Best Vegan Snacks
Luckily, many of the best traditional snacks are already vegan friendly. You don’t normally rustle up a quick butternut squash risotto as a snack but nature has handily provided us with lots of great snack-sized goodies. As well as some obvious and “automatically” vegan snacks, we’ve got some ideas for more complex plant-based snacks too. By and large, these are pretty healthy, so fill your snack-craving little boots!
Healthy Vegan Snacks
Loads of the healthiest vegan snacks are the ones that nature made for us. They tend to be amazingly convenient too, because if you’re hungry and in a hurry, these are items that you can just grab, assuming you have them in the house of course. The National Health Service (NHS) suggests healthy snacks should be around 100 calories and lots of these are under (or at least not too far over) that figure.
We don’t think you have to stick rigidly to the 100 calorie mark though. As long as the calories are quality ones (see more about the British Nutrition Foundation Quality Calorie (QC) concept), packed with nutrients, going to 200 or more calories is fine, especially within a balanced wider diet or when taking regular exercise. Here are some of our favourite healthy vegan snacks that require no, or virtually no, preparation.
Top Vegan Snack Options
|Snack||Approximate Calories||Health Benefits|
|28g of Almonds||160||High in protein, fibre, vitamin E and magnesium|
|28g of Cashew Nuts||155||High in protein, magnesium and good source of iron|
|28g of Brazil Nuts||180||Amazing source of selenium, good source of fibre and magnesium|
|Medium Banana||105||Good source of fibre, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese|
|80g of Edamame Beans||97||High in fibre and protein, excellent source of folate, manganese and vitamin K|
|Medium Apple||95||High in fibre, good source of vitamin C|
|Medium Carrot||33||Amazing source of vitamin E, good source of fibre, low calories|
|80g of Olives||90||Contains healthy fats and reasonable source of vitamins A and E|
|28g Dried Apricots||68||Good source of fibre, vitamin A and potassium|
|80g Cherry Tomatoes||21||Low calories, reasonable source of vitamins A, C and E|
In truth, we could add just about any nuts, seeds, fruit or vegetables to this list. If you want an easy, tasty and nutritious vegan snack, these are the items you should ideally be looking at and, with most fresh fruit and veg, you don’t need to worry too much about the serving size.
Some vegetables and especially some fruits can be high in sugar though, so as a general rule sticking to about 80g of any given fruit or vegetable is a good idea unless you are more knowledgeable about nutrition. With most fresh plant-based foods, this counts as one of your five a day too, with more than 80g not “counting” extra as it is best to eat a range of fruit and vegetables.
When it comes to dried fruit, nuts and seeds, you have to be more careful and we would advise, as per the table above, only around an ounce (28.4g) of these. If you have a mix of nuts and seeds you could maybe go as high as 60g or so but nuts and seeds are high in both fat and calories. Dried fruit, on the other hand, tends to be high in sugar, the overall sugar content having been concentrated (in terms of mass) by the dehydration.
More Quick Healthy Vegan Snacks
Whilst the snacks above are incredibly healthy and simple, it would be a bit of a cop out if our post consisted solely of the most basic snacks. The ones above are, by and large, suitable for those following a raw vegan, diet but if you’re looking for something a little more complex, we’ve also got plenty of great options that still fit the bill as a healthy vegan snack.
Barring a few exceptions (such as those with added butter), popcorn is essentially vegan and however you buy it, it’s also really quick and easy to prepare. Whether you buy raw kernels to pop in the pan or microwave, designated microwave popcorn, or bags of pre-popped corn, this is a snack that will be ready in less than five minutes.
Assuming you don’t go for one dripping in a fat or a sugar-filled topping, it’s pretty healthy too, especially compared to crisps, which are a comparable sort of snack. It has more fibre and protein than crisps, is a whole grain and contains around 25% fewer calories than crisps by weight.
What’s more, it has more volume, by which we mean that 50g of popcorn looks and feels like a lot more food than 50g of crisps, so you should naturally eat less. Unless you get served a massive bucketful of the stuff on a trip to the cinema that is.
As with popcorn, when it comes to roast chickpeas you can buy them ready to eat from the shop or make your own. Either way, you’re going to get a huge hit of fibre, lots of vegan protein and a range of minerals.
