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Last updated: May 29, 2024

11 vegan-friendly superfoods you should be eating

Superfoods may well be a fad, but all of the vegan foods mentioned here are worth incorporating into your meals no matter what!

A plate with a green vegan superfood powder on a spoon

A well-balanced vegan diet that is made up of a good variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts, is already made up of a whole bunch of awesome vegan-friendly superfoods. Therefore, you may even be eating a few of these already!

If not, then make sure to incorporate a variety of them into your diet. Not only are they all nutritious ingredients, but some of them are pretty useful for vegan cooking too.

Chia seeds a vegan friendly superfood

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are small black seeds that come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico. They’re a great source of vegan omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and plant-based protein.

Chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, which can help you feel fuller for longer.

  • Nutrition: One serving of chia seeds (1 ounce or 2 tablespoons) contains about 138 calories, 5 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of fibre, and 9 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Try out this chia pudding recipe for a tasty and nutritious breakfast

Hemp seeds a vegan friendly superfood

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant but contain only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

They’re a great source of protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and fibre.

  • Nutrition: One serving of hemp seeds (1 ounce or 2 tablespoons) contains about 166 calories, 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fibre, and 14 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Sprinkle some hemp seeds into some bread dough to make a nutritious loaf, try out this spelt loaf with hemp seed recipe.

Flaxseeds a vegan friendly superfood

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are small, golden or brown seeds that come from the flax plant.

They’re a great source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans, which are plant compounds that have antioxidant and estrogen-like properties.

  • Nutrition: One serving of ground flax seeds (1 ounce or 2 tablespoons) contains about 75 calories, 3 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fibre, and 6 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: You can use flax seed as a vegan egg replacer in most baking recipes. You can also sprinkle it on top of some vegan yoghurt or blend it into a smoothie.

Spirulina a vegan friendly superfood

Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows in both salt and freshwater. It’s a rich source of protein, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

It has a strong algae taste that is balanced out when you blend it into a green smoothie with kale, apple, and spinach.

  • Nutrition: One serving of spirulina powder (1 teaspoon) contains about 20 calories, 4 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Spirulina has quite a strong taste but you can combat this by blending it into a green smoothie with kale, apple juice, and cucumber.

Acai berries a vegan friendly superfood

Acai berries

Acai berries are small, purple berries that grow on acai palm trees in South America. They’re high in antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats. Acai berries are also a good source of vitamins A and C.

  • Nutrition: One serving of acai berries (100 grams or 1/2 cup) contains about 70 calories, 1 gram of protein, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fibre, and 5 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Blend up acai berries into a berry smoothie or eat them with some vegan yoghurt. If you have the powdered version, then this also works well in smoothies.

Goji berries a vegan friendly superfood

Goji berries

Goji berries are small, bright red fruits that grow on a plant called Lycium barbarum.

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. They also contain vitamins C and A, iron, and zinc.

  • Nutrition: One serving of goji berries is typically around 1/4 to 1/2 cup, providing around 100-200 calories, 2-4 grams of protein, 10-20 grams of carbohydrates, and 0-1 gram of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Sprinkle goji berries on top of a smoothie bowl or simply snack on them throughout the day as they are!

Quinoa a vegan friendly superfood

Quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that originated in South America. It’s a complete protein source with all 9 essential amino acids, making it an excellent plant-based protein for vegans. Quinoa is also high in fibre, magnesium, and iron.

It is a really easy ingredient to incorporate into your meals. Simply sub it for rice or cook it into soups and stews.

  • Nutrition: One serving of cooked quinoa (1/2 cup) contains about 111 calories, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fibre, 20 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.5 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Use quinoa in place of rice in any of your favourite dishes, like with my Rose Harissa Stew. I also like to add a cupful of quinoa to a vegan chilli con carne to thicken it up.

Kale a vegan friendly superfood

Kale

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli and cabbage. It’s a nutrient-dense food that is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. Kale is also rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene and lutein.

It is a substantial ingredient that is great in fresh salads and cooked dishes like soups and stews.

  • Nutrition: One cup of raw kale (approximately 67 grams) provides about 33 calories, 2.9 grams of protein, 2.6 grams of fibre, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 0.6 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: The possibilities are endless with kale, but I recommend tearing it up and cooking it into a curry or baking it in the oven to make kale chips.

Cacao powder a vegan friendly superfood

Cacao powder

Cacao comes from the Theobroma cacao tree and is the raw form of chocolate. It’s high in antioxidants, iron, and magnesium.

It is a purer variety of chocolate powder than cocoa powder, which also contains sugar and other ingredients. This also means it is a little more bitter.

  • Nutrition: One serving of cacao powder (1 tablespoon) contains about 20 calories, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fibre, and 1 gram of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: Use cacao powder to make a delicious vegan hot chocolate that is surprisingly healthy!

Turmeric a vegan friendly superfood

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and is known for its bright yellow colour. Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin.

When using fresh turmeric it can stain your hands and work surface so do handle it with care! Simply grate the skin off and cook into savoury Asian dishes or use in a smoothie.

  • Nutrition: One teaspoon of ground turmeric (approximately 2.8 grams) provides 9 calories, 0.3 grams of protein, 1.7 grams of carbohydrates, 0.6 grams of fibre and 0.2 grams of fat.
  • Serving suggestion: I recommend using fresh turmeric for the best results. You can grate it into a curry or dhal, or you can blend it into a fruit-based smoothie.

Maca a vegan friendly superfood

Maca

Maca is a root vegetable that grows in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It’s high in antioxidants and adaptogens. Maca is also a good source of vitamin C and copper.

It has a slightly sweet smell to it with an earthy afternote. This means it works well in sweet foods like smoothies and baked goods.

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Lucy the founder of Edible Ethics vegan food blog eating vegan noodles in a plant based restaurant

Lucy Johnson

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