High Fat Low Carb VEGAN Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Dessert – Vegan Keto Meal Plan with NO Soy!
Lately, I hear from so many people interested in trying a vegan keto diet, or asking for low carb vegan and low carb vegetarian recipes. But, can you be vegan AND keto at the same time? The short answer: yes! And this soy free vegan keto meal plan is proof that it can be done. (Even without any tofu, tempeh, or edamame—which was a huge challenge!)
However, it’s important to note that this vegan keto meal plan is just ONE example of a day in the life of someone eating a vegan ketogenic diet. In part, I want to illustrate how much thought and consideration will go into crafting vegan keto meals for yourself—in terms of the ingredients AND the macronutrients—for just one day!
So, as an example, I’ll walk you through a full day’s worth of vegan keto recipes (all 3 meals and dessert) with a ketosis-friendly macronutrient ratio:
Vegan Keto Meal Plan Nutrition for the Day:
1,831 calories | 165g total fat
63g total carbohydrates | 40g dietary fiber
23g net carbs
Also important to note: this specific vegan keto menu may work really well for getting some people’s bodies into ketosis, but it may not work as well for others. We’re all different, we all metabolize glucose differently, and we all have different carb tolerances. (More on that in a moment.)
Most importantly, the long answer to the ‘vegan and keto’ question is: although it IS possible, it’s not EASY. When you combine two very restrictive diets and have to meet very specific macronutrient requirements, planning meals is tough! And, those added difficulties mean that a vegan keto diet isn’t feasible for many people long-term.
And, as with any new health regimen, knowledge is power. I would never recommend that someone try a vegan diet OR a keto diet (let alone a vegan keto diet) without first doing their research. A vegan keto diet is sort of like the ultimate restrictive diet, which is why it’s crucial to get informed so you can make sound decisions for your body.
Watch on YouTube: Vegan Keto Meal Plan & Prep! #kickstart2019
But, Should You try a Vegan Ketogenic Diet?
Sure, you can find and pay for a set vegan keto meal plan that has every single meal planned out for you, so you don’t have to do the thinking. But, if you want to have a truly sustainable vegan keto lifestyle (that doesn’t get boring or break the bank), just know that it will require a fair amount of learning and effort on your part.
So, should you try a vegan keto diet? As always, my advice is: you do you!
Would I personally eat vegan and keto at the same time? No—but that’s just my personal preference, based on my own research and experience with the two dietary lifestyles. Ultimately, YOU have to decide what’s right for your body, lifestyle, and budget.
If you want to experience the benefits of ketosis while vegan, and if you’re committed and ready to learn, let’s dive right in! I’ll explain how I went about creating this vegan keto meal plan to give you some insight, and I’ll share some vegan keto tips and strategies along the way that can help you on your journey.
If you’re not familiar with the keto diet or how ketosis works, check out my Keto 101 video to learn all about it! Or, watch my How to Get into Ketosis FAST video for tips on getting past the keto flu and into ketosis as smoothly as possible.
Vegan vs Keto Diet
As a brief overview, let’s look at the basics of vegan vs keto diets:
- Vegan Diet—a purely plant-based lifestyle that consists of eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, while excluding all meat and animal products (like eggs and dairy).
- Keto Diet—a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet that aims to get the body into ketosis (i.e. switch from glucose to ketones as the body’s fuel source). Commonly consists of eating lots of vegetables, meat, and eggs, while eating little-to-no fruits, grains, or legumes.
Clearly, looking at these two dietary lifestyles side-by-side, it’s easy to see why a vegan keto diet can be tricky. Both are very restrictive—a vegan lifestyle restricts specific food groups, while a keto diet requires a specific macronutrient ratio. And, there’s not a lot of crossover between the two, so there are very few vegan keto foods to choose from…
Limitations of a Vegan Keto Diet
On a vegan diet or even a vegetarian diet, getting enough protein is already a struggle for many people. Then, add the limitations of a keto diet on top of that, and you have to consider quality sources of fats, too. All while limiting or eliminating carb-rich foods—which make up the bulk of most plant-based diets…
Like I said, a vegan keto diet IS possible, but only if you’re well-informed and motivated to do it!