To make your own, just take some pre-cooked chickpeas and roast in a single layer at around 190°C for half an hour. This will dry the chickpeas out, meaning the next step will crisp them up perfectly. Then just add a little oil and salt (or whatever seasoning and flavours take your fancy), turning the chickpeas so they all get coated. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until golden and crunchy.
Check out our great vegan hummus recipe and see how easy it is to make this amazing dip. You can buy it readymade if you like but it’s so easy to make and doing it yourself is cheaper and gives you full control over the ingredients and nutrition.
We can eat hummus with pretty much anything, so depending how healthy you want to be, have it with cucumber, celery, carrots, pita bread, on toast, or just about anything that takes your fancy.
You can put pretty much anything in a smoothie and they are a great way to have a quick blast of nutrients. There are all sorts of recipes out there but we like a nice simple one that serves up a good mix of energy with enough protein and fibre to keep you feeling nicely satiated.
Just blend 160g of mixed berries, half a banana, a splash of fruit juice (orange, grapefruit or anything you fancy) and 5g each of chia and linseeds. Mix this with enough of your favourite plant-based milk to create the consistency you want – around 150ml should do it.
We make our own vegan-friendly muesli and, served with almond milk, we reckon it is hard to find a more nutrient-dense tasty snack or breakfast option. Packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, plus some nice additions from the fortified milk, we reckon you could live off this (it would be quite boring and you might not last that long, but you definitely could).
Our mix includes oats, rye flakes, bran flakes, omega seed mix (usually pumpkin, sunflower, linseed and hemp), chia seeds, Brazil nuts and goji berries but of course you can mix and match most of these. Just be careful not to have too many sweet dried fruits and note that this is quite dense in calories so it is important to control the size of the serving.
Butter Bean & Harissa Dip
Bean-based dips are brilliant. Eating beans and pulses is really healthy because they are very high in fibre and, especially important for vegans, they are a great source of protein. They are often a good source of iron and other minerals too.
You can make any number of dips with butter beans, cannellini beans and other similar ingredients but this piquant cracker is one of our favourites. Just blend a can of butter beans (drain them but not thoroughly, as you’ll want some of the water to obtain the right consistency) along with a good squeeze of lemon juice and a heaped teaspoon of harissa. And, that’s it! You can use this in the same way you would hummus and we love it with a vegan Quorn fillet and a salad.
Beans on Toast
This is a little dish we invented and we’re sure you’ll love it. Take some baked beans from a can. Heat them. Put them on toast. Sorted. Incredible right?
Okay, it’s not really a Vegan Friendly original but it’s certainly a classic and it is incredibly quick and pretty darn healthy. Two slices of brown bread and just under half a can of beans will give you: 348 calories, 17g of protein, 14.3g of fibre (almost half your daily requirement), more than 50% of your daily vitamin B1 and around the same of iron, almost 40% of your folate requirement, more than a third of your daily calcium, around 25% of your zinc needs and a nice selenium hit too!
You can make the beans yourself too if you want by cooking cannellini beans in a really rich tomato sauce. If that sounds like too much hassle, just pimp your beans a bit with some smoked paprika, chilli flakes or some fresh herbs. This will add more flavour and more goodness too.
These savoury, soy seeds provide a delicious crunch and a satisfying salty hit and are great with an ice cold beer. They are also a great way to season other dishes and work very well in salads too. Just take a mixture of your favourite seeds – we use equal amounts of sunflower and pumpkin with a little sesame – and dry roast these in a pan over a medium heat.
As they start to turn brown, remove from the heat and add a few dashes of soy sauce (around one tablespoon per 40g of seeds). Quickly stir to make sure all the seeds get coated and once the soy has evaporated (no more than a few seconds), let the seeds cool and crisp up on a plate.
Sweetcorn with Chilli & Lime
This is as simple as it sounds: add freshly squeezed lime juice and some grated lime zest and thinly sliced fresh chilli (or dried chilli flakes) to cooked corn. It is a great flavour combination that works best with corn freshly sliced from the charred cob, although you can use tinned sweetcorn that has been warmed on the hob or in the microwave.
It won’t have the same bite but the flavour of fresh lime juice and zest, plus chilli flakes, is great with the natural sweetness of the corn. For extra indulgence, add your favourite vegan butter too. A similar mix made with edamame beans is also worth trying.