Choosing the Best Vegan Protein Powder (Ultimate Guide)

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If you hang around at the gym, or you just don’t live under a rock, you know that protein powder can provide a healthy boost of protein and nutrients into your diet.

However, does the role of this supplement change for people who have decided to eschew meat, dairy, and eggs?

Will your gains suffer in the gym because you’ve chosen to go vegan, or are you worried that your longtime animal-free diet will hold you back during your workouts?

Have no fear!

We’ve organized this guide to vegan protein powders to give you a comprehensive look at plant-based protein, and the best powders for your needs.

Quick NavigationTypes of Vegan Protein Powder1. Soy Protein2. Pea Protein3. Brown Rice Protein4. Hemp Protein5. Protein BlendsVegan Protein Powder for AthletesVegan Protein Powder for Weight LossVegan Protein Powder for WomenRaw Vegan Protein PowderBudget-Friendly Protein PowdersFrequently Asked Questions About Vegan Protein PowderIs plant-based protein better than animal-based protein?What are some benefits of plant-based protein?Wrapping it Up

Types of Vegan Protein Powder

Whey protein is undoubtedly the king of protein powders – if you hear a bunch of ripped dudes at the gym talking about protein shakes, they’re likely talking about whey.

Unfortunately for vegans and for the cows, though, whey protein is derived from milk, which makes it inherently incompatible with a plant-based diet.

However, you’re not doomed to life with an empty shaker – while whey protein is certainly popular, there is a veritable rainbow of plant-based proteins to choose from, each with its own benefits, nutrients, and unique qualities.

Let’s take a look at some common plant-based ingredients in vegan-friendly protein powder.

1. Soy Protein

Perhaps the most popular vegan protein for powders, soy protein isolate has been used since 1959 in foods for its functional properties.

The ingredient comes from defatted soy flour with a high solubility in water, and after processing is a minimum of 90% protein.

Because it has most of the non-protein components, fats, and carbohydrates removed, it has a neutral flavor that lends itself well to flavorings and tends to cause less gas than other soy products.

Soy Controversy:

While it’s probably the most popular vegan protein, it’s also fairly controversial due to the presence of phytoestrogens in soy.

In some studies, phytates in soy have been shown to lower the absorption of calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium – however, because you absorb these minerals from soy products themselves, there should be no net loss.

Soy has also seen a negative spotlight because some people state it causes feminine characteristics in men, such as enlarged breast tissue.

However, only a small percentage of men are sensitive to soy, and these types of side effects show only after high amounts of soy consumption – as in twelve or more servings a day.

In moderate amounts, soy is perfectly safe.

If you’re still concerned, however, or your doctor has advised you not to consume soy products, there are plenty of non-soy powders available.

2. Pea Protein

When we say “pea protein,” you might picture the little sweet green peas your mom made you eat as a kid.

Keep those on the dinner plate – pea protein powder is made from field peas, which are the dried yellow or green peas you would make soup with.

Because field peas are nearly four times higher in protein than sweet peas, it’s easier and less wasteful to use them.

As in the production of soy protein, pea protein is made by removing the starch and fiber content, so the nutrition is a little different between the raw peas and the pea protein powder.

Everyday pea protein is about 80% protein and is easily absorbed by the body – in fact, it might be even more easily digested by your body than whole split peas, as the powder contains less fiber than the whole peas, so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest the protein.

Because it’s allergen-friendly and free from dairy, egg, and soy, pea protein is a perfect choice for vegans or people with food allergies who cannot consume certain foods due to intolerance.

Because pea protein does not contain all nine essential amino acids, it is technically an incomplete protein on its own. However, we know from our complete guide to vegan protein that as long as your diet is varied with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you don’t need to consume 100% complete proteins at every meal.

Additionally, pea protein is often a single component of many plant-based protein blends, so depending on the types of proteins it’s combined with, it may be part of a complete protein.

3. Brown Rice Protein

I know what you’re thinking – rice? Rice is a carb!

Yes, that’s true – but like pea protein, rice protein is vastly different from its grandfather, the humble grain of rice.

On its own, in a regular cooked state, rice is a pretty poor source of protein, but rich in carbohydrates and nutrients like manganese, selenium, magnesium, and vitamin B3.

