It’s no secret that being a vegan makes it a lot harder to get certain nutrients in our diets. It’s a tough sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice worth making. One of the most notorious of these nutrients is protein. With so much protein coming from animal sources, it can be difficult to get enough protein to sustain a vegan lifestyle. Vegans have to look for alternatives, and an extremely popular one is pea protein.
We’re going to give you a complete buyer’s guide to pea protein powder, including our top picks on the market, answers to your top questions, and everything you need to know to choose the best pea powder for you.
Best Vegan Pea Protein Powder Brands
What Is Pea Protein Powder?
First, let’s cover the basics. What is pea protein powder? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! Pea protein is made by extracting the protein from ground up yellow peas. What you’re left with is a powder, which resembles traditional protein powder.
Pea protein is particularly popular because it is such an excellent source of protein. The actual amount of protein varies by brand, but a typical serving of pea protein powder has about 15 to 30 grams of protein. To put in perspective, the average recommended daily value for an adult male is 55 grams per day but can change depending on size and activity levels.
Overall, pea protein powder is popular simply because it is a great source of protein and tends to be highly cost-effective. Now, let’s check out our favorite brands:
1. Best Overall: Naked Pea
Naked Pea is one of our favorite brands of pea protein powder. What’s so great about Naked Pea is that it is so simple. There is one ingredient, and that’s yellow pea protein! Zero additives, no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, and it’s GMO, soy, and gluten-free! This is a great choice for vegans.
Additionally, this blend is packed with protein! There is a whopping 27 grams of protein per 30 grams serving, and only 120 calories. There’s also only 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of carbs. Overall, this is a clean protein source and helps you meet your macros without ingesting too many calories.
Naked Pea utilizes environmentally friendly farms in the USA and Canada to source their peas! Additionally, they process the peas without the use of chemicals.
All of these are reasons why Naked Pea gets our best overall pick. It’s a highly efficient protein powder in an extremely simple mixture, and you can feel good about the ethics involved in their production!
- Great protein source
- Only one ingredient
- Made from peas farmed in the USA and Canada
- The unsweetened powder may make the taste unappealing to some
2. Nutrasumma Fermented Pea Protein
MRM Veggie Elite ProteinNext up, we have Nutrasumma Fermented Pea Protein. Unlike the option above, this isn’t a one ingredient protein powder, but the ingredients it contains are quite healthy and natural!
This pea protein powder has 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of sugar, and 120 calories per serving. Compared to Naked Pea, it sacrifices a bit of protein content for sweeteners, but 20 grams is still a solid portion of protein.
The powder was also fermented to allow for optimal digestion. It has a subtle vanilla flavor, that is sweet but not too sweet.
Aside from that, it is non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan friendly of course!
Overall, this is another solid choice, although it is a bit on the expensive side.
- Natural ingredients
- 20g protein per serving
- Manufactured in the USA
3. Best Premium: Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein
Next up we have Anthony’s Pea Protein. This is another simple option when it comes to pea protein. It contains only one ingredient: vegetable pea protein isolate.
This pea protein is made simply by removing the starch and fiber from yellow peas and grinding them into a fine powder. There are no artificial additives, and this pea protein is unsweetened and unflavored.
We like this one, and the price is quite fair considering it is a premium product.
- Only one ingredient.
- 24g protein per 30g serving (that’s a lot!)
- Low in calories – only 102 calories per 30g serving
- Unsweetened and unflavored may be unappealing to some
4. Vegan Smart Pea Protein
Vegan Smart Pea Protein contains 20 grams of non-GMO protein per serving and is another great vegan option.
This one has a vanilla flavor and was sweetened with natural flavors and organic cane sugar. The ingredient list is a bit longer compared to other options we included, but it’s mostly good ingredients.
This is a great option if you want a protein shake that tastes great, although the extra sweeteners do push the calorie count up slightly to 160 per serving.
- Good source of protein
- Tastes great
- Not as low-cal as some other options
5. Gold Standard Pea Protein
Gold Standard Pea Protein has 24 grams of protein per serving. The protein isn’t pure pea protein and is instead a blend of organic pea, organic rice, and organic sacha inchi protein. These are all vegan-friendly options.
This is a clean protein powder that is certified USDA organic, Non-GMO, and has no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
Another thing we like about Gold Standard is that each serving has a complete amino acid profile that helps with muscle recovery.
It does have a vanilla taste but was naturally sweetened, and each serving only has 1 gram of sugar. As a result, it is moderately low in calories at 150 per 38-gram serving.
Overall, we like this pea protein. It does have a rather complex ingredients list, but it’s full of good stuff. Just note that it’s expensive.
- 24 grams of protein per serving
- Complete amino acid profile
6. KOS Organic Plant Protein
Here’s another plant protein that we like. If the flavor is among your primary concerns, then you’ll love this one. It was flavored with organic Peruvian cacao, Himalayan salt, organic coconut milk, and a dash of stevia with monk fruit. It’s one of the more delicious options on our list!
