Key takeaways
  • Critical nutrients such as B12, iron, essential fatty acids (EFAs) and protein can be challenging to obtain from a vegan diet
  • Incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods can help to bridge these nutritional gaps
  • Easy vegan recipes designed to be nutrient-rich and address common deficiencies include green apple smoothie, coconut and chickpea curry and pumpkin seed nut butter

At age 14, I had a simple but significant realisation: I loved animals and I wanted that to be reflected on my plate. This shift became much more than just dietary for me and this commitment to compassion has shaped my life. 

Back then, there were limited vegan options for dining out, and I found myself exploring the creative world of plant-based cooking. Each recipe became a challenge to transform plain ingredients into meals full of flavour.

This journey ultimately led me to become a Naturopath, igniting my passion for holistic health, herbal medicine and nutrition. Through my studies, I learned the importance of maintaining my intake of essential nutrients - like B12, iron, essential fatty acids (EFAs), and protein - which can be harder to obtain from plants and easily under-consumed. 

To thrive as a vegan, it’s crucial to monitor your intake of these nutrients. Below, I’ve shared some of my favourite, easy vegan recipes designed to address these common nutrient gaps in a delicious way. 

Green apple smoothie

This refreshing smoothie is a go-to of mine for packing in greens and seeds, and staying hydrated. It's loaded with essential nutrients like iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins (including vitamin C and vitamin K), and antioxidants. 

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1 green apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, washed
  • 2 cups kale, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Adjust thickness by adding more coconut water if needed.
  4. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Sip slowly and mindfully, and enjoy.

Coconut & chickpea curry

This recipe offers a cosy and comforting solution to the common problem of finding high protein vegan meals. It’s also iron-rich (spinach, tofu, chickpeas) and sneaks in some essential fatty acids too (coconut oil and milk). 

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil for cooking
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas
  • 200g firm tofu, diced
  • 1.5 cups spinach, washed
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece ginger, grated
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (or 1 tsp of: ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric & paprika, with ½ tsp of mustard seeds, fenugreek, cardamom, cayenne pepper and ground cloves)

To garnish

  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • ¼ lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat
  2. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent
  3. Add minced garlic and grated ginger, and sauté for another minute
  4. Stir in curry powder and cook for a minute until fragrant
  5. Add diced tofu and cook until lightly browned
  6. Add diced tomatoes and cook until they start to soften
  7. Pour in coconut milk and bring to a simmer
  8. Add chickpeas and spinach, let simmer for 5-7 minutes until spinach is wilted
  9. Season with salt according to taste
  10. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and a squeeze of lemon before serving

Pumpkin seed nut butter

Now, for something sweet. This is a nut butter that tastes so good, it’s replaced the classic peanut butter in my house. Pumpkin seeds contain a significant amount of iron and protein as well as healthy fats, fibre, magnesium, and zinc. 

Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

  • 250g pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C
  2. Spread pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet
  3. Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned
  4. Remove from the oven and let the seeds cool for a few minutes
  5. Place the toasted seeds, coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt in a food processor
  6. Blend on high for roughly 3-5 minutes  or until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed
  7. Transfer the butter to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you are inspired to try cooking something new. Whether you're a seasoned vegan, or just interested in incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet, these recipes will nourish both body and soul.

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About 
Georgia Hampton
Experience as a Naturopath has fostered Georgia’s interests in the pursuit of optimal health. Georgia provides patient support with testing, supplement orders, and questions, approaching each interaction as an opportunity to offer clarity and enhance the patient experience.
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{ "datePublished": "Jun 27, 2024" }