31 Iron Rich Foods for Vegetarians & Vegans

Many vegetarians and vegans worry about getting enough iron in their diet. Since meat is traditionally thought of as the main source of iron, vegetarians need to find different sources to help them reach their recommended amount of iron each day. Fortunately, there are several delicious and easy-to-prepare options that are both rich in iron and vegetarian-friendly.

Great list of iron rich foods for vegetarians, vegans and anyone who wants to get more iron in their diet without eating a big steak.

brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

You may have resisted Brussels sprouts as a kid, but they’re hard to resist once you learn just how healthy these tasty veggies are. Brussels sprouts are a viable source of antioxidants, vitamins, folate, and fiber. Plus, they’re an excellent source of iron, and an obvious choice in helping to prevent fatigue and other symptoms of iron deficiency.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 0.9 milligrams of iron (5% DV), 28 calories



Like other dried fruits, raisins are nutrient-dense treats that contain large amounts of iron. It’s easy to add a handful of these subtly sweet treats to your cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or salads as part of a balanced diet. To get the most out of your next handful of raisins, combine them with other healthy foods containing vitamin C. This will make it easier for your body to absorb the iron found in raisins.

Serving Size (1/2 cup, packed), 1.6 milligrams of iron (9% DV), 247 calories



Many vegetarians worry about not getting enough iron or protein in their diets. Lentils can solve both problems, and then some! These colorful legumes are packed with vitamins and nutrients including iron, protein, and essential amino acids. Plus, they’re easy to cook and make a great companion to many meals. Lentils are traditionally used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, but they can spice up your soups, stews, pastas, and more.

Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 6.6 milligrams of iron (37% DV), 230 calories

dried peaches

Dried Peaches

If you’re trying to get more iron in your diet, opt for dried fruit as opposed to fresh. Dried fruits pack more nutrients, including iron, per serving. Dried peaches make a great breakfast companion, a delicious addition to salads, and an easy snack throughout your busy day. A serving of dried peaches contains about 9% of your daily recommended iron, without weighing you down with lots of sugar and calories.

Serving Size (1/4 cup), 1.6 milligrams of iron (9% DV), 96 calories

pumpskin seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

If you stopped eating pumpkin seeds when you stopped carving pumpkins as a kid, now is the time to start back up again. A handful of pumpkin seeds, or an ounce, contains about one milligram of iron. That’s about 5% of the recommended daily value. Pumpkin seeds provide the most benefit when eaten raw, but they still pack an iron punch when roasted for no more than 15-20 minutes.

Serving Size (1 ounce, about a handful), 0.9 milligrams of iron (5% DV), 126 calories.



Soybeans are another super food that packs protein, unsaturated fat (the “good fat”), fiber, and minerals such as iron. A single cup of mature, boiled soybeans contains nearly half the recommended amount of iron your body needs daily. Another great thing about soybeans is their versatility. Season these nutritional powerhouses to your liking, or add them to soups or chili for a healthy and delicious meal.

Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 8.8 milligrams of iron (49% DV), 298 calories

pinto beans

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans contain a splash of color and a spattering of essential vitamins and minerals. Among them is iron, and it comes in no small quantity; just a cup of boiled pinto beans yields about 21% of the recommended daily value. Pair these colorful legumes with whole wheat rice for a virtually fat-free meal that’s as easy on your wallet as it is on your waistline. Or, enjoy them with your favorite veggies to introduce even more iron into your diet.

Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 3.6 milligrams of iron (21% DV), 245 calories



Dark greens such as arugula have countless health benefits with a tiny calorie count. Vegetarians should consume plenty arugula, particularly for its rich iron content. Adding several servings to your diet each week can greatly improve the health of your red blood cells. The easiest way to enjoy arugula is in a green leafy salad, but you can also enjoy it in soups, as a pizza topping, and sautéed with pasta and other dishes.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 0.146 milligrams of iron (1.8% DV), 3 calories

whole wheat pasta

Whole Wheat Pasta

Vegetarians should enjoy whole wheat pasta as part of a healthy balanced diet. Eating pasta is a great way to curb your cravings for carbs while getting essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. While white pasta contains these minerals as well, it can also weigh you down with extra carbs and calories, so choose the much healthier whole wheat pasta options.

