Finding Vegan Options So You Don't Have To

What is the Best Vegan Protein Powder?

One of my first quests when I went vegan was to find the best vegan protein powder. As a life long lifter I was losing my whey and that was an issue. The good news is that in the short time that I’ve gone vegan I’ve seen the market for vegan proteins explode. Going back only a couple years, there wasn’t much to choose from. Now, I come across entire sections in Whole Foods and even Target that is floor to top shelf vegan proteins.

For this review I tested eight of the most popular vegan protein powders currently available. I then evaluated each one in a few different categories.

Review Categories

Protein Type – There are now a ton of plant based protein sources. I was actually pretty surprised to learn that almost all vegan protein powders are either straight pea protein or a pea protein combo. I would have thought I would have come across some soy proteins, but that wasn’t the case here.

Flavors – Pretty straightforward here. What flavors are available for each brand.

Taste – Tested with 12oz of water, ice & 1 serving of powder. Almost any vegan protein powder can be made to taste pretty good with a little fruit, non-dairy milk and maybe some peanut butter. I wanted to test each protein all on it’s own without any help except some ice.

I’m going to go ahead and state this on the front end. With the exception of one of the protein powders, I thought every one of these had good taste and that was with nothing (no peanut butter, fruit, etc) added to them. Sure, everyone is going to have their own personal favorite, but I think the differences in taste of the majority of the powders is so small that personal preference is going to be the only deciding factor.

Protein Purity – Percentage of calories coming from protein. To calculate, multiply the grams of protein by 4 and then divide that number by the calories per serving. (Ex. 20g of protein x 4 = 80. 80/160 calories = 50%. This is something I’ve been doing with protein powders for years. When I’m looking for a protein powder, I want one with as little extra “fluff” (fat and carbs) as possible. This is harder to decipher now than it used to be because of fake sugars that don’t register as calories. I’ll do my best to try to sort this out with each one.

Price per Serving – Because you shouldn’t need to be an economics major to figure out if you’re getting good value. I do all the math for you in regards to serving sizes and container sizes and prices. The prices I used were the current list prices (February 2020) either directly off their site or off of Amazon. Obviously, if you find a different price the price per serving will change.

Overall Pros and Cons – The overall best (and worst) features of each brand.

To Purchase – Finally, we’ll give you a convenient link if you’d like to purchase any of the vegan protein powders in our review. These are affiliate links. If you click on them (at no extra cost to you) and make a purchase we will receive a small commission. We are not endorsed by any of these products and all our reviews are our 100% honest opinion.

Without further ado, here is our list (in no particular order) of the best vegan protein powders:

Vega Sport

Type: Pea Protein

Flavors: Berry, Chocolate, Mocha, Peanut Butter, Vanilla

Taste: Like I stated above, when it comes to taste, almost all of the protein powders on this list are really good. With that being said, Vega Sport is probably my favorite when it comes purely to taste. While I’ve not personally tried every flavor, I have tasted both the Chocolate and Vanilla and both are really, really good. Tastes great with just some water and ice. No “extras” (fruit, peanut butter, etc) needed for it to taste great.

Protein Purity: 71% 170 calories, 3g fat, 5g carbs, 1g sugar, 30g protein

Price per Serving: $2.10 39.95 for the 1lb (serving 1 scoop, 19 scoops)

Overall Pros:

  • One of the best tasting vegan protein powders
  • Vega also has an available RTD (Ready to Drink) for those workouts you feel too lazy to make a shake.
  • 30g of protein tied Garden of Life for the most per serving
  • Non-GMO
  • NSF Certified for Sport – Important certification for athletes
  • Zero artificial colors and sweeteners
  • Keto Friendly
  • If you’re not looking for a sport protein, Jen likes a different line of Vega’s Protein Powders called Vega Essentials. They focus more on adding micronutrients and taste great too. She makes a shake with half vanilla, half chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, hemp seeds, flax or chia seeds and non-dairy milk that is really good! I’ll add a recipe link once we have it on here.

Overall Cons:

  • The Vega Sport, at over two dollars per serving is the most expensive protein on our list
  • Some organic ingredients, but not 100% organic
  • Second listed ingredient is “Natural Flavors”

To Purchase: Shop the Vega Store and receive free shipping on all orders over $50 (US)

Ripple

Type: Pea Protein

Flavors: Unflavored, Vanilla, Chocolate

Taste: Ripple was the first plant based protein powder that I found that I loved the taste. There definitely was a couple misses early on and I started to get a little worried that plant based powders and great taste weren’t going to co-exist. Then I discovered Ripple, whose plant based milks (especially the chocolate) I was loving, had a protein powder. They’re excellent. The unflavored is not meant to be drank by itself, but as a base for other flavors it works really well. The chocolate and vanilla are both great all on their own. They both passed the water, ice powder test with flying colors.