It’s also important to know that, on any keto diet, there’s no concrete fat-carb-protein ratio that guarantees getting you or anyone into ketosis 100% of the time. Differences in our individual metabolisms, insulin resistance, carb tolerance, and health history all play a role in how we metabolize glucose, and what it takes for our bodies to transition into ketosis.
The ratio works for one person, may not work for another person! In this vegan keto meal plan, I’ve kept the macro ratio in a range that can get most people into ketosis: high enough fat, low enough net carbs, and moderate protein. But, just keep in mind: every body is different!
What are Net Carbs & Carb Tolerance?
Often, suggested macro ratios for a keto diet talk about carb intake in terms of net carbs. But what is a net carb? Basically, they’re the carbs that “matter” for keto purposes.
Net carbs are the remaining amount of digestible carbs you’ve consumed—after accounting for dietary fiber, which are non-digestible carbs. So, you take the number of total carbohydrates in a meal or food, then subtract the amount of fiber in that meal or food to get the grams of net carbs.
Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber = Net Carbs
In this vegan keto meal plan, I kept the net carbs in the lower range of 20-25g, since most people’s bodies can get into ketosis with that low of a net carb count. But, it really varies from person to person, depending on your carb tolerance—a.k.a. how many carbs your body can handle on keto.
One person might need to limit their net carbs to 20g or less per day, while another person’s body might be able to handle 40-50g. Some people can handle more fiber than others, some can handle more protein, you really just have to adjust your ratio until you find what works for you.
Unfortunately, the best/only way to reliably check whether or not you’re in ketosis is by testing your blood ketone levels with a good ol’ finger prick... But, if you can handle the pain, it's worth it!
By testing your blood ketone levels consistently, you'll get a sense of YOUR individual carb tolerance, or how many carbs your body can handle while still staying in a ketogenic state.
Learn more about individual carb tolerances and how we all metabolize glucose differently in my Keto Smoothie Recipes blog post!
Soy vs Soy Free Vegan Keto Diet
If you’ve been eating vegan for a while now, you know that soy is one of the best plant-based protein options, and one of the few that’s a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids. And, it can also be a quality source of dietary fats, which are crucial on a keto diet.
In a 3 oz serving of super-firm tofu, there are around 9g of protein, along with 4g of fat, and only 2g of net carbs! Plus, there are loads of different soy products and different ways that you can prepare them to fit more protein and fat into your plant-based diet.
So, if you DO eat soy and want to try a vegan keto diet, that’s great! Honestly, tofu and tempeh are some of the best options as far as protein- and fat-rich plant-based foods go. And, including them in your vegan keto meals will make it easier to keep things versatile and prevent yourself from getting bored.
Yet, on top of all the other restrictions, I made this vegan keto meal plan soy free, which means NO tofu, tempeh, edamame—none of it. Why??
Well, mostly because so many of you asked for soy free vegan keto recipes! Which makes sense, considering soy is one of the top food allergens and one of the most common food sensitivities. Plus, despite how great its nutritional profile looks by the numbers, soy comes with its share of potential health concerns.
Personally, my body doesn’t handle soy well, so I don’t eat it often. (Although soy milk is my guilty pleasure…) But, if you also choose to exclude soy from your diet, just be aware that your vegan keto meal options become much more limited (especially in terms of protein).
Vegan Keto Diet Foods
As mentioned, getting enough protein on a vegan diet is already a challenge, especially when you're excluding soy. And, since most quality protein sources (i.e. meat & eggs) are also some of the best fat sources for a keto diet, there’s pretty slim pickings for eating vegan and keto.
That’s why this vegan keto meal plan is a bit lower in overall protein than most traditional keto diet plans—but that’s okay! Remember, a keto diet of any kind isn’t meant to be a high protein diet, so there’s some flexibility in the amount of protein you consume.
Plus, too much protein can actually make it harder for your body to get into ketosis. When we more protein than the body can handle, it will convert the protein into glucose, a.k.a. carbs. (I talk about this mechanism—gluconeogenesis—in my Keto 101 video!)