Serving Size (1/4 cup dry), 0.4 milligrams of iron (2% DV), 44 calories

collard greens

Collard Greens

With staggering amounts of calcium, high levels of vitamin A, and several cancer-fighting elements, what’s not to love about collard greens? Vegetarians have another reason to love these dark green veggies, because they’re also high in both iron and vitamin C. To get the most out of these essential nutrients, use raw collard greens in a salad that’s filled with other iron-rich vegetables. The vitamin C in collard greens makes it easy for your body to absorb iron from other sources.

Serving Size (1 cup), 2.2 milligrams of iron (12% DV), 11 calories


Sesame Butter (Tahini)

Sesame butter, also known as tahini and often associated with hummus, can provide the body with a tremendous amount of iron. If you’re already eating plenty of iron-rich fruits and vegetables, tahini can be an excellent addition that will help you reach your daily iron needs. Many people eat tahini as is, but you can also use it to add some flavor to your favorite vegetables or to dress up a salad.

Serving Size (1 tablespoon), 0.4 milligrams of iron (2% DV), 86 calories

dried thyme

Dried Thyme

With dried thyme at your disposal, cooking and eating your favorite vegetables will never get old. Thyme offers a unique lemon-pepper flavor that works well in many dishes. It also offers plenty of essential iron. In fact, dried thyme is one of the most iron-rich herbs you can find. And with so few calories, it makes a healthy, savory addition to your meals.

Serving Size (1 teaspoon), 1.2 milligrams of iron (7% DV), 3 calories

black beans

Black Beans

Beans are good all around; they’re easy on your health and your budget. Black beans, in particular, are loaded with fiber, protein, and iron. That means they satisfy hunger while providing an energy boost that lasts for hours. Vegetarians who are concerned about getting enough iron need only add a one-cup serving of black beans to get about 20% of their daily recommended intake.

Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 3.6 milligrams of iron (20% DV), 277 calories

brown rice

Brown Rice

Brown rice is one of the most versatile foods on Earth. It’s a staple in several cultures’ cuisines, and it’s widely regarded as an important health food. It’s naturally rich in fiber, it helps rid the body of toxins, and its high iron content also helps fight anemia and fatigue. Cook a serving of brown rice along with your favorite beans or veggies for an iron-rich meal that will keep you feeling full for hours.

Serving Size (1 cup), 0.8 milligrams of iron (5% DV), 216 calories

prune juice

Prune Juice

There’s a bit of a stigma when it comes to prune juice, but learning about its bounds of health benefits might help make it more appealing. Give it a chance and you might find that prune juice is not only delicious, but it’s also a potent source of iron. Its high vitamin C content makes it easier for your body to absorb the iron, so have a glass with your next meal to get the most out of the other iron-rich foods in your diet.

Serving Size (1 cup), 3 milligrams of iron (17% DV), 182 calories



Iron deficiency can be greatly reduced by adding oatmeal to your diet. Just a half-cup serving is packed with almost two milligrams of iron. And with loads of other nutrients, oatmeal is a fantastic health food that everyone should be eating more of. It’s an easy and healthy breakfast food, but you can also use oats to make granola, cookies, and other sweet treats that are both delicious and nutritious.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 1.7 milligrams of iron (8% DV), 154 calories

dried apricots

Dried Apricots

Apricots are an excellent source of iron and other nutrients. They can be consumed raw, canned, cooked, and dried, but dried apricots provide your body with the most benefits and the largest amount of iron. When apricots are dried, they lose their high water and sugar contents without losing their highly nutritious qualities. Just a handful of dried apricots can provide you with up to 35% of your daily iron intake. They make for an easy snack throughout the day, or chop them up to serve with other fruits or over a salad.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 2 milligrams of iron (8% DV), 78 calories.



