October 13


By Myrthe van der Vlis

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Vegan for beginners

Vegan for beginners and how you too can eat better and more plant-based.

Why a vegan guide for beginners?
There are a lot of stories going around about vegans. They are said to be goat-wool types who only hug trees. Not to mention the health risks. No proteins from animal products? That can't be healthy, can it?

Fortunately, this image has been pushed into the background for a while now, as more and more celebrities, athletes, but also "ordinary" people; city dwellers, villagers, and people of all ages, are taking an interest in the vegan lifestyle. After all, on closer inspection, this vegan lifestyle turns out to be not so crazy. In this vegan for beginner's guide, you can read about the basics of a plant-based and healthy diet.

The rise of vegans

In the Netherlands, on average 4 out of 10 Dutch people consciously eat less meat and this trend is constantly increasing. This is also reflected in the sale of meat replacements, which nowhere in Europe is consumed or purchased more than here.

More and more research show that healthy people are those who consume more vegetable products, such as grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruit. For example, the Nutrition Centre, known for its 'disk of 5' in which meat and dairy had a fixed place, now encourages people to eat less meat and more vegetable products.

The Disk for Life

Recently an entirely plant-based alternative to the 5-slice diet was published: The Disk for Life. This view on nutrition, designed by a group of 7 united dietitians, and meanwhile endorsed by more than 200 practices, provides the Netherlands with nutritional advice that fits in with climate, environmental and health goals. In addition, they offer practical tools that provide a solution for beginners, but certainly also advanced vegans. This is because there is information about nutritional values, but also examples and tips that you can easily learn to cook vegan and in a healthy way to get all the necessary nutrients.


The disk for life lists as important nutrients iron, calcium, omega 3, iodine, zinc, selenium, vitamin K and protein. If you eat as many unprocessed vegetable products as possible, you get more than enough of most nutrients. However, it is advisable to supplement vitamin B12 and D3 daily, because these are not easily obtained from the diet.

The main ingredients of an unprocessed plant-based diet can be divided into green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grain cereals, legumes, linseed, nuts, seeds & kernels, tubers, dried fruit, herbs & spices, nut paste, frozen vegetables and fruit, supplements, seaweed and soy dairy enriched with calcium. Now some of these ingredients are easier to incorporate and integrate into your daily diet than others. Seaweed in particular is a challenging ingredient for most, including myself.

Easy vegan meals
For example, an easy vegan appetizer proves to be a challenge for many people. No cheese and no fish, how do you make something delicious?

To get you started, we've put together some easy vegan meals for you in a daily menu.


  • Plant-based yogurt (I usually use a mix of 2 tablespoons coconut yogurt and half a bowl of unsweetened soy yogurt) or oatmeal with plant-based milk

  • Homemade granola (or an alternative from the supermarket with as little added sugar as possible and lots of seeds and nuts)

  • Fresh fruit (mix of at least 2-3 kinds)

  • Tablespoon of crushed flaxseeds and some cinnamon


  • 1 to 2 Whole grain sandwiches with hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato and cucumber (I personally always like a handful of sprouts on my bread)

  • Homemade soup of roasted carrots, soaked cashews, fresh ginger and curcuma.

    Prepared with a homemade broth made from Kombu seaweed (simply boil the kombu in water for 15 min until it gives off flavor. Then let the kombu dry, then it is usable again for the next round)

Easy vegan recipe dinner: Enchilada bowls for 2 people (also delicious, or even tastier day two).


  • 400 grams of raw vegetables of your choice, think radishes, red cabbage, corn, avocado, bell bell pepper, corn salad, kale.

  • 50 grams of brown rice

  • 50 grams dried brown or green lentils (or from a can)

  • 50 grams dried black beans (or canned)

  • 100 grams tofu

  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha

  • 1 tablespoon almond paste (sesame paste or peanut butter is also fine)

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

  • 200 grams diced tomatoes from a can (or fresh, if you want to get rid of your tomatoes)

  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (or mild if you don't like spicy food)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/2 tablespoon (raw) cocoa

  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons noble yeast flakes (can also be omitted)

- Cook the rice and possibly lentils and beans in a pan with plenty of water until tender, for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse and leave in the pan so it stays warm.
- Cut the tofu into cubes and drain on some kitchen paper, pressing gently to extract extra moisture.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together and let the tofu marinate for about 20 minutes.
- Fry the onion and garlic until translucent in a pan with some oil of your choice.
- Add the dry spices and fry for another 2 minutes until you can smell the spices.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Now stir in the beans, lentils and rice.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Now fry the marinated tofu lightly brown in a pan or oven at 190 degrees.
- Top the bowls with a good scoop of enchilada mix, plenty of raw vegetables, and the tofu on top.
- Finish with fresh cilantro and/or lime juice.

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