If you can’t or don’t want to use milk-based proteins to mix up a post-workout protein shake, there’s still a world of options out there for you to try. All kinds of different protein sources are used to create vegan powders, with soy, pea, hemp and rice being the most common.
Often these protein sources are combined to create a complete protein – one that has all of the essential amino acids. It’s by no means impossible to get a complete protein from animal sources, but it can be a little trickier with vegan powders, even though soy is a complete protein. Mixing a couple of different plant sources can get you what you need, however, with rice and pea a common pairing for that reason.
Aside from the protein source, vegan powders don’t really differ from animal-based options, with the usual variety of flavours available. Here are the best vegan protein powders you can buy.
USN Green 100% Plant Protein
This powder combines three protein sources – pea, rice and hemp – for a decent 23g of protein per 30g serving, and the inclusion of vitamin B12 and iron gives this powder something else to shout about. The shake itself creates quite a substantial amount of foam that sits awkwardly on top of the drink, but otherwise is fairly pleasant. The vanilla maple flavour is a winner, with clear maple notes that help it stand out from other vanilla flavoured shakes.
Protein Works Vegan Wondershake
Protein Works justifies the name of this powder by saying it’s managed to avoid the graininess and earthy flavours common to vegan shakes, so we’d better start there. It is still rather grainy and will probably appeal more to those who opt to chug their protein shake after a workout than to those who savour it. Still, the nutritional numbers help to redeem this powder: there’s 21g of protein (pea, soy, hemp and rice) per 25g serving, plus a mere 0.6g of sugar and 0.7g of fat. This all results in a shake with an impressively low calorie count of just 89 if mixed with water.
Buy from Protein Works | £37.99 for 750g
Form Performance Protein
The nutritional stats on the back of this powder are truly top-notch, the kind of numbers that would make it a really great Top Trump card if there’s ever a vegan protein powders version of the game made (fingers crossed). Each 40g serving contains 30g of protein, sourced from organic peas, brown rice, hemp and algae, and there’s a mere 154 calories and 0.1g of sugar in a shake. To top it all off, there’s one billion CFU (colony-forming units) of probiotics – good luck besting that in Top Trumps! The powder also mixes well, but we did find the tiramisu flavour a tad sweet. Every card has to have a weakness.
Buy from Form | £26 for 520g
Tailwind Nutrition Rebuild Recovery
There’s only 11g of protein in a serving of this shake but that’s because it’s aimed at endurance athletes looking to recover and replenish their energy reserves after a long session, rather than beefcakes trying to build bigger muscles in the gym. That means there’s also a load of carbohydrates and electrolytes thrown into the mix. A hefty 43g of carbs, in fact, mostly sugars to restock your glycogen reserves, as well as 433mg of sodium to replace what you will have lost in sweat.
Buy from Tailwind | £29-£32 for 911g
To achieve a complete amino acid profile, SiS uses a combination of pea, pumpkin and soy protein. You get 20g of protein per 30g serving, including 3g of leucine, and no artificial sweeteners are used even though the sugar content has been kept to just 1g. How do they make the three flavours – vanilla, chocolate mint and banana fudge – sweet, we hear you ask? Plant and fruit extract, that’s how – the former being stevia and the latter health-food store staple lucuma.
We were highly impressed by how smoothly the powder mixed into a shake. No lumps here, though there is still a slightly earthy aftertaste, which is common in plant-based protein powders.
Buy from SiS | £30 for 900g
No1jrish Pure Vegan Plant Protein
You want as much protein as possible? You want No1jrish. (If you’re wondering what on earth is going on with that spelling, the “1” and “j” are supposed to look like a “u”, spelling nourish. Anyway…) That’s because there’s a substantial 24.4g per 35g serving, the most of any powder on this list (per serving at least), using a combination of pea, pumpkin and hemp protein. There’s 32% of your recommended daily intake of B12, which is exceptionally useful if you’re a vegan, and less than a gram of sugar per serving – it’s sweetened using stevia. The salted caramel flavour and smooth, thick texture make for a pleasant enough combo, but it needs an aggressive shaking to not leave clumps at the bottom.
