 grams in each cup.

23-Fava Bean Protein

Just like pea protein, this is a legume that is naturally high in carbs and sugar, but it’s another story for its protein powder form. Roasted fava beans too, are grounded and then protein is isolated from the powder to provide Fava Bean Protein.

What is also spared through the process are the vitamins and minerals found in fava beans. For example, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and a range of B vitamins.

This is cool because you’ll be harvesting all the micronutrients from plant-based foods that you normally can’t eat because they have a high amount of carbs and sugar. This is why supplements make your life a lot easier, by helping you meet your macros, vitamins, and minerals without you exceeding your carb limit and risking getting out of ketosis. Invest in a good, respected product and you’re good to go.

24-Sacha Inchi

If you haven’t already heard about Sacha Inchi, it’s a plant that has been cultivated for centuries in the Amazon Rainforest. It’s most known for three forms, the seed that can be consumed roasted like other seeds and nuts, leaves, that are usually made into a tea, and finally the Sacha Inchi oil.

What makes this plant special and worth mentioning is the amount of protein, fiber, and omega-3 it packs. It’s said to have a lot of health benefits on the heart and cholesterol levels, but there are currently not enough studies made on this plant in specific.

25-Nutritional Yeast

This is great as a supplement. But it’s better, and tastier, as a cheese!

I bet you came across multiple vegan cheese recipes before, probably some using nutritional yeast, too. However, the special thing about this one, made from nutritional yeast, is that it not only tastes and looks great, it’s also extremely easy to prepare from scratch. This is because its ingredients are very basic.


1 cup (240 ml) of coconut milk

4 tbsp of nutritional yeast flakes

3 tbsp of coconut flour

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed

(a pinch of paprika and onion powder to taste)


1- Put all the ingredients in your pan.

2- Stir it with a whisker until everything is well combined.

3- Turn the stove on and bring the mixture to a boil.

4- Turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

5- Enjoy!

It’s best served hot out of the pan. The texture will thicken and need a little more milk the next time if it goes in the fridge.


Tahini is basically a seed butter. It’s made from the grounded sesame seed. However, I wanted to talk about it separately here because of the many different ways it can be consumed.

It has a very special taste to it that can go with many recipes. While I love it with salty and sour recipes, as it’s mostly known as a crucial ingredient in Hummus, it can also go with desserts. There’s a very popular dessert in the Middle East called Halva, it tastes heavenly. There’s even a Keto-friendly version of it (that is vegan, too!).

It has an impressive amount of fat and a decent amount of protein.

If you think you’re already sold on Tahini, wait till you read its nutritional facts:

Each ounce (2 tbsp) of Tahini packs:

Calories: 180 calories

Protein: 6g

Fat: 16g

Carbs: 6g

Fiber: 2g

Net carbs: 4g


This is something everyone talks about. And if you’ve been vegetarian for a long time, chances are you know seitan. And you should. If you don’t have problems with gluten, seitan should be a consistent part of your diet. It has some iron that you can’t get from their most famous sources of meat. It has a monstrous 25 percent protein! That is close to the protein percentage of the richest meat in protein, chicken. (Which has 25-31% of protein)

Moreover, it can be prepared in a variety of ways that are sure to fit into almost any recipe. And remember, condiments are vegetarian. And most of the time, condiments are responsible for over 80% of the taste. So if you know how to cook well, you’re gonna find yourself enjoying all these substitutes I’m recommending to you as if they were the real stuff.

28-Tempeh and Tofu

If you don’t have a problem with soy products, these are great, protein-packed gems that, again, you’re probably familiar with if you’ve been vegetarian for a while. Along with seitan, these are the most famous substitutes for meat for vegetarians and vegans. And they are Keto-friendly, too. It should be noted, since we have just discussed seitan, is that the latter is the closest texture to the real meat, compared to tofu and tempeh.

What I like about tofu and tempeh is that they don’t have strong flavors. They are always trying to know which recipe they are in order to blend in and absorb the tastes.

They have averagely 15g of protein in every 100g.


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Nabeel Kallas

I'm a medical doctor with a lot of passion for Keto & Intermittent Fasting. They have completely changed my life and I am beyond honored to help you experience that same change. I'm ready when you are. Read more here.

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