Possibly the most common question I get asked as a vegan is, “How do you get your protein?” I try to answer patiently, although annoyance can easily set in. Don’t people know that beans contain protein? They likely do, but perhaps cannot fathom a diet that revolves around beans as a main source of protein. And, while grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and even fruit all contain some protein, the richest source of plant-based protein is beans/legumes. So, for on a vegetarian or vegan diet, get to know your beans and eat them often.
I’ve found that store-bought roasted beans are an easy high protein vegan snack. They’re also a quick fix to getting my bean consumption for the day. They’re flavorful, easy to eat on the go, and taste great with chopped fruit, vegetables and whole grain crackers. Do keep in mind the salt content. These products can be high in sodium, so keep track of your salt content for the day here on the Food and Drug Administration web site.
Through trial and error, I’ve settled on these three brands that offer the most delicious roasted beans. These products can be purchased on the company web sites, and at some online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
The sea salt-flavored roasted broad beans from Bada Bean inspired my habit of eating roasted beans, and I mean often. They are THAT good. These delectable, addictive baked beans contain a highly seasoned coating of rice flour and sunflower oil, which gives the bites a thick, complex texture. They contain some cane sugar (2 grams per serving–9 grams total in one bag), and maltodextrin, which is a processed starch. So Bada Beans are not technically a “whole food” accounting for the added ingredients, but still rich in protein, fiber and minerals. The line of roasted beans–all using broad beans–have nine flavors in all, including zesty ranch, spicy wasabi and sweet siracha. All of the flavors are gluten, soy, dairy and GMO-free, making them allergen friendly for most people.
My son—the toughest culinary customer you’ll ever meet—loves the falafel flavor of the Saffron Road brand of roasted chickpeas. My son refuses to eat whole beans in any other form and can’t eat store-bought hummus made with tahini because of a sensitivity to sesame seeds. So, he’s left with roasted chickpeas as the only source of beans in his diet. He’ll eat the Saffron Road falafel-flavored beans by the handful.
The Samford, CT, based company makes four flavors of roasted chickpeas—the much-loved falafel flavor, plus Bombay spice, Korean BBQ and sea salt & cracked pepper. (They also carry a line of vegan and kosher ready-to-eat meals and sauces focused on highly seasoned flavor profiles.) I’ve found that some other brands of roasted chickpeas are too brunchy—they don’t dissolve well after chewing. The Saffron Road brand is quite the opposite—the beans melt in your mouth once bitten, leaving a lingering burst of flavor on your palate. I am grateful for these wonderful roasted beans!
Ok, so these addictive bite-sized snacks from Harvest Snaps are not technically beans, but they are made of a plant-based vegetable that’s high in protein—snap peas. Peas are naturally high in protein and eating them with their pods adds even more protein and fiber. Harvest Snaps sea-salt seasoned basked green pea snacks are roasted to perfection with a delicate, airy consistency that creates an audible crunch but quickly melts in your mouth. The allergen-friendly company also makes baked navy beans, red lentils and black beans, all which I need to try.
Honorable mention: The Only Bean
Soybeans (also known as edamame) are the gold standard of a vegetarian/vegan diet—they’re used to make highly popular soy products. But soybeans in their natural, whole form are great too. The Only Bean company makes a line of roasted soybeans in three flavors: Buffalo, sea salt & siracha. You can purchase The Only Bean online, and at select stores nationwide.