As far as protein powders go, it’s pretty good. It’s a mix of pea protein, flaxseed, quinoa, pumpkin seed, and chia seed, all of which contribute to its protein count of 20 grams per serving.
It claims to be good for weight management, but it’s one of the higher calorie options on our list, at 170 per serving.
Something else we like about KOS protein is that almost every ingredient is certified organic. It was made in Southern California with USDA and CCOF certified ingredients.
Overall, if the flavor is your primary concern, you can’t go wrong here!
- Great flavor
- Good source of protein
- Very expensive
- High in calories
7. Garden of Life Raw Organic Plant Protein
We like the Garden of Life Protein. It isn’t a pure pea protein, as its protein is derived from USA grown peas and 13 raw organic sprouts. Regardless, it’s a great source of protein, coming in at 22 grams per serving.
It’s also impressively low in calories, at only 110 per serving. So, if weight loss is your goal, this is a great product to consider.
It’s also a great source of probiotics and enzymes for helping with digestion.
This powder has a subtle vanilla flavor, but there are zero grams of sugar.
Overall, this is a great powder that is high in protein and low in calories!
- Great source of protein
- Low in calories
- Moderately expensive
8. PlantFusion Complete Pea Protein
PlantFusion protein has 22 grams of protein per serving. It is also infused with amino acids and digestive enzymes for a well-rounded blend.
We particularly like their unique fusion of protein sources. This blend derives its protein primarily from peas, but also from artichokes, algae, and organic sprouted superfoods. The ingredients are all hand-selected as well.
This protein powder has a tasty vanilla flavor, and it’s made with no artificial flavors or sweeteners. It’s relatively low-cal, at only 120 per serving.
- Tastes great
- Great source of protein
- Hand-selected vegetables
9. PurePea Protein Powder
PurePea Protein Powder is another excellent option that derives its protein purely from peas. The yellow peas are North American grown and non-GMO. They are produced using a natural fermentation process without the use of chemicals.
Ingredients aside, we were impressed with this protein powder. Two heaping scoops contain 20 grams of protein and only 110 calories.
Aside from the pea protein, the only other ingredients are natural vanilla flavor, stevia, and silicon dioxide. This is a pretty short ingredients list compared to many other options in our buyer’s guide and reflects the all-natural appeal of this product.
- Natural ingredients
- Low in calories
10. Best Value: NOW Sports Pea Protein
Here’s our pick for the best value, and it’s pretty easy to see why. This is a big container of pea protein, weighing in at seven pounds! You get so much bang for your buck with NOW Sports Pea Protein that it comes in at our top value selection.
A good value doesn’t mean much if the product isn’t top quality, and we think this one delivers. Although it may look like a fancy protein blend, the ingredient list only contains one item – yellow pea protein isolate! That’s right, this is pure pea protein, with no additives, and no artificial sweeteners or flavors.
Each 33-gram serving has 24 grams of protein and 120 calories. That’s a great calorie and protein ratio, which makes this a highly efficient protein for weight loss purposes.
Each scoop serving contains over 4200 milligrams of branched-chain amino acids and 2000 milligrams of arginine. These are both great for digestion and help your body to process the protein.
NOW protein also claims to have rigorous quality assurance programs and detailed production run testing.
Overall, it’s a great choice if the value is your top priority, and it’s a highly capable protein powder as well.
- 24g and only 120 calories
- Pure pea protein – only one ingredient
- Exceptional value
- Unflavored and unsweetened may not appeal to some
11. HydroPea Organic Pea Protein
HydroPea is another solid choice, and like so many of our favorites on this list, it only contains one ingredient – pure organic pea protein!
This blend uses only pure, raw yellow peas that are sourced from Canada. That makes it an all-natural choice with no artificial flavors, colors, or any other ingredients.
This blend contains an impressive 27 grams of protein per serving. There are also 18 amino acids in each serving, which help with digestion.
The texture is notable as well. It is partially hydrolyzed, eliminating a bit of the grainy texture that is associated with some protein powders. The result is a protein that appears smoother and is more pleasant to add to drinks and swallow.
It is unsweetened and unflavored, which may not appeal to some, but the way it dissolves into drinks makes this somewhat of a non-issue. Add it to your favorite drink and you won’t even know it is there.
Overall, this is another excellent choice if you’re looking for a protein powder that is 100 percent peas. If all-natural is your goal, it’s hard to go wrong here.
- Pure pea protein powder
- 27g of protein per serving
- Hydrolyzed for a smoother texture
- Unsweetened and unflavored
12. Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional 16 oz. Vanilla Protein Powder
Bob’s Red Mill protein powder is made from natural ingredients. It derives most of its protein from peas but also contains probiotics, chia seed, inulin, and psyllium.
This protein powder puts a heavy emphasis on flavor. You will probably enjoy it if you’re a vanilla fan, but this emphasis on flavor makes it somewhat high in calories, coming in at 180 per serving. It also contains 20 grams of protein per serving.