Potatoes are one of the most versatile foods out there, and they’re also one of the best iron-rich food options for vegetarians. Since potatoes are also packed with vitamin C, it’s easier for your body to absorb the iron it needs. Potatoes work equally well as a side dish and a main attraction, so combine them with other iron-rich foods for a healthy meal any time of the day.

Serving Size (1 medium potato with skin),3.2 milligrams of iron (18% DV), 278 calories



Though tofu is typically associated with Asian cuisine, this versatile and nutritious food has made its way to dinner tables around the world. And rightfully so: tofu is highly nutritious and rich in iron and other essential minerals. Though most people know about the health benefits, many aren’t sure how to prepare tofu, or they’re unimpressed with its bland taste. Fortunately, tofu has a wonderful ability to take on the flavors of the sauces and seasonings it’s prepared with, so learning to love it is as easy as choosing your favorite ingredients and going from there.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 3.4 milligrams of iron (19% DV), 88 calories

sun dried tomatoes

Sun Dried Tomatoes

Besides their mouth-watering taste, one of the best things about sun dried tomatoes is their high iron content. One cup contains nearly 30 percent of your recommended daily iron intake. Another great thing is that you can use them in so many ways. Sun dried tomatoes make a tasty addition to omelets, pasta sauce, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and so much more. They’re also high in healthy lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C, so add them to your diet for a health boost all around.

Serving Size (1 cup), 4.9 milligrams of iron (27% DV), 139 calories



If you ever get tired of eating fruits and vegetables as your main source of iron, switch it up by adding blackstrap molasses to your meals and even your beverages. Just a teaspoon of tasty molasses added to your toast, cereal, sandwiches, milk, or water contributes about 5% to your daily iron quota.

Serving Size (1 tablespoon), 0.9 milligrams of iron (5% DV), 58 calories

lima beans

Lima Beans

Lima beans are one of the most ancient cultivated crops, and they’re still renowned as a delicious and healthful food to this day. Enjoy just a cup of lima beans with your favorite meal you’ll get an incredible 25% of your iron for the day. Lima beans should never be consumed raw, but cooked lima beans have a unique flavor that can be enjoyed as is or enhanced with your favorite herbs and spices.

Serving Size (1 cup, cooked), 4.5 milligrams of iron (25% DV), 216 calories

whole wheat pasta

Whole Wheat Pasta

When buying bread, opt for unprocessed whole wheat over refined white bread. Whole wheat bread is a great source of fiber, B vitamins, protein, and iron. And unlike white bread, it manages hunger for longer while keeping your blood sugar in check. If you’re worried about getting enough iron, but endless supplies of iron-rich veggies leave your appetite unsatisfied, a slice of 100% whole wheat bread will help you feel fuller for longer, while providing an energy boost that lasts for hours.

Serving Size (1 slice), 0.7 milligrams of iron (4% DV), 69 calories

black eyed peas

Black-Eyed Peas

Like other legumes, black-eyed peas are a rich source of iron. A serving size of one single cup can supply up to a quarter of your recommended daily iron intake, while providing you with other health benefits as well. They also contain a respectable amount of vitamin C—enough to make it much easier for your body to absorb the essential iron.

Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 4.3 milligrams of iron (24% DV), 220 calories



Though many vegetables contain lots of iron, many also are packed with iron inhibitors, which means your body is unable to absorb much of the iron. Fortunately, cruciferous veggies like broccoli are also filled with vitamin C. This plays a huge role in helping your body absorb and digest the essential iron. Eating a serving of broccoli every day is a great way to get more iron into your diet.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 0.3 milligrams of iron (2% DV), 15 calories



If you need more iron in your diet but can’t afford a jump in calories, kale is a fat-free super food that will provide your body with a mountain of nutrients and only a handful of calories. One of the cruciferous vegetables (in the same grain as broccoli, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts), kale helps fight anemia and fatigue with a high iron content. If you have trouble eating it raw, try sautéing it, throwing it in your soup or on a burger, or making delicious kale chips in your oven or food dehydrator.

