20 Vibrant Vitamin C-Packed Recipes

These 20 delicious recipes are rich in vitamin C and other essential nutrients


13 Minutes Read

Photo shows Happy Skin Kitchen's kale and apple salad in a large pale bowl alongside smaller bowls with the component ingredients in These recipes are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients - Media Credit: Happy Skin Kitchen

Vitamin C is an essential part of any healthy diet. It helps the human body produce blood vessels, cells, cartilage, collagen, and muscle, among other things.

Getting the right amount of vitamin C also helps the body heal any cuts or scrapes, and studies indicate it can have a positive impact on the immune system. If that isn’t enough to convince you of vitamin C’s importance, it can also help the body to absorb – and metabolize – other essential nutrients like iron, folate, and calcium.

With that in mind, we’ve chosen 20 of our favorite vegan, vitamin C-packed recipes.

What does vitamin C do?

Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a nutrient that supports the growth and repair of tissues and cells throughout all parts of the human body.

It’s also an antioxidant, which means it helps protect against free radicals – molecules that are thought to contribute to the risk of chronic heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  Furthermore, vitamin C helps support our teeth because of its impact on skeletal health.

Because the human body doesn’t naturally store vitamin C, we have to ingest it through the food that we eat daily. Severe vitamin C deficiency can cause serious health issues such as scurvy, but most people who eat a well-balanced diet get plenty from fruit and vegetables. 

You can also boost vitamin C through supplementation and multivitamins, if needed, but this can cause side effects and may not have the same benefits as ingesting it through food.

(Please note, this is intended as a guide only. If you are worried about your vitamin C intake or have questions about absorption, always contact a health professional.)

Which foods are high in vitamin C?

Photo shows whole and halved lemons mixed together with leaves
Adobe Stock Lemons are extremely high in vitamin C – though not quite as high as the Australian Kakadu plum

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 75 to 90 milligrams (mg), while the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) suggests a minimum of 40 mg per day for adults aged 19 – 64.

Most animal-derived foods don’t contain much vitamin C, whereas plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables are generally rich in the essential nutrient.

Specific foods to emphasize for a vitamin C boost include citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, bell peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, guava, kiwis, kale, broccoli, sprouts, potatoes, chili peppers, pumpkin, and the Australian Kakadu plum, which contains the highest concentration of vitamin C of any food – around 100 times more than oranges.

Vitamin C is widely thought to be best absorbed in a raw state and combined with iron. This is partly why it has become commonplace to drink a glass of orange juice with a breakfast of fortified cereal: the iron and the vitamin C are each aided in absorption by the other.

Another way to maximize absorption of vitamin C – or any essential nutrient – is to make sure you’re spreading it out over the day. For example, ensuring you include a vitamin C-rich ingredient in each of your meals or snacks rather than all in one go.

Severe vitamin C deficiency is fairly rare, however, only around nine percent of adults eat the RDA of fruit and vegetables overall, and a variety of studies have highlighted cost, availability, and preparation time as the primary barriers to produce consumption in the US.

20 vibrant vitamin C-packed recipes

If you are looking to maximize your veggie consumption – and boost your vitamin C intake – these 20 recipes feature many of the staple foods highlighted above, including sprouts, kale, lemons, strawberries, broccoli, and pumpkin. Let’s dive in.

Creamy tahini kale salad

A creamy vegan tahini kale salad
Viva! This kale salad couldn’t be easier to prepare

The Viva! Vegan Recipe Club put this recipe together for a creamy tahini kale salad, but it’s easily customizable, which means you can add in any fruit or veggies you have on hand – or are craving right now – for extra flavors, textures, and nutrients.

A 100g portion of raw kale contains around 93 mg of vitamin C, which is just over 100 percent of the RDA. It also contains plenty of vitamin K and the antioxidant carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an additional boost.

Find the recipe here.

