One of the most popular ways for vegans to get protein into their diet is by consuming protein shakes. Just add protein powder into water, and you quickly have a protein source.
However, water and protein powder is a pretty bland choice. Adding fruit and other options like oats, chocolate banana, or chia seeds can give more power to your shake.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite protein shakes recipes with minimal prep time. I also give my advice on how to make your own vegan protein shake.
Our Favorite Vegan Protein Shake Recipes
1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Peanut butter and chocolate are a dream power combo in a recipe, especially in protein smoothie recipes. This recipe is great for post-workout recovery or if you simply want to treat yourself.
This recipe is packed with protein, and the recipe offers a few optional ingredients to try if you don’t want to make the same thing over and over again. Here’s a quick look at the ingredients.
- 1 ripe banana, frozen
- 1/2-1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter
- 1 tsp cacao nibs
- 1 scoop of peanut butter chocolate protein powder
- 1-2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons of creamy natural peanut butter (an oil-free and sugar free option)
- 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
Some optional ingredients that this recipe includes:
- Melted vegan dark chocolate
- Cacao powder
- Sprinkle of cinnamon
- Vanilla extract
I loved adding a little bit of cinnamon because it added another extra layer of flavor. This tastes more like a treat than some obligatory protein shake.
For the extra chocolate taste, add a teaspoon or two of Navitas Naturals organic cacao powder.
In a blender, combine all ingredients except cacao nibs and blend until smooth. Add more nondairy milk to adjust texture to suit your preference. Sprinkle cacao nibs on top for extra crunch.
2. Chocolate Hemp Smoothie
I know some people are hesitant to use hemp protein in a recipe. However, this recipe will surely convince you. Hemp is a complete protein which means it has all nine essential amino acids.
It makes a great post-workout protein shake because of its nutritional value. I love this recipe because it only had 6 ingredients making it simple to make.
It also has 15 grams of protein, and that’s before adding any protein powder. It’s a power protein shake.
The ingredients for this recipe are:
- 2 tbsp Cacao Powder
- 2 tbsp Hemp Seeds
- 1 cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
- 1 ½ Frozen Bananas, cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp Almond Butter
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt (trust me!)
Protein powder is an optional ingredient, but I would recommend adding it because it adds a lot of protein into this smoothie. You could also add a little bit more of the chocolate flavor by adding chocolate protein powder.
- Add the Non-Dairy Milk to a large high-speed blender, followed by the Frozen Banana and remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy; add more Milk to the Smoothie if you’d like it to be thinner, or Ice if you’d like it to be thicker.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
3. Birthday Cake Vegan Protein Shake
I know it doesn’t sound like a birthday cake can be vegan, but it’s possible. Baked goods are hard to give up when going vegan, but a protein shake like this makes it a lot easier.
This protein shake is definitely more like a dessert but is still pretty healthy for you.
The vegan ingredients for this recipe are:
- 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 packet vanilla protein powder
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. rainbow sprinkles
- whipped cream for garnish (use whipped coconut cream to keep it vegan!)
- Add all ingredients except sprinkles to a blender and blend until well combined. Add sprinkles and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate.
- Pour into a glass and garnish with whipped cream.
4. Coffee Lovers Protein Shake
Even though there are a lot of ways to get caffeine in the morning, like a pre-workout drink, there’s nothing quite like a cup of coffee to help wake up.
So I was excited to find this recipe that includes coffee as one of its main ingredients. It’s high protein and low sugar which makes it a great vegan option for an athlete.
You won’t want to use hot coffee to make this shake, so either wait for your brewed coffee to reach room temperature or use a cold brew.
Let’s take a look at all the ingredients that you will need for this recipe.
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 1 scoop no sugar added vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup cold or room temperature brewed coffee
- 1 1/2 cups cubed ice
- sprinkle of cacao nibs, for topping if desired
- 1–3 drops stevia extract, if desired
- Add all ingredients except ice to a high powered blender. and blend until mixed together.
- Slowly add ice to blender and process until creamy.
- Top with cacao nibs, if desired.
Note: If you desire a bit of a sweeter shake, stir in 1-3 drops stevia extract.
Non-Vegan Recipe Alternatives
It’s easy to start making your own vegan protein shakes once you know what ingredients you can use for your vegan diet.
Let’s take a look at what you could use when a recipe calls for ingredients that aren’t vegan-friendly (1):
Every protein shake recipe has some basic needs though (2). For example, you need to add protein. This is easy to get through a protein powder. You could also use vegan Greek yogurt, but the protein content won’t be as high.
Your protein shake also needs a liquid to help with blending. You could use unsweetened almond milk, water, coconut water, or juice.
Every recipe calls for bananas for a good reason. Bananas help with making your shake thick and not have a smoothie texture. Bananas also have a lot of good nutrition. I recommend trying to add a banana into your protein shake. A protein rich alternative with less strong flavor is avocado though.
The rest of what is in your protein shake is up to you. Your options range from oats to chocolate banana to chia seeds.
It's also best to drink this with your high protein meal too, so you can enjoy the benefits of protein more.
If you don't want to make your own protein shake, try a ready-to-drink one, like the Ample Meal V Protein Shake.
What Protein Powder Flavor Should I Use?
Some of the recipes above may dictate what flavor to use. You may be tempted to go with an unflavored vegetable protein powder, but even adding a simple flavor like vanilla can add a little extra taste to your shake.
What Vegan Protein Powder Do We Recommend?
There are several different recipes for a protein shake, and this article only scratched the surface of what you could possibly make.
Even though you could make a shake without protein powder, I would suggest using protein powder because it adds a lot of protein without sacrificing taste.
My favorite is Transparent Labs because it blends well with other ingredients and the flavor is always great.
It also has 24 grams of protein in one scoop which makes it a great protein source. It derives protein from rice and peas.
Pea protein powder is a great option if you’re looking to add more protein to your diet. It can aid muscle growth, weight loss and heart health.
- Erica Julson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
You can also learn how to make your own vegan protein powder with our article here.
- Dinu, Monica, et al. “Vegetarian, Vegan Diets and Multiple Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies.” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 22 Nov. 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26853923.
- West, Daniel W D, et al. “Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study.” Nutrients, MDPI, 11 July 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537849/.