To make protein from the rice, the lower the level of starch, carbohydrates, and other micronutrients will be.

Due to this processing, the nutrition profile changes – so don’t worry low-carbers, brown rice protein is just as low in carbohydrates as other forms of powder, as long as the formula doesn’t include things like added sugars.

More than 80% of the starch content of rice is removed to make rice protein, so in this form, it’s a poor source of carbs and sugars on its own.

More good news for those with food allergies, rice protein, is hypoallergenic as it is free of lactose, gluten, FODMAPs, and other ingredients that cause gastric distress, so it’s an excellent choice for vegans and omnivores alike, and another favorite ingredient in plant protein blends.

4. Hemp Protein

One of nature’s best sources of plant-based protein, hemp is a top choice for people who are trying to eat a natural diet rich in whole foods.

It’s also a fabulous choice for vegans, as it contains 20 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids that the body is unable to produce on its own, which makes it a complete protein by itself.

In addition to amino acids, hemp protein powder also provides more healthy omega fatty acids and fiber than most other protein powders, and has been shown to reduce fatigue and have positive effects on the immune system.

Made from the seeds of the hemp plant, the resulting protein powder usually has a faint, nutty flavor, and is easily digested.

Hemp has been shown to improve heart health, decrease the risk of osteoporosis, cleanse the colon, reduce sugar cravings, and boost the immune system.

However, because it is minimally processed – seeds are ground, rather than having nutrients removed – it tends to have a lower amount of protein per serving.

Additionally, whereas other more processed powders blend smoothly into liquid, hemp protein can be a little like trying to dissolve sand in milk – it performs best when blended with frozen fruits or ice, or when it is used to give a protein boost to homemade granola bars and baked goods.

5. Protein Blends

Many plant-based protein powders don’t come from a single plant source but are made with a blend of different types of proteins – such as brown rice & pea protein, or soy & rice protein, or some other combination of any of the powders listed above and more.

Vegan protein powders are often made from several types of protein for a few reasons.

First, it creates a complete protein and nutritional profile by bringing together the essential amino acids, as well as the countless other nutrients that each of these brings to the table – reflective of why it’s important to eat a varied plant-based diet.

However, blending proteins is also an important and easy way to achieve a good texture to a shake – brown rice protein doesn’t tend to mix well on its own, but when combined with soy protein, it makes for a smoother, creamier shake.

Your protein powder won’t do much for you if you don’t take it, so creating a satisfying texture is key to getting the supplement into your diet.

Vegan Protein Powder for Athletes

Protein is an important building block of every vegan diet, but it is especially important for vegan athletes.

Protein is most notorious in the fitness lifestyle for its role in repairing, maintaining, and growing body tissue, but it also has a role in energy supply, which makes it just as important to endurance athletes – cyclists, runners, and swimmers, to name a few – as it is to powerlifters and bodybuilders.

In addition to the protein content of a powder, athletes should also look for products that help reduce recovery time and help replenish electrolytes lost during exercise.

The protein-to-calorie ratio, as well as a moderate level of carbs, and a low level of fat, will support athletic performance, provide energy, and help repair muscles following a workout.

The protein powders below are perfect choices for vegan athletes and are both used by professionals as the plant-based protein powder of choice.

Vega Premium Sport Protein Chocolate Protein Powder, Vegan, Non GMO, Gluten Free Plant Based Protein Powder Drink Mix, NSF Certified for Sport, 29.5 oz

Vega Sport - Performance Protein

Vega Sport is protein powder for the vegan athlete. Developed by Ironman triathlete and ultramarathoner Brendan Brazier, Vega Sport provides a protein boost as well as ingredients like turmeric, tart cherry, and probiotics to promote quick recovery from tough workouts.

Brazier is the two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, so he knows a thing or two about how vegan nutrition affects performance.

Each two-scoop serving contains 30 grams of plant-based protein, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of net effective carbs, and 150 calories.

Vega Sport is formulated from a blend of pea, pumpkin, alfalfa, and sunflower seed proteins, and contains BCAAs and glutamine for athletic performance.

