What can you eat if you’re vegan and gluten-free?

Going vegan and gluten-free may seem very restrictive, but there are still plenty of delicious foods you can enjoy. With some creativity and planning, you can follow a vegan, gluten-free diet without feeling deprived.

What Does It Mean to Be Vegan and Gluten-Free?

A vegan diet contains no animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and honey. A gluten-free diet excludes gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

By being both vegan and gluten-free, you would avoid consuming any animal products or gluten. This means excluding foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, barley, rye and foods containing these ingredients.

Whole Foods You Can Eat

Many unprocessed, whole foods are naturally vegan and gluten-free:

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits, etc.
  • Vegetables: leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc.
  • Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, etc.
  • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • Gluten-free whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc.

These whole foods form the foundation of a healthy vegan, gluten-free diet. Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and naturally gluten-free whole grains.

Vegan Proteins

Getting enough protein may be a concern on a vegan, gluten-free diet, but there are many plant-based protein options:

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Gluten-free grains: quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut and seed butters

Legumes are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. Try different varieties like chickpeas, black beans, lentils and peas.

Healthy Vegan Fats

Vegan, gluten-free diets exclude unhealthy fats like those found in dairy products and meats. But you can get healthy fats from:

  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.
  • Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flaxseeds
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Avocados
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Coconut and coconut oil

Incorporate these healthy fats into meals, snacks and desserts for creaminess and satisfying flavor.

Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

Dairy milk is off limits on a vegan diet, but plant-based milk alternatives abound:

  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Oat milk
  • Rice milk
  • Hemp milk

Look for unsweetened varieties and opt for fortified milk alternatives to get nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Vegan Cheese Options

Vegan, gluten-free cheese alternatives include:

  • Nut-based cheeses
  • Seed-based cheeses
  • Tofu-based cheeses
  • Cultured nut cheeses
  • Fermented cashew cheeses

Try different brands and styles like blocks, shreds and spreads to find your favorites. Use vegan cheese sparingly since it’s high in fat.

Egg Replacements

To replace eggs in baking and cooking, try:

  • Apple sauce
  • Bananas
  • Flax eggs (ground flaxseed + water)
  • Chia eggs (ground chia seeds + water)
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Ground psyllium husk powder
  • Commercial egg replacer powder
  • Silken tofu
  • Aquafaba (chickpea liquid)

The possibilities are truly endless for finding egg alternatives that work in your desired recipes.

Yogurt Replacements

For yogurt, try these vegan swaps:

  • Coconut milk yogurt
  • Soy milk yogurt
  • Almond milk yogurt
  • Oat milk yogurt
  • Cashew milk yogurt

Choose unsweetened, unflavored varieties to limit added sugars. Or make your own yogurt from plant milks and vegan probiotic capsules.

Vegan Meat Substitutes

There are all kinds of innovative vegan meat alternatives like:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan (vital wheat gluten)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Black bean burgers
  • Veggie burgers
  • Veggie ground rounds
  • Veggie hot dogs
  • Plant-based deli slices

Browse the ever-expanding vegan section of your grocery store to find meatless vegan options made from plants, fungi and more.

Gluten-Free Grains and Flours

Safe gluten-free grains and flours include:

  • Rice
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Nut flours (almond, coconut)
  • Bean flours (chickpea, lentil)

Use these gluten-free grains and flours when baking, cooking, making soups, stews, porridges, pilafs and more.

Naturally Gluten-Free Snacks

Snacking can be easy with these vegan, gluten-free ideas:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruit
  • Apple or banana with nut or seed butter
  • Smoothies made with plant milk, veggies and fruit
  • Roasted chickpeas or edamame
  • Popcorn
  • Nut bars and energy balls
  • Plantain chips
  • Kale chips

Look for whole food snacks free of artificial and potentially allergenic ingredients.

Seasonings and Condiments

Seasonal dishes with:

  • Fresh or dried herbs
  • Spices
  • Minced garlic and ginger
  • Citrus juice and zest
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Natural sweeteners like maple syrup and dates
  • Tamari or coconut aminos
  • Hot sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Gluten-free broths and stocks

And don’t forget condiment favorites like:

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Tomato salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Bean dips
  • Nut and seed butters
  • Jams and jellies

Baking Mixes, Pastas and Prepared Foods

For convenience, look for:

  • Gluten-free all-purpose baking mixes
  • Gluten-free breads and tortillas
  • Gluten-free pastas
  • Canned beans, lentils and chickpeas
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Pre-made smoothies and juices
  • Prepared soups and stews
  • Frozen vegan meals
  • Packaged vegan side dishes like pilafs

Carefully check labels and ingredients lists on any pre-made products to ensure they are both vegan and gluten-free.

Suggested Vegan, Gluten-Free Meal Plan

Here is a sample one day meal plan:

Meal Foods
Breakfast Gluten-free oats cooked in almond milk, topped with chia seeds, almonds and berries
Lunch Chickpea salad sandwich on gluten-free bread with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado
Snack Apple with almond butter
Dinner Thai coconut curry with tofu, carrots, peppers and brown rice
Dessert Banana “ice cream” blended with almond milk and cocoa powder

This sample day includes gluten-free whole grains, plant-based protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.

Tips for Eating Out Vegan and Gluten-Free

With the rise of food allergies and specialized diets, it’s becoming easier to dine out vegan and gluten-free. Here are some tips:

  • Research the menu in advance and call if needed to confirm options
  • Explain your dietary needs to your server
  • Ask about how dishes are prepared and potential cross-contamination
  • Choose naturally gluten-free dishes like salads, rice bowls and tacos
  • Request sauces and dressings on the side
  • Ask for substitutions like swapping rice for fries
  • Check labels on packaged foods like broths

With caution and creativity, you can enjoy delicious gluten-free, vegan meals at many restaurants.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Here are some potential obstacles and how to overcome them on a vegan, gluten-free diet:

Challenge Solution
Lacking variety Experiment with new foods, flavors and cuisines to prevent boredom
Social situations Offer to bring a dish to share at gatherings
Craving baked goods Find good gluten-free, vegan bread and muffin recipes
Nutritional deficits Eat fortified foods or take supplements like B12 if needed
Traveling Research dining options in your destination in advance

With planning and creativity, you can overcome challenges and stick with your vegan, gluten-free diet.


Eating vegan and gluten-free may appear limiting at first, but there are still endless delicious foods you can enjoy. Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, plant proteins, healthy fats and approved convenience foods.

Focus on eating whole, minimally processed foods as much as possible. Read labels carefully to avoid hidden allergens. With creativity and commitment, you can nourish your body while avoiding animal products and gluten.

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