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5 Staples of a Plant-Based Diet that Are Not Tofu

Plant-based diet

For seasoned herbivores, getting enough nutrients in your plant-based diet is second nature. But plant-based diets isn’t just for vegans.  You likely have many of the staples listed here in your kitchen.  If you’re just exploring the plant-food lifestyle, you might fear that tofu is your only meat substitute. While it’s an excellent source of protein, versatility abounds. Add some or all of the ingredients below to mix up your meal plans.  


With over 12 grams of fiber and over 14 grams of protein, chickpeas are a great addition to a plant-based diet.  They are neutral in flavor which makes them incredibly versatile as they absorb the flavors of any dish.   Chickpeas add texture and nutrients to otherwise one-note dishes, making them a must-have for the herbivore crowd.  When searching for them in the aisles of Trader Joe’s, they may be disguised as garbanzo beans – don’t worry, they’re the same thing!

Sun-dried tomatoes

Unlike chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes bring a ton of flavor to a dish.  Accounting for 14% of the recommended daily iron intake in a 1/2 cup, these sun-kissed little guys add more than just strong flavor.  Sun dried tomatoes can be eaten on their own as a tasty and nutritious snack.  As a great source of nutrients and flavor, they’re definitely a staple in the plant-based  diet.

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are becoming more popular as they contain more protein than chia seeds and flaxseeds.  They are also rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which makes hemp seeds jam-packed with nutrients.  Add these wholesome seeds atop your salad and enjoy!


While not super high in protein, couscous has other nutritional benefits essential to a plant-based diet.  According to organicfacts.com

A single serving of couscous has more than 60% of the daily suggested intake of selenium, making it one of the richest sources of selenium in any food. In terms of heart health, selenium functions as a powerful antioxidant that functions mainly in the blood vessels to reduce the buildup of plaque and dangerous LDL cholesterol on artery and vein walls.  

Set your diet up for success with a healthy serving of couscous.

Although watching your soy intake is important, edamame is one soybean that you can make an exception for due to its high levels of iron and calcium.  Edamame also contained anti-oxidants which has great benefits for your skin and immune system. If you eat a plant-based diet and are on the hunt for a tasty snack, reach for the edamame!

There are so many meal options when using these diverse ingredients – you won’t miss meat (or tofu) at all! Next time you meal plan, get inspired by adding in some of these nutrient-rich and delicious ingredients to the menu. And, if you want a new dietary adventure, let one of our expert vegan chefs prepare a plant-based feast for your next event.