While just about every whole food contains some protein, the soybean deserves special mention, for it contains all the essential amino acids and surpasses all other food plants in the amount of protein that it can deliver to the human system. In this regard, it is nearly equal to meat.*7
The many different and delicious soy products (such as tempeh, soy "hot dogs" and "burgers, " Tofutti brand "ice cream, " soy milk, and tofu) available in health and grocery stores suggest that the soybean, in its many forms, can accommodate a wide range of tastes.
Note: Some people are "soy intolerant" and would be better off with other sources (below) of protein. Be sure to check with your doctor about getting testing for soy allergies, especially if you don't feel good after eating soy products.
Other rich sources of non-animal protein include legumes, nuts, seeds, yeast, and freshwater algae. Although food yeasts ("nutritional yeast" and "brewer’s yeast") do not lend themselves to forming the center of one's diet, they are extremely nutritious additions to most menus (in soups, gravies, breads, casseroles, and dips). Most yeasts get about 50 percent of their calories from protein.*8
It's important to note that most nutritionists, dieticians, and official sources agree that we need only 2.5%-10% of our calories from protein *9, 10, 11, and ALL vegetables offer us more than that(12).
Here are some examples of vegetarian foods with high sources of plant protein:
Protein in Legume: Garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, soybeans, split peas
Protein in Grain: Barley, brown rice protein, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rye, wheat germ, wheat, wild rice
Vegetable Protein: Artichokes, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, green peas, green pepper, kale, lettuce, mushroom, mustard green, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, turnip greens, watercress, yams, zucchini
Protein in Fruit: Apple, banana, cantaloupe, grape, grapefruit, honeydew melon, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, strawberry, tangerine, watermelon
Protein in Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, filberts, hemp seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts (black)