Butternut squash dhal

Photo shows a white bowl of butternut squash dhal served with quinoa
Rise Shine Cook This dhal combines squash with cashew milk and spices

This recipe is ideal for boosting both iron and vitamin C together. Ashley Madden, the owner of Rise Shine Cook, combines red lentils with butternut squash, cashew milk, and spices for a nutrient-dense, warming, and filling meal. (Pair with fresh kale for some extra vitamin C.)

Find the recipe here.

Bean, kale, and lemon stew

Photo shows three dishes of stew made with beans, kale, and lemon
Viva! Vegan This stew is nutritious and easy to customize

This one is also easy to customize and various different beans can be swapped in or combined. Taken from Viva!’s new cookbook ‘Everyone Can Cook Vegan,’ it mixes the beans with kale and fresh lemon for protein, iron, and vitamin C, as well as K and A.

Find the recipe here.

Roast pumpkin and kale salad

Warm pumpkin and kale vegan salad served in a large ceramic bowl, on a scenic recipe table with dressing on the side
plantbaes There’s more to salad than lettuce

With 10 different plant ingredients, plenty of fiber, iron, calcium, and around 10mg of vitamin C per 100g of pumpkin alone, this salad from Plantbaes is a fantastically nutritious weeknight meal option. Layers of flavor, unique textures, and lemony dressing to top it off.

Find the recipe here.

Pesto Brussels sprouts

Photo shows a plate piled high with pesto brussel sprouts surrounded by festive decorations such as pine cones and red berries
Brussels sprouts and pesto, together at last

For a unique and delicious take on brussels sprouts, try this recipe from the Happy Skin Kitchen. It combines the extremely nutritious (85 mg of vitamin C per 100g) brussels sprout with a fresh vegan pesto that swaps parmesan for nooch.

Find the recipe here.

Baked butternut squash with mushrooms

Photo shows a four baked butternut squash halves filled with garlic mushrooms and pine nuts.
Rebel Recipes This vibrant squash recipe is rich in vitamin C and flavor

Rebel Recipes combines baked butternut squash with a flavorsome and nutritious mushroom filling in a unique and memorable dish. Topped with fresh thyme, toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, this main works for any occasion.

Find the recipe here.

Creamy cauliflower casserole

Photo shows a cauliflower cheese-style bake topped with nuts and caramelized onions.
Romy London This creamy bake makes for an inventive alternative to cauliflower cheese

Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C and this recipe from Rise Shine Cook owner Ashley Madden combines bite-sized florets with red onion, bell pepper, and olives along with a tahini and lemon sauce for a delicious and nutritious baked casserole.

Find the recipe here.

Kale, apple, and cashew cheese salad

A vegan kale salad with apple, cashew cheese, and pomegranate
Happy Skin Kitchen This vegan salad recipe contains dairy-free cashew cheese

Kale is packed with antioxidants, vitamin K, and vitamin C, as well as plant-based calcium. Happy Skin Kitchen created this recipe, and it includes a how-to section for homemade cashew cheese, complete with probiotics.

Find the recipe here.

Oil-free sautéed vegetables

An oil-free sauteed vegetables dish
Molly Patrick Nutritious and oil-free, this weeknight essential can be ready in minutes

Molly Patrick, AKA Clean Food Dirty Girl, created this recipe as an oil-free, veggie-packed side dish for all occasions. It combines soy sauce, liquid aminos, lemon juice, and lime juice for flavor, as well as dried herbs you likely already have ready in your pantry.

Find the recipe here.

Colorful lentil salad

A vegan lentil salad
Rachel Steenland No more boring salads with this colorful and flavorsome recipe

Colorful, delicious, nutritious, and deceptively simple, this recipe from The Garden Party combines sweet mini peppers, tomatoes, and cucumber with the vegan pantry essential that is tinned green lentils. The blend of lentils and tomatoes means extra vitamin C, too.

Find the recipe here.

Garlic broccoli stir fry with chickpeas

With one pan and some staple ingredients you can have a nutrient-packed meal in less than 30 minutes

Another simple one, this recipe from ElaVegan requires just one pan and can be ready in less than half an hour. It includes a delicious ginger sauce and also makes use of some store cupboard staples like smoked paprika, stock, and cayenne pepper.

