Protein powders have a history based in strength training and muscle building, but in recent decades they’ve evolved not only into continued use for those trying to gain muscle but also for those trying to lose weight and everyone in between.
Traditionally, most protein powders are largely animal-based, especially using whey as a primary source of protein. However, with a greater number of consumers choosing a plant-based diet and increased research allowing for better blends of plant proteins for a wider amino acid profile, vegan options now flood the market. However, like any protein powder, not every product is as equally tasty as it is healthy. Here are seven of the best tasting vegan protein powders you should try when preparing your next protein shake.
Orgain Organic Protein and Greens – Vanilla Bean
At a Glance: 21 grams of protein, gluten-free, soy-free, organic, Non-GMO, and no added sugar. Made from organic pea protein, organic chia seeds, and organic brown rice protein.
Not all Orgain products are vegan, but its proteins and greens line not only caters to its plant-based customers by being certified vegan, but it also provides an extra dose of nutrition by packing in its greens powder made from approximately 15 spinach leaves, 2 florets of broccoli and a 1/2 cup of kale per serving.
Orgain’s founding story is unique in that it’s founder developed the initial product while battling cancer and making his own health-promoting smoothies as a teenager. He later became a doctor and started the Orgain line in order to give cancer patients an alternative to the other meal replacement shakes on the market with questionable ingredients and poor flavor. His product’s clean ingredients and quality taste quickly grew the brand in popularity, to which it now can be found on shelves from local grocery stores to warehouse stores like Costco.
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein & Greens Vanilla Bean Powder contains 160 calories per 49 gram serving with 19 grams carbohydrates, 4.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of fiber.
Vivolife – Salted Maca Caramel
At a Glance: 25 grams of protein, gluten-free, soy-free, organic, Non-GMO and no added sugar. Made from cold pressed hemp protein and bio-fermented yellow pea protein.
Vivolife prides itself in having one of the cleanest vegan protein powders on the market. Based out of the UK, Vivolife has made a splash on the plant-based scene utilizing popular vegan YouTubers to promote their products. Lucky for them, these protein powders are more than just hype, with high-quality real food ingredients backed by scientific research that still tastes good at the same time.
Their Perform Raw Plant Protein & BCAA powders come in a variety of flavors including their most popular Salted Maca Caramel and Acai & Blueberry. They’re also quick to respond to customer feedback, recently undergoing reformulation of their Madagascar Vanilla and Raw Cacao flavors to improve their overall taste.
Vivolife Salted Maca Caramel contains 116 calories per 33-gram scoop with 3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.79 grams of fat, and 1.36 grams of fiber.
Vivolife Perform also includes 6 grams of BCAA, turmeric for anti-inflammation and faster recovery, fermented protein to help with easier digestion, along with digestive enzymes like papain, fennel seeds, peppermint leaf and ginger extract.
Vega Clean Protein – Chocolate
At a Glance: 25 grams of protein, gluten-free, non-GMO, and no added Sugar. Made from pea, hemp, alfalfa and pumpkin seed protein.
Vega is an easy brand to find in many nutrition stores as well as in many local grocery and big box stores making it easily accessible. Its unique blend of plant-based protein sources ensures a complementary amino acid profile. However, the various blends can create a different texture than traditional whey proteins if you’re switching from a non-vegan product. But, regardless of the texture change, the flavor is quite good, especially when blended with your favorite nut, rice or hemp milk.
Vega Clean Protein Chocolate protein powder contains 130 calories per 37-gram scoop including 5 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fat, and 2 grams of dietary fiber.
Like many vegan no sugar added protein powders, this product is sweetened by Stevia which is noticeable in the taste. It’s also important to note that this Vega product is made in a factory where other products are made with soy, peanuts, egg, dairy or tree nuts for those with allergies.
