One of the questions people most often ask when they are trying to eat healthier is what do you do for snacks?
Fresh n’ Lean provides you with healthy premade vegan meals, but here are some vegan snack ideas when you need a little something extra and do not want to reach for the chips and cookies.
10 Super Easy Vegan Snacks
Filling your day with healthy snacks is important to keep your metabolism running and your blood sugar levels stable. We’ve curated a list of nutrient-dense plant-based snack ideas that will keep you energized until your next meal.
1. Dates & Nuts
This is truly a heavenly pairing and there is so much room for variation.
Get yourself a box of dates, open each up, take out the seed, and stuff with either nuts or nut butters. My favorite pairings are dates stuffed with almonds or walnuts or peanut, almond, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, sesame seed (tahini), or other types of plant-based butters.
The largest and most indulgently delicious dates are Medjool, but there are many other varieties to explore.
Dates are an incredible source of energy, fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals.
You can also store them for a long time, especially in the fridge or freezer.
The only thing to be aware of is that dates do pack a caloric punch, which may be perfect if you’re an athlete or someone in need of calories, especially paired with the nut butter. For others, moderation is key.
Two wonderful date farms in the US include 7 Hot Dates and The Date People, who harvest their produce in early fall and can ship directly to you throughout the year. There is no match for the quality.
2. Fruit & Veggie “Toast”
Nut and seed butters are also amazing paired with other fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas, apples, pears, celery, carrots, and anything else you love.
One of the easiest vegan snacks you can make is cutting bananas into two lengthwise and then topping with peanut butter and coconut flakes or raisins, or slicing an apple into disks and topping with almond butter and cocoa nibs. Other topping ideas include cocoa powder, fresh berries, chia seeds, hemp hearts, sesame seeds, and once again, anything your heart desires.
Japanese yam toast: The best version of non-bread toasts are sweet potatoes. All sweet potato varieties work, but by the far the best are Japanese (sometimes called “Oriental” yams) which are purple on the outside and white on the inside because they are delicious, nutritious, and retain their shape when baked. If you cannot find them at your regular grocery store, try an Asian supermarket.
How to make fruit & veggie toast:
Wash, cut in half lengthwise, and place face down on parchment paper to bake at 400F for 45 minutes or until the faces are browned but not burned. Let cool (in fact they are absolutely delicious cold out of the fridge), and then top with nut butter and jam.
They legitimately taste like cake and yet are full of antioxidants and are fat-free! Top with anything you normally put on toast: avocado, peanut butter and jam, apple butter, etc.
3. Popcorn Chickpeas
One of the best plant-based snacks when you’re on the run or for traveling is what I call “popcorn” chickpeas.
How to make popcorn chickpeas:
They are super easy to make. Simply drain a can of chickpeas (or cook from scratch for larger volume), place on parchment-lined baking sheet, cover in any spices or herbs (I like paprika, turmeric, curry, dried basil, etc.) and then bake at 400F for 30 minutes or until the soft chickpeas harden. No need to add oil, as it does not need the excess fat. You can try this with other cooked beans as well, such as black bean or pinto for an easy, portable vegan snack.
4. Cinnamon-Dusted Plantains & Sweet Potatoes
Another easy and delicious vegan snack to try are cinnamon-dusted plantains or sweet potatoes.
These naturally sweet vegetables become even more so when dusted with cinnamon.
How to make cinnamon plantains:
Simply cut them up into any shape you like and then cover sparingly with cinnamon. Bake at 400F until cooked through. You can actually also do this with bananas, apples, and pears as well, but they will be mushier (still delicious!).
5. Homemade Hummus
There are many hummus “recipes” online, but in fact this is one of the easiest vegan snacks you can make at home, so it’s worth learning the basics to make your own. Chickpeas are the foundation of any hummus recipe, but you can actually use other beans as well to make various dips, and simply rotate around the different flavor combinations.
How to make your own hummus:
Generally, a simple hummus recipe is 1 can or 2 cups of chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of tahini (sesame seed paste), a clove of garlic, herbs and spices (e.g. paprika, cumin, coriander, etc.), lemon juice, and water added to create the desired consistency. Put everything in a blender or food processor and voila! It will last about 5 days in the fridge, shorter than the grocery store varieties which all contain preservatives.
