As most of you know, I’m not a vegan, but I’m always down for trying new vegan recipes and implementing them into the mix. So for this post I recruited the expertise of a lifelong friend, Marcai, who’s a nutrition & fitness expert, former full-time vegan, and known among our friends for her fabulous food creations (she cooks for her two young boys so she has to keep it yummy).

In particular I wanted to get more ideas for the vegan athletes I coach—and share with the LPC community. And not just meal recipes, but sauces/dressings/topping that you can load on the foods you love to add more healthy calories and nutrients. Feeding a vegan is like a full-time job (lol) in that we need to ensure calorie and macronutrient needs are being met from quality food without it getting boring—it’s really easy to be a “junk-food vegan” or too low calorie if you’re not careful and get lazy about it. These recipes also include an abundance of healthy vegan fats and fresh ingredients, sort of like Paleo-Vegan combined! 

Sweet Treats

Vegan Smoothie

  • 8 ounces non-dairy milk* (sub 50/50 milk and filtered water)
  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter (or clean nut/seed butter)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 scoops soy-free protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 banana or ½ avocado
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 handful greens (spinach or kale)
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 3-5 ice cubes

Cacao Chia Pudding

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 50/50 non-dairy milk and filtered water
  • 1 scoop soy-free protein powder
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Dash vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Sweetener to taste: stevia, monk fruit or drizzle of maple syrup
  • Optional: frozen wild blueberries, crushed nuts, seeds, etc.

Directions: Add chia and liquids to a bowl/container; chia should be submerged in liquid. Let this soak for at least 5min. Separately, mix protein powder and cacao powder with extra liquid in shaker bottle to avoid clumping. Stir in protein/cacao to chia mix, add remainder of ingredients, mix and enjoy.

Simple Chia Pudding

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 50/50 non-dairy milk and filtered water
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Sweetener to taste: stevia, monk fruit or drizzle of maple syrup

Directions: mix everything in a mason jar or container, let chia absorb and enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Mousse 

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder  (sub protein powder, flavor of choice)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • Sweetener to taste: stevia, monk fruit or 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Optional: 1/8 tsp cayenne for a spicy kick!
  • Optional: top with cacao nibs, berries, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, etc after mixing

Directions: Using a hand-mixer, blender or food processor yields best results. You could also mash avocado and mix by hand with a whisk. Chill in fridge of at least a couple hours before serving.
This yields about 2 servings, about 150 calories per serving with 13 grams of fat not including optional toppings.

Savory Sauces and Dressings

Walnut Basil Pesto

  • 1/2-2 cups stemmed fresh basil, washed
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 or 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt, to taste
  • Optional: lemon juice

Olive Tapenade 

  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pumpkin Arugula Pesto

  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 medium peeled garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Optional: 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Hemp Pesto

  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions for all the pestos and tapenade: add all ingredients except olive oil to food processor and blend. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while machine is running.

Tahini Dressing #1

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp filtered water, or more as needed to thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of sea salt

Tahini Dressing #2

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nama shoyu (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh or dried)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: drizzle of honey or maple syrup, no more than 1 tbsp (sub balsamic)

Meals (lunch or dinner)

“The Everything” Meal 

  • Rainbow salad: spinach & mixed greens salad with radicchio, cucumber, purple cabbage, shredded carrot, radish, cherry tomatoes, and other colorful veggies.
  • Salad Dressing: simple mix of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and Dijon mustard. Add garlic to spice it up further.
  • Side: 1/2 cup lentils, seasoned to taste. Topped with sliced avocado.
  • Side: 2 cups steamed broccoli with tahini dressing (see above).

Zoodles & Marinara 

  • 3 zucchini spiralized or made into noodles with mandolin
  • 3 shredded carrots
  • 1 cup Rao’s Tomato basil sauce
  • For protein and fat top with: hemp seeds, crushed raw nuts, pumpkin seeds, sliced avocado

Power Bowl

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Amounts can vary to desired liking.

  • Purple sweet potato, cooked and cubed (try oven-roasting or cooking in coconut oil and cinnamon for an even better taste!)
  • Chickpeas, soaked, sprouted and cooked
  • Broccolini, steamed
  • Dino kale, steamed
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced avocado
  • Melted coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional seasonings: cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, nutmeg
  • Optional: tahini dressing (see recipes above)

Directions: combine ingredients in bowl and toss in melted coconut oil and seasonings of choice. Drizzle tahini on top, and serve.