Kashi GOLEAN – Vanilla Vinyasa or Matcha Tea Mantra
At a Glance: 20 grams of protein, gluten-free, non-GMO, and no added Sugar. Made from pea protein, ground flax seeds, ground chia seeds, hemp and sprouted legumes in a mix of garbanzo beans, navy beans, and lentils.
Kashi is more well known for its cereals and bars, but it has slowly moved into the protein powder market with its GOLEAN protein products. Unlike many powders, both vegan and animal-based, Kashi’s GOLEAN protein falls more on the less sweet side in an attempt to allow for more varied uses or for those that want to add their own natural sweeteners like honey to reach their own personal sweetness levels.
Along with its protein blend, Kashi adds probiotics to its formula in the form of over 1 billion Bacillus Coagulans to aid in digestion along with its own superfoods blend made from spinach, kale, and beets. It also includes turmeric to reduce inflammation.
Kashi GOLEAN Vanilla Vinyasa protein powder contains 160 calories per 40-gram scoop including 10 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat, and 4 grams of dietary fiber.
If you don’t like the taste of Stevia, this is a great brand to try as it uses monk fruit extract as a natural sugar alternative. Those with nut allergies should be careful as this product is made in a facility that processes tree nuts.
Aloha – Banana
At a Glance: 18 grams of protein, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free and Stevia-free. Made from pea protein, hemp proteins, and pumpkin seed protein.
Aloha’s vegan protein powders focus on minimally processed ingredients from renewable sources while still obtaining all 9 essential amino acids. If you’re looking for a protein powder that is as stripped down as possible, Aloha brand is the way to go with no additional ingredients and supplements beyond its protein sources and basic flavoring agents.
Aloha Banana Protein Powder contains 140 calories per 38-gram scoop including 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fat, and 2 grams of dietary fiber.
Aloha’s protein powders are stevia-free and like several others on the list uses monk fruit extract to avoid the aftertaste of other sweeteners along with pink sea salt and coconut sugar. The natural banana flavor is an especially great addition to overnight oats, providing a hint of sweetness and a big boost of protein to help you feel fuller longer throughout your morning.
OWYN – Cold Brew Coffee
At a Glance: 20 grams of protein, gluten-free, non-GMO, and no added Sugar. Made from pea protein, chia seeds, and pumpkin seed protein.
If you’re looking to combine the energy boost from your morning cup of coffee with the nutritional boost of protein powder, OWYN’s cold brew coffee protein mix is a great alternative using actual coffee and unroasted green coffee for both flavor and caffeine.
Along with great flavor, OWYN’s protein powders contains 1 billion CFU probiotics, 74 bioactive trace minerals, and green additives like kale, broccoli, spinach, and zucchini. Each scoop also packs in 500mg of Omega 3’s to help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.
OWYN’s Cold Brew Coffee protein powder contains 150 calories per 39-gram scoop including 9 grams of carbohydrates, 3.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of dietary fiber.
Garden of Life – Vanilla Spiced Chai
At a Glance: 22 grams of protein, non-GMO, soy-free, and no added Sugar. Made from a proprietary RAW blend of protein ingredients including pea protein, brown rice protein, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and a mix of 22 in total protein sources such as adzuki bean and lentil sprouts.
Garden of Life is another brand that can be easily found in many grocery store aisles and local health food stores, making it more accessible without having to order online. Garden of Life Vanilla Spiced Chai protein powder contains all the spices of a good chai tea, along with one of the widest ranges of protein types, with most coming from sprouted sources for easier digestion. Garden of Life vegan protein powders also contain live probiotics and enzymes to further improve your ability to digest the protein.
Garden of Life’s Vanilla Spiced Chai protein powder contains 110 calories per 31-gram scoop including 2 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of dietary fiber.
With so many options for alternative sweeteners beyond sugar now on the market, vegan protein powders continually improve in both flavor and nutritional value. As the vegan lifestyle continues to grow in popularity, the future looks bright for a continual supply of new tasty vegan protein powders being introduced to complement the many brands and flavors already on the market.