Another soy-free blend, Vega Sport is also gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and does not contain additives, preservatives, or sweeteners.

The protein powder is available in four flavors: vanilla, berry, chocolate, and mocha. The formula is best taken post-workout to help build and repair muscle, as well as reduce recovery time.

What We Love

Athletes and regular folks alike give the nutritional profile of this protein powder a thumbs up – with only 150 calories, and 30 grams of protein per serving, the protein density of this food is one of the best in the industry, which is important when you’re closely monitoring your intake, and every nutrient counts!

Vega Sport is endorsed by vegan endurance athletes, who need to be sure that they’re taking in adequate amounts of protein while training. The texture is super smooth and easy on the stomach – something that tends to be hit or miss in plant-based proteins.

What We Didn’t Like

According to some Amazon reviewers, this product recently went through a formula change, and while the new formula may be better for athletic performance and recovery, it suffers a bit in taste.

If you are an athlete looking a well-balanced source of protein and other nutrients, it may certainly be worth trying, but if you’re just looking for a little extra insurance that you’re getting enough protein, there may be better-tasting options on the market.

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Organic Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder - Garden of Life – 22g Complete Plant Based Raw Protein & BCAAs Plus Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes for Easy Digestion – Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Lactose Free 1.5 LB

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein

Protein powder still has a place in a raw vegan diet, thanks to Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Protein.

The official protein powder of USA Track and Field, this supplement uses a blend of thirteen different organic protein sources, including ingredients like pea, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, chia seed, lentil, and adzuki bean proteins, as well as a full profile of essential amino acids, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.

Garden of Life’s Raw Protein also contains 4 grams of branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, which have been shown to benefit recovery from muscle damage or fatigue post-training, which makes this protein a great option to take after a workout, long hike, or any other activity that might put stress on your body.

This protein comes in four flavors: chocolate cacao, vanilla, and vanilla spiced chai, as well as an original flavor, which is a stevia-free unsweetened, unflavored powder.

What We Love

Because stevia and many sweeteners in protein powders have a very assertive taste, the availability of the unflavored, unsweetened powder is an awesome addition to this lineup.

Still full of the nutrients in the flavored blends, reviewers on Amazon love this unflavored powder because they can blend it with their own smoothie ingredients without it affecting the taste, or add it to savory dishes like soups, which would be impossible with vanilla or chocolate powder.

Additionally, because this powder is made from sprouted legumes and seeds, it’s easily digested, and won’t cause gastric distress or bloating.

What We Didn’t Like

Reviewers note that, while this protein powder has an exceptional nutritional profile, the taste and texture leaves a lot to be desired, with mediocre flavoring and gritty texture.

If you’re looking for a protein that can be blended up with just water or almond milk, this may be something you need to grin and bear for the superb nutrition – or try mixing it into oatmeal or smoothies with lots of fruits and other ingredients to help mask the flavor – blending with frozen bananas seems to help!

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Vegan Protein Powder for Weight Loss

While it’s important to note that there is no magic formula or powder that will cause a person to lose weight, the food choices a person makes (specifically regarding the amount of protein in the diet) can influence how much weight a person loses, and how tolerable a dieting period can be.

High protein diets have been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day – this might not sound like much, but consider 100 calories burned per day x 7 days per week = 700 extra calories burned that week, just by eating a higher proportion of protein.

This can result in a loss of 12 extra pounds per year with minimal effort. A high-protein diet can also reduce obsessive thoughts of food by about 60%, making it easier to stick to your diet by keeping you full.

To get the most bang for your protein buck while dieting, choose a vegan protein powder that has a high protein-to-calorie ratio, is lower calorie, and doesn’t have much-added sugar or fat.

This will ensure a nutrient-effective way to get pure, unadulterated protein into your diet for as few calories as possible.

In addition to a good protein-to-calorie ratio, the addition of things like medium-chain triglycerides and L-glutamine can keep you feeling fuller longer, and keep cravings at bay.

The following protein powders are good choices for people who are watching their weight.​

Sunwarrior - Warrior Blend, Plant Based, Raw Vegan Protein Powder with Peas & Hemp, Mocha, 15 Servings

Sunwarrior - Warrior Blend Plant-Based Protein

Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend is a real-food protein powder that uses a blend of pea, cranberry, and hemp seed proteins to provide 18 grams of protein in each serving.

