By Karen Gaudette Brewer

I first learned of the Daniel Fast (a.k.a. the Daniel Diet) a few Christmases ago with my in-laws in Kentucky. Their church congregation had committed to the diet for the first three weeks of the year to recharge and become more conscious of how their faith plays out in daily life, they said. They showed me the list of what they couldn't eat. And it was LONG.

None of the following:

  • Sugar and sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Meat and animal products (including eggs and dairy)
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Caffeine (ouch!)
  • Refined and processed food
  • All solid fats
  • Leavened breads (anything made with yeast, baking soda, baking powder, etc.) and baked goods

So, what can you eat on a Daniel Fast? Well, fruits and vegetables. Beans and other legumes. Whole grains. Nuts and seeds. (Dairy is out, but you can always enjoy almond milk on a Daniel Fast.) I noticed a pattern: the Daniel Fast is more or less a vegan diet sans added sugars/sweeteners, refined carbs, caffeine, and alcohol. Yes, that's a lot of exclusions, but having a central dietary theme makes it so much easier to find good things to eat. Whether you're fasting for 10 days or 21, here's a week of Daniel Diet recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to help you keep at it.

7 Breakfasts

1. Green Power Mojito Smoothie | Ready in 10 minutes

Allrecipes member FreeFa11 says this tart, satisfying, and delicious smoothie disguises healthy greens with a taste similar to a mojito. Sign me up!

Photo by llgrotts

2. Cranberry-Orange Spiced Oatmeal | Ready in 7 minutes

A sugar-free oatmeal recipe that comes together quickly in the microwave.

3. Coconut Date Bars | Ready in 40 minutes

Another easy grab-and-go option for busy mornings. Just bake the night before.

4. Ethiopian Cabbage Dish | Ready in 75 minutes

Cabbage? For breakfast? When you add potato and spices, it makes a pleasing dish indeed. #Protip: Do not add liquid, as the cabbage and potatoes release plenty on their own.

Photo by TTV78

5. g'Oatmeal | Ready in 90 minutes

It's oatmeal, peanut butter and other goodness baked in a muffin tin for an easy grab-and-go breakfast. Choose all-natural peanut butter to dodge added sugars and skip the honey until after the fast.

6. Anna's Scrambled Tofu | Ready in 25 minutes

Here's the closest texture and flavor to scrambled eggs while you're foregoing them. Add spinach, mushrooms, peanuts, or cashews as topping, or serve over quinoa or brown rice.

7. All-Fruit Smoothies | Ready in 10 minutes

Smooth, frosty and dairy-free. Add a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter for a protein boost.

Photo by llgrotts

7 Lunches, Sides, and Salads

1. Refreshing Sweet and Spicy Jicama Salad (Vegan) | Ready in 50 minutes

Light, crisp, crunchy, spicy. This energizing salad has got it all.

Photo by CookieEater

2. Salad Ole | Ready in 3+ hours

Why must you wait so long? Well, the tomatoes, zucchini, corn, avocado, lemon juice, and spices need time to mingle and marinate. #Protip: Use fresh pico de gallo in place of bottled picante sauce to avoid added sugars and sweeteners.

3. Vegan Black Bean Quesadillas | Ready in 55 minutes

Choose whole-grain tortillas to stay true to the fast. What the heck is nutritional yeast, you ask? Read this.

4. Roasted Chickpeas | Ready in 45 minutes

Oven-roasted garbanzo beans are an easy, addictive, and healthy snack. #Protip: Keep a can of chickpeas in your pantry so you always have a quick snack to make for surprise company.

Miss sandwiches? Think cucumber

Our friends at The Kitchn demonstrate how to transform a cucumber into a tasty vessel for tuna salad, egg salad, and other sandwich spreads. And don't miss their recipe for one ingredient ice cream.

5. Protein-Packed Spicy Vegan Quinoa with Edamame | Ready in 45 minutes

Easy to make, hearty, and oh-so satisfying.

Photo by HeidiM

6. Vegan Black Bean Soup | Ready in 45 minutes

As good as any served in a restaurant and just right for your Thermos.

7. Cilantro Edamame Hummus | Ready in 15 minutes

This creamy snack will fill you up and looks pretty paired with carrot sticks on your table.

7 Dinners

1. Roasted Cauliflower Soup | Ready in about 2 hours

So creamy, it's hard to believe it's dairy-free.

Photo by bd.weld

2. Ginger Veggie Stir-Fry | Ready in 40 minutes

Pile this tasty meal atop brown rice and you're good to good. Here's a good how-to on how to make super easy weeknight stir-fry with whatever might be in your fridge. If you're not sure how to cook brown rice, you can always buy it frozen in packs at your local Trader Joe's.

3. Traditional Style Vegan Shepherd's Pie | Ready in 75 minutes

Comfort food galore for a cold winter's night.

4. Spicy Vegan Potato Curry | Ready in 1 hour

Recipe creator MeganLee says the abundant spices make this better than any restaurant curry she's tasted. Replace the white rice with brown or just enjoy this hearty curry on its own.


5. Hearty Vegan Slow-Cooker Chili | Ready in 6 hours

Make a big pot of this goodness and it'll last you a few days. Yes, it looks like a ton of ingredients, but that translates to remarkable flavor. Serve atop baked potatoes or as is.

Photo by Scott M.

6. Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos | Ready in 40 minutes

Omit the cheese and sour cream and use whole-grain tortillas until your fast is over. Make a bunch, wrap individually, and freeze to stockpile this quick weekday meal.

Photo by

7. Vegan Bean Taco Filling | Ready in 30 minutes

For those nights when you just HAVE to have tacos, turn to this! Serve with corn or whole-grain tortillas.

Bonus tips

  • If you're used to cooking with meat it can be overwhelming to plan a meal without. Start with hearty vegan stews and soups to help replicate the texture.
  • January is chock full of wonderful root vegetables. Roast them and add to salads, to curries, to soups, and atop baked potatoes or sweet potatoes for a quick meal. Don't forget your favorite spices or condiments (taking care to avoid added sugar).
  • Tired of chunky soup? Get out your immersion blender or regular blender and smooth it out. Tired of smooth soup? Try it chunky. Sometimes, a change in texture makes all the difference.
  • During the fast (or any dietary transition) reserve a few hours on the weekend and one weeknight for meal prep. Prep your vegetables, wash your fruit, assemble snacks, bake grab-and-go breakfast items, make oatmeal and divide into individual containers. The trick to staying on course is always having something to easily eat right from your fridge.
  • Dress up oatmeal (or cornmeal mush) for any meal by adding fresh fruit, baked fruit, toasted nuts, or spices.
  • Visualize your day and all the points in time in which you eat or snack. If you typically take a cookie break at 3 p.m., stash some roasted nuts or a healthy dip and cut-up vegetables in your bag. Will it be the same? Nope. But you'll be so proud the next day when you find you're still going strong.
  • No caffeine and no soda and no tea is pretty challenging for a lot of folks. Make your water more exciting by adding citrus: a wedge of lime, tangelo, lemon, or grapefruit will do wonders.

Happy eating!