If you’re looking to build muscle, then a good protein powder is vital.
But if you don’t want to consume animal products, you’re limited to vegan powders – and despite having adequate protein content… Sometimes they don’t taste very nice!
So, I’ve sampled most of the major brands’ offerings and below is my list of the 9 best tasting vegan protein powders out there.
SCI-MX Nutrition Pro V-Gain vegan Protein Powder
Sci-Mx Pro V-Gain is the vegan offering from Sci-Mx, one of the best-known supplement brands on the market. Being a specialist protein powder, it’s not as cheap as the non-vegan alternatives. The powder is a mixture of soy, pea and rice proteins, boosted with oat bran, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet for BCAA support and additional fibre. There are extra minerals in the mixture from vitamin B6 and B12, zinc, magnesium and folic acid. Per serving there is 33g of protein, 3.6g of carbs and 1.1g of fat.
The Sci-Mx V-Gain powder come in three nice flavours available, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
Strawberry is quite a subtle flavour, but comes through nicely. Chocolate is popular and the vanilla one tastes like cake batter!
Wyldsson All Natural Vegan Protein Shake
The Wyldsson vegan protein shake is aimed less at the fitness market and more towards the general vegan who is looking to boost the protein content of their diet. The shake has slightly higher calories than others (129 calories per serving), but with no gluten, dairy, sugar, artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners it’s as clean a supplement as you’re likely to come across. There are 20g of protein per serving, which isn’t as much as others but it’s generally a diet supplement, not a muscle-building one. There are additional nutritional benefits such as iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium. The protein comes from Pea, Pumpkin, Sunflower and Coconut.
It’s only available in chocolate flavour and it’s really nice, not tasting too sweet or artificial.
BULK POWDERS Vegan Protein Powder
The Bulk Powders vegan protein is a low sugar powder offering 23g of protein per serving. There are five different ingredients that contribute the protein – pea, pumpkin, flax seed, brown rice and quinoa, so it’s nutritionally diverse. There are no artificial colours or sweeteners in the mix, plus it’s soya and gluten free making it a supplement suitable for most people with allergies. The price is reasonable given it’s a vegan protein.
The Bulk Powders vegan protein comes in 6 flavours, with the banana caramel one tasting sweet, without overpowering. The vanilla one is like melted ice cream!
Naked Vegan Protein Powder Super Blend
This is another vegan protein powder from Wyldsson and is another massive hit – collectively the Wyldsson products are probably the best vegan protein shakes on the market. It’s another food supplement rather than a pure protein shake for the fitness market. It’s an organic plant protein blend containing pea, pumpkin and sunflower protein. The recipe is boosted with fats from flax and chia, with flavouring from organic baobab, turmeric, cacao & cinnamon. It’s high in iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium to support overall health. It’s another very ‘clean’ supplement with no added sweeteners, flavourings, colourings etc. It contains 82 calories and 13.3g of protein per serving.
Comes either unflavoured (generally for cooking or serving as a smoothie base) or Turmeric and Black Pepper. Both are popular and neither are too sweet – great if you don’t have a sweet tooth.
Form Performance Protein – Vegan Protein Powder
The Form Performance vegan protein powder is aimed squarely at the fitness market, containing an impressive 30g of protein, 5g BCAAs and 5g Glutamine, Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics per serving. The protein comes from a mixture of organic pea protein, brown rice, hemp and whole algae. Form vegan protein powder also contains probiotics and recovery boosters. It’s a gluten and GMO free supplement that comes in three flavours – chocolate peanut, tiramisu and vanilla.
The tiramisu is an actual treat – ignore the fact that it’s good for you! Chocolate peanut is good, it’s not too sweet either. The vanilla one is a good base for smoothies but a bit bland on its own.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Vegan and Gluten Free Protein Powder
Optimum Nutrition are one of the market leaders in the general protein market and this is their vegan protein offering. It’s another one aimed squarely at the fitness market and nutritionally, it doesn’t disappoint. There are 24g of protein (pea and rice), 4 g of BCAAs and 4 g of glutamine and glutamic acid per serving. A serving contains 143 calories. The supplement is boosted with the addition of vitamin B12, and Vitamin C. Unlike a few other vegan protein powders, it’s not gluten free so be aware of that.
