Manganese doesn’t seem as flashy as other popular health buzzwords like vitamin C, fiber, protein, and healthy fat, but manganese absolutely deserves its place and its spotlight in the health world.

This trace mineral — meaning “your body needs very small amounts of it — is an essential compound required for various critical bodily functions and is “stored in the bones, kidneys, and pancreas.” Along with working as an important part of bodily functions, proper manganese consumption has been linked to better bone health by increasing bone density, it helps “enzymes carry out their functions,” is essential for the “metabolism of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein,” and is a component of the “antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD).” On top of that, recent studies have revealed that manganese deficiency may play a role in diabetes.

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As important as manganese is, it’s also important to make note that manganese, while similar to magnesium, is a different mineral altogether. While manganese “helps regulate your blood sugar and supports the health of your nervous system,” as well as aid in the absorption of calcium, the breaking down of carbohydrates and fats, and the synthesis of bones, “endocrine hormones, connective tissue, the proteins necessary for blood coagulation and the enzyme superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant,” magnesium also “plays a role in bone health and energy metabolism,” it also “triggers the activity of over 300 enzymes, helps maintain the electrochemical balance your neurons and muscles need to work and aids in the production of DNA and RNA.”

You need both of these for a healthy body, but for today, let’s focus on getting that manganese with these recipes from the Food Monster App!

1. Chicken-Fried Tofu With Orange-Scented Sweet PotatoesVegan Chicken-Fried Tofu With Orange-Scented Sweet Potatoes

Source: Chicken-Fried Tofu With Orange-Scented Sweet Potatoes

Go traditional-with-a-twist with this meatless Chicken-Fried Tofu With Orange-Scented Sweet Potatoes recipe by Megan Sadd. With 10 ounces of manganese-rich firm tofu, a fourth cup of vitamin C rich orange juice, and a long list of spices, this is the perfect summer-weekend meal that can cross-over into lunch for work the next day.

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2. Sweet Potato Mash With Dill Avocado Sauce Sweet Potato Mash With Dill Avocado Sauce

Source: Sweet Potato Mash With Dill Avocado Sauce

Mashed potatoes are a wonderful comfort recipe, but if you’re also looking for a boost in magnesium, try this Sweet Potato Mash With Dill Avocado Sauce recipe by Michele Elizabeth. Elizabeth adds a dash of healthy fat-filled avocado drizzled atop this sweet treat making it the perfect balanced meal.

3. Smoky Southern Collard GreensSmoky Southern Collard Greens

Source: Smoky Southern Collard Greens

Collard greens aren’t just a southern staple, but they also happen to top the nutrient-dense veggie list. This Smoky Southern Collard Greens recipe by Molly Patrick features a pound of collard greens offering a boost in manganese!

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4. Stir-Fried OkraStir-Fried Okra

Source: Stir-Fried Okra

This Stir-Fried Okra recipe by Rinku Bhattacharya is great for okra beginners! A simple mix of subtle, delicious, and Asian-cuisine inspired flavors — such as turmeric, red onion, ginger, cayenne, and cumin —  enhances the naturally neutral manganese-rich okra in this 30-minute dish!

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5. Chocolate Fudge Pine Nut Cookies

Source: Chocolate Fudge Pine Nut Cookies

Looking for something to quell that sweet tooth of yours? This Chocolate Fudge Pine Nut Cookies recipe by Helyn Dunn is not only rich manganese-filled pine nuts, but it opts for natural sugar from dates and maple syrup over can sugar and healthy fats such as almond butter and almond flour to make these brownies your new favorite treat!

6. 6-Ingredient Tahini, Hemp Seed, and Basil Dressing6-Ingredient Tahini, Hemp Seed, and Basil Dressing 

Source: 6-Ingredient Tahini, Hemp Seed, and Basil Dressing

Getting manganese doesn’t have involved a full meal. Instead, whip up this super easy 6-Ingredient Tahini, Hemp Seed, and Basil Dressing by Olivia Budgen, which uses manganese-rich hemp seed. Drizzle it over your salad, stir fry, or even substitute it instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich.

