What Africans Eat: Protein Replacement For Meat

The West African food list contains ingredients and recipes with influence from all over. It would not be surprising to go into a Ghanaian fast food outlet and find your common American cheeseburger. But in searching for truth, you’ll find that these aren’t part of the African heritage diet. Even if they add burgers with an overly processed protein replacement for meat and label it ‘vegetarian burger.’ That is not a good indicator of how Africans eat. African food is straight out of the garden authentic. With plant based food high in protein and still fresh. 

The African heritage diet

You may wonder: If not cheeseburgers, then what do Africans eat? Compared to Western countries, the West African food list is higher in fiber and lower in fat. It has lots of plant based food high in protein and other necessary nutrients to create a balanced diet. There is no need to go looking for bread for carbs, a protein replacement for meat, and veggies for vitamins. The African heritage diet doesn’t need to go searching for truth, it knows how to find all these in just a few traditional ingredients.

4 African plant protein substitute


If you search ‘beans’ on the Humblevege search bar, you will find enough recipes to keep you trying something new for weeks. Beans and legumes, whether lima, kidney and pinto beans are high in protein. 

Rumor has it, the best beans to use as a protein substitute are soybeans. We have done the searching for truth, and soybeans are very convenient for the African heritage diet. Their diversity especially. For a cheap plant based food high in protein, you can find Africans turning to Soya chunks. They have protein content that can give chicken a run for its money. Soybeans can also be eaten as tofu. Although it may not be as popular in what Africans eat, about 87% of a cup of firm tofu is protein.If you don’t like soybean tofu, you can try chickpeas tofu. 

Searching for truth? African heritage diet show plant based food high in protein from west African food list in case you want protein replacement for meat.
Examples of Beans in Benin

Another type of beans, yellow split peas are good sources of protein, cholesterol free, and low in sodium. On the West African food list you’ll find creamy and hearty yellow split peas soup. 

If you’re interested in the different types of beans in the West, read this article on beans in Benin.


Did you think seeds were only for planting and feeding birds? Well seeds like egusi, worlor (Liberian), or ogbono seeds can be crushed and used as thickeners in stews. With as much as 8.5 grams of protein in every 100 grams of ogbono seeds and Egusi with 26.26 — 39.96% protein in them. They can also be made into spreads, added as seasoning, or roasted for snacks.

Another popular seed is millet. Nigeria is the third largest millet-producing country after India and China. It can be consumed as millet juice (Kunnu), flour, porridge or sadza, with 11g in every 100 gram. 


You don’t have to limit these foods as a protein replacement for meat, they can also be added to desserts. So when you have a little sweet treat on your cheat day you can still say you had a plant based food high in protein, lol. For example, kanyan is made of peanuts or groundnuts that are abundant in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. 

peanut dessert kanyan

In North Nigeria you can even find Miyan Geda, a groundnut soup with fat, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium in one plate. 


Experts say that each corn cob has 3.4 grams of protein. And if you walk down the streets of Liberia in corn season, it is easy to find yourself eating lots of roasted corn cobs as a snack. Simple, yet very satisfying. Corn can also be ground and made into porridge, a cheap meal that can make an amazing breakfast. 

Searching for truth in West African foods complete

If someone asks you, ‘What do Africans eat?’ and you reply with, ‘Many types of soups with a protein substitute,’ then you are somewhat on the right track. The African heritage diet has lots of soups and stews that are usually paired with a seed based starch. And trust us, the traditional way is the best way. 

Suggested Recipes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *