Plant-Based on A Budget: 20 Cheap Vegan Meals
Looking to eat plant-based on a budget? Try these 20 cheap vegan meals from some of my favorite Registered Dietitian Nutritionists!
One of the things I intended to do before baby Caleb arrived was make and freeze a bunch of healthy, budget-friendly meals for the early weeks when I wouldn’t feel like cooking. Well, that didn’t happen as C showed up a week early, right before I got around to my good intentions. Procrastination strikes again!
As a new mom though, how I’m going to feed my family is something that’s been on my mind a lot. From the planning to the budgeting — things are going to have to get a lot more streamlined around here than the fly by the seat of my apron cooking I’m used to doing for my husband and I.
I know, I have time. Caleb is just one month old. But I’m a planner (aside from the aforementioned failure). So recently, I reached out to my favorite fellow Registered Dietitian Nutritionist foodies for their advice on how to eat plant-based on a budget and get some cheap vegan meals to incorporate into my repertoire.
I know many of you are moms, dads, and moms-to-be, interested in providing your family with nutritious, predominantly plant-based recipes as well, so I thought I’d share them with you!
Here are 20 cheap vegan recipes I recommend giving a go!
Plant-Based on A Budget
6-Ingredient Easy Lentil Tacos from C It Nutritionally
“Lentils are an affordable plant-based protein that take the place of meat in these family fun tacos!”
Adobo Lime Portobello Tacos from Nutrition to Fit
“These Adobo Lime Portobello Tacos are perfect for the budget-conscious plant-based family. Flavorful portobello mushrooms offer an excellent texture so even the carnivores in the family will still be happy. Bonus? They’re made on a sheet pan, making them a great recipe for busy weeknights, too!”
Asian-Style Farro Buddha Bowl from Jessica Levinson
“This is one of my go-to family meals because there’s something for everyone. Tofu is an affordable source of protein and the veggies you add are up to you. So, you can buy what’s on sale, what’s in season, and what your family likes the most, thereby preventing waste. This recipe also makes for great leftovers, another way to save. Farro is one of the more expensive whole grains, but any less expensive whole grain can be subbed.”
Black Bean Pasta Salad with Spicy Cashew Romesco from Eat Real Live Well
“There is a perception that it is too costly to eat healthily. I have to argue against this all the time — with a plant-based diet isn’t all that hard. This recipe costs a mere $2.15 per serving!”
Chickpea Coconut Curry from Whitney E. RD
“This one is a crowd-favorite which is great because it’s so easy to make. One pot, 30 minutes, and you’ve got a delicious, affordable meal that will last all week long!”
Freekeh and Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing from Triad to Wellness
“Whole-grain, organic freekeh is reasonably priced and is quite versatile to use in many other dishes. Canned black beans are very inexpensive. You can also soak dry black beans which are less expensive and use frozen corn and then fresh tomatoes and avocados.
Green Apple Green Lentil Quinoa Salad from Whitney E. RD
“My biggest tip for budget-friendly shopping is to hit up the bulk bin! Grains and legumes are so much cheaper when you buy them this way. For this salad, you can get buy both the lentils and quinoa in bulk and save tons.”
Italian Broccoli, Barley, and Beans from Eat Real Live Well
“What do you need to have on hand to build a healthy meal? I always tell my clients to keep whole grains, legumes, and frozen veggies around.”
Lentil Sloppy Joes from The Lean Green Bean
“These Lentil Sloppy Joes are a healthy vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. Serve over spaghetti squash to keep it gluten-free or on a bun!”
Lentil and Vegetable Curry from The Lean Green Bean
“This Lentil Vegetable Curry is an easy vegetarian recipe for a busy night. Or make it ahead of time and reheat for a quick lunch or dinner.”
Marinated Tofu – Two Ways from Chef Catherine Brown of A Seat at My Table
“This one is great because extra firm tofu is an excellent economical source of protein and, unlike tempeh, it does not need to be cooked. This means you have lots of options! Also, it can be prepped on the weekend for use all week long. I always make a double batch!”
Red Lentil + Beet Baked Falafels via Whitney E. RD
“Canned lentils provide a nutritious and affordable base for these tasty falafels. The beets add a pop of color and phytochemicals. I recommend making a big batch and freezing the leftovers for quick and easy meals.”
Seitan Enchiladas from Chronic Planet
“This recipe is minimal, packed with protein, uses several pantry staples, and can be altered even more to save money (for instance eliminate or sub for the seitan and vegan cheese). It also makes an entire casserole dish to feed the whole family or have leftovers the next day!”
Spaghetti Squash with Cannellini Beans from Triad to Wellness
“Canned cannellini beans and canned tomatoes are inexpensive and the mushrooms and spinach are reasonably priced. Spaghetti squash is also reasonably priced and children tend to enjoy it as it looks very similar to spaghetti.”
Sweet Corn Summer Salad from Whitney E. RD
“Corn, beans, and pasta make up the majority of this tasty summer salad and are all very affordable. Buy the beans and corn by the can to save money and time – just make sure your cans are BPA-free.”
Vegan Lentil Burgers from Beautiful Eats & Things
“Lentils are super affordable and provide a great source of protein! The whole family would enjoy these burgers!”
Vegan Spaghetti & “Meatballs” via Whitney E. RD
“These vegan meatballs are made with budget-friendly ingredients like canned beans and oats and can be batch cooked for easy meals all week long.”
Vegan Spinach Gnocchi in a Sage Pomodoro Sauce from Jessica Spiro RD
“Potatoes, flour, and frozen spinach are all you need to make my egg-free gnocchi! While gnocchi does take time to make, I like to make them in big batches and freeze them for later!”
Vegan Tostadas from Whitney E. RD
“These quick and easy vegan tostadas make for a great weeknight meal. Make extra taco “meat” and freeze it to use for other recipes – this will save you tons of time and money!”
Vegetable Fajita Sheet Pan Dinner from The Domestic Dietitian
“This Vegetable Fajita Sheet Pan Dinner is very budget-friendly and you can use whatever vegetables your family likes. It all cooks on a single sheet pan and is ready in less than 30 minutes.”
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Weigh in: How do you eat plant-based on a budget? Share your favorite cheap vegan recipes below!