Boosting immunity is important at any time of the year, and it’s never been easier when you eat the right foods that contain important minerals like zinc which can help fight off bacteria and viruses. So, to help you choose foods high in zinc and incorporate them into a delicious meal, we rounded up 12 plant-based recipes that are full of chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, tofu, and an array of nuts and seeds that provide generous amounts of zinc.
Getting the right amount of zinc is beneficial to our everyday health: Women should aim for 8 mg per day while men should aim for 11 mg per day.
If you enjoy Asian-inspired recipes, try our vegan kung pao tofu dish full of rich flavors, fresh peppers, and cashews, another good source of the immune-boosting mineral. For a recipe with an Indian flair, make our “butter” chickpea recipe and enjoy it with our homemade garlic naan for dipping. For simpler recipes, try any one of our salad recipes made with homemade dressings from this list. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are solved and served!
1. Nutrient-Packed Rice Bowl with Jicama and Brown Beans
Don’t let the complex flavors fool you: This easy-to-make grain bowl is filled with nutrient-dense vegetables, fiber-filled brown rice, protein-rich beans, and a low-calorie sweet sauce that adds tremendous flavor. This recipe is packed with zinc, iron, and vitamin C thanks to the mineral-rich beans and vegetables.
Recipe: Nutrient-Packed Rice Bowl with Jicama and Brown Beans
2. Chickpea Salad Niçoise with Dairy-Free Lemon Dijon Dressing
For a healthy, refreshing, summer lunch, make this chickpea salad niçoise with a homemade dairy-free lemon dijon dressing. Chickpeas are a great source of zinc with 1.5 milligrams of zinc per one serving or 100 grams. The legume is also a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, helping you feel fuller longer.
Recipe: Chickpea Salad Niçoise with Dairy-Free Lemon Dijon Dressing
3. Kidney Bean Arugula Salad
Kidney beans are a good source of zinc and iron, two important minerals that help boost immunity. Make this seasonal salad with fresh produce from your market and enjoy the taste of crunchy arugula with hints of pepper and fresh sweet cherry tomatoes.
Recipe: Kidney Bean Arugula Salad
4. Cashew Nut Hummus
Hummus is an anti-inflammatory snack that is packed with protein, fiber, and zinc. Try this dip when you’re craving an easy, delicious snack with a side of freshly sliced vegetables.
Recipe: Cashew Nut Hummus
5. Dr. Kahn’s Superfoods Smoothie with Nuts, Seeds, Pomegranate, and Berries
Plant-based cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn shared his superfood smoothie full of antioxidants, omega 3s, iron, protein, and fiber. Make this smoothie for breakfast or a snack and enjoy the sweet, refreshing taste of fresh fruit.
Recipe: Dr. Kahn’s Superfoods Smoothie
6. Easy Vegan Pesto Pasta
There’s nothing that says summer more than fresh pesto made with garden-picked basil. This recipe is as delicious as it is healthy if you opt for veggie-based pasta. Pine nuts are an excellent source of zinc with 6.5 grams of zinc per 3-ounce serving.
Recipe: Vegan Pesto Pasta
7. Jerk Tofu with Rice and Kidney Beans
This Caribbean-inspired recipe is an easy way to shake things up, and introduce new flavors to your plate. This recipe calls for kidney beans, a healthy source of zinc and iron, to help boost immunity and energy.
Recipe: Jerk Tofu with Rice and Kidney Beans
8. One-Pot Chili Macaroni
Enjoy the best of both worlds with this chili and macaroni one-pot dish, full of kidney beans, and iron- and zinc-rich legumes. You can easily make this recipe healthier and gluten-free with chickpea pasta, lupini bean pasta, or another veggie or bean pasta.
Recipe: One-Pot Chili Macaroni
9. Vegan Chili
For a traditional chili recipe, make this hearty, fibrous, delicious recipe full of kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans, a whopping source of zinc from three different kinds of beans.
Recipe: Vegan Chili
10. Vegan “Butter” Chickpeas
Your tastebuds will love the rich, creamy flavor of this vegan “butter” chickpeas recipe made with raw cashews, and other sources of zinc. Enjoy this dish with our garlic naan recipe.
Recipe: Vegan “Butter” Chickpeas
11. Chef Guy Vaknin’s Salad with Cumin Chickpeas & Coconut Tarragon Dressing
Chef Guy Vaknin of Beyond Sushi shares his refreshing summer salad made with a flavorful coconut tarragon dressing you’ll want to bottle up for the rest of your salads, pastas, and sliced vegetables. This recipe calls for chickpeas, the zinc-filled bean that’s also full of protein and fiber.
Recipe: Salad with Cumin Chickpeas & Coconut Tarragon Dressing
12. Vegan Kung Pao Tofu
Tofu is a rich source of zinc with 1.8 mg of zinc per 4-ounce serving. Make this kung pao tofu recipe that also calls for cashews, another good source of the immune-boosting mineral.
Recipe: Vegan Kung Pao Tofu
For more great recipe ideas check the more than 1,000 easy vegan recipes on The Beet.