These five plant-based foods are not only packed full of nutrition but they are budget friendly and easily accessible at your local supermarket!
Lentils are legumes packed full of protein and fibre making them a nutritious and satisfying ingredient. They are also a great source of plant-based Iron – a nutrient which can be tricky to get in a vegan diet. Iron helps oxygen to be transported around our bodies in blood and supports a well-functioning immune system making it an important nutrient to ensure we are eating in a vegan diet.
How to cook red lentils
When cooked down, lentils can form a mince like texture making a great base for a vegan Bolognese pasta sauce or savoury mince. They can also be cooked even softer, making a great thickener for soups or as a dahl alternative.
Red lentil recipe
Tofu is fairly neutral in flavour making it an awesome vehicle for taste – it is also super versatile and so can fit into many dishes and cuisines! Tofu is a great source of vegan protein as it contains all essential amino acids – these are the building blocks of protein that our body cannot make without a dietary source. Tofu is also rich in iron and calcium, two nutrients which are important for our overall health, but aren’t always easy to get in a vegan diet.
How to cook tofu
Tofu is great baked and tossed in a salad, mashed up and fried to create the texture of a vegan scrambled egg or blended into a veggie soup.
Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) are tasty kernels of nutrition! They are a good source of protein, and also contain important micronutrients such as zinc, which supports a healthy immune system and promotes wound healing. Pumpkin seeds are also high in monounsaturated fats – for our long-term health, research has suggested that choosing foods high in this “heart healthy” fat (as opposed to saturated sources of fat found in animal foods) reduces risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
How to eat pumpkin seeds
They can be a great addition to many meals, adding a unique crunchy texture. They serve as a great topper to salads, baked vegetables and porridge.
Flaxseeds are one of the world’s oldest crops. Though they are smalls seeds, they are bursting with nutrition. For one, they are a great source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids. Research has suggested flaxseeds in particular, related to their omega 3 content, may help to reduce risk of heart disease and improve blood cholesterol levels.
How to eat flaxseeds
They have a unique texture and when ground and soaked in water to form a gooey liquid known as a “flax egg.” This can be used as a substitute to egg allowing traditional baking recipes to be veganised. They are also great blended in smoothies or on top of porridge or cereal.
Tahini is a smooth paste made of sesame seeds. It has a strong nutty flavour and can bump up the taste and nutrition profile of vegan meals. Like pumpkin seeds, tahini is a source of monounsaturated fat and so may help to support our heart health.
How to use Tahini
With its creamy texture it can be a great vegan substitute for a salad dressing and can also can be used as a base to homemade dips such as hommus and babaganoush. On its own it is a great spread and is great on top of toast or in a sandwich.