You’ve heard of folate — also known as vitamin B9 — but how much do you know about this vital nutrient?
Folate is “a water-soluble vitamin that has many important functions in your body.” While it’s widely recognized as a hugely necessary vitamin during pregnancy, playing a vital role for “proper fetal growth and development,” it’s also super important for every human body. Adequate folate consumption has been linked to cancer prevention and reduction of homocysteine — an “inflammatory molecule linked to … heart disease.”
On top of that, folate is necessary “to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA.”
Lots of important stuff to take note of!
With that said, plant-based foods are rich with natural folate. While legumes, nuts, and seeds top the list, there are a few other lesser-recognized contenders that can help spice up your folate intake!
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy!
Get started with these vegan recipes rich in folate!
Source: Beluga Lentil Broccoli Salad
When it comes to getting folate naturally, legumes top the list. What tops the list of legumes? Lentils. One cup of cooked lentils has 358 mcg of folate. In this Beluga Lentil Broccoli Salad recipe by Pavani Nandula you not only get to try beluga lentils, often forgotten about beside red, green, and brown lentils, but you’ll also get another dose of folate from broccoli.
Source: Spring Vegetable Paella
Next up to lentils comes asparagus, which has 134 mcg per half-cup. If you’re not a fan of solo asparagus, try integrating it into veggie-rich recipes such as this Spring Vegetable Paella by Annabelle Randles. Along with asparagus, you’ll get extra folate power from broccoli, fava beans, and lemon!
Source: Mushroom and Kale Quiche
Leafy greens are yet another wonderful source of folate! While kale may not pack the ultimate punch — one cup of raw kale has 19.4 mcg of folate — this popular green offers a slew of almost everything else to nourish the body including a slew of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, protein, carbs, and all for the low, low price of zero sugars! To tame the wild bitter beast that is kale, try gently cooking it, like in this Mushroom and Kale Quiche recipe by Talida Voinea.
Source: Smoky Pinto Bean-Beet Burger
Beets are not only a sweet dream for vegan desserts and smoothies, but they’re also a great source of folate! While you get the most folate bang for your buck with a raw beet — one raw beet offers around 89 mcg of folate — that wouldn’t be the tastiest of options, there try upping the anty, such as cooking up two beets which will give you 80 mcg of folate. Even though beets are known for their sweetness, they are also a useful ingredient in meatless recipes, such as this Smoky Pinto Bean-Beet Burger recipe by Nutritious Delicious. Plus, it’s just really fun to try and Smoky Pinto Bean-Beet Burger five times fast!
Source: Fresh Lavender Lemonade
Citrus fruits are loaded with folate, plus they’re delicious. My favorite is lemon! This tangy juice can freshen leftovers, naturally sweeten a bitter dish, and can even energize you in the morning when mixed with water. One cup of raw lemon juice has an admirable 31.7 mcg of folate. Keep it super simple, yet feeling decadent with this Fresh Lavender Lemonade recipe by Ashley Smyczek.
Source: Rosemary and Garlic Almonds
Most nuts provide an excellent source of folate. Almonds, in particular, are a reputable source with one cup offering a healthy 47.5 mcg of folate. Plus, almonds are super versatile when it comes to a vegan kitchen! From almond butter to almond milk and even almond flour bread. Yet, if you’re looking for a quick folate-rich treat, try this Rosemary and Garlic Almonds recipe by Stephanie McKinnie.
Spinach is a staple in a whole plant-based diet. Not only is it a great filler food — providing sustenance, nutrients, or little carb intake — but it’s also one of the best sources of natural folate. One cup of chopped mustard spinach has a whopping 238 mcg of folate! What am I talking about when I say “filler”? How about this Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pizza recipe by Gabrielle St. Claire. While artichoke provides the heft to top this pizza, spinach is the tasty, nutritious foundation.
Source: Creamy Green Broccoli Soup
Have a hard time getting more broccoli into your weekly menu? It’s time to amp up that effort because broccoli is one of the best sources of folate — a half cup of cooked broccoli has 84.2 mcg of folate — along with a variety of other nourishing benefits. Try emulsifying broccoli into a soup or stew, such as this Creamy Green Broccoli Soup by Olivia Budgen. By breaking it down, you’ll find it’s easier to digest and will make that bitter bite a bit more subtle.
Source: Papaya Avocado Salsa
This one may surprise and delight you! Papaya is an excellent source of folate with one cubed cup offering an honest 53.2 mcg of folate. Get your fix with this Papaya Avocado Salsa recipe by Viktoria Radichkova. This recipe mixes the subtle and tangy papaya with the lovely healthy-fat and folate filled avocado for a delightful snack or side dish.
Source: Buckwheat Granola
Talk about a folate powerhouse, one cup of dried sunflower seeds has 303 mcg of folate! These tasty morsels are an excellent, easy snack, enjoyed in butter form, or can be sprinkled on any old vegan meal for an extra dose of folate and healthy fats. If you want to get a little more creative try adding an extra sprinkle or two of sunflower seeds in this Buckwheat Granola recipe by Natalie Yonan.
Avocados are not only creamy, filling, delicious fruits, but they are also a rich source of most vitamins and minerals including folate. One avocado has roughly 121 mcg of folate. Plus, talk about versatility! These delightful fruits can be used raw with a bit of salt, in vegan desserts, or to make creamy vegan dips or dressing such as in this wonderfully robust and colorful Coconut Brown Rice Bowl With Avocado Cream Dressing recipe by Taryn Fitz-Gerald.
Source: Pear Oatmeal Banana Bread
Even though this fruit is on the lower end of folate content, bananas are still an excellent source, which are also rich in other nourishing nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium. One medium-sized banana offers around 23.6 mcg of folate. This Pear Oatmeal Banana Bread recipe by Charlie Rioux is a super healthy spin on traditional banana bread, amplifying its nourishing qualities with fiber-rich oats, flaxseed, and pears.
Source: Seed Crackers
Much like they’re counterpart from the sunflower, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of folate. One cup of dried pumpkin seed kernels — also called pepitas — have 80 mcg of folate. Instead of settling on just one type of seed, try mingling and mixing with this Seed Crackers recipe by Sara Oliveira.
Source: Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
If broccoli just isn’t your jam, how about giving Brussels sprouts a try? These mini-cabbages may smell like spoiled eggs when they’re cooked, but they can taste truly delectable! Plus, they’re a decent source of folate, with a half a cup offering 46.8 mcg. If you’re a beginner, try this Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe by Dawn Kriss.
Source: Grapefruit Peach Sangria
Another citrus fruit to add to your weekly regimen! Grapefruit is not only rich vitamin C, but it’s also a moderate source of natural folate, with one cup of raw grapefruit offering around 20 mcg. Just because it’s good for you, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the ingredient. Spice things up with this Grapefruit Peach Sangria recipe by Liz Martone.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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