Serving Size (1 cup), 1.1 milligrams of iron (6% DV), 1.3 calories

dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

By now, most people know that dark chocolate is good for your heart (in moderation). But did you also know that it’s loaded with iron? A 100 gram serving size contains about 35% of your recommended daily intake. Of course, this sweet treat should be eaten in moderation, but it can certainly be enjoyed as part of a balanced, iron-rich diet.

Serving Size (100 grams), 6.3 milligrams of iron (35% DV), 578 calories

sunflower seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are known for their impressive supply of vitamin E, but they also pack plenty of essential minerals, especially iron. A one cup serving supplies nearly half your body’s daily iron needs, so if you’re not enjoying this easy and tasty snack regularly, now is a great time to start. Sunflower seeds can be found at your local grocery store year round.

Serving Size (1 cup), 7.4 milligrams of iron (41% DV), 269 calories



Fresh and cooked peas have a slightly sweeter taste than many other vegetables. And like other green veggies, they’re rich in iron and other nutrients. It’s easy to incorporate these tender veggies into your favorite meals, and a mere half-cup serving provides about 7% of the daily recommended value of iron. Cook a serving as a standalone side dish, or incorporate peas into your salad, soup, and pasta dishes.

Serving Size (1/2 cup), 1.2 milligrams of iron (7% DV), 62 calories



Eating fresh strawberries is a great way to ramp up your daily iron intake. Not only are strawberries a viable source of iron (a pint constitutes roughly 9% of the daily recommended value), but the high vitamin C content helps your body absorb more of the iron it needs. Strawberries make an excellent side to any breakfast dish, they’re great in an afternoon smoothie, and you can also serve them as a sweet after-dinner treat.

Serving Size (1 pint), 1.5 milligrams of iron (9% DV), 114 calories

cooked spinach

Cooked Spinach

Boasting a long list of vitamins and nutrients, spinach consistently ranks at the top of the “super food” lists. Among other myriad nutrients, cooked spinach is an excellent source of iron. And since this leafy green is also loaded with vitamin C, your body will have no trouble absorbing all that iron. Spinach can be eaten raw, but cooking it first will provide greater amounts of iron, among other benefits.

Serving Size (1 cup), 6.4 milligrams of iron (36% DV), 41 calories.

There’s a misconception that vegans & vegetarians are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency than their meat-eating counterparts. In fact, vegetarians have tons of iron-rich options in the form of fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and more. Most of these colorful foods also contain several other essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, so adding these healthy, iron-rich foods to your diet can improve your health in many great ways.

You may also like our list of 66 Super Foods and low carb, protein-rich foods.

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  1. mary5 says:

    I love tahini in hummus. I’ll have to try it on veggies. Any other ideas about how to use it?

    • Thutto says:

      There are so many ways to eat hummus ! You can try with veggies, crackers (pita chips/triscuit/etc), and even hot wings! I like it in my lunch: lettuce wrap with turkey and a spoon of hummus. Yum!

    • spunk says:

      instead of a sphaghetti sauce… mix in with cooked veggies and whole wheat pasta. so very good and really good for you at the same time

    • Meebo1 says:

      In a bowl, mix together some tahini w/ tamari and a little citrus (lemon, orange, even a little ACV will do) mix this sauce with soba noodles and then add stir fried broccoli and sprinkle on some pumpkin and sunflower seeds – Iron powerhouse meal. Even good straight out of the fridge the next day – cold sesame noodles!

      • Meebo1 says:

        Also, for breakfast – I do some tahini on toast and then smash a half an avocado on top – add a splash of lemon and sprinkle of salt – my favorite breakfast.

