Enjoying a balanced vegan diet means eating plenty of the minerals, vitamins, and fats needed for optimum health. This includes the omega-3 family of ALA, DHA and EPA fatty acids, which are known to protect heart health and improve brain function.
To experience the many health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, it’s important to include a combination of ALA, EPA, and DHA in your diet – and you don’t need to eat fish or seafood sources to do so.
Ready to fill your diet with the best omega-3-rich vegan foods? Here are five with fantastic nutritional profiles!
Five vegan foods with omega-3 fatty acids to boost your health
Now let’s take a closer look at five different vegan food with omega-3 that you should start adding into your diet!
Vegan Food with Omega-3: Chia seeds
One of the most nutritionally-dense sources of ALA is the chia seed, a superfood celebrated by both vegans and non-vegans for its high protein, fiber, and calcium content. Chia seeds are also the plant source with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes them an all-round fantastic ingredient for plant-based eaters (Chia Seeds)!
In addition to chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds (sometimes known as ‘linseed’) and rapeseed (often used in oil form) are all ALA-rich plant sources.
Omega-3-heavy vegan foods that taste great with chia seeds:
- Leave chia seeds to soak with your favourite plant milk and sweeten with maple syrup and fresh berries for a delectable chia pudding.
- Blend chia seeds and flax seeds with unsweetened dairy-free yoghurt and fresh fruit for an immunity-boosting morning smoothie.
- Fold chia seeds into a bread mix, bake and serve warm with a hearty serving of nut butter.
Walnuts is another great option
Walnuts are another omega-3-rich vegan food source to welcome into your diet! Just one 28g serving of walnuts offers up to 2.5g of ALA, so make it a habit to grab a small serving before you leave for work in the morning or to enjoy on the side of your lunch (Alpha-Linolenic Acid).
If you like to experiment with different cooking oils, you will also be pleased to know that walnut oil contains ALA! Drizzle this over salads, mix a splash into coleslaw or combine with spices to create a rich, nutty tofu marinade.
Tasty walnut recipe ideas to boost the omega-3 in your diet:
- Crush walnuts and use to bring crunch to an avocado, pepper and rocket salad.
- Top portobello mushrooms with garlic, chopped tomatoes, dairy-free cheese and a sprinkling of walnuts as a dinner party showstopper.
- Stuff dates with walnuts, peanut butter and a trickle of maple syrup as a healthy alternative to your favourite sweet treats.
The Mighty Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are a fairly underrated vegetable. They fill our plates during the holiday season, but once Christmas is over, they are often forgotten about until the following year. Yet, with just one half-cup serving of cooked Brussel sprouts containing 135mg of ALA, there are many benefits to eating them all year round (Link).
Brussel sprouts are known for their slightly bitter taste, so try preparing them with lashings of black pepper and a spoonful of dairy-free butter to caramelize!
Make sprouts your new favourite vegan food with omega-3-heavy dishes:
- Whip up a simple sheet-pan meal with maple-glazed sprouts, butternut squash and marinated tofu cubes and roast with walnut oil.
- Douse Brussel sprouts with fresh lemon, roast until golden brown, and serve alongside creamy, garlicky vegan pasta.
- Tuck into a nourishing bowl of potato and sprout soup with a chunk of crusty chia seed bread.
Edamame:A great vegan food with omega-3
Edamame beans have a sweet, buttery flavor that makes them an irresistible snack for vegans and non-vegans alike! As an ingredient, they are highly versatile with an impressive nutritional profile, so use these small but mighty beans to add protein, fiber, antioxidants and of course, ALA, to your diet.
Today, you can often buy edamame beans ready to eat in supermarkets and health food shops. However, you can also steam edamame pods to serve with a smattering of salt and fresh chilli.
Graze on edamame beans with these omega-3-rich vegan food ideas:
- Stir edamame beans into a vegetable-heavy stir-fry with a liberal dressing of soy sauce.
- Fry cubes of tofu with sliced pepper and bok choy, and garnish with fresh lime, sliced chilli and as many edamame beans as you would like.
- Blend edamame beans with dairy-free yoghurt, garlic, chilli and any other seasonings for the perfect party dip.
Fish and seafood are often touted as the only available sources of EPA and DHA omega-3 acids, but these fats actually come from the microalgae strains that sea animals eat. This is positive news for vegans, as omega-3 rich types of microalgae (such as spirulina and chlorella) are also plant-based, protein-heavy and easy to purchase from the supermarket.
If the thought of eating microalgae doesn’t appeal to you, you might consider taking a concentrated algal oil supplement instead.
Ways to enjoy this omega-3-rich vegan superfood:
- Blend chlorella or spirulina powder into a smoothie with dairy-free plant milk, bananas and berries to sweeten.
- Fold chlorella or spirulina powder into pancake mix and fry with a spoonful of coconut oil. Top with fresh fruit, crushed nuts and seeds, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Sprinkle microalgae powder into avocado smash with salt and pepper to season. Eat on toast, scoop into wraps, or enjoy on the side of bean chilli.
Your Favorite Vegan Food with Omega-3
What are your favorite vegan foods with omega-3 fatty acids? We would love to hear your recommendations. These are just some vegan food with omega-3 in them. There are many other ways to eat this omega-3 rich food, what is your favorite way?
If you are interested in knowing more about vegan dishes, check out our vegan food article!
“Alpha-Linolenic Acid.” California Walnuts, 7 May 2020, walnuts.org/nutrition/nutrition-info/alpha-linolenic-acid/.
“Chia Seeds.” The Nutrition Source, 19 Oct. 2020, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/.
Link, Rachael. “10 Ways Brussels Sprouts Benefit Your Health.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-brussels-sprouts#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8.