But, there ARE some quality vegan fat sources and low carb vegan protein sources out there.
At the end of the post, I've included some of my top vegan keto food suggestions if you'd like to learn more—and you'll see them featured in the recipes below!
— Vegan Keto Meal Plan Recipes —
Vegan Bulletproof Coffee & Avocado
255 Calories | 2g Net Carbs | 26g Fat | 1g Protein
For a fat-rich but dairy-free alternative to butter, try making vegan Bulletproof coffee with MCT oil instead! Just blend your brewed coffee, a tablespoon of MCT oil, and a dash of cinnamon in the blender until frothy, and you’ll have a rich, satisfying coffee that will keep you full for hours.
Fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient, so it also tends to be more filling. And, once your body is in ketosis, you won’t be feeling as hungry. Without the blood sugar spikes and crashes that come with a carb-rich diet, your body really will stay satisfied for hours.
Plus, MCT oil is a superfood ingredient that can be used immediately by the body for energy to give you a morning boost! It’s also amazing for the brain and can help you to focus as you start the day.
Serve that with half an avocado topped with a sprinkle of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning (my fave from Trader Joe’s), and you’ve got a nutritious vegan keto breakfast that’s ready in just minutes!Print
Vegan Keto Protein Smoothie Bowl
615 Calories | 6g Net Carbs | 54g Fat | 23g Protein
Smoothie bowls aren’t just for breakfast anymore—this vegan keto protein smoothie bowl is loaded with sneaky veggies and superfood ingredients! Thanks to the almond milk yogurt and spirulina, it’s packed with 23g of plant-based protein. And, spirulina is also what makes this a REALLY green smoothie.
Honestly, it’s just as nutritious as any salad: loads of leafy greens, half an avocado, and a protein-packed, fat-rich trio of seeds on top. Except it’s sweet, creamy, and satisfying, and you don’t have to eat any leaves! Just be sure to choose a sweetener that doesn’t affect blood sugar, like stevia or erythritol.
Between the avocado, the almond yogurt, the macadamia nut butter, and those superfood seeds, this vegan keto meal offers you 54g of satiating fats—with only 6g of net carbs! If you prefer, you could also enjoy this as a sippable smoothie. (But, be sure to still include those seeds for maximum keto-friendly nutrition.)Print
Low Carb Vegan Buddha Bowl
641 Calories | 13g Net Carbs | 50g Fat | 23g Protein
This low carb vegan buddha bowl features two of the most nutrient-dense and protein-rich veggies: broccoli and Brussels sprouts. And, since this vegan keto meal is entirely plant-based, you get to enjoy a nice, heaping serving! I actually love this meal, even as a non-vegan.
Coat those vegetables in a deliciously savory coating of tahini, and you can pump up the plant-based protein and fats even more. Tahini is basically just sesame seed paste, which can contain as much as 8g of fat and 2-3g of protein PER tablespoon! It’s also totally scrumptious with a satisfyingly nutty, umami flavor.
I also like to roast some pumpkin seeds with my veggies to add some crunch to this bowl—and roasting gives them an extra crave-able crunch! But, you can totally stir them in them after the fact with your olives, if preferred.
Serve with some sliced avocado and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and this vegan keto dinner offers you 50g of fuel-filled fats, 23g of vegan protein, and only 13g of net carbs! And, tons of veggies that I genuinely ENJOY eating.Print
Easy Vegan Fat Bombs
320 Calories | 2g Net Carbs | 35g Fat | 3g Protein
What are fat bombs? Basically, sweet little bombs filled with nutritious fats—perfect for a ketogenic diet! These vegan fat bombs can be a great way to up your fat ratio and satisfy your craving for a snack or sweet treat.
And this recipe shows you how to make the most basic, easy fat bombs ever with just 2 ingredients: coconut oil and macadamia nut butter. No sweetener needed! Simply warm your macadamia nut butter, mix with melted/liquid coconut oil, transfer to silicone molds, and freeze.