The formula also includes medium chain triglycerides from coconut to deliver a complete amino acid profile – critical for people who follow a vegan diet – rich in Arginine, Lysine, Leucine, and branched chain amino acids.

Warrior Blend is available in chocolate, vanilla, berry, mocha, and unsweetened, unflavored natural.

Each one-scoop serving provides 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of net carbohydrates, and 100 calories.

The formula is USDA Organic, gluten free, soy free, non-GMO, and contains no added sugar.

What We Love

Warrior Blend is popular among people who are watching their weight – with only 100 calories and 18 grams of protein per serving, many people take two scoops with low-calorie fruits in a smoothie for breakfast.

Because the formula contains medium-chain triglycerides from coconut, many Amazon reviewers note they feel fuller longer with this protein powder as opposed to others.

Additionally, it’s also a favorite among people with severe dietary restrictions or allergies – because it is dairy, soy, and gluten free, it’s suitable for nearly every dietary restriction out there, and it can be convenient to have one product that’s able to be consumed by people in a household with multiple food allergies or needs.

What We Didn’t Like

Some Amazon reviewers noted that it can be very difficult to get this protein powder to mix, which makes it less than ideal for mixing in a blender bottle after the gym.

Similar to other all-natural proteins on this list, the texture has been described as gritty or sandy, and if you don’t use a high-powered blender like a Vitamix to create your shake, the powder settles to the bottom of your cup.

If you have one available, it’s recommended that you use a high-powered blender to use with this powder to ensure a smooth, even consistency.

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Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder, Creamy Chocolate Fudge - 21g Plant Based Protein, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Lactose Free, Soy Free, No Sugar Added, Kosher, For Smoothies & Shakes - 2.03lb

Orgain - Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

My personal favorite vegan protein, Orgain is a naturally sweetened plant protein that is a perfect addition to smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods.

The protein content comes from a blend of brown rice protein, chia seed, hemp protein, and pea protein for a balanced nutritional profile, and the formula is gluten free, kosher, vegan, non-GMO, soy free, and USDA organic.

Each two-scoop serving of Orgain contains 21 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of effective carbohydrates, balanced chain amino acids, and 150 calories.

While Orgain has more calories than many protein powders for weight loss, its real power comes as a craving stopper.

Touted as one of the best-tasting protein powders on the market, both the vanilla bean and chocolate fudge flavors satisfy that need for a treat while still delivering clean nutrients.

Both flavors are delicious with almond milk alone, but when blended with frozen bananas for low calorie “nice cream” or used in a quick mug cake recipe to help make dieting more manageable.

What We Love

Many reviewers love Orgain because it is a “clean” plant-based protein powder – the ingredient list is short and easy to pronounce, without any additives, preservatives, or chemicals.

The fact that it is a soy-free, gluten-free protein also makes it a good, nutritious protein boost, even for people with very severe dietary restrictions or allergies.

It’s even naturally sweetened, using stevia instead of aspartame or other artificial sweeteners that can cause bloating, inflammation, and gas.

Those looking for a clean, organic protein powder can stop the search here!

What We Didn’t Like

Orgain is sweetened with the natural sweeteners stevia, erythritol, and monkfruit.

While most reviewers appreciate that this protein powder does not contain aspartame, some found it difficult to get past the distinctive flavor and aftertaste of stevia, in addition to the sometimes cloying sweetness of all three ingredients.

The sweetness works out for people who are using the powder alone with water or plant-based milk, but if you’re making a smoothie with sweet fruits like banana and berries, the sweetness can get to become overwhelming.

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Vegan Protein Powder for Women

Protein powders conjure up images of jacked dudes in the gym, but the reality is, both sexes require protein, whether it’s for athletic performance, weight loss, or simply insurance that daily nutritional needs are being fulfilled.

In fact, women may benefit more from the addition of protein powder than men do – while most men on a fitness regimen get adequate protein, women can fall short of their goals – especially if they are also cutting calories.

