The Common Vegetable That Contains More Protein Than You Might Think

Correction 3/16/22: A previous version of this article stated that, calorie for calorie, broccoli contains more protein than steak. This is incorrect, over 50% of the calories in a serving of steak comes from protein.

In a world where plant-based eating is becoming ever more popular, it's easy to lose sight of just how much protein people really need to eat in order to be healthy. Generally, a little less than half a gram of protein per pound of body weight is recommended or 10% to 35% of your daily caloric intake should be from protein according to SCL Health. That's actually a lot less than you might realize, too.

Whether you eat enough meat to meet that recommendation or you stick to a strictly plant-based diet as a vegetarian or vegan, there are a lot of other foods that contribute to that daily protein intake. According to Healthline, vegan-friendly foods like almonds, peanuts, lentils, and quinoa are all great options, just as milk, eggs, and Greek yogurt are for vegetarians. But there is one vegetable that contains a surprising amount of the stuff.

Broccoli has a decent amount of protein

Like most green vegetables, broccoli is an excellent source of several different kinds of nutrients. It has a good supply of vitamins C and K as well as plenty of potassium, according to Healthline. It will even add to your fiber intake, too.

But what might be most surprising is that broccoli actually contains a significant amount of protein. Healthline explains that one cup of broccoli is only 31 calories and contains 2.5 grams of protein. The USDA's Natural Agriculture Library explains that each gram of protein represents 4 calories of that total, meaning that 33% — or ⅓ — of the calories in broccoli come from protein.

While the green veggie doesn't contain as much protein as something like edamame (which contains 18.4 grams per cup, per Medical News Today), it is still a vegan-friendly, low calorie way to add more protein to your diet.