  2. Kisha Majors says:

    Regarding whole wheat pasta. In most case’s whole wheat does not mean less carbie. It will be just as carbie or more so. It still disolves in your system just like sugar, white flour, and starch. I wish people would stop making this crap up. Like pasta is healthy for us. It’s not. Period. And how is eating carb’s going to curb your carb cravings, huh? Maybe for about 2 hours when your insulin spikes to reduce your blood sugar and then… your blood sugar plummet’s and guess what happens? You crave carb’s again! Stick with the leafy greens, broccoli, and whole red meat for your IRON people! Seriously! (PS If your even close to being diabetic, pasta will not zap your energy levels, not the other way around) Trust me, I know. Years of eating carbage has taught me, eat meat, eat green’s!!!

    • Andrea says:

      Carbohydrates are a vital energy source for marathon runners and most people training for a marathon don’t get enough. Glucose from carbohydrates is stored in limited amounts in your muscles and liver as glycogen and it is glycogen that governs the length and intensity of your running both in training and in competition. The more glycogen you have on board, the longer you can keep going at a higher level of performance, and avoid ‘hitting the wall’ as your carbohydrate reserves run low and your body burns more fat for energy.

      The amount of carbohydrate-containing foods you eat can influence the amount of glycogen you store. Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise provides blood glucose for energy and helps to maximize and speed up recovery and restore glycogen levels in time for your next training session or race.

    • RiverJordan says:

      This is a vegetarian/vegan page…that means we don’t eat red meat. There are reasons we don’t eat meat; I am vegetarian because i cannot even stand the smell of meat. You sound a little ridiculous saying eat meat eat meat on a vegan/vegetarian website. Sorry to burst your bubble. You are right about carbs it’s not healthy however if people choose to eat it so be it, don’t force your opinions on others. Thanks.

    • Seth says:

      Carbohydrates are not bad by any means. Saying not to eat carbs will put your body into a ketogenic state, which is not healthy. Do you eat pinto beans? Black beans? Lentils? Sweet Potatoes? Apples? Bananas? Or any other fruit for that matter? THEN YOU ARE EATING CARBS. Carbs are the main energy source for our body. Without them, we are unable to sustain long periods of training as muscle glycogen and liver glycogen stores run out. Andrea is right when she says eating carbs before, during, and after exercise is important to promote muscle gains, weight loss, and provide energy for exercise. I agree following a plant based diet, with lean proteins is great. But without carbs, your body will not have the energy it needs to live a healthy lifestyle. Therefore eat carbs, eat whole grains and brown rice. Yes, there are bad sources of carbs (i.e cake, cookies, white bread, enriched pasta) but the fiber and other nutrient benefits from whole grains and starchy vegetables will do your body good.

  3. Lovinlife says:

    I’m not a vegetarian yet, but I’m researching and learning more about it, because one day I would like to go completely vegan. I’ve stopped eating beef and pork a few months back and I plan to stop eating chicken as well. As far as iron consumption is concerned, I think for someone like me that would be fairly easy since I like a lot of the foods listed here. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I could call myself a proud vegetarian.

    • ysabel says:

      I tried to be a vegetarian but due to iron defficiency I had to stop. I had severe anemia and my doctor advised me to eat red meat with the iron supplements… I am now ok. I am back to eating red meat. so good for those of you who have no side effects of becoming a vegetarian.

  4. Kylie says:

    I want to get all my iron intake from dark chocolate. I want to say no to kale and broccoli if possible ^_^. I’m finding this new vegetarian life very satisfying so far. I feel better and I’m definitely happier now that I don’t eat animal meat. But there’s still a lot of learning to do in order to live a healthy life as a vegetarian. I wish I had someone who could guide me through this, but since I don’t, the internet has been my teacher and friend through this journey. Anyways back to dark chocolate, now I have a good reason to gobble them up as I wish!

    • susanjcaldwell28 says:

      Kylie, I know you are being tongue in cheek!! A little dark choc is good but it does contain caffeine and sugar so dont forget the broccoli and kale, if you are interested I can add your name to a vegan sanctuary online if you want to transition, no prob going vegan first, just give me a shout. x

      • Hannah says:

        Let’s get back to the dark chocolate thing, Kylie.
        I’m pretty sure kale would go well in a chocolate bar.
        You’re welcome.