While women don’t have to use a protein powder “for women” to benefit from the supplement, there are certain products available that include ingredients specifically designed to support healthy female bodies.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about soy, but it turns out that soy may help a healthier perimenopause and menopause transition.

Soy isoflavones, along with other naturally occurring soy phytonutrients, have been shown in scientific research to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and fatigue that can make menopause a challenging and miserable time in a woman’s life.

It also helps balance estrogen levels in the body, which supports bone and uterine health, as well as reducing body weight.

Ultimately, women can reap the benefits of any protein powder on the market that fits their budget and tastes good to them, but the products below contain ingredients that specifically help support women’s health.

Jarrow Formulas Iso-Rich Soy, Menopausal Support and Bone Health, 32 Oz

Jarrow Formulas - Iso-Rich Soy

Jarrow’s Iso-Rich Soy Protein is made from water-extracted, non-GMO soy protein isolate.

Each serving contains 56 mg of naturally occurring soy isoflavones, and supports cell development and immunity, bone and cardiovascular health, and maintains estrogen balance within the body.

In addition to these helpful and healthful isoflavones, each 2-tablespoon serving contains 25 grams of protein, 0 grams of fiber and carbohydrates, less than one gram of fat, and 110 calories, making it a superb protein supplement as well as an excellent addition to low-calorie, low-fat, and low-carb diets.

The powder is available in 14- or 32-ounce tubs and comes in a lightly flavored, unsweetened vanilla. The Jarrow Iso-Rich formula is also one of the most budget-friendly protein powders available on Amazon.

What We Love

Premenopausal and menopausal women on Amazon sing the praises of this protein powder as a method of controlling hot flashes and other symptoms that come with menopause.

Reviewers recommend drinking one shake daily when battling hot flashes, cutting back to three times per week after two or three months.

Women in childbearing years also note that this is an excellent post-workout shake, and has helped cut down recovery time from tough workouts.

What We Didn’t Like

While the Jarrow Iso-Rich formula helps alleviate many menopause symptoms, and provides female-specific health benefits to the women who take it, it leaves a lot to be desired in the taste and texture categories.

The powder is a very subtle unsweetened vanilla flavor, which some stevia-haters appreciate, but the texture is very chalky and has a tendency to get foamy when mixed with a blender ball.

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Designer Protein Aria, Women’s Wellness Plant-Based Protein , Chocolate, 12 Ounce, Made in the USA

Aria - Women’s Wellness Protein

For women looking for a flavored and sweetened protein powder option, Aria’s chocolate and vanilla protein powders fit the bill.

Along with a blend of pea and rice proteins, this powder supplies biotin and vitamin C for healthy skin, hair, and nails, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D for strong bones, prebiotic fiber for digestive health, and folate for cell and tissue growth.

The nutrition label is also perfect for women who are looking for a protein supplement and watching calories – two level scoops provides 15 grams of protein in just 95 calories, making it one of the lower calorie options in our list.

The protein powder is free of soy, artificial ingredients, GMOs, gluten, sugar, and additional fat. It is also certified kosher, vegan, and made in the USA.

What We Love

Amazon reviewers note that this protein powder gives them lots of added energy – important for busy working women and moms on the go – and digests well, with no gastric distress or gas.

The nutrition label also gets a big thumbs up – at only 95 calories, this protein powder can find a place in nearly every meal plan, and the lack of soy, gluten, and dairy makes it an accessible protein for people or families with multiple food allergies or sensitivities.

What We Didn’t Like

Like the Jarrow formula, this protein blend has weak flavor and a somewhat chalky, gritty texture.

This powder is difficult to blend with just water or milk in a blender ball, so you may be better off using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, combining this with frozen fruit in a smoothie, or adding to things like oatmeal and baked goods to boost protein content without adversely affecting the texture of your dish.

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Raw Vegan Protein Powder

Protein powder can have a place in any vegan diet – even one that focuses entirely on living, raw foods!

For those on raw vegan diets, processed foods – which includes many protein powders, even vegan ones – are out, as nothing can be heated above 115 degrees, and the closer foods are to their natural state, the better.

However, raw vegans still have protein needs, and powders can be an efficient way to reach those goals, especially as someone is transitioning from cooked food to a raw lifestyle.

