How to Eat Vegan on a Budget
With prices on the rise, it’s more important than ever to find ways to save money on our grocery bills. Fortunately, eating vegan on a budget is not only possible, but it can also be a delicious and healthy choice. In this blog post, we’ll share some practical tips and tricks for how to eat vegan on a budget, as well as a list of budget-friendly vegan foods and meal ideas. By following these suggestions, you can enjoy a plant-based diet without breaking the bank. So, let’s dive in!
Tip 1: Learn to cook with what’s available
One of the most effective ways to save money while eating vegan is to learn how to cook with what’s available. This means being mindful of seasonal produce or buying ingredients that are on offer. Let whatever is available to you inspire your next meal!
It also means using up leftovers in creative ways and making meals out of pantry staples. For example, leftover rice can be turned into a stir-fry or fried rice, and tinned beans can be used to create a hearty chilli. By getting creative with what you have on hand, you can save money on groceries and reduce food waste at the same time.
Tip 2: Batch cook and freeze
Batch cooking is a great way to save time and money in the kitchen. By cooking meals in large quantities and freezing them, you can have healthy, homemade meals ready to go at a moment’s notice. This is especially helpful when you’re short on time or don’t feel like cooking during the work week (happens to me all the time!).
Some great meals to batch cook include soups, pasta sauces, stews, and chilli. I also love batch-cook ingredients like grains and legumes, which I can then use in various meals throughout the week.
Tip 3: Buy in bulk
Another great way to save money while eating vegan is to buy in bulk. This is especially helpful for ingredients that you use frequently, such as grains, beans, and nuts. By buying in larger quantities, you can often get a better price per unit and reduce the amount of packaging waste. Look for bulk bins at your local grocery store or buy in bulk online. Be sure to store your bulk items properly to keep them fresh, such as storing grains and beans in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.
Tip 4: Make your own staples
Many vegan staples, such as plant-based milk, nut butter, and granola, can be made at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought versions. By making your own staples, you can save money and ensure that your food is free from additives and preservatives. Making your own plant-based milk is especially easy and cost-effective, as all you need is water and your preferred plant-based ingredient (such as oats).
You can also make your own nut butter by blending nuts in a food processor, and homemade granola can be made by mixing together oats, nuts, and dried fruit. Not only are these homemade staples usually cheaper, but they also often taste better and are healthier than store-bought versions.
Tip 5: Save energy in the kitchen
In addition to saving money on vegan food, it’s also important to consider the choices we can make in our kitchen. By reducing energy use when cooking and cleaning up, we can reduce our carbon footprint and help protect the planet, while saving money:
- Use the right-sized pot or pan for the job. If you use a pot or pan that’s too big for what you’re cooking, you’re wasting energy by heating up more surface area than you need.
- Use lids on your pots and pans. This helps to trap heat and steam, which can cook your food faster and more efficiently.
- Use the right burner for the job. If you’re cooking something that requires low heat, use a smaller burner instead of a large one.
- Turn off the oven or burner a few minutes before your food is done cooking. The residual heat will continue to cook your food without using any additional energy.
- Consider using a slow cooker or pressure cooker. These appliances are very energy-efficient and can cook meals with very little electricity.
- Avoid opening the oven or lid on your pot or pan too often. Every time you open the oven or lid, you’re letting heat escape, which means your appliance has to use more energy to heat back up.
Brilliant budget bites
Now that we’ve covered some tips for eating vegan on a budget and saving energy in the kitchen, it’s time to put those tips into action with some delicious and budget-friendly vegan foods and recipes. Whether you’re new to vegan cooking or a seasoned pro, you’re sure to find some new favourites here. So, let’s get cooking!
Our favourite budget-friendly vegan foods:
- Legumes: These include beans, lentils, and chickpeas, which are excellent sources of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. They’re also incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and dips.
- Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are not only budget-friendly, but they’re also packed with nutrients like fibre, protein, and B vitamins. They can be used as a base for meals, added to soups and stews, or used as a side dish.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables: Fresh produce can be expensive, but frozen fruits and vegetables are often a great alternative. They’re nutritionally similar to fresh produce and can be used in smoothies, stir-fries, and soups.
- Tofu: Tofu is an excellent source of protein and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to scrambles. It’s also budget-friendly.
- Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are versatile and budget-friendly root vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes. They’re high in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants, and can be roasted, mashed, or used in soups and stews. They also have a natural sweetness that makes them a great substitute for more expensive ingredients in recipes like pies and casseroles.
- Seasonal produce: Buying produce that is in season is a great way to save money. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also fresher and more flavorful. Make a trip to your local part of your weekly shopping routine.
Budget-friendly recipes to try this week:
Pea and edamame fritters
Delicious and crispy fritters made with peas, edamame, and aromatic herbs:
- 200g cooked peas
- 200g cooked edamame
- 75g chickpea flour
- 50ml plant-based milk
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp fresh herbs (optional, I used dill & parsley)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
- In a mixing bowl, mash the peas and edamame with a hand blender.
- Add the herbs, green onion, chickpea flour, baking powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir until well combined.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the plant-based milk and flax egg until smooth.
- Add the milk mixture to the pea mixture, and stir until well combined. The mixture should be thick and sticky.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Form patties with your hands then drop them into the hot oil, flattening them slightly with the back of a spoon. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy.
- Once done, transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Serve the pea fritters warm with your favourite dipping sauce, such as vegan sour cream or sweet chilli sauce.
Coconut and carrot bites
A healthy and sweet snack made with shredded carrots, coconut flakes, nuts, and spices. Find the full recipe video here.
- 250g carrots, shredded
- 90g dates, pitted
- 90g rolled oats
- 60g shredded coconut
- 60g peanut butter
- 60ml maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Add the shredded carrots, rolled oats and shredded coconut to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well combined and the ingredients are broken down into small pieces.
- Add the pitted dates, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract to the food processor. Process the mixture until it comes together and forms a sticky ball.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into small balls.
- Place the energy balls in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will help the balls firm up and hold their shape.
Note: If you prefer a smoother texture, you can soak the dates in warm water for 10-15 minutes before adding them to the food processor. Drain them well before using.
Miso aubergine wedges
Aubergines are super versatile and budget-friendly; one serving of this recipe only costs you around 1,50€:
- 2 medium-sized aubergines
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
For the tahini yoghurt:
- 100g vegan yoghurt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
To serve (optional):
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 1 chilli, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Slice each aubergine into 8-12 wedges, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Using a medium-sized mixing bowl add the miso paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and hot water. Mix all the ingredients until they are well combined.
- Brush the aubergine wedges with the marinade, then roast preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt sauce. Whisk together the vegan yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Once the aubergines are done roasting, divide the yoghurt sauce between four plates and layer the aubergine wedges on top.
- Sprinkle with parsley, pine nuts and sliced chilli (optional) and enjoy. Serve with rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
Cauliflower taco ‘meat’
Tired of the same old cauliflower recipe? Then give this vegan taco ‘meat’ a try. Find the full recipe video here.
1 medium head of cauliflower
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- Rinse the cauliflower, cut it into florets, then pulse them in a food processor until they are crumbled into small pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chilli powder and nutritional yeast.
- Transfer the cauliflower crumbles to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Add the spice mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until it is crispy and golden brown.
- Serve the cauliflower taco meat in tacos or lettuce cups or add it to your favourite bowl or salad.
Your wallet and taste buds will thank you
With these budget-friendly tips and delicious vegan recipes, you can enjoy tasty and nutritious meals without breaking the bank. From cooking with seasonal produce to making your own staples, there are plenty of ways to eat vegan on a budget. Plus, by being mindful of energy consumption and reducing food waste, you can also do your part to protect the planet. So, give these tips and recipes a try – your wallet and taste buds will thank you!
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Co-Founder of Veano