Soy meat, flax seeds and peas are probably the best known such sources. Are there other cheap sources of protein?
Turkey is one of the cheaper meats - here in the UK anyway. I'm not talking about whole turkeys around Christmas or Thanksgiving time but I know that in my local supermarket turkey mince is significantly better value for money than say beef or chicken.
Chick peas/Garbanzo beans, lentils, and other legumes (black beans, Great Northern beans), and nuts (nuts are a bit pricier). Cheap and vegan/vegetarian friendly!
Eggs are cheap. But they do have a lot of cholesterol in them.
Egg whites are a pretty good one. Our local grocery store even sells them in milk carton containers.
If you use every bit of a whole chicken it becomes a significant value. The meat can be eaten as a main, but stretched even more by being shredded and used in dishes such as chicken pot pie, enchiladas, quesadillas, and so many other dishes that use some chicken mixed in with vegetables. Once the meat is off the bone the bones should be used to make stock. You can freeze portions of stock that can later be used for soups, stews, and other recipes. If you subtract the cost of canned chicken stock or broth from the cost of your chicken, you will find that your much-tastier stock saves you about half the value of your chicken if not more.
Another option for inexpensive meat is to shop the sales and look for manager's specials - discounts on meat which will expire within the next day. Yes, you've got to cook your manager's special meat immediately, but a quick braise in the crock pot might give you a base you can freeze for a future meal.
Tofu is a great source of proteins, it's very cheap, but doesn't taste anything. I suggest to cook it with anything tasty you like and the tofu will get all the taste. Ex: throw some tofu in a pad thai = full of cheap proteins and really tasty.
While cheap is good, health is more important. One thing to watch out with vegetarian proteins is that you are getting what is considered a "complete protein", ie. contains all the essential amino-acids.
I believe quinoa is a complete protein source. It is also possible to mix a few non-complete proteins such as rice and lentils to obtain a complete protein source.
Try the Calorie King site - you can search for tons of foods and input serving sizes. Then just apply your local food cost to find out what is the best value for you.
Even though beans might be the cheapest (which is debatable), you have to eat a lot of them to get the same amount of protein that you would from something else. 1/2c black beans with 9g protein might cost up to 20 cents dried, 25 cents canned. 1oz of chicken with 9g protein could cost as little as $2.99/lb /16 or about 20 cents. Really depends on how cheap your chicken is.
Quinoa is an excellent source of protein.
I cheated a bit, but here is a link with some details http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/highproteinfood.htm
If this is right, then tofu may be the cheapest source
If it's meat protein you're after you can't beat game for value and taste. My local game dealer sells pheasant, partridge, duck, venison, rabbit and hare. The flavour from these meats is wonderful (hare fillets are just like fillet of beef) and you have the added vantage of the meat being 100% free range.
You should try mung beans! They're delicious and small (lentil-like) - just wash dried beans and then cook them for 30 minutes in boiling water for an al dente like texture. Then you can toss them into anything you like - 100g has 30 calories and nearly 8g of protein.
I add them to canned soups (when I'm feeling lazy) or saute them with ginger, garlic, chilies, and tomatoes when slightly motivated.
VERY cheap and good.
Oats are actually a pretty decent source of protein. Wikipedia (via the USDA nutritional database, which unfortunately does not have a linkable URL for that data) lists their protein content as about 17g per 100g. Note that this is still not as high as most beans, which tend to be up in the mid-20s.
The Wikipedia article also mentions that Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, which has been shown by the World Health Organization to be equal to meat, milk, and egg protein. I'm not sure what measure of "quality" they are using; I would guess that it might be related to the portion of the full complement of amino acids that constitutes "protein"; soy is well known to contain all of the requisite compounds.
So if oats effectively constitute a "full protein", then they may be a more, or equivalently, economical source of it than common beans which need to be mixed with rice. Note that this is not because rice is more expensive, but because the "protein" proportion of rice is much lower (wikipedia says 7g/100g). Honestly, I suspect that all of this stuff is a bit more complicated than these statistics make it out to be, so please take this with a grain of salt, unless you happen to have a degree in nutrition and/or biology.
They are also generally about as cheap as food gets, at least in these parts. They run about $1 (CAD) per pound or less for lug-free quantities (about 3lb), and they are very compact, absorbing about twice their volume in water. Pretty much the only thing cheaper around here is potatoes. Which are . . ridiculously cheap, but only contain roughly 2g of "protein" per 100g.
One item I don't see that's been mentioned --
Canned tuna fish.
I grew up with tuna melts, tuna salad, tuna noodle casserole, etc.