Keep them stored in the freezer, and you’ll have convenient vegan keto desserts at the ready whenever you want ’em!Print
— Vegan Keto Diet Fats & Proteins —
High Fat Vegan Foods:
MCT Oil & Coconut Oil
Colorless, odorless, and neutral in taste, MCT oil can add loads of fuel-filled fats to shakes, smoothies, or a vegan Bulletproof coffee. Just 1 tablespoon of MCT oil contains 14g of plant-based fats, derived from coconut oil!
MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are a unique type of saturated fatty acid that can provide quick energy, suppress hunger, and help with ketone production—which can make a big difference on a vegan keto diet. (Learn more about MCT oil & how to use it in my Keto Smoothies post!)
But, coconut oil itself is also naturally rich in MCTs (just not as highly concentrated) and a great high fat vegan food. You can just as easily add coconut oil to smoothies instead of MCT oil, and it’s the perfect, fat-rich base for the ultimate vegan keto desserts: fat bombs!
Arguably, one of the most delicious plant-based fat sources (and my FAVORITE), with around 11-15g of fat per half avocado—depending on the size/variety. Plus, 1-2g of sneaky protein!
Also, avocados are an incredible source of fiber, with 5-7g per half avocado and only around 1g net carbs. A staple option that can add nutritious fats to just about any of your vegan keto meals AND keep the net carb count lower!
Both olives and avocados are rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which have some incredible anti-inflammatory properties. In just 4 pitted Kalamata olives (15g), there are around 4.5g of total fat—or about 1g of fat per olive! Although they’re not a great source of fiber (only about 1g per 4 olives), they’re just as low in carbs so they’ve got 0g net carbs overall.
Green olives are similar to Kalamata with <1g net carbs in the same size serving, except they’re slightly lower in fat and calories per gram. Both can be great vegan keto snack to munch on, or add to a savory bowl for a nutritious, salty topping!
(Black olives are the least keto-friendly of the 3 varieties—being lowest in calories and fat per serving, and with 1g net carbs.)
Macadamia Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts & Nut Butters
Pretty much the perfect nut for a ketogenic diet, macadamias are one of the highest fat and lowest carb nuts that you can eat! (And, one of the most buttery and irresistible.) They’re SO much fun to snack on for a boost of satiating fat, or you can blend them up to make the most indulgent nut butter on the planet.
In about ¼ cup (28g) of macadamia nuts, there’s a whopping 21g of fuel-filled fats—most of which are the anti-inflammatory superstars, MUFAs! That same serving size also contains 2.5g of fiber, only 1.5g of net carbs, and even 2g of protein as a nice bonus. And, just 2 tablespoons of macadamia nut butter contain 18-20g of fat and only about 1g net carbs.
Pecans and walnuts are two of the other top vegan keto foods, close behind macadamias in terms of fat content and net carbs. Per 28g serving,
- pecans contain: 20g fat | 1g net carbs | 3g protein
- walnuts contain: 18g fat | 2g net carbs | 4g protein
Although all nuts tend to be higher in fat than many other plant-based foods, these are 3 of the most fat-rich, most keto-friendly, and fairly common in most grocery stores!
NOTE on Other Nuts:
Most other common nuts (i.e. almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts) only offer 12-14g fat per serving. And, they tend to be higher in net carbs—like pistachios and cashews, with 5-7g net carbs per serving. So, overall, not as ideal for a vegan keto diet, where you’re looking to maximize your fat intake and limit your overall net carbs.
But, when consumed in moderation/on occasion, other nuts can be a lower carb plant-based option to boost your protein intake! Per 28g serving,
- cashews contain: 12g fat | 7g net carbs | 5g protein
- almonds contain: 14g fat | 2g net carbs | 6g protein
- pistachios contain: 13g fat | 5g net carbs | 6g protein
- peanuts contain: 14g fat | 3g net carbs | 8g protein
Low Carb Vegan Protein Sources:
Although not as well known, spirulina powder is an incredibly nutrient-dense source of plant-based protein that’s made from blue-green algae. In just one measly teaspoon (3g), there are only 10 calories, 1g of carbs, and 2g of protein! For perspective, that’s about the same amount of protein as an entire cup of broccoli, or 2 cups of spinach…
That means the majority of this green stuff is just pure vegan PROTEIN, from algae. Say what?! And, it’s an incredible source of micronutrients and powerful antioxidants that can protect us from free radical damage.