While the needs don’t change, the materials and methods used for the protein powders will change to meet the extra guidelines for raw vegan lifestyles.

Raw vegans should look for protein supplements that contain as many whole foods as possible, and are made with minimal processing and no artificial flavorings, additives, or thickeners.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens Lightly Sweet, Vegan Protein Powder for Women and Men, Plant and Pea Protein, Greens, Probiotics, Gluten Free Low Carb Shake Made Without Dairy 20 Servings

Garden of Life Raw Protein and Greens

This Garden of Life Raw Protein supplement combines the power of protein with green veggies to create the perfect supplement for raw vegans and omnivores alike.

The blend contains a variety of plant proteins like sprouted brown rice and pea, and six nutrient-rich organic veggies, as well as 1.5 billion live probiotics and 13 non-GMO enzymes for digestive and immune health, as well as overall wellness.

Each scoop delivers 20 grams of plant-based protein, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of effective net carbs, and 130 calories.

The product is certified USDA organic (super important when most of your diet centers around fruits and vegetables), project verified, vegan, kosher, dairy-free, soy-free, and raw.

Garden of Life also offers this protein powder in a version sweetened with no-calorie, plant-based stevia, as well as a natural cane sugar option for those who don’t care for the sometimes acquired taste of the stevia leaf.

What We Love

Reviewers on Amazon love the nutritional profile of this protein powder. 

The blend of seed and legume proteins provides a full amino profile, which is available on the front label, and the nutrients from the six greens provide just a little extra health boost, in addition to the 20 grams of plant-based protein.

While this blend is a little pricier than more processed options, the general consensus is that it’s worth the price – with the idea that you get what you pay for, the quality of ingredients is high.

In addition to the raw ingredients and lack of anything artificial and processed, many reviewers note they can taste the difference – the flavors are deeper, richer, and more authentic than many other products.

What We Didn’t Like

As with many completely natural and raw proteins, the texture of this protein is a little chalky if mixed with only water or plant-based milk.

The texture overall is not particularly creamy or thick, so it does need help from some additional ingredients – think frozen bananas or blueberries – to become more satisfying.

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Vegan Protein Powder 40 oz Organic,Plant & Raw Protein

Sun Pyramid - Raw Vegan Super Food

The term “super food” is thrown around a lot lately, but in some cases, the phrase is entirely warranted.

This raw vegan super food is one of those cases – in addition to packing a plant-based protein punch, this blend is made with high quality ingredients, and is certified by manufacturing and safety institutions, and advertises itself as being “as good as whey”, while being in line with a compassionate raw vegan lifestyle.

The powder is gluten free, soy free, and non-GMO, and can be used as a meal replacement instead of just a supplement – mix a few scoops with water or non-dairy milk when you wake up too late for breakfast or having a long car ride ahead.

Made with brown rice protein, each scoop of this powder contains 15 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of net effective carbohydrates, 74 calories, and a healthy dose of vitamin B12 and superfoods like spirulina.

The lightly flavored vanilla powder comes in a 40-ounce pouch.

What We Love

Raw food vegans tend to be very attentive to what is – and isn’t – in the food they consume, and the ingredient list of this protein gets two thumbs up from many Amazon reviewers.

Purchasers love that it’s certified organic, non-GMO, soy-free, as well as many certifications from the Good Manufacturing Practice and the International Organization for Standardization.

This product doesn’t hide any information about the product, so reviewers are glad to know exactly what they’re putting in their bodies.

What We Didn’t Like

While the nutrition label gets an A+, some reviewers expressed frustration that this protein blend contains stevia and dextrose.

While these are natural sweeteners, not everyone is keen on the taste of stevia, and since many people blend this with already sweet fruits, they feel the extra sweetness is unnecessary.

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Budget-Friendly Protein Powders

Any supplement that is touted as “healthy” is bound to experience markup, and there are some protein powders out there that are jaw-droppingly expensive – add the “vegan” description in that, and it can be a one-two punch.

But when it comes down to it, not everyone has an arm and a leg to spend on protein powders, and many people are just looking for a healthy, inexpensive way to give their daily intake a little protein boost.

