What Foods are Vegan?

When it comes to familiarizing yourself with vegan foods, the ideal starting point is not cooking but rather eating. Once you dedicate some time to explore the wide variety of vegan food options, transitioning to a vegan diet becomes remarkably effortless. This article will introduce you to a diverse range of delectable vegan foods.

Eating Vegan is Easy

Omnivores often inquire with puzzlement, "What do you eat?" suggesting that vegan diets consist of a limited and monotonous range of foods. Fortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth.

If you are interested in incorporating more vegan foods into your life, you'll be pleasantly surprised. In this guide, I will introduce you to an astonishing array of delicious vegan foods.

While cooking plays a vital role, it's important to note that homemade vegan dishes are just a fraction of the extensive variety of foods you can enjoy. In this guide, we will go beyond cooking and explore every conceivable category of vegan food. If you have concerns that adopting a vegan diet would be restrictive and confining, prepare to be pleasantly astonished. We are about to unveil an endless array of sensational vegan foods!

Let's begin by examining every plant-based food category. We will then delve into the wide assortment of vegan-friendly cuisines. Additionally, I will present you with vegan meal options that can be easily prepared at home, including seven key dishes requiring minimal preparation time. For those interested in delving further into vegan cooking, I will provide some trustworthy cookbook recommendations. Lastly, I will offer advice on vegan grocery shopping, dining out, and traveling, along with numerous links for more detailed information on the topics covered in this article.

The Best Vegan Foods for Everyday Eating

The notion of going vegan once appeared incredibly challenging to me, but the reality turned out to be ten times easier than I anticipated. My diet today is significantly more diverse and flavorful than ever before when I consumed meat. As you begin incorporating more vegan foods into your meals, you'll soon be overwhelmed by the multitude of delicious possibilities.

Vegan diets can be affordable, and even the simplest meals can offer sensational flavors. I've found that no expensive gourmet meal can surpass the taste of a perfectly ripe avocado on a delightful sourdough baguette. If you appreciate quality, you can enjoy exceptional meals while sticking to a budget. After all, freshness and optimal ripeness do not come at an additional cost; they simply require more attention during food shopping.

The variety of vegan foods is practically limitless—you could try something new every day for the rest of your life. Moreover, new food options are continually entering the market. If it comes from a plant, it's fair game. This means that a vegan diet allows you to enjoy a vast array of foods derived from vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Let's take a quick exploration of each of these possibilities:


Vegetables offer the most flavorful experience when purchased during their respective seasons. Some vegetables come into season in the spring, while the majority are harvested during the summer. Towards the end of autumn, a few more important varieties are ready for harvest.

Peas, for instance, thrive in cool weather and are among the first crops to be harvested. They become available by mid-spring. Cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and most lettuces also hit the market during spring.

Early summer brings the availability of kale, chard, cucumbers, and summer squash. As for corn, it's recommended to pick it when the water is boiling, and it reaches its peak during the hottest days of summer.

Root vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beets, yams, and sweet potatoes, are harvested when the nights become chilly. These foods are perfect for hearty winter stews that provide comfort during the coldest weather.


Mushrooms, being neither a fruit nor a vegetable, are readily available throughout the year. Asians, particularly the Japanese, have a remarkable variety of mushrooms in their cuisine.

In my opinion, the most delicious mushroom of all is the Japanese shiitake, which exclusively grows on wood. It possesses a subtle flavor and a meaty texture that, when sautéed with garlic, makes it an excellent filling for spring rolls and dumplings. Remember to remove the woody and inedible stems of shiitake mushrooms.

If you're looking for a wide selection of mushrooms, Asian grocery stores often offer a more extensive range than other places. It's worth checking if there's one near you.


Fruit encompasses an endless array of varieties. Whenever possible, it is advisable to purchase locally and in season. For instance, peaches that have ripened on trees from your nearby orchard will be much more delightful compared to those grown hundreds of kilometers away. Farmer's markets or directly from the farm are consistently the best places to procure fresh fruits and vegetables.

Delving deeper into the realm of good eating will reveal that most fruits should not be available year-round. If the only option you have is an imported winter tomato, it is preferable to explore alternative ingredients and forgo tomatoes altogether. Canned tomatoes, on the other hand, work wonderfully for numerous purposes and are always picked at their peak ripeness.