BUT, keep in mind: spirulina does have a fairly pungent smell and funky taste. Honestly, it sort of tastes like seaweed. So, use with caution and start small! I recommend going with 1 teaspoon at first, then adjusting to your taste until you find what works for you.
As you get used to spirulina, you might be able to handle as much as 1-2 tablespoons, which would get you in the range of 6-12g of protein. Personally, I stick with 1-2 teaspoons MAX…but I don’t use it very often. If you’re able to handle more, spirulina is definitely a quality low carb vegan protein option you’ll want to keep on hand!
Surprisingly, broccoli is pretty rich in protein with 2.5g per 1 cup chopped (~90g)—along with 2.5g fiber and only 3.5g net carbs! Plus, an all-star source of immune-boosting vitamin C, bone-strengthening vitamin K, and loads of other essential micronutrients.
Another high protein low carb veggie, similar to broccoli! In 1 cup of Brussels sprouts (~90g), there are 3g protein, 3.5g fiber, and only 4.5g net carbs.
Plus, both Brussels sprouts and broccoli belong to the same, superfood family of cruciferous vegetables. They’re some of the best-studied veggies because of their unique organic compounds that can produce powerful cancer-fighting effects!
One of the most nutrient-dense and protein-rich leafy greens on the planet! Spinach is an incredible source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, and manganese. Plus, 1 cup (30g) contains around 1g of sneaky protein and <0.5g net carbs!
While kale gets all of the superfood attention, it actually may not be the ideal choice to include regularly on a keto diet. Yes, it’s extremely nutrient rich, and contains 2g of protein per cup. But, that same serving also contains around 5g of net carbs or more.
High Fat AND High Protein Low Carb Vegan Foods:
Almond Milk Yogurt
For a boost of both plant-based protein and fat, try almond milk yogurt! A 5.3 oz serving (~⅔ cup, or 150g) can contain 5-6g of protein and 13-16g of fat, with only around 1g net carbs. It’s a great dairy-free yogurt alternative for snacking, adding thickness to smoothies, or using in vegan keto recipes of any kind!
But, BEWARE of flavored and sweetened varieties with non-dairy yogurts. Those added sugars and even some sweeteners can still affect blood sugar, which would not be ideal for the purposes of a vegan keto diet.
It can be surprisingly hard to find completely plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurts, so be sure to READ the label and ingredients carefully on whichever variety you choose!
Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds & Ground Flaxseed
Hemp hearts (a.k.a. shelled hemp seeds) are an AMAZING food to make use of on a vegan keto diet. In a 3 tablespoon (30g) serving, you get 15g of plant-based fats, 10g of protein, and 0g net carbs! They’ve got a nutty flavor and satisfying crunch, perfect for sprinkling onto a smoothie bowl, yogurt, a salad, or anything you like.
Chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and fats. In just 1 tablespoon (12g) of chia seeds, there are around 2-3g of protein and 3-4g of fat! Although they’re are a bit higher in total carbs, most of those carbs are fiber so they’re lower in overall net carbs. Depending on the brand, 1 tablespoon can have as few as 1g or 0g net carbs!
Ground flaxseed has a similar nutritional profile to chia seeds, though it can vary depending on the brand. A 2 tablespoon (13-14g) serving contains 4-6g fat, 3-4g of protein, and around 1g net carbs! BUT, should you include flaxseed in your diet, be sure to use ground flaxseed because whole flaxseeds are very difficult/near impossible for the body to digest.
Best of all, these 3 superfood seeds are all some of the best sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. So, whether you’re trying the vegan keto diet or just committed to a plant-based lifestyle in general, find ways to fit more hemp, chia, and flaxseed into your diet!