16 Complete Protein Pairings with Cornmeal

Summary:

  • Cornmeal is low in protein - about 11.8 grams per cup.
  • In addition, cornmeal provides only 7 of the 9 essential amino acids sufficiently - it is a little low on lysine and tryptophan.[1]
  • Cornmeal pairs well with cauliflower, crimini mushroom, carrots, watermelon or mango to create a complete protein profile. [2] More cornmeal pairings and detailed analysis below.

A complete protein is a protein source that "contains adequate proportions of the nine essential amino acids" that our body can not produce on its own.

World Health Organization [2], National Academy Press [3]

We analyzed the amino acid composition of cornmeal, and found both vegan and vegetarian pairings with cornmeal that creates a complete protein profile. Read on to discover new combinations of foods to enjoy!

Details on how we calculate complete protein profiles.

image of cornmeal source

Amount of Protein in Cornmeal

Relatively low in protein, a single cup of cornmeal contains 11.8 grams of protein, or about 24% of recommended daily values. [1]

To get the adequate amount of protein with cornmeal alone, you will need 4.2 cups of cornmeal (510 grams) for an average female, or 5.1 cups of cornmeal for males. [4] That's over 1950 calories. Pairing cornmeal with a richer protein source is a good idea.

Full nutritional profile for cornmeal
USDA Source: Cornmeal, yellow (Navajo)

Macronutrients in 1 cup (120g) of cornmeal:

% of RDV Amount
Calories
23% 461 kCal
Carbohydrates
0% -
Total fat
11% 7.1 grams
Protein
23.6% 11.8 grams

Essential Amino Acids in Cornmeal

Proportionally, cornmeal does contain abundant amounts of 7 out of the nine essential amino acids. However, cornmeal is a little short on lysine and tryptophan.[1]

To have adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids with cornmeal alone, you will have to eat 4.7 cups of cornmeal (568 grams) for an average person. [2]

That's about 11% more cornmeal to compensate for the lack of lysine and tryptophan, compared to the protein requirement alone.

The amount of each essential amino acid in 1 cup (120g) of cornmeal:

Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [1] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
23.6% 11.82g
Histidine
50.5% 0.318g
Isoleucine
51.6% 0.444g
Leucine
81% 1.53g
Lysine
21.1% 0.361g
Methionine
32.1% 0.276g
Phenylalanine
40.2% 0.599g
Threonine
40.9% 0.368g
Tryptophan
23.1% 0.06g
Valine
54.9% 0.593g

More Complete Protein with Cornmeal

Top vegan pairings with cornmeal include:
  1. Cauliflower
  2. Crimini Mushroom
  3. Carrots
  4. Watermelon
  5. Mango
  6. Nutritional Yeast
  7. Pumpkin Seeds
  8. Chia Seeds
  9. Black Beans
  10. Kidney Beans
  11. Mung Bean
  12. Dijon Mustard
Although dairy and eggs are generally considered complete proteins, some types of vegetarian food pair more efficiently with cornmeal. These include:
  1. Sour Cream
  2. Milk
  3. Whipping Cream
  4. Unsalted Butter

Vegan 1. Cauliflower and Cornmeal


image of cauliflower
image of cornmeal

Low in protein, cauliflower is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.6 cup of cornmeal (67g) and 0.1 head of cauliflower (73g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:1.1 to 1:1.9 for cornmeal to cauliflower by weight.

Full nutritional profile for cauliflower
USDA Source: Cauliflower, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.6 cup cornmeal and 0.1 head cauliflower :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [5] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16% 8g
Histidine
34.6% 0.22g
Isoleucine
34.7% 0.3g
Leucine
49.1% 0.93g
Lysine
21% 0.36g
Methionine
19.5% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
25.5% 0.38g
Threonine
28.9% 0.26g
Tryptophan
18.5% 0.05g
Valine
39% 0.42g

Vegan 2. Crimini Mushroom and Cornmeal


image of crimini mushroom
image of cornmeal

Crimini mushroom is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.5 cup of cornmeal (63g) and 0.7 cup of crimini mushroom (65g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1:1 of crimini mushroom to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for crimini mushroom
USDA Source: Mushrooms, brown, italian, or crimini, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 0.7 cup crimini mushroom :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [6] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.7% 7.8g
Histidine
33.5% 0.21g
Isoleucine
34.7% 0.3g
Leucine
47.9% 0.9g
Lysine
20.7% 0.35g
Methionine
20.5% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
25.4% 0.38g
Threonine
29.7% 0.27g
Tryptophan
26.2% 0.07g
Valine
35.8% 0.39g

Vegan 3. Carrots and Cornmeal


image of carrots
image of cornmeal

Low in protein, carrot is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cornmeal (57g) and 1.9 carrots (139g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 2.4:1 of carrot to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for carrots
USDA Source: Carrots, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 1.9 large carrots :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [7] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
13.8% 6.9g
Histidine
32.8% 0.21g
Isoleucine
37% 0.32g
Leucine
46% 0.87g
Lysine
18.3% 0.31g
Methionine
18.5% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
24.8% 0.37g
Threonine
49% 0.44g
Tryptophan
17.4% 0.05g
Valine
35% 0.38g