    • Hannah says:

      There ‘ya go. Kale chips n’ chocolate. I eat kale many times a week. You could call me ‘obsessed’, even. It’s affordable, versatile (I eat it in smoothies, raw, cooked, savory/sweet- yeah, kale ice cream is the shiznit, and I try to add it to just about anything. It also grows in your garden until like December… Way after the first frosts. There’s been kale tips sticking up out of the snow. Total resilience . Please give kale another chance. Thank you, -on behalf of kale.

  5. Noah says:

    Wow check out brussels sprouts! 0.9 milligrams of iron with just 28 calories!! Arugula is crazy rich in iron too with 0.146 milligrams of iron and just 3 calories. Dried thyme I’ve never heard of before, but I’ll definitely give it a try. I love these highly efficient foods that you give you so much nutrient with very little added calorie.

    • veganis easy says:

      Noah dried thyme can be found usually in your produce section with other herbs or in the seasoning section…it’s an herb

  6. Rita Khairallah says:

    I am planning to be a vegetarian soon. So, I like all the foods listed here especially that they contain iron. This means instead of eating animal meat which was not made for human beings (Teeth) we eat healthy vegetables and clean our inside bodies….wowww

  7. Annah says:

    Isn’t one cup of one sunflower seeds 144 gram and that means around 851 calories, not 269 as it says in the article?

  8. Reannan says:

    Does the thyme have to be dried? I have it sitting on my windowsill nice and fresh :)

  9. Valerie says:

    Hi Kylie, dark chocolate-eat in moderation;-)

  10. snr Boadi says:

    tnx 4 the pictures of the items. Sometimes you might no know the name but with the picture one can easily identify. God bless this site.

  11. reeta says:

    wheat substance is not rich in iron

  12. Ishwar Patel says:

    Just been to my gap,after blood test they found that iron deficiency ,I was worried being vegetarian ,it will be difficult to manage but,oh my god after visiting this site,I m already there.

  13. Patsy says:

    It’s true that dark chocolate and spinach have high levels of iron, but you make no mention of the fact that they also contain high levels of oxalates which inhibit non-heme (non-blood) iron absorption.

  14. Anjali says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post , the best thing is you have mentioned vegan sources of Iron which is very useful for vegetarian like me

  15. anjali says:

    Oops……. Am I vegitarian

  16. Victoria says:

    This is great! My toddler has anaemia and I’ve been finding it difficult to give him a varied diet (all I could think of was spinach).

    I’m amazed at how much iron is in a potato. Again thank you!

  17. mitesh says:

    Hi, its good to hear about lot of people turning towards vegetarian. I have tried Kale its amazing not only as source of iron but also as anti oxidant. I love spinach and other green veg. and I have seen lot of non veg people have iron + B12 folate defi.Thanks

  18. rene says:

    Hi I’m actually a pescetarian. I cant go vegetarian because of an extreamly high metabolism, but do eat mostly vegetarian foods. this sight helped all lot.

  19. laura says:

    Thank you so much for this informative article! I have struggled with anemia all my life and hate the side effects of iron pills. This article will help me conquer it once and for all. I didn’t know that vitamin C helped with the absorption and that is great to know. I should have more energy very shortly!

  20. Tanmay says:

    I have been looking for veggie iron rich food. My wife is recently diagnosed to have chronic iron deficiency anemia and I want to help her the all the way I can. I have no knowledge about the iron rich foods, yes I have been studying online for the veggie foods. Can anyone please suggest me the various recipes that I can cook for her and help her recover? Please bless us with your knowledge and all sorts of helps that you can to help her.

  21. Alana says:

    This site is so useful. My son and I are vegetarians and I worry about his iron intake. His daily allowance is easily made up looking at the amount of foods containing iron. So , thank you!

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