The Best Diabetes Vegan Recipes That Are Actually Tasty

Living with diabetes can be tough, and those with diabetes will understand that their diet plays a crucial role in reducing the symptoms or recovering.

Where you have type-1 diabetes or type-2 diabetes, a well-managed diet can help to take back some control of your life. Those with type-2 diabetes can use a vegan to drastically improve their health and even reverse chronic health conditions.

Many people are using a vegan diet to help with their diabetes. The primary risk factor of type-2 diabetes is obesity. Vegans have been shown in several randomized controlled studies to generally have a lower weight and the ability to lose weight quicker.

Diabetics who choose a vegan lifestyle will also benefit from lower blood sugar levels and insulin levels.

The Best Diabetes Vegan Recipes

I’ve crawled the web to find the very best diabetes vegan recipes just for you. Veganism is often misjudged as being boring or restrictive when it comes to food. This is simply not true. In fact, many vegans will tell you it is the complete opposite.

Zucchini Alfredo

Zucchini Alfredo
Zucchini Alfredo from simpleveganblog.com

An Italian-inspired dish that packs a lot of flavors and essential nutrients. It will fill you up and pump you full of energy.

This is also an excellent meal for weight loss in general. There are only nine ingredients, it’s simple to cook, and ready in less than thirty minutes.

The recipe uses cashews, which you should soak overnight or for at least four hours before cooking. Soaking cashews reduces the phytic acid and softens them.

Your zucchini will act as noodles for this dish. You can choose to buy a zoodle, or you can carefully cut it with a knife.

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Spring Veggie Wraps

Spring Veggie Wraps
Spring Veggie Wraps from eatingwell.com

I love this recipe because it involves marinated tofu! If you’re yet to try tofu and make it part of your diet, I implore you to do so. Tofu is a miracle food for a vegan packed full of protein, calcium, and iron.

This recipe is tangy tahini, ginger, and soy delight. It’s best served in a spinach tortilla if you can find them at your local supermarket or health store.

It’s a straightforward dish to put together and is perfect for lunch or dinner. The focus here is on raw veggies and beautifully marinated tofu.

To marinate the tofu, first, steam the tofu for 10 minutes and then let it cool down on paper towels. Once the tofu is cool enough to handle, use a vegan tofu press or two plates to press the excess water out. This helps the tofu to take on more flavor.

Once the tofu is pressed, toss it with the marinade ingredients. I like to throw in some cornstarch to help the tofu crisp up when frying or baking.

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Vegan Cauliflower Pizza with Basil Pesto

Vegan Cauliflower Pizza with Basil Pesto
Vegan Cauliflower Pizza from diabetesstrong.com

Pizza!? Yeah, that’s right. You can eat this vegan pizza as a diabetic. The crust is made from cauliflower, and the basil uses nutritional yeast instead of cheese.

It’s relatively simple to make and is simply delicious. This is a fun recipe to make with your partner or children. It’s also a wow factor at dinner parties or garden parties.

The vegan basil pesto is incredible. It’s well worth learning how to make the vegan pesto alone just to keep using it with other meals or on sandwiches.

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Spicy Bean Quesadillas

Spicy Bean Quesadillas
Spicy Bean Quesadillas from diabetes.org.uk

This is where things get hot and exciting. This famous Mexican dish has been given a vegan makeover and makes for the perfect diabetes vegan recipe.

It’s effortless to put together and is perfect for sharing with groups of people. The beans take on all the Mexican flavors and provide you with a powerful hit of protein.

I recommend serving with a beautifully raw and zesty salad on the side.

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers from eatingwell.com

If you haven’t yet tried sweet potato black bean burgers, now is the time. I’m not just saying because I am vegan, but they’re honestly better than any other burger I have ever tried. Both the beans and sweet potato take on so much flavor, and the texture is excellent.

The recipe is straightforward to make, just don’t forget the vegan mayo, and I highly suggest adding some jalapenos for an extra kick. Sweet potatoes and beans are great for diabetics as they’re high in fiber, and each has a low glycemic index.

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Barley and Wild Mushroom Risotto

Barley and Wild Mushroom Risotto
Barley and Wild Mushroom Risotto from diabetes.org.uk

Just because we’re talking about vegan and diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t eat fancy food. This barley and wild mushroom risotto is the perfect date-night dinner. It’s powerful and intense in flavor and will wow your partner.

You can use any mushrooms you wish for this recipe, although I suggest a mix of wild mushrooms if you can find them in the store. Wild mushrooms tend to be deeper in flavor and have that intense mushroomy flavor that risotto needs.