Vegan 4. Watermelon and Cornmeal


image of watermelon
image of cornmeal

Watermelon is low in protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.6 cup of cornmeal (67g) and 1.8 cups of watermelon (277g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 4:1 of watermelon to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for watermelon
USDA Source: Watermelon, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.6 cup cornmeal and 1.8 cup watermelon :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [8] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.5% 8.3g
Histidine
30.7% 0.19g
Isoleucine
34.8% 0.3g
Leucine
47.6% 0.9g
Lysine
21.8% 0.37g
Methionine
19.8% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
25.1% 0.37g
Threonine
31.1% 0.28g
Tryptophan
20.3% 0.05g
Valine
34.6% 0.37g

Vegan 5. Mango and Cornmeal


image of mango
image of cornmeal

Low in protein, mango is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cornmeal (60g) and 0.9 mango (296g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 5:1 of mango to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for mango
USDA Source: Mangos, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 0.9 fruit mango :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [9] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.7% 8.3g
Histidine
34.2% 0.22g
Isoleucine
35.8% 0.31g
Leucine
48.3% 0.91g
Lysine
22% 0.38g
Methionine
18.8% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
25.5% 0.38g
Threonine
30.7% 0.28g
Tryptophan
26.4% 0.07g
Valine
39% 0.42g

Vegan 6. Nutritional Yeast and Cornmeal


image of nutritional yeast
image of cornmeal

Nutritional yeast is a great source of protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.5 cup of cornmeal (60g) and 0.5 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (6g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.1 to 1:2.5 for cornmeal to nutritional yeast by weight.

Full nutritional profile for nutritional yeast
USDA Source: Leavening agents, yeast, baker's, active dry

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 0.5 tbsp nutritional yeast :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [10] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.6% 8.3g
Histidine
33.8% 0.21g
Isoleucine
38.8% 0.33g
Leucine
49.6% 0.94g
Lysine
21.9% 0.37g
Methionine
20.1% 0.17g
Phenylalanine
27% 0.4g
Threonine
33.5% 0.3g
Tryptophan
23.8% 0.06g
Valine
40.1% 0.43g

Vegan 7. Pumpkin Seeds and Cornmeal


image of pumpkin seeds
image of cornmeal

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, pumpkin seed is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cornmeal (55g) and 3.6 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds (14g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.26:1 of pumpkin seed to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for pumpkin seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 3.6 tbsp pumpkin seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [11] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16% 8g
Histidine
34.6% 0.22g
Isoleucine
39.3% 0.34g
Leucine
48.6% 0.92g
Lysine
21.1% 0.36g
Methionine
21.5% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
27.1% 0.4g
Threonine
29.4% 0.26g
Tryptophan
28.4% 0.07g
Valine
44.6% 0.48g

Vegan 8. Chia Seeds and Cornmeal


image of chia seeds
image of cornmeal

Chia seed is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.3 cup of cornmeal (39g) and 0.9 ounce of chia seeds (25g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.6:1 of chia seed to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for chia seeds
USDA Source: Seeds, chia seeds, dried

Table of amino acids of 0.3 cup cornmeal and 0.9 oz chia seeds :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [12] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.8% 7.9g
Histidine
37.1% 0.23g
Isoleucine
39.7% 0.34g
Leucine
44.1% 0.83g
Lysine
20.8% 0.36g
Methionine
27.3% 0.23g
Phenylalanine
29.8% 0.44g
Threonine
32.7% 0.29g
Tryptophan
49% 0.13g
Valine
39.4% 0.43g

Vegan 9. Black Beans and Cornmeal


image of black beans
image of cornmeal

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, black bean is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.4 cup of cornmeal (52g) and 3.3 tablespoons of black beans (50g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:1 to 1:5 for cornmeal to black bean by weight.

Full nutritional profile for black beans
USDA Source: Beans, black turtle, mature seeds, canned

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cornmeal and 3.3 tbsp black beans :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [13] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.3% 8.1g
Histidine
35% 0.22g
Isoleucine
38.9% 0.33g
Leucine
48.7% 0.92g
Lysine
21.5% 0.37g
Methionine
18.5% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
29.3% 0.44g
Threonine
30.1% 0.27g
Tryptophan
23.8% 0.06g
Valine
39.9% 0.43g

Vegan 10. Kidney Beans and Cornmeal


image of kidney beans
image of cornmeal

Kidney bean is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.4 cup of cornmeal (52g) and 3.7 tablespoons of kidney beans (37g) make a complete amino acids profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.7 to 1:4 for cornmeal to kidney bean by weight.