Frozen fruit combined with vegan milk creates fantastic, nutritious, and easily prepared smoothies. Since frozen fruit is always widely accessible, you can enjoy smoothies throughout the year.

Dried fruit provides a splendid way to relish the flavors of summer during the winter months. Dried fruit also delivers more concentrated flavors compared to fresh fruit.


Whole grains offer exceptional nutritional value and are also one of the most cost-effective sources of calories. Whenever possible, prioritize the purchase of whole grains and unrefined flours, as they provide superior nutrition compared to processed grains.

For the best prices and the widest variety, consider exploring online options or visiting the bulk department of your local natural food store. These places offer a range of options including rice, wheat, oats, corn, rye, millet, buckwheat, and quinoa. Although classified as pseudo cereals, buckwheat and quinoa are botanically seeds rather than grains.

Rice stands as the most popular grain consumed by billions of people. It's advisable to buy different varieties, including red and purple. Additionally, keep in mind that quinoa (pronounced: keen-wah) offers significantly higher protein and nutrient content compared to rice while requiring less water to grow.

Grain-based products include various types of bread and breakfast cereals. Making your own granola is incredibly easy, and freshly baked homemade granola consistently surpasses any commercial brand in taste.


Beans are undeniably the most economical and nutritious food available, particularly when obtained in dried form. Similar to grains, the most affordable and practical approach to purchasing beans is either through the bulk section of your natural foods store or online. If you're pressed for time, canned beans can be used as an alternative, although they may not be as flavorful as dried beans that are cooked from scratch. Enhance the taste of canned beans by sautéing chopped onions in a small amount of oil before heating them.

To expedite the cooking process, it is advisable to use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker for beans. Otherwise, beans can take upwards of two hours to cook properly. If you're new to cooking beans, a recommended starting point is to prepare an Indian-style dal using lentils or mung beans. This dish is quick and easy to make, and can be enjoyed as a soup or served over rice.

There is a wide array of bean varieties to explore. Sampling as many types as possible is a simple way to diversify your diet. For comprehensive information on purchasing, cooking, and savoring beans, consult our bean guide.

Nuts and Seeds

Similar to beans, nuts and seeds are abundant in protein and minerals. Nuts serve as one of the most convenient snack options worldwide. There is decent evidence linking the consumption of a small handful of nuts each day to improved health. However, nuts can be costly due to the labor-intensive process of harvesting and shelling them from trees.

Interestingly, peanuts are not classified as nuts but rather as legumes. They are an exceptional option for reducing food costs while providing ample nutrients. As the saying goes, when something is extremely affordable, you can buy it for peanuts.

Seeds, like peanuts, are also much more affordable compared to nuts and offer delightful flavors. Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, and sesame seeds are among the various choices available. Spicy roasted pumpkin seeds, for instance, are one of the most enjoyable snacks you can experience, while shelled roasted hemp seeds make an exquisite salad topping.

Most nut varieties are transformed into nut butters, which are excellent spreads for bread or toast. Peanut butter or cashew butter can also be used to create delectable sauces to accompany rice dishes.

Vegan Pantry Staples

Now, let's review the key vegan essentials that are fundamental to a vegan diet. If you follow a vegan lifestyle, it is recommended to have most of these foods readily available in your kitchen.


Oils play a crucial role in various recipes that involve frying or sautéing, as well as serving as the primary component in most salad dressings.

Commercially bottled oils are derived from a range of fat-rich vegan foods, including seeds, olives, coconuts, and even avocados. Unrefined oils offer more flavor but tend to scorch at lower cooking temperatures. Here are three oils that deserve a permanent place in your pantry:

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Perfect for low-temperature cooking and serves as an excellent base for salad dressings. Mixing unrefined olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar creates a sensational dip for sourdough French bread.

2. High Oleic Safflower Oil: A flavorless refined oil that works well for sautéing or frying. The label's mention of "high oleic" indicates that the oil can withstand normal cooking temperatures without scorching.

3. Unrefined Roasted Sesame Oil: Surprisingly affordable despite its rich and enticing flavors. Adding a dash of this oil to your next stir-fry just before serving or incorporating it into your salad dressing will elevate the taste experience.

Tofu and Tempeh

Tofu and tempeh, both originating from Asia centuries ago, have become staple foods in vegan diets. Tofu is created by solidifying soy milk with a coagulant, resulting in a versatile and wiggly block that serves as the main ingredient in numerous delicious dishes.