The important thing to keep in mind when looking for a budget-friendly protein powder is not to sacrifice quality – you still want something natural and nutritious to fuel your body, and if you’re paying for artificial additives and fillers, you’re not really saving money anyway.

Be choosy about your ingredients, and try to buy in larger quantities, so you’re getting the most bang for your buck – instead of looking at the total price, look at the price per pound to get a feel for how much a single pound of the stuff costs.

Store your larger quantities of powder in the freezer if you don’t consume much of it to keep it from going rancid.

The protein powders below are some of the most budget-friendly options out there, without sacrificing nutritional quality, so you still get all the great benefits from this supplement.

Organic Hemp Protein Powder Chocolate, Natera HIgher Absorption

Viva Labs - Organic Hemp Protein

Made from a modern-day superfood, Viva Labs’ Organic Hemp Protein is cold-milled and highly concentrated to ensure maximum absorption, and can boost athletic performance thanks to the complete amino acids in the formula.

Each four-tablespoon serving of this protein powder contains 15 grams of protein, a whopping 7 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of effective net carbohydrates, 4 grams of healthy fats, and 110 calories, in addition to essential nutrients like omega fatty acids, iron, and magnesium.

Hemp is allergen-friendly, gluten-free, soy free, and is made from organic and non-GMO hemp grown in Canada.

It’s suitable for low-carb and Paleo diets, so one bag can be used to make shakes and baked goods for people with a variety of dietary needs and restrictions.

What We Love

Thanks to its high fiber content and slightly nutty, toasted taste, this hemp protein is perfect to add to baked goods and snacks to turn regular recipes into high-protein, high-fiber treats.

Many reviewers on Amazon add this hemp protein to homemade bread, cookies, cakes, and homemade protein bars, as the texture and taste lend themselves well to these kinds of foods.

If you’re looking for a protein powder that maximizes your dollar spent, it’s also great that this supplement contains no additives, flavorings, or fillers – just plain, good-for-you hemp protein.

What We Didn’t Like

This protein does NOT mix well with plain water or milk – especially if trying to mix it without a blender.

Because it is made from ground seeds, the hemp protein won’t dissolve into liquids the way more processed powders do, and the very earthy flavor of the seeds usually needs a little help from cocoa powder, peanut butter, or frozen bananas (or all three).

Baking and cooking with this powder seem to yield the best results, but if you must consume it in liquid form, blend it with some frozen fruits and flavorings – or consume immediately after stirring, to prevent the particles from settling at the bottom.

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Anthony's Premium Pea Protein, 2 lb, Plant Based, Gluten Free, Unflavored, Vegan, Keto Friendly, Made from Peas

Anthony's Goods - Pea Protein Powder

Anthony’s is a reputable brand when it comes to natural products, and their facility is certified gluten-free, which makes this powder safe for even those with severe wheat allergies and sensitivities.

This protein powder comes from non-GMO German yellow peas and contains 84% protein content.

The powder is unflavored and unsweetened, which makes it suitable for both sweet and savory applications, as well as making your own protein blends at home.

Because it contains only pea protein, without flavorings and sweeteners, and in basic packaging, the bulk of your cash goes toward the protein itself, and not toward all the other fancy stuff that can come with more processed powders.

Each 25 gram serving of this pea protein contains 21 grams of protein, 0 grams of fiber and carbohydrates, all for about 110 calories.

The only ingredient in the whole bag is “vegetable pea protein isolate,” so this is the purest and most efficient protein you can purchase.

What We Love

Reviewers on Amazon love what a great deal this two-pound bag of protein is.

They appreciate that the only ingredient is protein from whole raw yellow peas and that there are no artificial additives or synthetic flavorings.

It’s also perfect for users on low-carb diets, as it contains no carbohydrates and lends itself well to cookies, pancakes, and baked goods – which are often hard to come by or disappointing on low carbohydrate diets.

Reviewers note that the taste of this protein is light and subtle, and it mixes well with other ingredients in shakes without being overpowering.

What We Didn’t Like

People used to protein powders with artificial flavorings in it may have a hard time adjusting to the unflavored earthiness of this pure pea protein.

While the flavor is light and subtle, it can be strange if added only to water or almond milk with nothing else.