With that basic recipe in mind, you can experiment with different flavor combinations. For an Indian twist, add turmeric and curry powder. For Mediterranean, add fresh or fire-roasted red pepper. For Italian, add sun-dried tomato and fresh basil. For Mexican, add black beans (on top of chickpeas or instead) and chipotle.
Depending on the season you could also try beet (fresh or cooked), spinach, carrot, sweet potato, or pumpkin. And you can also substitute tahini with any other healthy fat like pumpkin butter or sunflower seed butter or even experiment with peanut and other nut butters for a twist!
For things to dip with, there’s always crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers are amazing and oil-free, as are Engine2’s line), but you can literally use any fresh fruit or veggies you have on hand, including raw lettuce and greens such as collard greens which make an easy and deliciously crunchy wrap with nutritional bang for your buck.
6. Sweet Potato “Boats”
Sweet potatoes are also great for stuffing, and you can try both sweet and savory varieties (softer varieties like the regular orange and yellow sweet potatoes work well as they soften more than the Japanese variety).
How to make sweet potato boats:
Choose any type of sweet potato and then bake whole on parchment-lined sheets at 400F for 45 minutes. Let cool and then pierce with a knife just to open them up, keeping the bottom part of the potato intact. Take out the insides and place in a bowl. Add the other ingredients, combine well, and “stuff” the sweet potatoes back up with the filling and place in oven for a little longer until crispy.
Some savory ideas include adding baked chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, parsley, and herbs. A Mexican variation could be black or pinto beans and salsa and then topped with guacamole. An Indian version would be lentils and curry dressing and Italian might be fresh tomatoes, baked mushrooms, and pesto on top. The combinations are endless.
You can even do sweet versions! Japanese sweet potatoes in particular are so sweet that when you stuff them it’s almost like a dessert. Slice bananas and lay them inside the potato in a row, and once those are baked through, top with maple or date syrup, jam, nut butter, or anything else you fancy.
One easy way to make homemade jam is to heat up frozen berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.) in a pot and then add maple syrup or date sugar until boiling and then turn off the stove and add chia seeds and place in mason jars. The chia seeds will expand and take on a jam-like consistency.
7. Easy Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a healthy vegan snack or breakfast idea that once again, can be modified in many different ways to suit your liking.
How to make overnight oats:
One of the most popular ways to have it is in the form of overnight oats. The basic idea is to take old-fashioned rolled oats, add in any spices (e.g. cinnamon, cardamom, cocoa powder), and then either water (for a lower-fat version) or plant milk (e.g. soy, almond, oat, etc.) and a tablespoon or so of chia seeds.
Mix it up in a mason jar and leave for a few hours or overnight until a thick mixture forms as the chia seeds expand. You can then top it with bananas, berries, or nut butter. You can also add nut butter right in the beginning for a thicker more indulgent vegan snack.
The thing that most people do not know about rolled oats is that unlike steel cut oats (which are less processed and therefore need to be cooked), rolled oats can actually be eaten “raw” (as they are already slightly cooked) if you’re in a pinch. Simply put some oats in a bowl, top with plant milk, and then bananas and peanut butter, or apples, applesauce, and cinnamon, or tahini and fresh or frozen berries.
You can even add savory ingredients like baked chickpeas with spinach which also works beautifully for steel cut oats you prepare ahead of time.
8. Frozen Mangoes
Frozen mangoes are available in almost any grocery stores, and they are an incredibly easy vegan snack especially in the summer months — simply take out of the freezer and enjoy. They truly do not need to be processed in any way, as they taste nearly like ice cream already.
If frozen fruit is too cold for you, simply boil some water and then pour into a metal bowl containing the frozen fruit, then drain and enjoy. A fast and easy way to eat healthily throughout the year. Enjoy the fruit by itself or on top of oatmeal, toast, or granola.
9. Sushi Burritos
Roasted nori sheets are easy to find, and you do not have to go to the trouble of making sushi to enjoy them (though it’s worth the time investment).
