HELLO NEW FRIENDS.
I've been an admirer of Alicia Silverstone's since I discovered The Kind Diet in my favorite vegan place a few years ago (well, probably since I saw Clueless as a preteen), but just discovered this website!
I've been vegetarian for about 5 years and have been vegan for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! :)
My boyfriend and I decided to transition to veganism as we moved in together and I have my own kitchen for the first time in my life.
I've been doing lots and lots of research and trying new recipes, but we are also quite broke. Quite, quite broke. Rather than resorting to the nearest McDonald's, I decided it might be a good idea to get some personal advice from experienced vegans!
Basically what I'm asking is for your best suggestions as to how to eat a healthful, nutritional vegan diet on the cheap. The cheapest of cheap.
Any help is very much appreciated.
being vegan is the cheapest way to grocery shop. Rice is super cheap, beans are super cheap, leafy greea vegies r cheap. Miso paste costs like 4 dollars where i from but ot lasts a while. All grains are really cheap. I buy hulled barley, amaranth ,akes a good morning porage with a little almond or hemp milk or soy, rye, millet. Grains REALLY fill you up. All fress vegies are cheap.
Here's an excerpt from veganonabudget.wordpress.com
Since some people are visiting this site looking for exactly how to eat cheap as a vegan, I’d like to post some general tips.
- Buy in bulk.
In the bulk section, get spices, dried fruit, beans (dried beans are WAY cheaper), and lentils, and get big bags of rice.. which leads me to my next tip..
- Rice and beans!
This should be your mantra. Do I even need to mention the protein?
- Make your own.
Bread(!), baked goods, salad, etc. Make oatmeal (with water), varying what you put in it (sugar, fruit, etc.), instead of buying cereal. And don’t buy processed food, fake meats, any of that. (Although right now I have a coupon for $1 off Gardenburger products PLUS they’re on sale for 2 for $5…)
- Use frozen veggies.
They’re not as good, but often insanely inexpensive. I usually just buy corn, because I like to add it to–guess what–rice and beans and other Mexican food. You can also try going to farmer’s markets near the end and barter with them, since they often prefer to get rid of the produce rather than not sell it at all.
So filling, and so many ways to make ‘em.
- Know where to shop.
Asian markets are often best, and of course choose Trader Joe’s (they have cheap tofu!) over a place like Whole Foods. Find a place with a good bulk section. Store-brand things (pasta–even whole wheat, frozen items, chocolate chips) are usually the most inexpensive.
Just have your basics (including spices), and mix and match.
My favorite super-cheap meals are:
- Mexican food. Obviously, beans and rice–eat ‘em in a bowl with some salsa when you’ve got nothing else. Add corn, a nutritional yeast nacho sauce (the one from the Uncheese cookbook is great), peppers.. whatever. Buy corn tortillas or make your own if you dare. I make TVP tacos on special occasions–just add ketchup or tomato paste and spices to the cooked TVP.
- Soups, etc. Buy bouillon cubes instead of vegetable broth, or use water when you can. Make creamy with potatoes. I love lentil soup, split pea (pictured), chili with whatever veggies I have…
- Indian food. I love the chickpea [use frozen] spinach curry from Vegan with a Vengeance. Kittee has some great recipes at paku paku, too. Check out her Latina section and her Ethiopian section for some recipes with lentils, too. Lentils are so inexpensive, did I mention that?
- Stir fry. Combine a grain with any protein and whatever vegetables you have (along with some soy sauce or spices), and how could you go wrong?"
Google the words budget vegan or cheap vegan & other blogs will come up. I recently purchased "Vegan on the Cheap"...it can be found in paperback on Amazon or try the library to see if the have a copy. It's got more tips & lots of recipes.
My little tip (if you're not gluten sensitive): make your own seitan....good luck!
Definately shop sales and use coupons. My Publix has 1/2 price frozen veggies every couple of weeks so I stock up on stuff that is on the clean list for low pesticides (broccoli, peas, etc.). Walmart has cheaper dried beans, rice, seasonings and condiments than the grocery store. When tofu or tempeh is on sale at Whole Foods I get a case for an extra 10% discount. Beans, rice, fresh or frozen greens, pasta, PB sandwiches and homemade hummus wraps are all easy cheap options. My favorite thing is BOGO gardein or boca with a coupon for each so it comes out to 1-2$ per pack at most. Get a crock pot, use the library for vegan cookbooks and rely on likeminded friends for the occasional potluck or cookout to try new things.
I agree with everyone else -- rice and beans and veggie stew. You can throw everything in there. And stock-up on plantains, chickpeas and sweet potatoes and use those as fillers. Save room in your budget for non-animal fats, like olive oil or coconut solids. Don't be afraid to buy frozen veggies, which are usually a better buy (and sometimes more "green") than fresh. Make fresh salsas, by making a handful of fruits and veggies go a long way (like, strawberries, tomatoes, corn, black beans, dried cilantro and lime juice) and scoop that on cooked rice, throughout the week.
Definitely what everyone else said! Buying stuff like beans/rice/grains in bulk is really SOOOO much cheaper than eating meat and dairy! I stock up on tofu when its on sale (freezes well if you drain it first), I make my own seitan (so much cheaper than buying it! and its easy!). I do buy organic for most of my veggies, but if you can't you can't - do try with at least the "Dirty Dozen" of most contaminated ones. A crock-pot is a great help - number one its so nice to come home to a house filled with great smells, knowing you don't have to cook! But also things like soups and stews will last you for days and are super cheap - freeze leftovers, take them for lunches, etc. I also cook a huge bunch of beans all at once and then freeze them in smaller portions - just as convenient as canned beans that way. Also, I find that for me, planning a week of meals and shopping just for what I need helps me to not overspend. You can look at what's on sale, what you have coupons for, etc. and then plan meals around that, make a list and stick to it! The hardest part for me is when I'm tired, things have gone wrong that day, and its just so tempting to go out, eat crap, order pizza.... I always try to have one or two super easy meals planned, things frozen from the week before, leftovers, anything to make those nights do-able!
seeds grow into bio-genic sprouts and go farther that way, sunflower sprouts grown in dirt pallets are cut one by one by fingernail. I have difficulty growing in meat-eating enviornments-----spouts need love and attention , not ridicule.
I cannot relate to people who tolorate walmart type food sources.
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