5 foods that contain a surprisingly high amount of protein

I had no clue these foods contained this much protein!

man cooking with protein
(Image credit: Jacob Lund / Getty Images)

With so much conflicting advice on protein consumption out there, it can be difficult knowing what to insert into your diet. You may know exactly how many grams of protein you should eat a day or how protein aids weight loss, but the truth is that a lot of us are still in the dark. 

After recently discovering that Spirulina has twice the amount of protein than a steak, I decided to go out and find even more foods that are unknowingly protein-rich. Not only are the items on this list great for protein intake, but they're all delicious and easily integrated into everyday recipes. 

From guava to hemp seeds, here are the five foods that contain a lot more protein than you'd think. Who knows, maybe they'll make a way into your basket on your next weekly shop?

1. Guava 


(Image credit: iStock)

Believe it or not, guava is one of the most protein-rich fruits out there. It has about 2.6g per 100g, taking it way above the protein content of a banana. It's a great fruit to eat because every bit of it is edible and contains useful nutrients such as vitamin C and fibre. 

Unlike papaya, it's also incredibly tasty, with many people preferring to eat it on its own or in a fruit salad. If this doesn't sound like you, why not pop some in a smoothie using one of the best blenders, and you'll be good to go! 

2. Tempeh 


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Tempeh is especially rich in protein, coming in at about 20g per 100g. It's made from cooked and fermented soya beans, making it a popular meat alternative. Tempeh's high fibre content is also great for digestion and gut health, and is known for its filling and satiating effect. Unlike a lot of other protein sources, tempeh is considered a complete protein source, meaning it provides all the essential amino acids.

Better Nature produce delicious tempeh that's super easy to cook up, especially as there's no need for pressing or draining. Half a pack also has more than double the protein of an egg and three times more protein than Butter Beans. Its marinated tempeh is my favourite, especially the mediterranean tempeh pieces

3. Lentils


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Lentils are an extremely rich source of protein, making them another great vegan alternative to meat or fish. There's 9g per 100g, meaning there's a lot packed into just a small amount. They're also rich in fibre which helps your digestive system function properly and fuel good bacteria in your gut.

As well as being protein-rich, lentils are also great at adding flavour and protein to plant based recipes. I love cooking them up and adding them to a salad with feta and fresh veg - delicious!

4. Parmesan cheese

parmesan cheese

(Image credit: Adobe)

This is probably one of the most surprising items on this list, especially as it's usually paired with a big bowl of delicious pasta. However, parmesan is a great source of protein, containing a whopping 38g per 100g. Not only does it taste great, but it's a a lot higher in protein than most other types of cheese.

This is probably due to ageing process required, and the lack of moisture that parmesan has. This also means parmesan is a lot more easily digestible compared to other cheeses, perfect if you struggle with dairy in general. 

5. Hemp seeds

hemp seeds

(Image credit: Jane Rix / Shutterstock)

Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, but they only contain a tiny amount of THC, so don't get too excited. However, with 30g of protein per 100g, it's certainly enough to perk your interest. 

Like tempeh, hemp seeds are also considered to be a complete protein source, and they're also easily digested compared to other grains, nuts and legumes. 

Before you go, why don't you check out these protein pancake recipes? The big day is coming up after all...

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.