Protein Purity: 73% (***claims on front label “the purest plant protein on earth”***) 110 Calories, 1.5g fat, 2g carb, 0g sugar, 20g protein

Price per Serving: $1.67 24.99 for the 13oz container (serving 1 scoop, 15 scoops)

Overall Pros:

  • One of the best tasting vegan protein powders
  • Can be combined with Ripple’s own brand of plant based milk which ups the taste even more and adds an extra punch of protein
  • While “purity” is a term whose meaning can be argued, by our formula Ripple came in second (73%) to only Garden of Life
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-Free, Lactose Free, Soy Free, Nut Free

Overall Cons:

  • Contains some organic ingredients, but not 100% organic
  • 20g of protein per serving ties Ripple for last with Evolve

To Purchase: Ripple Protein Powder on Amazon

Orgain

Type: Pea Protein

Flavors: Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peppermint, Peanut Butter

Taste: Orgain’s vegan protein powder blends really well and has a good flavor. If there is a negative to Orgain’s taste, it’s the aftertaste. What I’ve noticed with pea protein is by themselves, they have a particular “taste” to them that’s not the most pleasant. Whey was very similar is this fashion. The key, if you will, is to figure out how to mask the taste of the protein itself. The aftertaste of the pea protein comes through a little more than in some of the others I tasted.

In Orgain’s defense, this probably has a lot to do with the fact that Orgain doesn’t use any artificial sweeteners (Orgain uses Organic Erythritol for sweetness) and still boasts only 1g of sugar. Also, mixed with other flavors or in recipes (Jen made some ridiculously good protein pancakes which hopefully she’ll have a link to soon) Orgain’s taste is excellent.

Protein Purity: 56% 150 calories, 4g fat, 15g carb, 1g sugar, 21g protein

Price per Serving: $1.89 18.99 for the 16oz container (servings “about 10”)

Overall Pros:

  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Certified Vegan
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten Free, Lactose Free, No Added Sugar, No Artificial Sweeteners, Made without Soy ingredients

Overall Cons:

  • Taste is average
  • 15g carb is more than I like to have in a protein powder. The high amount of carbs lowers the protein purity ratio to 56%, second worst on our list.

To Purchase: Use Code ‘VeggL’ to receive 30% off your first purchase of Orgain

Less NAKED PEA

Type: Pea Protein

Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Unflavored, Matcha (Matcha only available in the 1 pound container)

Taste: Have to be honest here – It’s rough. Naked Protein’s thing is that they keep ingredients to a minimum (which I 100% respect for those wanting to know exactly what they’re putting in their body). Their Less NAKED PEA protein only contains 3 ingredients. So, if you’d like to really taste what pea protein tastes like, here ya go. Either you don’t have taste buds and you can knock this back with just ice and water or you’re gonna need to “fancy” this up a bit some peanut butter and fruit or maybe both.

Protein Purity: 63% – 160 calories, 4g fat, 8g carb, 5g sugar, 25g protein

Price per serving: $0.92 – 54.99 for the 5lb container, 60 servings (2 scoops per serving)

Overall Pros:

  • Consists of only 3 ingredients: Pea Protein, Organic Coconut Sugar and either Chocolate or Vanilla. You know exactly what you’re putting into your body with Less NAKED PEA protein. No laundry lists of ingredients that you can’t pronounce.
  • The only protein that came in at under a dollar per serving at only 92 cents.
  • Exclusively from farms in the US and Candada
  • No artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors
  • Non GMO, Soy Free, Gluten Free
  • Also comes in a NAKED Variety that is only one ingredient, pea protein.

Overall Cons:

  • It’s the worst tasting protein we tried. You’ll most likely need to add other ingredients (fruit, peanut butter, etc) to make a good tasting shake or smoothie.

To Purchase: Less Naked Pea Protein on Amazon

Optimum Nutrition

Type: Combination of Organic Pea, Brown Rice and Sacha Inchi proteins

Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry

Taste: The Optimum Nutrition plant based protein blends great and the taste is really good. Even the Berry flavor is really good, which is much harder to do than just chocolate or vanilla. While not my personal favorite, I’d have no argument if someone picked Optimum as their favorite. Also, on the topic of taste, it has to be noted that Optimum also has plant based protein bites (think Reese’s Cups but protein) that are absolutely amazing.

Protein Purity: 69% – 140 calories, 2.5g fat, 6g carb, 1g sugar, 24g protein

Price per Serving: $1.58 – 29.99 for the 1.51lb container, 19 servings (1 scoop per serving)

Overall Pros:

  • Great Taste
  • Price per Serving is very competitive
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • No Artificial Colors, Flavors or Sweeteners
  • Gluten-Free

Overall Cons:

  • Optimum Nutrition doesn’t really have any cons. While their protein powder is not necessarily the best in any one particular category, it is solid in every category.

