5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie

Megan Meyer, PhD
by Megan Meyer, PhD
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5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie

One of the three macronutrients, along with fat and carbs, protein helps us feel full, achieve weight-loss goals and build muscle. However, most of us struggle to get enough in our diets, especially if we’re following a plant-based or vegan diet. An easy way to increase your daily protein intake is with protein powders because they are convenient and often inexpensive compared to high-protein, animal-based foods like meat, fish and dairy. Also, there are a variety of plant-based protein powders on the market that offer other health benefits, like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are five plant-based protein powders worth tossing into your basket the next time you’re grocery shopping:


With 15 grams of protein per serving, pea protein is made from the yellow pea, a legume rich in fiber and micronutrients like B vitamins. Though it’s not a complete protein, pea protein is a good plant-based option for vegans and vegetarians. With an earthy flavor, pea protein is best used in recipes that have a lot of flavor, like this Ultimate Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl.  



Though brown rice protein isn’t a complete protein, it’s rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber and has 24 grams protein per serving. It’s also easily digestible and well suited for people with food allergies. Bonus: It has a neutral flavor that doesn’t overpower — or compete with — other flavors so feel free to mix it into your smoothie along with coffee, matcha or mango.  


Made with hemp seeds, hemp protein powder offers 15 grams of protein per serving and is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. The upside is it’s one of the few plant-based proteins that is a complete protein source with 20 amino acids — making it especially good for vegans. One caveat: Because it’s high in fiber, hemp protein may be difficult to digest, especially if consumed before working out. With an earthy flavor, hemp pairs well with banana, unsweetened nut milk and a bit of honey in a smoothie.



Made from ground pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed protein powder delivers 19 grams of protein per serving and also contains essential omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids. This vegan protein option also packs a extra nutritional punch, containing micronutrients like vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and other minerals including zinc, iron and copper.


Soy protein powder is one of a few plant sources that offers all of the essential amino acids and about 20 grams of protein per serving. This protein powder is a rich source of arginine, an amino acid important for immunity and cardiovascular health. In addition, several years ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for soy protein stating that “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Tried and true in smoothies, these protein powders are an easy way to boost the protein quotient in bars and bites, too. With so many different options — whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free or anything in between, these plant-based protein powders are a convenient and nutritious way to increase your protein intake.

Share your favorite protein powder in the comments below!

About the Author

Megan Meyer, PhD
Megan Meyer, PhD

Megan is a lover of all things science, food, and fitness. A scientist by training (go Tar Heels!), Dr. Meyer has found that being able to communicate the science is just as important as understanding the science. Dr. Meyer has a BS in Biology from Loyola University Maryland as well as a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a regular contributor to sites like US News & World Report and The Huffington Post. In her spare time, she enjoys whipping up fun recipes in the kitchen, exploring new trails, and spending quality time with loved ones. You can follow her on Twitter.


10 responses to “5 Plant-Based Protein Powders Worth Adding to Your Next Smoothie”

  1. Avatar Toby Tober says:

    I like Legion Athletics whey. The cookie sheet and cream is really good. I’m trying the banana-strawberry next. All there supplements are naturally flavored and sweetened. They just came out with a Vegan Rice

  2. Avatar Rick Judge says:

    how many grams in a serving? why not give percentages?

    where to buy these things?

    what about the cons?

  3. Avatar Mac says:

    Why post an article about vegan protein smoothies and include honey in one of your suggestions? You know honey isn’t vegan, right? You should swap that for agave.

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      And people who don’t eat honey can easily swap that out. Pretty sure vegans are used to adjusting recipes. The article didn’t say it was just for vegans anyway.

    • Avatar Jerome Barry says:

      I didn’t get the sense from the article that it was exclusively for vegans. Rather, that it was pointing out some cool stuff that vegans use that the rest of us should consider using as well.

  4. Avatar Judy says:

    Brown rice powder? Rice is at least ten times as effective as other grains at siphoning up arsenic from soil and water. Further, it has a particular affinity for inorganic arsenic (an arsenic compound that lacks the organic element carbon). Inorganic arsenic compounds are known to be far more poisonous to humans than organic, carbon-based arsenic compounds. Brown rice generally contains more arsenic than white rice. That’s because the arsenic concentrates in the husk and the bran, which are mostly polished off during white-rice processing. High levels of arsenic was specifically focused on organic brown rice products.

    Soy powder??? 90% of soy grown in the USA are GMOs … Most soy in the U.S. is used to make soybean oil… the worst processed oil you can put in your body. The waste product is then used to feed livestock or processed to produce soy protein. Whole soybeans are rich in micronutrients, but they also contain phytates which block absorption of minerals. Soybeans are very rich in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can cause problems.

    • Avatar Kendra Staub says:

      K, don’t use it then. I’d much rather consume brown rice and soy then anything deriving from animals. Still a lower risk overall

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