On the other hand, tempeh is a simpler and less processed food made from cooked split soybeans that have been cultured with a fungus. With tempeh, you can easily prepare a delicious plant-based burger by frying it until golden brown and adding ketchup or barbecue sauce.

Both tofu and tempeh, being soy-based products, are excellent sources of protein. They require less cooking and preparation time compared to dried beans, and are generally easier to digest. Additionally, tofu made with calcium sulfate contains more than twice the calcium per calorie as whole cow's milk.

Considering all these qualities, tofu and tempeh are fantastic options for adding protein to your stir-fries and other dishes. For a wide range of recipe ideas, please refer to our tofu and tempeh guide.

Nut Butters

If you enjoy peanut butter, why not explore other nut butter varieties? Expand your palate and try every nut butter you come across. Experiment by spreading cashew butter on a toasted sourdough baguette and garnishing it with thinly sliced sautéed leeks. It's a remarkably delicious and simple meal.

Furthermore, any nut butter has the potential to transform into a magnificent sauce. Simply blend it with a touch of coconut milk, soy sauce, and sautéed minced garlic and ginger, gently heat the mixture, and add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice before serving. This sauce will elevate your dishes to a new level of flavor.


Are you a fan of bold and spicy flavors? If that's the case, vegan cooking provides endless opportunities to add a kick to your dishes, as all herbs and spices are derived from plants.

Furthermore, the good news is that the majority of sauces and condiments are also vegan-friendly. This includes most, if not all of the following options:

  • Soy sauce, including tamari
  • Hot sauce, both gourmet and dirt-cheap
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Vinegar (including apple cider, red wine, balsamic, and rice)
  • Sriracha “rooster” sauce
  • Indian-style pickle pastes
  • Wasabi paste
  • Barbecue sauce (great on grilled tofu or tempeh)
  • Mexican fresh or jarred salsas

While most of the sauces listed above are typically vegan, it's important to read the ingredients as there are some non-vegan brands available. However, the majority of these products can be found in vegan-friendly versions.

One notable exception for vegans is Worcestershire sauce, which often contains anchovies. However, there are a few vegan brands available, and you can also make your own Worcestershire sauce from scratch. Additionally, it's worth noting that certain soy sauces, particularly some Japanese brands, may contain fish extract.

Minced garlic and ginger are the go-to seasoning combination in many Asian cuisines and can greatly enhance the flavor of stir-fries and various other dishes. It's a fantastic addition that can elevate your favorite recipes to new heights.

Are Vegan Diets Healthy?

Individuals of all ages can thrive on a vegan diet. The most comprehensive evaluation of the health benefits of vegan diets concluded that "Vegan and vegetarian diets can offer substantial health advantages when compared to non-vegetarian diets."

Why go vegan?

Joining a vegan lifestyle promotes good health, preserve numerous animal lives, and contribute to the fight against climate change. Also, the culinary experience of vegan food is truly delightful and becoming more accessible every year.

How to Go Vegan?

If you're planning to go vegan, you don't have to do it alone. This guide covers all aspects of transitioning to a vegan diet in an enjoyable way. By the time you complete reading it, you'll have a clear understanding of how to proceed confidently.

What Foods are Vegan?

By reading our introduction to vegan cuisine, you'll never face difficulty in finding delightful meals. Our comprehensive guide encompasses various aspects, including grocery shopping, convenient food options, dining out, and even travel recommendations.

Try Out a Vegan Diet

Embarking on a vegan diet is incredibly simple. Here is all the information you require to get started. Whether you choose to follow it for a day, a week, or a month, you will have an enjoyable experience and gain valuable knowledge.

Vegan Cooking Made Easy

Enhancing your cooking abilities is a highly effective approach to facilitate your shift to a vegan diet.

Investing just an hour or two in acquiring fundamental cooking skills can bring lifelong benefits to your culinary journey.

Vegan Nutrition Guide

A vegan diet offers significant health advantages since it it a nutritionally balanced, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and plant-based proteins. Plant-based diets are linked to lower cholesterol levels and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Vegan Fitness Guide

This guide provides extensive information on vegan fitness, examining nine of the most popular activities. I will cover everything you need to know to elevate your physical fitness and reach new levels of performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any specific inquiries about veganism, our FAQ section provides precise and reliable answers. It covers 24 of the most frequently asked questions related to veganism, offering clear and definitive responses.

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