The Best Vegan Protein Powders To Buy in 2021

·8-min read

Finish your workout; grab a protein shake, it's a tried and tested recipe for success. That's because protein helps feed your muscles and repairs the tiny tears — which are responsible for muscle growth — but the protein that you reach for after a tough session doesn't have to be derived from animal products, a vegan protein powder can also help you build beastly muscle.

And that makes sense right? A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that body mass index and cholesterol levels are both typically lower among vegans. While, on the health side, vegan diets have also been linked to a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer.

Of course, before pick a vegan protein, it's important to find the right product for you, and that's dependent on many variables: from budget to taste to 'mix-ability' and ingredients.

Below, we walk you through everything you need to know about vegan protein powders including the best vegan protein sources. It's time to unlock the power of plants.

Your Guide to Best Vegan Protein Powders

Is Whey Protein Vegan?

Whey protein isn't vegan. Whey protein is derived from milk, which contains both whey and casein proteins. Vegan protein, however, is made using a variety of protein sources including pea, rice, hemp and algae.

Is Vegan Protein as Effective as Whey Protein?

Put simply, yes vegan protein is as effective as whey. A 2019 study that looked at the effect both whey and pea protein had on body composition and exercise performance found that whichever protein men opted for there was little to no difference in their body composition, muscle gain, performance or strength.

What to Look for in Your Vegan Protein Powder

First things first — to get more protein into your vegetarian or vegan diet, you have to go beyond vegan protein shakes. If you look hard enough, your local supermarket will be loaded with vegan-friendly meals and snacks — like tofu, tempeh and seitan — that will build muscle without any ethical (or financial) qualms.

However, it's equally important to know what's going into your vegan protein powder. Below, explore three of the most important ingredients to look out for, before you invest.

Pea Protein: We're not talking Green Giant here. Instead, pea protein powder is made from field peas — which are nearly four times higher in protein than sweet peas — helping pea protein powders pack up to 80% protein content. Handily, pea protein is allergen-free too, meaning it's suitable for vegans and those with food allergies, alongside being free from dairy, egg, and soy.

Soy Protein: This vegan protein has been used for decades and comes from defatted soy flour. After processing, it can contain up to 90% protein content and has a neutral flavour, meaning that it's suitable when mixed into smoothies, shakes and other protein recipes.

Hemp Protein: Suitable for those trying to follow a diet plan rich in whole foods, hemp protein contains 20 amino acids and provides healthy omega fatty acids and fibre. Hemp protein has also been found to improve heart health, cull sugar cravings and bolster your immune system.

Photo credit: Christopher Stokey - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Stokey - Getty Images

Benefits of Going Vegetarian or Vegan

Thinking of making the switch? Smart move. With the majority of sports supplement brands now stocking vegan counterparts to their whey protein products, there's never been a better time to go green with your supps. Below, we talk you through a bunch of benefits that will come thick and fast once you do. Dig in.

By Switching to Vegan Protein, Your Skin Could Become Clearer

If you're going to the gym regularly and looking after your fitness, it's safe to assume that you're concerned about your appearance and your confidence. Ironically, though, your attention to correct nutrition could be slipping you up — and it's got nothing to do with your muscles.

Instead, whey protein intake has been connected with acne breakouts, as it increases the production of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. Similarly, whey protein can cause an imbalance in blood sugar production, which can inflame your skin. Go green for a smoother appearance.

You Can Digest Vegan Protein Easier

Compared to the often-questionable ingredients list of whey protein powders, vegan protein could be significantly kinder on your gut. Peas, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds are all common ingredients in vegan protein, with healthy levels of fibre that can improve digestion while culling signs of gas and bloating.

You're Getting an Added Hit of Antioxidants and Phytochemicals

Plant-based and vegan protein powders are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential to optimum health and are abound with phytochemicals — compounds produced by plants — that can boost your health. On the flipside, some whey proteins can contain added hormones and antibiotics. Time to go natural, perhaps.

Best Vegan Protein Powders

Maximuscle Plant Max Vegan Protein Powder

Per 30g serving: 108kcal, 20g protein, 0.8g carbohydrates, 1.6g fat

Why: Gluten free, soy free and suitable for vegans, Maximuscle's vegan protein powder is seriously low in fat and carbohydrates, while mixing with water. It's a pea protein and brown rice protein mix, made with natural food sources and flavours.