How to make vegan sushi burritos:
Simply cut up your favorite veggies (e.g. red pepper, cucumber, avocado, etc.) and wrap it inside the sheets. You can even add sweet potato mash or make an easy dressing on the side to dip into (look out for a post on easy dressings soon). If you’re short on time, simply dip into rice vinegar, tamari, or coconut aminos.
10. Rice Paper Rolls
Like roasted nori sheets, rice paper rolls (white or brown rice) are easily available and easy to work with.
How to make rice paper rolls:
Simply cut up some veggies (and even fruit like mango) and following the instructions on the package to soften the sheets, roll these up and dip in rice vinegar, tamari, or coconut aminos. You can also make a simple nut butter dressing based in peanut or almond butter with rice vinegar and coconut aminos plus water to thin it out. Some fresh cilantro also does the trick!
There you go — a few nutritious (and super easy) vegan snacks to keep you satisfied and healthy throughout the day.
Ready-Made Snacks You Can Find in the Store
Now, if even all of this seems a bit overwhelming, here are some great brands you can pick up at the grocery store to have on hand if you are feeling hungry. You can find most of these brands at Whole Foods, your local health food store, or online at Thrive Market.
- Mary’s Gone Crackers: Delicious oil-free seed-based crackers which are perfect for dipping into hummus. They are gluten-free and vegan too. The superseed collection is especially good, in particular the Seaweed & Black Sesame and Chia & Hemp. Mmm!
- Engine 2 “Plant Strong” Food Line: Offering everything from breakfast granolas, frozen burgers and burritos, tomato sauces, crispbread, and tortillas and burger buns, this company makes oil-free vegan snacking a piece of cake. Found only in Whole Foods.
- Oil-Free Hummus: A few different brands offer this popular dip in an oil-free version, including Engine2, Cedar’s, and probably a local brand you can find at your health food store. Just check the ingredients and make sure there is no added oil, including olive or canola.
- Fig Food Co: This company makes delicious organic soups, as well as pre-cooked beans that you could easily beak or eat as is. Soup flavors include: Nonna’s Minestrone, Split Pea & Potato, and Tuscan White Bean.
- Larabars: These delicious date- and nut-based bars are the ultimate life-saver as they are popular and widely available, and a relatively healthy snack for in-between meals. They are all vegan and gluten free, and contain no egg, honey, or oil like most other bars. You can also of course just grab unsalted nuts and dried fruit as well, but why would you when you can grab a Peanut Butter Chocolate Larabar instead? Other flavors include Blueberry Muffin, Banana Bread, and one of the originals, Apple Pie.
- Go Raw: This company has a great selection or quite healthy snacks including crackers, chips, and bars which are all sprouted and entirely raw. Check out their amazingly diverse set of products which make great travel snacks.
- Natierra: This company does a whole line of free-dried fruit including banana, apple, and mango slices which are an amazing product if you are traveling and cannot transport fresh fruit easily.
- Bare: These amazing oil-free these vegetable and fruit-based snacks are a great way to get some nutrition even while you may not have access to fresh produce. Given that most such products contain a ton of added oil, these are a fat-free (guilt-free!) way to enjoy a healthy snack break.
- Made in Nature Figgy Pops: Although not entirely oil-free, these snacks are like healthy desserts made of dried dates and figs. A good on-the-go snack to keep you happy between meals. A few of the delectable flavors include Nana Nut Butter Filled, Razzy Pops, Mocha Almond Nut Butter Filled. I mean, those sound almost sinful.
- Lundberg Rice Cakes: These organic crackers are the perfect thing to top with nut butter and banana, jam, or avocado and lime. They have a few different flavor profiles, but our favorites are Salt-Free Brown Rice, Cinnamon Toast, and Sesame Tamari.
- Hippeas: Cleverly crafted chickpea snacks, these are a better alternative to chips and Doritos. Although they are not healthy per se, they will satisfy any salty craving with their Sriracha or Bohemian BBQ flavors.
- Saffron Road: If you do not have time to make your own oil-free baked chickpeas, these are a good second bet. Although not oil-free, they are still a good way to get an amazing load of nutrition into an afternoon snack. Flavors include the classic Falafel and the unconventional Korean BBQ and Bombay Spice.