Buy from No1 Food Prep | £24.99 for 525g
Myvegan Vegan Protein Blend
The hitherto unseen (by us, anyway) combo of peas and fava beans creates a complete protein source in this powder, which provides 22g of protein per 30g serving. We were impressed by how well it mixed, with no lumps at all, but less so by the earthy flavour of the turmeric latte shake we tried. There’s a good range of other flavours to try, however, including coffee and walnut, and the ever-reliable chocolate.
Buy from Myvegan | £14.99 for 500g
The blurb on this powder is perhaps the most hyperbolic we’ve come across for a protein powder, promising an “insanely juicy protein hit” and finishing with the shouty “NO LIES AND NO HALF MEASURES”. The powder itself contains 18g of protein in a 25g serving, provided by brown rice and peas, along with a 14-strong list of superfoods. The actual shake is a little thick and the juiciness is kept within distinctly sane parameters in our opinion, but it’s not unpleasant.
Buy from Gorilla Juice | £34.99 for 750g
Awesome Supplements Awesome Vegan Protein
So awesome they named it twice, and they were right to do so. All three flavours hit the mark, with chocolate salted caramel standing out. Pea and rice protein are combined to account for (depending on the flavour) between 21.6g and 22.8g of protein per serving. The calorie count is kept low at just 109 for the 30g serving of chocolate salted caramel and choc and nut, and 133.7 calories for the 35g serving of vanilla. If you’re limiting your carb intake, avoid the vanilla version (which has 8.3g) and go for the other two which have a minuscule 1.56g per 30g serving.
Buy from Awesome Supplements | £28 for 1.2kg
FitDelis The Power
We’re big fans of the mixed berry flavour because it mixes easily to create a far lighter shake than you normally get, making it a more refreshing option after a hard workout. The protein is sourced from pea and hemp to make up a complete protein, and there’s 19g in a 30g serving, which also contains just 4g of carbs (1g of sugars) and 2g of fats, as well as 500mg of omega 3 and 100mg of omega 6 fatty acids.
Buy from FitDelis | £28 for 600g
Stealth Vegan Recovery Protein
This recovery drink is designed to be used after long bouts of cardio exercise like running and cycling, so alongside the 20g of protein (sourced from pea and rice) per 50g serving, it also contains 19.5g of carbs to replenish your energy reserves. It also has electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat.
Buy from Stealth | £25 for 660g
Healthspan Elite Complete Vegan Protein
A handy extra in this powder is the 2.5µg of vitamin B12 it contains in a 27g serving, because that’s 100% of your recommended daily intake of a vitamin that’s crucial for your health and virtually impossible to get enough of from a plant-based diet. Many other vitamins are also thrown into the mix, and there is 20g of protein (from brown rice, pea and pumpkin, combining to make a complete protein) in each serving. The powder is unflavoured, but you can add a flavour drop to your order for free, or just mix it into a shake with other ingredients.
Buy from Healthspan | £24.99 for 1kg
Revolution Foods Vegan Protein Powder Premium Blend
The 21g of protein in each 30g serving of this powder is sourced from pea and hemp, but while protein is the star turn, there’s a huge supporting cast of other ingredients, like chlorella powder, curcumin from turmeric root, and live bacteria to help you absorb the powder. There’s a lot going on, in short, and the result is a shake that may be a slightly off-putting shade of greenish-brown with a taste that’s not short on plant notes, but should be doing you a lot of good.
Bulk Powders Vegan Protein Powder
Five different protein sources are used in this powder – pea, brown rice, pumpkin seed, flaxseed and quinoa flour – with the total protein per 35g serving clocking in at a solid 22.9g. There’s an exciting range of flavours too, including lesser-spotted options like white chocolate coconut or apple strudel alongside mainstays like vanilla. We found the shakes created were pretty thick and gloopy, so not ideal if you like to chug one straight after an intense workout, but the taste is the subject of hot debate in the office. One tester said they were on point, with apple strudel the stand-out, while the best another could say about their “favourite” flavour – chocolate mint – was that it tasted “like the ghost of a good shake”.
Buy from Bulk Powders | £24.99 for 1kg