Form Nutrition Performance Protein

Per 40g serving: 154kcal, 30g protein, 2.0g carbohydrates, 2.9g fat

Why: Even when mixed only with water, Form Nutrition's Performance range of vegan protein is a crowd-pleaser. Packing 30g of protein for only 154kcal, it trumps most whey protein products when it comes to protein-to-calories ratio and has an added 5g of BCAAs per serving. Available in chocolate peanut, vanilla and tiramisu flavours, there's sure to be a flavour for you. Suitable for vegans, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and GMO-free.

Bulk Vegan Protein Powder

Per 35g serving: 131kcal, 21.8g protein, 7.2g carbohydrates, 1.3g fat

Why: Using a blend of five vegan protein sources (pea protein, brown rice protein, pumpkin protein, flaxseed powder and quinoa flour), Bulk's vegan protein powder is also very easy to mix due to soluble protein sources while being low in sugar and fat. Stevia is used as a natural sweetener.

Myprotein Vegan Protein Blend

Per 30g serving: 110kcal, 22g protein, 4.1g carbohydrates, 0.6g fat

Why: Made with pea and faba bean protein isolates, Myprotein's Vegan Protein Blend is one if its most popular sellers and is available in chocolate, banana, strawberry, turmeric latte and coffee flavours. It's considerably low in calories, fats and carbohydrate so would make an ideal choice for those following macros or looking to increase a calorie deficit during a dieting phase.

The Protein Works, Vegan Protein Powder

Per 30g serving: 106kcal, 25g protein, 1g carbohydrates, 0.2g fat

Why: Unlike other vegan protein shakes The Protein Works offering contains five different protein sources – hemp protein, sunflower protein, pea protein, brown rice protein and soy protein. This ensures a far more comprehensive nutritional profile to help meet your vegan dietary needs.

Wyldsson Vegan Protein Powders

Per 35g serving: 129kcal, 20g protein, 5.3g carbohydrates, 2g fat

Why: Made from pea, sunflower and pumpkin, this powder delivers 20g of vegan protein, 4.8g of fibre and just 150 calories per serving. Better still, Wyldsson plant a tree for every order, further strengthening your eco credentials.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Based Protein Powder


Per 36g serving: 144kcal, 24g protein, 5.2g carbohydrates, 2.2g fat

Why: It's 100% plant vegan and gluten free. Providing 19 servings, each scoop will feed you with vitamin B12s, essential amino acids, natural occurring BCAAs and glutamine. And don't worry about artificial colouring, flavours and sweeteners, either – it's free from all. Care about where your nutrients come from? This is the product for you.

Photo credit: Ezra Bailey - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ezra Bailey - Getty Images

Try These Vegan Protein Smoothies

Ready to go beyond just another vegan protein shake? Try any of these vegan protein recipes for a health spike that tastes great and does wonders for your health.

'Very Berry' Vegan Protein Shake

“This shake is packed with protein, fibre, healthy fats, phyto-nutrients, and probiotics,” says Brian St. Pierre, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., sports dietitian and nutrition coach at Precision Nutrition. “It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.”

500 calories, 57 g protein, 54 g carbs, 14 g fibre, 11 g fat

  • 340ml water

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

  • 2 scoops vanilla vegan protein powder

  • 1 tbsp walnuts

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

Strawberry Banana Shake

Adding ground flax to this classic vegan protein shake provides you with extra fibre and heart-healthy omega-3 fats, St. Pierre says.

490 calories, 55 g protein, 9 g fat, 47 g carbs, 11 g fibre (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)

  • 340ml water, milk, or yogurt

  • 2 scoops vanilla or strawberry flavoured vegan protein powder

  • 1 banana

  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries

  • 1 cup of spinach

  • 2 tbsp of ground flax

Chocolate Cherry Shake

Research suggests that cherries can ease soreness after a workout, making this a perfect recovery shake, says St. Pierre. We also suggest that chocolate tastes great, so get whizzing.

530 calories, 56 g protein, 13 g fat, 47 g carbs, 9 g fibre (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)

  • 340ml water, milk, or yogurt

  • 2 scoops chocolate flavoured vegan protein powder

  • 2 cups of sweet dark cherries, pits removed

  • 1 cups of spinach

  • 1 tbsp of walnuts

  • 1 tbsp ground flax

  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs or dark cocoa powder

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