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Teriyaki Tofu Kabobs

As I said earlier, tofu is the king of vegan foods. It’s so versatile, and here we see it in action again but in the form of kabobs. This recipe is very straightforward, you just need a few ingredients chopped up, put them on kabob sticks, and grill.

These work great at BBQs in the summer and are delicious. You can also mix it up in any way you like. Use your favorite veggies to design the best kabob for you. I like to add mushrooms, pepper, and baby tomatoes.

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Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Salad
Fattoush Salad from eatingwell.com

Fattoush is a traditional greek-style salad that is packed full of flavor and includes some crispy fried pita bread chips for a crunch. It is ridiculously healthy and simple to whip up. If you don’t like to eat just salad, feel free to add some marinated tofu to it.

Personally, I like Fattoush just the way it is. It’s light, fresh, and you feel healthier as you eat it. I also make smaller versions as side salads to other dishes. Make sure you include the fried pita chips, they’re the star of the show. Without, you just have a basic salad.

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Herbed Polenta

For those who don’t know, polenta is coarsely ground cornmeal. It can be used in many different ways to create tasty dishes. This recipe is all about adding some real flavor with basil. This is a very basic and simple diabetes vegan recipe, but it’s also delicious.

With just seven ingredients, it won’t take long to whip together and is a crowd-pleaser. If you’re after some comfort food, look no further than this herbed polenta.

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Chilled Avocado and Zucchini Soup

Chilled Avocado and Zucchini Soup
Chilled Avocado and Zucchini Soup from simplyquinoa.com

This is the perfect soup for summer using two of the best veggies around, avocado and zucchini. Together, they make a beautiful soup that is light, refreshing, and very healthy.

The soup is packed with quality fiber and is perfect for a vegan diabetic. You can put this together in under ten minutes, all you need to do is add all the ingredients to a blender and press start. The only thing you need to cook is the leeks for approximately three minutes. Simple!

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Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

I only recently discovered cauliflower rice a few weeks ago. I went to a raw vegan restaurant that did an Indian cauliflower rice dish that was simply incredible. Who knew cauliflower was such a good substitute for rice?

So, I had to find an Indian cauliflower rice recipe on the internet, and this one from One Green Planet hits the mark. It’s full of Indian flavors, is light, and very healthy. Full of quality fiber and micronutrients.

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Lentil Sloppy Joes

I love this recipe because it feels like you’re eating junk food, but it’s actually packed full of healthy nutrients. They get messy while eating is excellent for social gatherings or for your children. Lentils provide a great source of fiber and protein.

The recipe is pretty straightforward, most ingredients go into a pan and are cooked together. Once cooled, you add to the bread buns of your choice, and they’re ready to go. Simple, fast food that is fun and healthy!

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Chilli-Lime Mushroom Tacos

The recipe calls for cheese, but you can swap it out for vegan cheddar cheese or have no cheese. These tacos are bursting with flavor, chili, and lime is one of the best combinations out there.

I like to make these for groups of friends, but you can easily sit there and eat six of them to yourself. The recipe is simple, and you can have them ready within 25 minutes to serve four people.

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Cumin Quinoa Patties

You can eat these delicious cumin quinoa patties on their own, with a salad, or turn them into a burger. That’s up to you! Either way, they’re really delicious and crispy. The cannoli beans give you good fiber, and the quinoa provides a great source of protein.

Don’t be afraid to get inventive with the spices. The recipe is excellent, but I found adding paprika and cayenne pepper works really well. The recipe calls for one egg, but you can swap out for a vegan egg replacement or use aquafaba. Both work just fine.

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Thai Tofu and Spicy Asian Noodles

Thai food is an excellent ally to vegans all over the world. Many Thai recipes are already vegan or can easily be “veganized” by swapping out one or two ingredients. This is fantastic because Thai food is delicious and very healthy.

This recipe is straightforward to make, packed full of flavor, and packs a powerful hit of micronutrients. The tofu provides a great source of protein, and the pasta has good fiber, but only if you use whole grain pasta, which I highly recommend. Or use chickpea pasta. The choice is yours!

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Spicy Asparagus-Tempeh Stir-Fry

Tempeh is a fermented form of tofu. It is exceptionally high in protein but has a reputation for tasting pretty bad. But, the taste is all down to the preparation. You must steam it for 10 minutes before marinating or cooking. This removes the nasty taste and allows the tempeh to take on the flavors you add.

This is one of the regular meals I make at home. It’s really delicious, and if you use shiitake mushrooms, it goes to another level for your taste buds. Enjoy!