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7. Raw Hazelnut, Praline, and Caramel CheesecakeRaw Hazelnut, Praline, and Caramel Cheesecake

Source: Raw Hazelnut, Praline, and Caramel Cheesecake

Hazelnuts pack a punch of semi-sweet, earthy flavor that is great for dessert recipes such as this Raw Hazelnut, Praline, and Caramel Cheesecake recipe by Holly Jade. Plus, hazelnuts happens to be a great source of manganese!

8. Stuffed Lentil, Quinoa and Mushroom CapsicumStuffed Lentil, Quinoa and Mushroom Capsicum

Source: Stuffed Lentil, Quinoa and Mushroom Capsicum

Never heard of capsicum? This lovely, gentle pepper is great to stuff such as in this Stuffed Lentil, Quinoa and Mushroom Capsicum recipe by Judy Moosmueller. Along with manganese-rich quinoa, this gluten-free recipe offers a dose of fiber-rich lentils, naturally sweet corn, and flavorful garlic!

9. Oil-Free Sweet Potato Basmati Brown Rice CasseroleOil-Free Sweet Potato Basmati Brown Rice Casserole

Source: Oil-Free Sweet Potato Basmati Brown Rice Casserole

This Oil-Free Sweet Potato Basmati Brown Rice Casserole recipe by The China Study Family Cookbook is a manganese gold mine with both sweet potato and brown rice! This recipe is incredibly filling and is one of those great meal prep dishes that can last you throughout the week without getting stale!

10. Mediterranean Baked Lima Beans

Source: Mediterranean Baked Lima Beans

Oftentimes forgotten about, lima beans — also called butter beans — are a great source of manganese and get their name from their buttery texture. This Mediterranean Baked Lima Beans recipe by Pavani Nandula gets creative with tradition by integrating a splash of maple syrup, nutmeg, and carrot to this Mediterranean dish.

11. Pecan Blueberry MuffinPecan Blueberry Muffin

Source: Pecan Blueberry Muffin

Looking to wake up with something slightly sweet, easy to pack, and nutrient-dense? Try these Pecan Blueberry Muffin recipe by Robin Runner. The pecans are rich in manganese, the blueberries pack a punch of antioxidants, and the flaxseed and oats will give you that fiber to keep a digestive system healthy.

12. Asparagus and Pea SoupAsparagus and Pea Soup

Source: Asparagus and Pea Soup

Pea soup is one of those staples that melds to the season. Heat it up for those wintry nights or keep it chilled on those summer afternoons! This Asparagus and Pea Soup recipe by Harriet Emily is super simple and yet flavorful with a blend of asparagus, onions, garlic, peas, celery, vegetable stock, and your choice of dried herbs.

13. Tempeh, Lemongrass, and Broccoli Coconut Curry

Source: Tempeh, Lemongrass, and Broccoli Coconut Curry

This Tempeh, Lemongrass, and Broccoli Coconut Curry recipe by Amarilis Moldes is a bold vegan and grain-free Asia-inspired meal. It’s nutrient-dense with manganese-rich tempeh, delicate lemongrass, cruciferous broccoli, and vibrant coconut!

14. Spicy Garlic EdamameSpicy Garlic Edamame

Source: Spicy Garlic Edamame

This Spicy Garlic Edamame recipe by Adam Merrin and Ryan Alvarez is a wonderful side dish to any meal! Prep it for the week to snack on throughout the day, serve it as a party appetizer, or keep it as an easy addition to stir-fries.

15. Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Fries With Parsley Cashew Dip

Source: Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Fries With Parsley Cashew Dip

Another great side dish or snack option, this Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Fries With Parsley Cashew Dip recipe by Crazy Vegan Kitchen also packs a sweet-potato punch of manganese. Crazy Vegan Kitchen uses a slew of vibrant, traditional Indian flavors including cayenne, coriander, cumin, and ground masala to infuse the sweet with savory!

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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