To Purchase: Optimum Nutrition Plant Based Protein on Amazon

Garden of Life Sport

Type: Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Sprouted Navy Bean, Organic Sprouted Lentil Bean, Organic Sprouted Garbanzo Bean, Organic Cranberry Protein (seed))

Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate

Taste: The taste is great which to me is even the more impressive when you consider the makeup of Garden of Life powders. To be able to combine all certified organic non-gmo ingredients, contain less than 1 gram of sugar (Garden of Life uses Organic Stevia for sweetness) and still have a great taste is really impressive.

Protein Purity: 75% – 160 calories, 3g fat, 4g card, <1g sugar, 30g protein

Price per Serving: $2.03 – 38.49 for the 28.4oz container, 19 servings (2 scoops per serving)

Overall Pros:

  • Had the highest protein purity score, 75%, of all the proteins we tested. If you looking a lot of protein (30g per serving) and not a lot of calories (only 160 calories), Garden of Life is your best choice.
  • 30g of protein also ties it with Vega Sport for the most protein per serving
  • All Certified Organic Ingredients
  • Non-GMO
  • NSF Certified Sport
  • Gluten Free and Soy Free
  • Certified Vegan
  • Garden of Life also has a full line of Vegan Protein Powders if the ‘Sport’ variety isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.

Overall Cons:

  • 2nd Most Expensive Protein we tested.

To Purchase: Garden of Life Sport on Amazon

Evolve

Type: Pea Protein

Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Banana

Taste: Evolve is a good tasting protein powder. Not grainy or gritty after mixing. I’ve personally tried both the Chocolate and Vanilla and I have both in that second tier with Optimum Nutrition. However, like I mentioned with Optimum, if you told me Evolve was your favorite I wouldn’t have a big argument with you. Evolve also comes in an RTD (Ready to Drink) that is quite good for a RTD.

Protein Purity: 50% – 160 calories, 3g fat, 16g carb, 3g sugar, 20g protein

Price per Serving: Per 2 Scoops: 20g protein

Price per Serving: $1.47 – 29.31 for 2lb tub, 20 servings (2 scoops per serving)

Overall Pros:

  • Good taste
  • Also comes available as a RTD (ready to drink) if you don’t want to deal with the powder and making your own shake.
  • Price per Serving ($1.47) is one of the best on our list
  • Gluten Free and Soy Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Free of Artificial Flavors

Overall Cons:

  • Lowest “purity” score on the list at only 50% of the calories coming from protein.
  • Contains Maltodextrin
  • Maybe you consider this a con and maybe you don’t, but I feel it’s worth noting. Evolve is a Cytosport product which is owned by Pepsi.

To Purchase: Evolve Plant Based Protein on Amazon

Ora Organic

Type: Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Rice Protein, Organic Sacha Inchi, Organic Hemp Protein,

Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Vanilla Chai

Taste: Ora Organic’s vegan protein powder also blends great and has a good taste. I especially enjoyed the Vanilla Chai as it was a little different than what I’m used to. From an ingredients standpoint (all organic, non-gmo), I think Ora Organic compares closely to Garden of Life. I’d give Garden of Life a slight edge in taste over Ora, but it’s really close.

Protein Purity: 68% – 130 calories, 3g fat, 5g carb, 0 sugar, 22g protein

Price per Serving: $1.90 – 37.99 for 650g (22.9oz) tub (2 scoops per serving)

Overall Pros:

  • All Organic Ingredients
  • If you go with the subscription, Ora Organic is one of the cheaper proteins we tested
  • Gluten Free and Soy Free
  • Non-GMO
  • No filler ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

Overall Cons:

  • Similar to Optimum Nutrition, no real cons that stand out for Ora Organic. They may not be first in every category, but Ora is solid in every category.

To Purchase: Shop from the Ora Organic Website.  Use the Promo Code VEGGL to receive 30% off your FIRST Purchase.


We hope you enjoyed our list of the best vegan protein powders and hope you found it helpful and informative. Depending on exactly what you’re looking for and your personal taste preference, the protein you pick might not be the same as mine or someone else. It really just depends on what you value most. Do you want a great tasting protein? How important is organic and non-gmo ingredients? How much will cost play a factor?

I believe the good news is, no matter what you’re looking for, I think you can find a vegan protein protein powder that will fit your needs right here.

In case you’re wondering, do I have to take a protein powder to get enough protein as a vegan? The answer is NO! If you’d like to see some high protein foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet, check out our Best Vegan Protein Sources for Athletes

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