If you aren’t crazy about the flavor straight out of the bag, try blending up a serving with frozen bananas or berries, stevia, and vanilla to give some more familiar flavor to this blend.

If not, try using it in your favorite muffin or pancake mix for a boost of protein without compromising texture and taste.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Vegan Protein Powder

Below we’ve included a few answers to some of the most asked questions regarding all things related to vegan-friendly protein powder

Is plant-based protein better than animal-based protein?

Whether plant-based proteins are “better” than animal-based protein (usually compared to whey) relies heavily on how you define “better.” If you’re judging solely on whether or not plant-based proteins are complete proteins, in that they are complete proteins, then no, plant-based proteins probably wouldn’t come out on top. However, as far as effectiveness and availability go, plant proteins like soy, brown rice, and pea proteins are just as effective as whey in helping people reach their exercise goals.

Most people wind up consuming whey protein because it’s cheap, it’s easy to find, and because – let’s face it – most people are talking about whey when they talk about protein powder. However, there are some downsides to whey protein that don’t usually get discussed.

Whey can be difficult to digest because it contains lactose – a lump of sugar in milk that can lead to flatulence, diarrhea, and bloating. Similarly, the artificial sweeteners that seem to fill every whey protein can cause similar gastric distress due to ingredients like sucralose, which can inflame the gut and make flatulence worse – a one-two punch of gas!

Though perhaps the worst issue behind whey protein is the manufacturing process – it is a heavily processed product that degrades the nutritional quality of the protein itself. In a 2010 study, some whey protein brands were found to contain heavy metals, including unsafe levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead – it’s always important to remember that protein powders are not regulated by the FDA, and aren’t subject to the same strict testing and protocols as foods that are under the organization’s jurisdiction.

What are some benefits of plant-based protein?

On the other hand, plant-based proteins like rice, pea, hemp, and soy are easily digested by the body. Because they are dairy-free, they are less likely to cause gas, bloating, and flatulence that can come from milk-based proteins.

While there is some concern that certain plant-based powders are incomplete proteins, this can be circumvented by combining certain types. The best combination for muscle growth and recovery is brown rice and pea protein – by using them in tandem, you can get all the essential amino acids found in whey protein.

You can also feel good about the manufacturing practices of many plant-based protein powders, especially in powders like hemp, which are nothing more than the ground seeds of the hemp plant. It doesn’t get much more natural than that!

While one may not be a clear winner over another, plant-based proteins are at least as capable as their dairy-based counterparts, so you can certainly take solace in the fact that plant proteins can help you reach your protein goals just as well as whey. It’s perhaps the environmental and ethical impact of choosing a plant-based protein that gives rice, pea, hemp, and soy proteins the edge!

Wrapping it Up

No matter the reason you’re looking for a good protein powder to supplement your diet, there is a delicious and accessible plant-based formula ready and waiting for you.

Whether you’re looking for a protein that will help you stick to your diet, race faster, recover faster, or you’re just looking for a quick and tasty breakfast for your busy mornings, there’s a plant for that!

Vegan proteins have come a long way since the beginning, so not only do you have a variety of bases to choose from, but they also come in a variety of flavors as well, many of which mix nicely with plain water or almond milk.

Above all, remember that most adults only need between 40-70 grams of protein per day, and anything more than that is simply money wasted.

Consuming a plant-based protein powder can help recovery time at the gym or provide simple peace of mind that a vegan is meeting their daily protein intake, but overall, you won’t need to down tons of the stuff to stay healthy – a shake a day will keep the doctor away…or pleased!

8 thoughts on “Choosing the Best Vegan Protein Powder (Ultimate Guide)”

  1. Orgain is hands down the best protein powder I’ve ever tried! I actually look forward to my protein shakes now. Goes really well with unsweetened almond milk. 🙂

  2. I use Powerootz Superfood Nutritional Shakes. The taste is out of this world (especially the chocolate PB madness!) and there are no gritty textures. I really like how it has clay minerals and 15 raw superfoods in it to. Cant beat the taste and quality! I have tried almost all of these that you posted and they dont even come close to how good powerootz tastes! You should try them out!


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