5 healthy vegan recipes

Why vegan?

Vegan food has become increasingly popular over the past few years and it’s easy to see why. Typically, low in fat, high in fibre and with less impact on the environment than meat and dairy foods, the vegan diet has a lot to offer. But whether you are choosing more vegan meals for health or sustainability reasons, you’ll need to make sure you’re not missing out nutritionally. Plant based diets can be lacking in iron, vitamin B12, calcium, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids if they are not carefully planned.

Here are 5 vegan recipes aimed at packing a punch when it comes to vitamins and minerals.

womens health surreyFalafel burgers

The chickpeas and spinach in these burgers contain iron. To make the most of this iron we need to serve it alongside foods containing vitamin C (the vitamin C helps our body to absorb iron). Serving your falafel burgers with peppers and a tomato salad or salsa does exactly that.

Ingredients: Serves 4

400g tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ red onion

Handful of spinach

2 garlic gloves

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Toasted pitta bread to serve

Cucumber slices, pepper crudites and chopped cherry tomatoes to serve

Method:

  • Place the drained chickpeas in a food processor along with the red onion, spinach, garlic gloves, flour and ground cumin.
  • Blend until the mixture comes together. Add a splash of oil if the mixture is too dry.
  • Shape into patties.
  • Heat the rapeseed oil in a non-stick pan and fry each burger on a low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until lightly golden.
  • Serve with the toasted pitta bread, cucumber, crudites and cherry tomatoes.

women's health surreyLentil Bolognaise

This dish, with a variety of vegetables and pulses, is packed full of vitamins and minerals. The added yeast extract not only provides flavour but also B vitamins including vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found mostly in animal products so most vegans will need to take a supplement to ensure they are getting enough. Vitamin B12 is important for healthy blood and a healthy nervous system.

Ingredients: Serves 4

1 onion

3 garlic gloves

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

½ tsp chilli powder

1tsp yeast extract

50g dried puy lentils

50g dried red lentils

75g diced carrots

2 x 400g chopped tomatoes

75g diced mushrooms

75g diced green peppers

Whole wheat spaghetti to serve

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the diced onion and garlic and fry gently until soft.
  • Add the chilli powder and yeast extract and stir well.
  • Add 200ml of water followed by the lentils and diced carrots and chopped tomatoes. Bring up to the boil.
  • Add the mushrooms and pepper and turn to a simmer.
  • Allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are cooked. Stir regularly and add more water as required.
  • Meanwhile cook the wholewheat pasta as per packet instructions.

womens health surreySpinach, apricot and chickpea curry served with okra

The combination of fruits, pulses and vegetables used in this dish all have something important to offer a vegan diet. Spinach and chickpeas and apricots all provide some iron. The dried apricots and okra also provide calcium. What a great way to boost intake of two of the key nutrients sometimes lacking in vegan dishes.

Ingredients: Serves 4

2 tbsps mild curry paste

1 onion

1 garlic glove

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp garam masala

400g can of chopped tomatoes

2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

50g dried apricots, finely diced

250g spinach

Okra to serve

Brown rice to serve

Method:

  • Cook the brown rice as per packet instructions. The rice will take longer to cook than the curry so get ahead with the rice first.
  • Heat the curry paste in a large pan. Once hot add the chopped onion, garlic and spices
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer
  • Add the tinned chickpeas and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile stir fry okra or steam the okra.
  • Remove the curry from the heat and add the spinach and diced dried apricots. Stir well until the spinach has wilted.
  • Serve with brown rice and steamed or stir fried okra.

women's health surreyStir fry with mango and broccoli

The soya beans in this dish are high in protein as well as containing some iron and calcium. The mixture of vegetables and mango not only provide flavour but also oodles of vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients: Serves 4

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

4-5 spring onions

1 inch fresh root ginger

100g frozen chopped mango, defrosted

200g frozen soya beans

350g bag fresh stir-fry vegetables

120g tenderstem broccoli

3 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Noodles to serve

Method:

  • Cook the frozen soya beans as per packet instructions
  • Trim the roots and tops off the spring onions and slice.
  • Peel and grate the ginger and finely chopped the garlic.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok. Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the cooked soya beans, defrosted mango, stir fry vegetables and tenderstem broccoli
  • Add the soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender
  • Serve with noodles.

women's health surreyChia seed pudding

A fabulous vegan pudding that won’t disappoint with its nutritional value. The chia seeds in this pudding are a great way to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Using a fortified dairy-free milk will also provide a range of vitamins and minerals. If you can, find a plant-based milk that is fortified with iodine. Iodine is important for proper thyroid function and for cognitive development of the foetus during pregnancy. It’s usually found in diary foods and shellfish so, for a vegan diet, it’s especially important to find fortified foods or take a supplement.

Ingredients: Serves 4

60g chia seeds

400ml unsweetened, fortified soya or almond milk

3tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

Blueberries to serve

Method:

  • Place chia seeds, milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a large bowl and stir well.
  • Cover and leave to thicken in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours
  • Spoon the pudding into jars or glasses
  • Top with blueberries and serve.

AUTHOR: CATHERINE LIPPE 

NUTRITIONIST, SURREY

Catherine is a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN), and founder of Catherine Lippe Nutrition. She has over 10 years’ experience as a paediatric nutritionist and has worked within both the private and public sectors, including the NHS.

Catherine Lippe
Children's nutritionist specialising in weaning, fussy eating, pregnancy, new mums and early years nutrition.
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