I’ve tried a lot of vegan protein powders that can only be described as yucky. Plant-based protein sources (like pea, soy, and brown rice) just don’t perform as well as their whey counterparts for whatever reason—tending toward a gritty texture and, uh, earthy taste. Fortunately for us vegan (or vegan-ish) exercisers of the world, the market for plant-based protein powders today is huge. So, along with the duds, there are lots of delicious options that come in innovative formulas and pretty much any flavor you can think of.
While very few people actually need protein powder to meet their protein requirements, I’m definitely one of the people who benefit from it nonetheless. I do Pilates, strength training, yoga, or HIIT four or five times a week, and I can’t always stomach a ton of solid food right after working up a sweat—so I rely on protein shakes and smoothies for easy and sippable nutrition. I also value the peace of mind I get from knowing my muscles aren’t crying out for protein!
One quick note here: As SELF previously reported, protein powder is technically a dietary supplement, which means it doesn’t get FDA approval before hitting the market. While the FDA can ban supplements shown to be contaminated or inaccurately labeled, it’s up to manufacturers to test their products for safety and quality. (Most brands have info on their sites about the kind of in-house or third-party lab testing they do, and you can check out reports from independent verifying companies like Informed Choice and the NSF International.)
Now, it goes without saying that taste is super subjective—but I can tell you that after trying 30-plus flavors from more than a dozen brands (some provided by the brands at no cost, some I purchased myself), these are my absolute faves. I’ve tested them on their own, mixed up with just plant-based milk or water in a Blender Bottle ($ 8, Amazon), as well as in a variety of blender smoothies.
All of these have 20 grams of plant protein or more, a great flavor, and a nice texture. Also, I personally prefer protein powders that aren’t overloaded with sugar—I like to add that myself with frozen fruit!—added fiber, or artificial sweeteners (which my system is not cool with in large amounts). Here are seven darn delicious vegan protein powders.
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