When Beyonce wore a KALE sweatshirt in her 7/11 music video, it became clear the super food was popular beyond being one of the healthiest things you can eat as a vegan. But while you can find kale everywhere, there are plenty of other high-protein vegan foods that could be on the verge of garnering a similar mainstream following. Increasingly, consumers are turning to foods historically reserved for vegetarians and vegans, as they come packed with protein and vitamins. In fact, these four up-and-coming vegetarian and vegan food businesses have some of the newest, most delicious things you can eat as a vegan (or even just a health-conscious carnivore).
Things You Can Eat As a Vegan
Super food: Moringa
Recommended Company: Kuli Kuli
Moringa oleifera is a horseradish tree found in India, Pakistan and Nepal. The edible parts of the plant, most often consumed after being ground into powder, come packed with good stuff: tons of iron (moringa is especially appealing as a vegan source of iron) plus calcium; protein; potassium; and vitamins A, C and E. If you’re looking for high-protein vegan foods specifically, you’re in the right place. Kuli Kuli is one company selling the super food, and its products offer a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. In addition to pure moringa powder, you can buy snack bars, shots and tea. Kuli Kuli also only harvests fresh, young leaves, which is supposed to make the snack less bitter.
Super food: Pea powder
Recommended Company: Naked Pea
It can be tough to find vegan protein powder, as most mainstream brands use whey from dairy in their products. But not Naked Pea. This vegan pea protein powder company sells powder made solely from yellow peas—all grown on environmentally-friendly farms in the United States and Canada. It’s one of the most protein-dense vegan foods, with 27 grams of protein per serving and no added ingredients. Blend it up with our next recommendation on this list, and you’re only a few ingredients away from a healthy, vegan smoothie.
Super food: Plant-based milk
Recommended Company: Califia Farms
Nuts are one of the most protein-packed things you can eat as a vegan. But if you’re bored of snacking on them raw, nut-based milk is a great alternative. Of all the items on this list, plant-based milk seems the most likely to reach kale-level popularity. In fact, sales have grown over 14% annually in recent years as more consumers shy away from straight dairy. Califia Farms is one vegan company cashing in on this trend; it makes a wide variety of milk and creamers from nuts, seeds, fruits and roots. Almond is the most popular ingredient, likely because it’s one of the most high-protein vegan foods out there.
Super food: Navy beans
Recommended Company: Beanfields Snacks
Navy beans—named because they were a staple of the U.S. Navy in the early 1900s—are also a great high-protein vegan food, as they’re also fat free. But the main reason they’re rounding out this list is because you can eat them in everyone’s favorite food form: as a chip! Beanfields is using rice and beans to remove the guilt from snacking. All their chips, such as Barbecue Bean and Rice, use just four ingredients—navy beans, brown rice, safflower or sunflower oil and sea salt—and in turn come packed with five grams of protein and six grams of fiber per serving. Not bad for something that usually qualifies as junk food!