10 Vegan Recipes High in Vitamin D Just in Time for the End of Daylight Savings
Daylight saving time ends this coming Sunday, November 6th, and the clocks turn back at 2 a.m. While that means we get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, it also signals a shortening of daylight in the evenings, and we all need our vitamin D now more than ever.
Turning back the clocks at the end of Daylight saving time can feel like a drag even with that hour of sleep. It's the beginning of a long dark winter when evening walks or runs after work means going out in the dark. By the time we get off work, it's pitch black out, and the last thing you want to do is get outside and be active. So now it's even more important to eat healthy foods full of vital nutrients and focus on getting more vitamin D in your diet.
Until December 22nd, the Winter Equinox, we will continue to lose sunlight every day, at which point the days get longer again until Springtime. This is why it's even more important to get your vitamin D from food sources since there's less and less sunshine in the coming months. We have you covered with these easy vegan recipes all containing vitamin D.
Read More: How to Get Vitamin D on a Plant-Based Diet
How Much Vitamin D Should You Have?
As for how much vitamin D you need, the Mayo Clinic recommends that babies up to 12 months get 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D and people ages, 1 to 70 get at least 600 IU daily, and after age 70 you should up that to 800 IU. People were taking large multiples of that amount for better immunity during the pandemic, but that much is not recommended and too much can be toxic.
Sunshine is a great source of vitamin D since your body converts UV exposure to a precursor to D vitamin and then to actual vitamin D. It's recommended that light-skinned people get at least 10–30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week to maintain healthy levels of vitamin Dl while darker-skinned people should aim for longer. Darker skin pigment contains more melanin, which protects the skin from absorbing UV rays, which can result in less vitamin D getting converted in the body from sunshine alone.
Midday sun is the most effective for helping your body convert sunshine into vitamin D, but higher regions (Norway and England) get weaker rays in winter, so if you live in the northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere, it's even harder to get vitamin D naturally without a supplement.
In colder months, you can still ensure getting healthy amounts of vitamin D by eating certain vegan foods like fortified tofu, fortified cereals, fortified plant-based milks, and certain types of mushrooms.
Place Mushrooms in Sunlight to Get Your Vitamin D
As for which mushrooms have the most vitamin D, the answer is those grown in the wild like chanterelles and morels, and some farmed ones that catch the UV light instead of hiding out in the shade. Two rich sources of vitamin D are shiitake and maitake mushrooms. Growing in UV light boosts their vitamin D content, as does drying them in UV light, which helps to preserve the vitamin D for longer.
In an experiment, mushrooms that were grown indoors, in the sunlight, and dried, had the most vitamin D. shiitake mushrooms, exposed to sunlight with the gills up. Shitake mushrooms not only produce vitamin D2 but also produce vitamin D3 and vitamin D4.
According to studies, "vitamin D enhanced mushrooms are the only non-animal food product with substantial amounts of bioavailable vitamin D and, as such, have the potential to be a primary source of dietary vitamin D for vegans and vegetarians."
It's much easier for non-vegans to find readily-available sources of vitamin D since it's found in fish and beef. To help you find the right food choices containing this important vitamin, we compiled 10 vegan recipes that call for tofu, dairy-free milk, and of course, mushrooms!
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps us absorb two crucial minerals that promote bone health, calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D has also been shown to help reduce your risk of cancer and inflammation and help boost overall health and well-being.
1. Sweet & Sticky Crispy Tofu "Chicken"
Tofu has a bad reputation for being bland, but there are so many ways to cook flavorful and satisfying tofu. One trick: By freezing and thawing your tofu (not once but twice), you end up with a meat-like texture, perfect for making this Sweet & Sticky Tofu Crispy "Chicken."
2. Dairy-Free Loaded Tofu Scramble Quesadilla
If you’re a vegan who prefers breakfasts that are on the savory side, you’ve likely had your share of tofu scrambles. Although tofu scrambles are both delicious and nutritious, they can get a bit boring after a while. If you’re getting tired of the same old tofu scrambles, then this vegan Tofu Scramble Quesadilla is the perfect way to mix things up.
3. Easy Vegan Tofu Curry
This simple curry calls for a fragrant blend of spices and seasonings. There are two phases to making this dish: The first, cooking the tofu and the second, making the curry. The good thing about this recipe is you’ll be baking your tofu, which means you can cook your curry stovetop while your tofu is in the oven!
Recipe: Easy Vegan Tofu Curry
4. Black Pepper Tofu With Rice and Broccolini
This Black Pepper Tofu can be whipped up in 30 minutes making it the perfect last-minute meal that's packed with protein. Because this recipe is so simple to make, it’s easy to cook in large batches, making it a great recipe to meal prep for the week. Serve it with rice and a side of your favorite veggies to complete this nutrient-dense dish.
5. Spicy Maple Mustard Tofu With Vegetables
As the temperature falls, we're bringing the heat to the kitchen with this Spicy Maple Mustard Tofu: A sweet, spicy, tangy dish loaded with veggies to fuel your body.
The best part of this recipe is that it’s easy to swap out the veggies for your own favorite vegetables or whatever leftover add-ins you have in the fridge that you need to cook up.
6. Mushroom & Broccolini with Noodles
If you're searching for a lunch or dinner recipe you can make on repeat, this Mushroom and Broccolini with Noodles will become a go-to dish. It’s a recipe with simple ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store, and you probably already have most of them in your pantry or fridge. Better yet, it calls for rice noodles, making it a great option for gluten-free eaters.
7. Japanese Vegan Tofu Katsu Dinner
If you love Japanese cuisine, you'll be happy to know that there are so many Japanese dishes like ramen, tempura udon, takoyaki, and sushi that can easily be made plant-based. One particular fan-favorite Japanese meal is a tonkatsu dinner, which is not traditionally vegan, so were showing you how delicious and easy a totally vegan Tofu Katsu dinner can be.
Recipe: Japanese Vegan Tofu Katsu Dinner
8. Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
If there’s ever a recipe you want to double up on, it’s this one. This mushroom stroganoff tastes so good that the four servings this recipe makes might not be enough. This recipe is also made in one pot, so it will save you extra dishes and stress.
Recipe: Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
9. One-Pot Pasta With Spinach & Mushrooms
Make your life a little easier this weekend with Spinach and Mushroom One-Pot Pasta, which is easy, delicious, and filled with healthy ingredients. Pasta can actually provide a decent amount of protein depending on what kind you choose (look for whole-grain, brown rice, or black bean varieties). Everything is going to be cooked in one pot. For an extra creamy texture, substitute the water with non-dairy milk, and feel free to add whatever ingredients you have on hand!
10. Vegan Scallops Over Mushroom Risotto
No dinner says “romance” quite like this Scallops over Mushroom Risotto recipe. Don’t worry it’s not really scalloped, it’s made out of King Oyster Mushrooms, a versatile ingredient that can be used to substitute many meaty ingredients. In this case, we are using it both for the scallops and the risotto.
For more great plant-based dishes, check out The Beet's recipe library.
For more lists of recipes, check out:
- 7 simple plant-based recipe ideas for under $1 a serving
- 7 popular plant-based soup recipes
- 7 easy plant-based breakfast recipe ideas
- 8 heart-healthy plant-based recipes to lower your lifetime risk
- 7 one-pot vegan recipes
- 10 vegan soups and salads recipe
- 10 vegan lentil recipes to make for a healthy lunch or dinner