Think vegan protein powder tastes like dust? Vicky Hadley rounds up the best-tasting plant protein powders out there (many of them from, you guessed it, pea protein)
Protein supplements have predominantly come from dairy sources such as whey for years. But vegan alternatives have been gaining popularity, many of which have a base of pea protein.
Trouble is, pea protein on its own can taste a bit like dust. Thankfully, more recently, we’re seeing tastier blends hitting the shelves that include blended vegetable proteins derived from sources such as hemp, rice, pumpkin seed and even cranberry, along with pea. As a result, the taste just got a whole lot better.
With so many new brands now offering new and improved tastes, Healthista’s gym bunny, Vicky Hadley has tried a heap of them to bring you her top 10 best-tasting favourite vegan protein powders.
Your favourite health website has just launched what will soon become your favourite vegan protein powder. Borne out of editor Anna Magee’s need for a protein powder for weight management and maintenance with an amazing taste, great amino acid profile and sweetened only with stevia. She also wanted it to contain the most cutting edge ingredients on the market today for metabolism and muscle recovery (demanding? Never). The product has been formulated by Rick Hay, Healthista’s nutrition director and a lecturer in weight management at the College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been made wholly in the UK.
What makes it so special? Healthista’s Lean Vegan Diet protein contains ingredients that are proven by science to keep appetite at bay and encourage fat loss. For example, inulin from chicory root which has been shown to help reduce fat around the middle, glutamine for muscle recovery, konjac root for appetite control (it was so amazing at keeping me full I actually forgot to eat lunch one day – very unusual for me!) and matcha green tea for metabolism. It also contains a balanced mix of pea, hemp, rice and pumpkin seed proteins for an impressive mix of amino acids and essential fatty acids.
What’s the taste like? This powder is all about the taste. there is literally not a hint of dustiness in any of the flavours and it mixes so easily without even needing a blender (unless you’re also mixing fruit and vegetables with your smoothie).
How many grams of protein per serve? Each 25 grams serve provides 14-15 grams of protein that is easily absorbed by the body and is just 89 calories a serve, so amazing for weight loss.
Best flavour? Vanilla was definitely my favourite, not at all dust like and the sweet lusciousness covered up the flavour of the masses of kale and cucumber I like in my morning smoothie. That’s followed closely by the berry flavour. Both are also amazing with oats. Take 25 grams of oats, 25 grams of the powder, a teaspoon of chia seeds, cover with boiling water, mix and leave to stand for 20 minutes and you have a fantastic pudding like breakfast that will keep you full until lunchtime.
2. Neat Nutrition Vegan Protein
Neat Nutrition are a new protein company with an incredible tasting vegan protein powder range created from a blend of hemp and pea. They have three smooth and creamy to flavours to choose from: vanilla, berry and chocolate which are packed with amino acids including Lysein, (an essential amino acid that plays a key role in converting fatty acids into energy) that vegans are often deficient in.
How many grams of protein per recommended serving (28 grams)? 25 grams of protein in the natural flavour and 20 grams in the berry flavour.
What’s the taste like? Neat is extremely sweet considering there is no added sugar and tastes more like a naughty dessert than a healthy drink, I was actually amazed at just how good vegan protein powders could taste.
Best flavour? Berry was my favourite, it is not often I would vote for a fruity flavoured protein powder but Neat didn’t even need any added plant sugar for taste.
Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein
Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder is an incredible blend of cranberry, hemp and pea proteins. With three flavours: vanilla, chocolate and natural there is something for everyone. Sunwarrior use the natural plant based sweetener stevia to give their protein shakes the delicious taste they own.
Sunwarrior’s protein powder is completely raw and plant-based protein, that is rich in amino acids and superfoods. Our favourite is sunwarrior’s chocolate protein powder, try it blended with avocado and coconut milk to create a chocolate protein mousse.
How many grams of protein per reccommended serving (25grams)? 20 grams
What’s the taste like? Sunwarrior is sweet and has the melt in your mouth texture that makes you sigh in happiness. Thanks to the stevia extract sunwarrior protein powder needs no extra sweetener, simply toss in a few berries for a zingy burst and you’re good to go.
Best flavour? Vanilla and chocolate both top it for me, if you are going to choose a green smoothie mix in the vanilla protein powder – honestly, you can not try a nicer smoothie but if you want something to curb your dessert cravings chocolate is a must have.
