Protein Amounts in Vegetables – Shovel in Those Salads!

Yes, vegetables have protein in them.  But since most people need between 45-65 grams of protein a day (more for athletes), you’ll need to eat like a horse, not a rabbit, to get enough solely from common vegetable sources.

What’s the most common way we eat a large number of vegetables?  Salads!  And they are an excellent way to get a wide variety of these great-for-you nutrient packed foods.   Let’s say you love salads and that’s all you eat (play along here). Could you get all  your protein requirements from just eating standard salads?  Here are some common vegetables you might put on a salad along with the number of grams of protein in each ingredient:

Vegetable Serving size Grams of Protein
Asparagus 4 spears 1.77
Broccoli 1 cup 2.48
Baby Carrots 10 .6
Corn, White 1 ear 2.56
Lettuce, Romaine 1 cup .69
Mushrooms, raw 1 cup 2.16
Peppers, red 1 cup 1.48
Spinach, raw 1 cup .86
Tomatoes, cherry 10 1.5
Celery 1 stalk .28

In order to get your protein requirements with just salads using the above ingredients alone, you’ll need to eat 4 of these each  day!  Well, never fear, there are easier ways to make sure you get your protein than overdosing on salad or resorting to animal protein.

  • Eat beans and nuts.  Both of these are higher in protein and provide some other essential nutrients as well.
  • Cook your veggies, especially the watery ones.  One cup of cooked spinach is a whopping 5 grams of protein.  A cup of cooked mushrooms is just over 3 grams.  We like to alternate between salads and roasted veggies on pasta or rice.  There are lots of choices!
  • Enjoy vegetable/fruit smoothies.  Some people like to drink their veggies.

Here are some more tips on getting more plant based protein.

Protein amounts from the USDA Nutrient database.


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