Find the recipe here.

Curried Brussels sprouts

curried brussels sprouts
Cooking with Parita These curried sprouts are fit for any occasion

Don’t fancy broccoli? This recipe for curried Brussels sprouts also takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and was created by Cooking With Parita. Serve with practically any main as a spicy side and garnish with some fresh chopped coriander.

Find the recipe here.

Chinese orange tofu and broccoli

a bowl of vegan orange tofu with broccoli, a vegan meal that's high in zinc
Sarah Cabacho Firm tofu and broccoli make for a hearty meal in this healthy fakeaway-style dish

This vegan twist on a Chinese takeaway classic is packed with tofu as well as vitamin C. PlantBaes combines extra firm tofu with plenty of broccoli for a nutrient-dense and satisfying meal – perfect for a healthy post-gym dish or a Saturday night fakeaway.

Find the recipe here.

Creamy brussels sprout lasagna

A vegan mushroom and Brussel's sprouts lasagne
Rainbow Plant Life It’s time to try this Brussels sprout-based lasagna

Rainbow Plant Life’s creamy brussels sprout lasagna provides an unexpected, delicious, and nutritious spin on the oft-maligned green vegetable. It’s packed with vitamin C as well as protein, thanks to the creamy tofu “ricotta” sauce.

Find the recipe here.

Strawberry avocado toast with balsamic glaze

Gabriel Miller Add strawberries and balsamic glaze in this decadent spin on avo toast

Blending savory and sweet, this recipe from Gabriel Miller is quick and nutritious but feels – and looks – extravagant. The sweetness of the strawberries and the glaze is softened by the creaminess of the avocado for a deceptively simple and moreish breakfast.

Find the recipe here.

Strawberry tart

strawberry tart olivewood vegan
Strawberries make dessert a good choice for boosting vitamin C

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, manganese, folate (B9), and potassium. They are also one of the most popular varieties of fruit, according to YouGov. This recipe from Olive Wood Vegan combines sweet strawberries with a creamy custard layer and delicate pastry crust.

Find the recipe here.

No-bake lemon cheesecake

This no-bake recipe is quick and delicious

SoVegan’s no-bake lemon cheesecake is creamy, light, and zesty. With an ingredients list that includes five lemons, it’s also rich in vitamin C.

Find the recipe here.

Strawberry and banana smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Smoothie can make for a quick breakfast or a vitamin-rich dessert

With just three main ingredients, this smoothie from The Plant Riot makes for a quick breakfast or a healthy dessert. A delightful pink color, the combined strawberries, bananas, and soy milk make for a vitamin-rich and luxurious drink.

Find the recipe here.

Lemon tart with fresh strawberries

Gluten Free Vegan Lemon Tart with Fresh Strawberries
This recipe includes both lemons and strawberries

Combining the vitamin C-rich lemons and strawberries of the previous two recipes, this tart from Naturally Zuzu is as beautiful as it is delicious.

Find the recipe here.

Easy strawberry galette with whipped cream

A vegan strawberry galette with dairy-free whipped cream
Vegan Recipe Club This vegan strawberry galette recipe includes a how-to for vegan whipped cream

This dairy-free dessert from Viva!’s Vegan Recipe Club is quick, simple, and requires just a few different ingredients. “Galette” is a French culinary name for dishes with a pastry base, including either sweet or savory options. In this instance, the pastry is topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries for a significant portion of vitamin C.

Find the recipe here.

More like this:

Join The Plant Based Newsletter and we will plant a tree! 🌳

We plant a tree for every signup. You’ll receive our weekly news round-up and be the first to hear about, product launches, exclusive offers and more!

© 2024 Plant Based News is a mission-led impact media platform focused on elevating the plant-based diet and its benefit to human health, the planet, and animals. | Plant Based News Ltd, PO Box 71173, London, SE20 9DQ, United Kingdom.