Protecting the planet and powering your performance can now go hand-in-hand with the best vegan protein powders…
A few years ago, those following a vegan diet had slim pickings where protein powders were concerned. But plant-based protein powders (and protein bars) have come along way in a short space of time and most can now go toe-to-toe with their whey protein counterparts in terms of their post-workout appeal and recovery credentials.
How we test the best protein powders
Our expert testers judged each of the best vegan protein powders on their taste, texture, solubility and nutritional effectiveness, as well as cost per serving and availability. They also took into account the variety of flavours and any recyclable packaging.
What is the best vegan protein powder?
Despite there now being some very good vegan protein powder options on the market now, our clear favourite is the Vivo Sport Perform. Not only does it have the best flavour of any powder on test, it also hits the spot with 25g protein per serving.
Other vegan protein powder recommendations
|Best clean powder:
|Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein does exactly what it says on the tin. You won’t find any artificial sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives here; just 19g of high quality protein per serving, with added vitamins and minerals.
|Best powder with BCAAs:
|There’s no surprise that Healthspan’s Plant Protein Vegan Blend does the business if the All Blacks swig it after every game. As well as a substantial 24g protein, each serving has 4.1g of naturally occurring branched-chain amino acids too.
|Best value powder:
|Though it’s the cheapest on test, PhD Smart Protein Plant has three moreish flavours – strawberry, chocolate cookie and salted caramel – a decent 20g of protein and just 1g of sugar per 25g serving and mixes really well with no grittiness.
1. Vivo Sport Perform
In the past, plant-based protein suffered one fatal flaw: it tasted like the soil it came from. Thankfully, the market for vegan protein powders has come a long way in a short time and now the best products match the whey-based alternatives for taste as well as content.
Leading the charge is Vivolife, with its range of genuinely tasty products and, in particular, its Vivo Sport Perform.
A scan of the ingredients list is unlikely to get your tummy rumbling (“Mmm bio-fermented yellow pea protein”) but the end result not only tastes great, it contains an impressive 25g of protein, plus 6g of plant-based BCAA and a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt for good measure. We’re big fans of the Salted Maca Caramel and Banana & Cinnamon flavours, both of which weigh in at less than 140kcals per scoop.
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2. Bulk Powders Vegan Protein Powder
Packing 23g of mixed plant protein, this easy-to-mix powder tastes great – with nine flavours available – and comes relatively cheap.
The protein comes from a blend of pea, brown rice, quinoa, pumpkin and flaxseed for a complete amino acid profile, and digestive enzymes are added to the mix to help your body break it all down.
3. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein (Functional Flavours)
Nuzest’s Functional Flavours range packs a punch without any hidden horrors. There’s not an artificial flavour, thickener or preservative in sight, and each option – Chai Turmeric; Coffee, Coconut & MCTs; and Vanilla Matcha – not only provides 19g of high-quality protein, but also an array of vitamins and minerals picked with sports performance in mind. One of the best clean vegan protein powders on test.
4. Bio-Synergy Lean & Green
The Lean & Green unique formula from Bio-Synergy packs in 22g protein per 30g serving, with no sugar and just 2.3g fat.
Developed from high-quality natural ingredients, including pea protein isolate and brown rice protein. Lean & Green is also free from soya and hemp, and comes with added L-glutamine to complete the full house of amino acids.
5. MyVegan Vegan Protein Blend
It’s the go-to brand for many people’s sports nutrition needs, and now MyProtein has moved into the plant-based sphere with its sister company MyVegan, offering some of the best vegan protein powers on the market.
What you get is a product that mixes well and tastes great, plus the knowledge that what you’re consuming has been created by a bona-fide big-hitter in the protein world. One serving provides 24g of all-natural pea and fava bean protein.
6. Pulsin Pea Protein
Unlike other powders on the list, Pulsin’s Pea Protein uses just one plant source: the humble pea. But don’t let that fool you, because this product still packs a decent 16g of complete protein per 20g serving.
That said, anyone with a sweet tooth might struggle with the unflavoured powder, but it does taste considerably better than other unflavoured options out there. It also mixes well, so you don’t have to chew your way through it.
7. Healthspan All Blacks Plant Protein Vegan Blend
Befitting a protein powder made for the All Blacks rugby team, Healthspan’s Plant Protein Vegan Blend has been formulated with Actazin, a protease enzyme sources from kiwi fruit to aid absorption.
It’s available in chocolate and vanilla flavour and packs 24g protein and 4.1g BCAAs per serving.
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8. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant
Optimum Nutrition, another major player in the protein market, has turned its attention to plant-based powders, and its Gold Standard 100% Plant provides not only 24g of complete protein, but also vitamin B12.
Primarily found in red meat, B12 provides energy and speeds up reactions in the body, and it’s something vegans need to keep on top off – this takes the stress out of doing just that, making it one of the best vegan protein powders we tried.
9. PhD Smart Protein Plant
PhD’s plant-based range of Smart Protein powder consists of three macro-friendly flavours – strawberry, chocolate cookie and salted caramel. Each one has 20g protein per 25g serving, but only 1g sugar and 100kcal.
It’s a useful powder for baking, desserts and mousses, as well as simple shakes, though it mixes a little better in water than it does in milk. It is one of the least expensive plant-based powders yet isn’t gritty like many vegan shakes can be.