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Is a Vegan Diet Good for Diabetes?

Woman holding digital glucometer while eating salad at table. Diabetes diet

So far, lots of people who suffer from type-2 diabetes have had success with a vegan diet. Some have lost a lot of weight, took control of their blood sugar levels, and even reversed the chronic condition completely.

There is a growing amount of research that suggests a plant-based diet is excellent for our health. A review published in 2016 found that eating a well-managed and nutrient-rich plant-based diet may help decrease the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

A randomized controlled study (the gold standard in research) from 2006 concluded that those with type-2 diabetes following a low-fat vegan diet resulted in better lipid and glycemic control.

There are many reasons why a vegan diet is suitable for those with type-2 diabetes. Most plant foods are low on the glycemic index. Therefore, there is less risk of spiking your blood sugar.

Following a low-glycemic vegan diet may significantly help in reducing your blood sugar levels and avoiding any spikes. Low-glycemic foods are also healthy for gut biofilms, these are the thin protective barriers that form around bacteria in the gut. It makes it much harder for glucose to penetrate, which helps to slow the glycemic effect.

Is a Vegan Diet Bad for Diabetes?

Like any diet, the vegan diet can be harmful to those with diabetes if the diet is not managed correctly. The vegan diet is often claimed to be only healthy when “the diet is well maintained and appropriately planned.” But, the same could be said for any diet on the planet, right?

If you choose to eat things like french fries, vegan junk food, vegan cakes, and vegan snacks on your vegan diet, it will have an adverse effect on those with diabetes. But this is just common sense.

As a diabetic, no matter what diet you follow, it must be well-planned and well managed. Failure to do so may result in health issues.

Sticking to a whole foods vegan diet that is made up of low-glycemic foods will have benefits for those with type-2 diabetes. Vegans have a much lower rate of diabetics than any other diet.

So, it’s all about the food you eat within your diet. It’s imperative that you plan your low-fat vegan diet carefully and use a dietician or nutritionist to help you if necessary.

At the end of the day, vegan diets are generally lower in saturated fats, higher in fiber, and consist mainly of fruits and vegetables. Not to mention essential phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Tips for Maintaining a Good Vegan Diet for Diabetics

Healthy food in heart diet cooking concept with fresh fruits and vegetables

Don’t Be Fooled by Vegan Junk Food or Snacks

The vegan food industry is very new and lacks regulation. Many food companies make their vegan junk food and snack products appear to be healthy. They use the big vegan green tick logo and make it appear as if it is a healthy choice.

Don’t be fooled by clever marketing. If it’s junk food it will be unhealthy and if it’s a snack, do your research first. Don’t buy vegan products just because they look healthy. Stick to mostly whole food fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds as best as you can.

Make Sure You Eat Enough Protein

Diabetics can eat meat and fish as part of their diet, vegans do not. Make sure you include high protein foods as part of your diet. High-protein vegan foods include:

  • Beans and pulses (eg butter beans, chickpeas, and lentils)
  • Nuts, seeds, and most of their butter (e.g. cashew, tahini, peanut, almond, and Brazil)
  • Plant milk (eg soya, almond, and hemp seed)
  • Quinoa
  • Soya products (eg tofu, soy cheese, and soya milk)
  • Vegan Quorn

Make sure to include these foods in your diet. Always choose low-glycemic options when buying brands like Quorn or soya products from brands.

Talk to Certified Diabetes Professional

A dietician or nutritionist can help you to create a vegan diabetes meal plan. They can also advise on best foods, practices, and offer you some really useful advice.

If your diabetes professional is not educated on plant-based or vegan diets, don’t hesitate to find one that is. Unfortunately, there are still many professional dieticians and nutritionists who refuse to accept the vegan diet despite the wealth of research backing it.

Remember, just the fact you’re a vegan can rub up on anyone in the wrong way and that includes health and nutrition professionals.

Choose High Fiber Grains

You don’t have to include grains in your vegan diabetes diet but if you do, go for those high in fiber such as brown rice or bulgar. Fiber is a great way to regulate your blood sugar.

Final Thoughts

The research surrounding a vegan diet and helping/reversing diabetes is getting stronger. I hope these recipes and the information provided helps you to feel more comfortable in a vegan diabetic diet.

I suggest following a low-fat vegan diet that focuses on low-glycemic foods for the best results. Make sure you seek advice from nutrition professionals and use the resources available online to stay in line with best practices.

Andrew

Author:

Andrew

Solopreneur and writer. Passionate vegan for more than 5 years

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