Full nutritional profile for kidney beans
USDA Source: Beans, kidney, red, mature seeds, canned, drained solids, rinsed in tap water

Table of amino acids of 0.4 cup cornmeal and 3.7 tbsp kidney beans :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [14] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.3% 8.1g
Histidine
35% 0.22g
Isoleucine
38.9% 0.33g
Leucine
48.7% 0.92g
Lysine
21.5% 0.37g
Methionine
18.5% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
29.3% 0.44g
Threonine
30% 0.27g
Tryptophan
23.8% 0.06g
Valine
39.9% 0.43g

Vegan 11. Mung Bean and Cornmeal


image of mung bean
image of cornmeal

A great source of protein, mung bean is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cornmeal (55g) and 1 tablespoon of mung bean (13g) creates a complete protein profile. The entire range to create a complete protein are ratios of 1:0.24 to 1:0.24 for cornmeal to mung bean by weight.

Full nutritional profile for mung bean
USDA Source: Mung beans, mature seeds, raw

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 1 tbsp mung bean :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [15] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
17.1% 8.5g
Histidine
37.6% 0.24g
Isoleucine
39% 0.34g
Leucine
49.8% 0.94g
Lysine
22.5% 0.39g
Methionine
19% 0.16g
Phenylalanine
31.1% 0.46g
Threonine
30.2% 0.27g
Tryptophan
23.8% 0.06g
Valine
40.2% 0.43g

Vegan 12. Dijon Mustard and Cornmeal


image of dijon mustard
image of cornmeal

Dijon mustard is a great source of protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.5 cup of cornmeal (55g) and 1.9 tablespoons of dijon mustard (12g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.21:1 of dijon mustard to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for dijon mustard
USDA Source: Spices, mustard seed, ground

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 1.9 tbsp dijon mustard :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [16] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
16.8% 8.4g
Histidine
39.3% 0.25g
Isoleucine
39.6% 0.34g
Leucine
49.7% 0.94g
Lysine
22.2% 0.38g
Methionine
21.1% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
27.5% 0.41g
Threonine
29.5% 0.27g
Tryptophan
22% 0.06g
Valine
41.3% 0.45g

Vegetarian 13. Sour Cream and Cornmeal


image of sour cream
image of cornmeal

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, sour cream is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cornmeal (60g) and 0.3 cup of sour cream (52g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 0.9:1 of sour cream to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for sour cream
USDA Source: Cream, sour, cultured

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 0.3 cup sour cream :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [17] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
14.4% 7.2g
Histidine
32.9% 0.21g
Isoleucine
35.7% 0.31g
Leucine
49.4% 0.93g
Lysine
19% 0.32g
Methionine
20.8% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
25.6% 0.38g
Threonine
28.7% 0.26g
Tryptophan
20% 0.05g
Valine
36.9% 0.4g

Vegetarian 14. Milk and Cornmeal


image of milk
image of cornmeal

Milk is a reasonable source of supplementary protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.5 cup of cornmeal (57g) and 0.3 cup of milk (64g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.1:1 of milk to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for milk
USDA Source: Milk, reduced fat, fluid, 2% milkfat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 0.3 cup milk :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [18] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.5% 7.8g
Histidine
34.3% 0.22g
Isoleucine
37.4% 0.32g
Leucine
49.2% 0.93g
Lysine
20.5% 0.35g
Methionine
21.8% 0.19g
Phenylalanine
26.5% 0.4g
Threonine
29.6% 0.27g
Tryptophan
21.4% 0.06g
Valine
39% 0.42g

Vegetarian 15. Whipping Cream and Cornmeal


image of whipping cream
image of cornmeal

A reasonable source of supplementary protein, whipping cream is high in lysine and tryptophan, which is complementary to cornmeal.

A ratio of 0.5 cup of cornmeal (55g) and 1.2 cups of whipping cream (71g) creates a complete protein profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 1.3:1 of whipping cream to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for whipping cream
USDA Source: Cream, whipped, cream topping, pressurized

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 1.2 cup whipping cream :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [19] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.3% 7.7g
Histidine
32.8% 0.21g
Isoleucine
39.5% 0.34g
Leucine
48.6% 0.92g
Lysine
20.2% 0.35g
Methionine
21.2% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
25.6% 0.38g
Threonine
30% 0.27g
Tryptophan
22.8% 0.06g
Valine
39.1% 0.42g

Vegetarian 16. Unsalted Butter and Cornmeal


image of unsalted butter
image of cornmeal

Unsalted butter is low in protein, and is high in lysine and tryptophan, complementing the profile of cornmeal.

For example, 0.5 cup of cornmeal (55g) and 1.2 cups of unsalted butter (273g) make a complete amino acids profile. In fact, any ratio of more than 5:1 of unsalted butter to cornmeal will be complete.

Full nutritional profile for unsalted butter
USDA Source: Butter, without salt

Table of amino acids of 0.5 cup cornmeal and 1.2 cup unsalted butter :
Amino Acid % of RDV [2] Amount [20] Complete /
Adequate
Protein
15.4% 7.7g
Histidine
32.9% 0.21g
Isoleucine
39.6% 0.34g
Leucine
48.8% 0.92g
Lysine
20.3% 0.35g
Methionine
21.2% 0.18g
Phenylalanine
25.8% 0.38g
Threonine
30.1% 0.27g
Tryptophan
23.1% 0.06g
Valine
39.4% 0.43g


Complete Protein Pairings

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