4. STRIPPD Lean Protein
STRIPPD are brand new on the protein scene but are definitely ahead of the trends. Their vegan protein powders are derived from a blend of whole pea and hemp and infused with metabolism boosting yerba mate to help tone and develop lean muscle. The pea and hemp blend contains all of the essential amino acids for building long, lean muscles.
How many grams of protein per recommended serving (35grams)? 20 grams
What’s the taste like? Another sublimely sweet tasting powder I love the fruity flavour of STRIPPD mixed with my morning porridge oats and water or almond milk.
Best flavour? Mixed Berry
Available for £20.00 from STRIPPD and at Boots
5. Reflex Nutrition Vegan Protein
Reflex is an excellent option for vegan athletes and those who are on strict calorie or macronutrient dependent diets. It has only one gram of carbohydrate and 1.4 grams of fat per serving. As well as being a great option for those avoiding soy. Reflex is derived from pea protein, natural flavourings and sweetener (Stevia) and Digezyme® Digestive Enzyme Complex (Amylase, Protease, Cellulase, Lactase, Lipase) to help with nutrient absorption.
How many grams of protein per 25 gram serving? 19grams
What’s the taste like? Reflex tastes incredible mixed with Alpro Soya yoghurt as it isn’t as sweet as the other stevia based protein powders so is ideal for those who don’t like too sweet products but want a sweet fix.
Best flavour? Chocolate
6.PULSIN’ Sunflower Protein
Pulsin’ has brought out the first Organic Sunflower Protein Powder made entirely of sunflower seeds. This powder is a great option for those who are not only vegan but suffer from nut allergies. It is a well known fact that nuts are an excellent protein option for vegans, but now thanks to Pulsin’ you can enhance your diet with seeds instead.
Pulsin’s protein powder is gluten free, low in fat and high in fibre so is a healthy and nutritious way to build and repair your muscle tissues as well as aiding digestion. The Sunflower protein powder tastes great when blended with oats, rice milk, mixed berries and a banana.
Protein content: 45 grams of protein per 100 grams
7. NUTRISEED Raw Brown Rice Protein
Nutriseed like Pulsin are another unflavoured protein powder to be included in the round up. Offering protein powders made from Pea, Hemp and Brown Rice there is one for your desired taste. It is well known that pea and hemp protein powders have a grassy taste that isn’t too popular with the majority of vegans, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Brown Rice Powder.
What is the protein content per reccommended serving (25 grams)? 20 grams
What’s the taste like? I was pleasantly surprised with this powder, it had a nutty taste that reminded me of a creamy nut butter. It mixes well with water and actually worked at satisfying my food cravings.
Spiru-tein have been busy knocking out more and more unique flavours of vegan protein powder so I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of them sooner. Created from sprouted brown rice, quinoa, superfoods including blueberries, broccoli, chrolla, bilberry,kale, tomato, spinach and spirulina and naturally sweetened with plant based sweetener stevia they are an incredible and healthy option when choosing your protein powder.
How many grams of protein per reccommended serving (25 grams)? 13 grams
Best flavour? My favourite flavour was definitely the dark chocolate Spiru-tein powder that is amazing for those dark chocolate lovers like myself. It is rich and creamy without the dust like properties some powders have and will leave you feeling full of energy and ready for the day.
9. Natures Plus Sunflower Protein
Another amazing and delicious protein from Natures Plus is the Sunflower Protein powder. Not only is it a complete protein but mixed with boiliing water and stirred it turns into a thick coffee tasting mousse. I mixed mine with a sprinkle of stevia and berries and was completely satisfied post-workout.
What’s the taste like? I love this protein powder as it tastes like a nutty coffee, similar to Pulsin’s sunflower protein it mixes well with boiling water and satisfies your cravings without having to worry about the caffeine overload.
How many grams of protein per recommended serving (37grams)? 16
10. MRM Veggie Protein
Made from a blend of pea protein, chia, hemp, flax, spinach, carrot powder, broccoli, cranberry powder, raspberry powder, MRM is a healthy and Non-GMO powder that is filled with natural and delicious ingredients (like chia) that keep you fuller for longer. Our editor Anna Magee loves this so much she buys it from Amazon from the US as no health food stores carry it here.
What’s the taste like? Really sweet without being sickly and no ‘dusty’ or grainy aftertaste.
How many grams of protein per recommended serving (38 grams)? 22 grams
Best flavour? Vanilla