It’s available in Berry, Chocolate and Vanilla flavours. Chocolate goes down a storm and avoids a lot of the bloating of the ‘normal’ ON protein. Berry is a great base for a fruit smoothie.
nu3 Vegan Protein 3K Shake
nu3 have designed this 3K vegan protein powder specifically for the fitness market – it’s a ‘clean’ supplement without any sugar or artificial ingredients. Although the protein content per serving isn’t massive at 21.4g, it’s low calorie (105 per serving) and contains a lot of amino acids. The protein comes from pea, rice and hemp and the sweetness is provided by Stevia and Sucralose. There are four flavours of the protein to choose from.
Chocolate, cookies and cream, strawberry and vanilla make up the flavours. They’re pretty mild and natural tasting – they’re like a melted ice cream of each flavour!
The Protein Works Vegan Protein Powder Shake
This is another vegan protein aimed at the fitness market. The Protein Works have been a big deal in the supplement industry for a few years now and they’ve done a good job here. The Protein Works shake contains 25g per serving and only 112 calories. The protein comes from five different sources – hemp, brown rice, sunflower, soy and pea. It’s great for those suffering from allergies too, being dairy-free, lactose-free, gluten free and wheat free.
There’s 8 flavours on offer here with the chocolate mint one being the best – like mint chop chip flavoured milk shake!
BodyMe Organic Vegan Protein Powder Blend
This BodyMe organic vegan protein powder does what others haven’t managed to – it combines being organic and pure with its ingredients, whilst contributing a high protein dose per serving, with 24g. It’s not the cheapest supplement out there, but it’s vegan and organic and both of these come at a premium price. The protein comes from organic pea protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein and organic hemp protein.
The BodyMe organic is a protein base for a drink – it’s not designed to be drunk on its own, but it’s a great base for smoothies, fruit drinks etc.
Why choose a vegan protein powder?
There are lots of reasons why people would choose a vegan protein powder over the standard milk or egg-based powders, from either health or a moral perspective. I’m going to cover a few of them here…
Avoid cruelty to animals
Veganism is based in kindness – both to animals and the planet. If you morally can’t abide by farming practices used by the dairy or poultry industry, going vegan means you’ll be able to sleep easy at night.
Sample the health benefits of a vegan diet
Vegan products typically contain far fewer of the ‘filler’ ingredients that some protein powders contain. This means they’ve generally got a more varied nutritional profile than other products, are higher in fibre and contain more plant products. These can all really boost health, so are worth considering.
Great for lactose intolerance
A lot of people are either outright allergic to lactose or are sensitive to it, meaning the can’t enjoy the physique improvements from post-workout protein shakes. By going for a vegan protein you are avoiding lactose as an ingredient and will see an improvement in your health as a result. Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, it’s worth it just to keep the dairy content of your diet lower.
What to look for when choosing a vegan protein powder
With a vegan protein powder there’s more to consider than a standard protein powder, where many of the ingredients are the same. Here’s a list of important points to consider, making sure you buy the right product for your needs.
Source of the protein
A vegan protein can be made from all kinds of sources – brown rice, peas, algae, hemp, nuts, seeds etc. These can be blended from a number of sources, so check with ones you like and that agree with your digestion and make your choices based on those.
Sugar and sweeteners
The ‘cleaner’ the product, the fewer artificial sweeteners etc it will have in it. Look for proteins flavoured with natural sugars and ingredients, not things such as aspartame.
Vegan protein powders have a reputation for being ‘chalky’. Look for powders that have been finely ground and are reported as mixing well with other reviewers.
Amino acid profile
Lots of vegan protein powders are supplemented with amino acids to ensure they have a complete amino acid profile, which is needed to build muscle fibres. If muscle bulking/maintenance is important to you, aim for these ones. They’ll usually state they have added amino acids on the ingredients.
This one is subjective, so look at other reviews as well, but you really just have to give one a try and see if you like it!
There are additional ingredients that are often added to a vegan protein powder such as seeds, cacao, and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper. Be aware of these and why they are in the recipe – in some cases it’s for a natural flavouring, in others there’s a health reason (black pepper and turmeric reduce inflammation for example).
The best tasting vegan protein powders – conclusion
There’s more to consider with a vegan protein powder than a dairy-based one, but that’s no bad thing. Pay attention to the advice I’ve given here, do your research and you may find a product that not only tastes great but is also better for you as well!