8 Vegetarian Protein Sources That Could Work for Food Allergies

As as foodie with allergy finding sources of protein can be difficult. Two of my allergies are animal based which limits the traditional protein source. Some of the top protein eaten are common allergens: peanuts, soy, eggs, shellfish, dairy, tree nut, fish, sesame seeds. Animal based proteins are not your only option. Vegetarian protein sources not only protein easier to digest protein sources, but are richer in nutrients than their animal protein counter parts. They are lower in fat and rich in fiber too. These are easy to find and cook protein options of the plant kind.

Vegetarian Protein Sources


  • 8 grams of protein per 1 cup peas as legume
  • Cross-reactivity with peanut and soy allergies could be a concern. Peas are in the legume family just as peanuts and soy. Check with your doctor or allergist to be sure. Not all food allergies cross over with their family counter parts.


  • 25- 40 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. Pumpkin seeds have 39 grams of protein per 1 cup. Sunflower seeds have 29 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. Sesame seed 26 gram per 1 cup
  • Sesames are a common allergy, if you’re allergic go for another protein option.

Hemp protein powder

  • 15 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (depending of the brand)
  • Make sure it’s quality and actually from hemp seeds.

Nutritional Yeast

  • 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons
  • Don’t go crazy with this one, too much can upset your stomach. Nutritional yeast is a know migraine trigger for some.


  • 5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
  • If you have a gluten allergy, make sure the oats you purchase are gluten free.

Wild Rice

  • 7 grams of protein per cup cooked
  • This protein count is only for wild rice, not white rice or brown rice.


  • 5.3 gram per cup cooked
  • Spinach contains oxalates which could block iron absorption. If you are watching iron levels, eat separately two hours from iron boosting foods.

How much protein do you need?

It depends. If you have a weight loss goal, your protein may need to increase. Body building? Definitely, you diet will require more protein. For those of us who need a lower impact lifestyle due to chronic illness, our protein gets a little trickier. Why? While my lifestyle may be considered low impact or “light,” I do muscle building exercises consistently like Barre or Yoga. My diet gets an upped protein count. There are ways to calculate your protein needs based on lifestyles, MyFitnessPal has comprehensive formulas. However, for my ease, I use an online protein calculator unless we are looking at more complex needs. Typically, my nutritional recommendation for protein is on the the lower end. Based on my studies and continuing research, I have a concern with high protein intake and the impact on the body, kidneys specifically.

Most vegetables contain some protein and mixing them can boost your protein count. Cruciferous vegetables are a pop diet favorite. They are great to add into meals for protein boosts, 2.5 to 3 grams of per cup serving. Starches added to meals will up the protein count by 1 to 2 grams while feeding your gut microbiome. Vegetarian protein sources tend to be, but not always, more gentle on your body while meeting protein nutritional needs. It’s not mutual exclusive either. You can add meat or dairy as your allergies, intolerances allow. Keep your protein in your food relationship, not matter how complicated that relationship might be.


Published by JRiley

Certified holistic nutritionist, reiki master, and yogi who hates kale and loves tacos.

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