A Vegetarian’s Ultimate Guide to Protein Intake

Where does the highest protein come from in vegetarian diet? Get an in depth guide to Indian lentils, nutritional values, benefits and background on legumes .

Namrata Bhansali

Namrata Bhansali

A certified nutritionist and a business management graduate, Namrata loves cheese and adventurous vacations! Read on for her tips on succeeding at the Keto diet as a vegetarian!

Updated: 1 October 2018

The single overarching debate about vegetarians is whether they get enough protein or not. We are here to settle some scores and debunk old myths with the latest nutritional findings. So, how can you really meet your protein requirements from a vegetarian diet? The cornerstone of this discussion is legumes.


What exactly is a legume!?

Doesn’t that mean vegetable in French? Well, yes but in English it’s slightly different. Pulses, lentils and beans are all types of legumes but without getting into the classification we are going to dive into specific nutritional values of everything that falls in the legume realm.

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India is the largest producer of pulses and with a large vegetarian population, they are also one of the largest consumers. The consumption of lentils in developed economies has increased rapidly due to the increased awareness of their nutritional profile and their ecological sustainability. The production of legumes has one of the lowest carbon footprints of all the food groups.


Indian pulses are usually eaten in either of three forms: the whole pulse, the split pulse with the skin on and the split pulse with the skin removed.

Photo Credit: Indiaphile

The Indian word ‘dal’ is usually used synonymously with lentils but actually refers to the split version of lentils, mung beans, chickpeas etc. Furthermore, pulses are also ground into flour and then used to make a large variety or both sweet and savory dishes. Finally, pulses are also soaked and ground into a paste (often with rice) to make crepe like dishes common in south India.

Photo Credit: Indiaphile

Legumes are an integral part of a vegetarian diet and learning about the different nutritional attributes of different legumes will give you a variety of options for adding protein to your meals. However, this is not the only benefits, they are a great source of dietary fiber, low in fat, rich is minerals and vitamins, high in energy, high in antioxidants and have a low glycemic index.


Legumes play a versatile role in our diets depending on what we need. If you are looking for :

  • Increasing your dietary fiber- look at urad daal, kidney beans or haricot beans.
  • Increasing your protein intake- get the most bang for the buck with soya beans, masoor daal, urad daal and kidney beans. Edamame is a great fresh bean option with a relatively high protein content with a much lower carbo load.

My personal favorite is masoor dal! Tastes great in a lentil soup, as a thick stew with rice or in a cold salad. Write to us and we’ll send some yummy and easy-to-prepare recipes right to your inbox! 

Search for restaurants, cafes and bars for your next travel destination on www.vegefied.com

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