Overall, this is a pretty solid protein blend, and the extra chia and probiotics are a bonus. It’s a bit more on the flavorful side, which makes it less ideal for weight loss.
- Tastes great
- Contain chia & probiotics
- High in calories at 180 per serving
- Relatively low in protein compared to some options on our list (20g/serving)
13. Vivo Life Perform Raw Vegan
Vivo Life Perform is another high protein option, with 25 grams of protein and 6 grams BCAAs per serving. The protein is derived from pea and hemp, with digestive enzymes that improve digestion.
This protein powder emphasizes taste as well as having a smooth texture. It has a nice banana cinnamon flavor which isn’t overly sweet either.
Overall, we like this protein option, but it is a bit expensive.
- High protein
- 6g BCAAs
14. SPROUD Vegan Pea Protein Milk
Here’s a neat protein option. This is plant-based protein milk which derives its protein from peas. The silky, creamy, delicious protein milk is pre-made and pre-flavored.
SPROUD doesn’t just focus on protein either. It supplements this vegan milk with calcium, as well as vitamins D2, B2, and B12.
Although this is a more well-rounded choice, it’s not as efficient a protein source as the powders above, with only 5 grams per serving. So, while this may be the option for ultimate convenience and flavor, you may prefer a protein powder if your goal is maximum protein while minimizing calories.
- Great taste
- Fortified with calcium and other vitamins
- Eco-friendly packages
- Not very much protein (5g/serving)
15. MRM Veggie Elite Protein
To round out our list, we have MRM Veggie Elite Protein. This is an all-natural, plant-based protein powder. The protein comes from a mix of pea and brown rice protein and contains 24 grams of protein per serving.
It is pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to calories, at 140 per serving. This is probably due to natural sweetening that gives it a cinnamon bun flavor.
Overall, this is another solid choice to round out our list, and it’s a great source of protein.
- Great source of protein
- All-natural and plant-based
- A bit high in calories
Vegan Protein Powder Buyer’s Guide
Thanks for reading through our guide to the top brands of pea protein powder! Before we wrap it up, we’re going to give you a buyer’s guide for pea protein powder. Our buyer’s guide contains the most commonly asked questions that people want to know before making a purchase.
What Are The Benefits of Protein?
Protein is important to your body’s regular functions for a variety of reasons. Protein is found throughout your body and helps to make up the building blocks for various things, including muscles, bones, organs, skin, and hair. Protein gives these tissues and organs their shape and helps them to work how they should.
Protein is probably most commonly known to build and regenerate muscles, but it performs a variety of other important functions as well. It is critical to help carry oxygen through your body in the blood, as well as to fuel your energy throughout the day.
Protein is also drawn upon for energy when your reserves are low. If you’re engaged in exhausting physical activity, your body can use protein to fuel this activity when you are running low on other sources of energy.
Pea Protein vs. Whey
Another big question that people have about pea protein powder is how it compares to whey protein powder. Whey is probably the most popular protein option, but as it contains dairy, it is not a suitable option for vegans.
For starters, like whey, pea protein is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids – even branch chain amino acids. These BCAAs are very important for building muscle.
In terms of nutritional information, pea protein and whey are very similar. In identical serving sizes of each protein type, they tend to have the same amount of protein. Pea protein is slightly higher in calories, but they have near-identical levels of carbs and fat. Whey does beat out pea protein in BCAA content.
Here’s how it stacks up for a 25 gram serving of each:
- Pea: 25g
- Whey: 25g
- Pea: 163
- Whey: 157
- Pea: 6
- Whey: 8
So, while pea protein doesn’t quite match whey in terms of BCAA content, it still contains a pretty decent portion.
Overall, pea protein is about as good as you can get for a whey substitute. It is one of the only substitutes that rivals whey in terms of amino acids and BCAA content. Additionally, its protein content is just as good.
The one downside for many is that pea protein has a chalkier, harsher taste than whey. However, for a vegan option, we think it’s great!
So, you’ve read through all the information above, and you have one question left – which protein powder is best?
We gave you a lot of options, so it’s understandably hard to make your decision. We recommend you focus on a few key decision-making factors.
Pay attention to the nutritional content of the protein, with special attention to the protein content and calories per serving. This is a good metric of whether it is a suitable weight loss alternative. Additionally, pay attention to the actual source of the protein in each powder. Those that derive their protein from pure peas tend to be better sources of amino acids and BCAAs and a more efficient formula overall.
Aside from nutritional factors, pay attention to taste and texture! Look for formulas that have been naturally sweetened. Many utilize fruits such as monk fruit. You want a protein powder that you enjoy the taste of or that can blend naturally into other drinks. Some are even fortified with other vitamins and minerals.
Once you have a good idea of what you are searching for in a pea protein powder, compare your wants to our picks above. We’ve provided a well-rounded list of pea protein powders, and we are confident you will find one to help fuel your day!