It's very versatile, doesn't have to be cooked (so very quick to prepare) and stores well so you can stock up when it goes on sale.
I found an exciting solution to my protein problem! The problem with answers so far is that they are too Western-biased, you cannot find supermarkets everywhere but now a very good versatile tip coming. United Nations' suborganization FAO has a goal to increase the protein intake from insects because:
Of the hundreds of insect species reportedly eaten as human food, the most common come from four main insect groups: beetles; ants, bees and wasps; grasshoppers and crickets; and moths and butterflies. As a food source, insects are highly nutritious. Some insects have as much protein as meat and fish. In dried form, insects have often twice the protein of fresh raw meat and fish, but usually not more than dried or grilled meat and fish. Some insects, especially in the larval stage, are also rich in fat and contain important vitamins and minerals. (Source)
Guess how excited I am: frugal, low-cost and reusable solution! Good after sport -- and it is positive to cut some greenhouse gases. Now the challenge is to find out how to get them, editable species, their cooking and their preservation. More about cooking here.
I love touring and I am trying to cut my dependency on my protein sources such as soy powder, beans and other supermarket stuff. Touring is a bit like camping but with longer distances and a bike. So how do you cook insects? How can I know whether insects are edible? Is it possible to eat all types of insects if I cook them in some way? Can I mix insects such as worms, butterflies and bees? I... you manage insects' cooking like preservation, harvesting and such things but try to keep focus on cooking. Related but not the same Cheap sources of protein? Food during touring?
find such eggs? I feel there is no point to save a few cents to buy rubbish, eggs are very cheap protein source although I paid a bit more for healthy quality eggs. ...I have traveled in Eastern Europe and I am annoyed to find out supermarkets seem offer only stale eggs (like white inside, no A -vitamin, tastes bad), they cost in the range of 7-12 cents per egg. My host offered me some eggs from local people, they were superb -- thick yellow, good smelling and tasted good. How can I know before buying that I am buying a quality egg? I like to eat eggs
I simply love eating tuna, specially with sweet potato, sweet corn and mayonnaise but because tuna isn't good if you eat it everyday, I was wondering what could be best alternative that has good amount of protein in it and taste good or if I need to prepare something for myself but shouldn't be expensive.
I'm trying a handful of vegan dishes, and have found a broth recipe which requires a small amount of soy or rice protein powder (1Tbsp). This eventually makes 30 cups of broth, so overall is a very small component. I have wheat gluten available, and am wondering if it would be an acceptible substitute; or if I would be better off leaving it out altogether, or with another substitute (presuming the protein is used to slightly thicken the broth, would corn starch be a 1:1 substitution)? Full recipe here
Corriher: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/marinades-flavor-tenderize.aspx At first, water molecules are attached to and trapped within this protein mesh, so the tissue remains juicy and tender. But after a short time, if the protein is in a very acidic marinade, the protein bonds tighten, water is squeezed out, and the tissue becomes tough. If you've ever tried marinating shrimp
I am eating "Wheels & Cheese": As you can see, there's literally nothing but cheese and pasta here. The nutrition facts on the back says that there's 11g of protein in it. I've never heard of cheese or pasta being a good source of protein. Where does the protein come from?
Does anybody have any data on the nutritional composition of chicken broth (liquid in chicken soup) and chicken stock (liquid from chicken bones)? For example, will stock contain more protein then broth? Have googled the nutritional contents I read conflicting things and I'm not sure whether they are referring to broth or stock. When during the cooking process is protein extracted? If you simmer stock for 2-8 hours, does most of it come out in the first two hours, or does more come out with prolonged simmering?
equivalents, I've been on the lookout for a "foodservice-grade" electric knife. However, after scouring several of my usual physical and online restaurant supply sources, it would appear that I'm chasing a ghost. "Electric [carving] knife" is a foreign concept. It's possible that they just go by another name (e.g. foodservice immersion blenders are often called "power mixers" or just "mixers") but I don't think so. So for those who've worked at one: Are electric knives ever seen in professional kitchens? If so, do they just use the cheap consumer products or is there a commercial equivalent
I bought an upright charcoal grill/smoker years ago because it was cheap and I was interested in doing both grilling and smoking. However, I didn't find it to be a great grill (too small... a larger kettle grill and love it, but I would love to try to smoke again with the old upright...but this time, using an electric hot plate instead of charcoal (Alton Brown-style). My plan.... Add additional wood to the pan as needed through the access door. Questions: Do I need the water pan if using this method? I'm reading conflicting information about the purpose of the water