Some of the most affordable foods on the planet are vegan, including rice, beans, legumes, pasta, and all kinds of fruits and veggies. Despite this, people will often ask us about eating vegan on a budget.
So we’ve compiled some handy tips and tricks that will keep you veg without breaking the bank:
• Dry beans are worth the wait. Sure, you have to soak them overnight, but dry beans are exponentially cheaper than canned. They’re also a delicious, protein-packed essential in a budget-friendly vegan diet.
• Buy it frozen. One great way to save money is to reduce food waste. Frozen veggies like corn, peas, and green beans are great because they last almost forever.
• Get into oatmeal. Yeah, oatmeal is a super secret vegan hack. It’s filling, loaded with iron and calcium, and one of the cheapest things you could eat for breakfast.
• Stick with produce under $2 per pound. When choosing fresh fruits and veggies, try to stick with items under $2/lb.
• If you want to splurge, buy some Vegenaise. Of course you can just use it like mayo, but you can also create sour cream (just add lemon juice), salad dressings, and sauces with this must-have specialty item.
• Soup is a thing. Soups loaded with veggies, grains, and beans hold well as leftovers, stretch your dollars, and make great filling meals!
• Stick with staples. Rice, pasta, and peanut butter are all great choices for affordability and versatility.
• Every night can be taco night. Put those tasty veggies and beans to use inside a toasted tortilla! Add some Vegenaise sour cream and you’ve got yourself a tasty and inexpensive vegan dinner.
Seasoning blend (you will not use all of this unless you want to): 1 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp kosher pepper, ½ tbsp cumin, ½ tbsp ancho chili powder, 1 tsp New Mexico chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp hot paprika, ½ tsp dried oregano.
Cilantro for garnish
Toppings of your choice
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a few tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
Once the oil has come to temperature, add in the garlic, onions, and diced peppers.
Season with the seasoning blend and cook until the onions become translucent.
Once the onions are translucent, add in the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, passata, and sweet potatoes.
Season as desired.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, add in the lentils and red kidney beans.
Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow the lentils to cook thoroughly, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes.
After 20-25 minutes, remove the lid, add in the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate.
Taste and season according to your preference.
Add in the pinch of sugar to balance the flavors.
Let the chili thicken uncovered for a few minutes.
Serve while hot, garnished with your favorite toppings.
Breakfast: Oats made with almond milk and topped with warmed berries.
Lunch: Leftover roasted tomato & basil soup!
Dinner: There’s nothing I love more than burrito bowl.. oh yes there is! Vegan healthy burrito bowls!! This was so yum. Guacamole, chilli, brown rice & red quinoa, corn, spinach, cucumber and sweet potato fries.
Big roast veggie bowl for a warming lunch on this cold afternoon! I just roasted up some potatoes, swede, carrots and parsnips in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 40-50 minutes. I coated the veggies in a generous amount of olive oil, onion powder, dried Italian herbs and paprika before roasting, for extra flavour. Served the veggies with a side of kale to give it some freshness, and drizzled over some tahini to round it off.
For lunch today I baked a bunch of sweet potato fries, and served that with hummus as a dipping sauce and a big side salad.
To make the fries:
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop your sweet potatoes length-wise into even-sized wedges. I like to cut mine quite thick, because they do shrink once baked. Spread the fries on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Drizzle some olive oil and season with dried Italian herbs, paprika, salt and a touch of cinnamon. Give the fries a good toss to coat everything evenly, then place it in the oven. After 15-20 mins, take them out, flip them over and put it back in for another 5-10 mins. The cooking time really depends on your oven strength/heat, so do keep an eye on the fries so they cook evenly and don’t burn.
There are one million and one ways to make roasted sweet potatoes. They are one of the most versatile vegetables and can be dressed up in many ways ranging from savory to sweet. Here is just one way that I like to prepare these for meal prep.
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Seasoning blend: 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, ½ tbsp lemon granules, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ancho chili powder, 1 ½ tsp Herbs de Provence, ½ tsp smoked paprika.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange your sweet potatoes into a single layer.
Drizzle a layer of olive oil over the potatoes and then sprinkle over the seasoning blend (you may or may not use all of it – if you don’t, save the rest from chicken, it’s incredible).
Using your hands, toss the potatoes so that they are evenly coated.
Roast in the oven until the insides are tender when pierced with a toothpick.
NOTE: For meal prep, I tend to “under roast” my potatoes because I do not want them to become too soft after reheating for a meal.
Divide into meal prep containers after the potatoes have cooled.
Vegan hummus pasta salad for dinner tonight! So quick and easy to make, but really substantial too. I love finding different uses for hummus- it’s not just for dipping carrot sticks in! 😉
I just cooked pasta and in a separate pan, steamed some veggies like broccoli, peppers and kale. In hindsight, some sweet corn would have been really nice in there too, but I forgot to put that in. Once everything was cooked, I stirred it all together. I made a big batch of this to refrigerate, so I can have it over the next few days.
For the dressing, I took a few generous scoops of hummus and thinned it out with a bit of water, then poured that all over the pasta salad.
I also sprinkled some smoked paprika over for a bit of a kick.
Veggie spring rolls make for a great light lunch! I filled mine with cooked rice noodles, pan-fried tofu, shredded carrots, lettuce and mushrooms. For the sauce, I combined 2 tbsp natural peanut butter with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 minced garlic, bit of minced ginger, juice from 1/3 lemon, and some honey/agave/maple syrup to sweeten to taste (add a little bit at a time until it tastes like a good balance between salty and sweet). Thin the sauce out with a little bit of water if necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander and enjoy!
1 tbs dry pan toasted sesame seeds
½ small avocado (or ¼ large)
½ sheet roasted nori, ripped into small bits
¾ cup cooked brown rice
½ soy sauce
I mushed the avocado with soy sauce then mixed it with my rice. Once rice was coated I added sesame seeds, nori, and cucumber. Would have been amazing with some crispy tofu and a side of steamed edamame.