Food budgets might not be fun to deal with, but they certainly do allow us to be more creative, resourceful, and can even end up creating some new favorite meals. One way to make yourself more frugal is to make it a direct point to use up what you have before buying more. We know … it’s really hard to resist buying more of a food you love when you run out, but turn to your pantry before you rush off to the store once and awhile. While you may think to yourself, “Oh, I have no food, I should go to the store,” there’s likely a wide variety of goodies in your cupboards that would make the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner with minimal ingredients. And don’t negate pantry foods to less healthy either; they can actually be just as nutritious for you and many of them are even more filling than some other foods we might be eating.
Take a look at these 10 frugral vegan meals you can make with pantry goods that aren’t only economical, but they’re also pretty delicious, too!
If you’ve got a can of chickpeas and tomatoes, along with an onion and even just half of these spices, you can make this Punjabi Chana Masala for dinner. Did you know it’s better to keep onions in your pantry, anyway? These healthy gems (and also garlic) prefer colder dark places instead of the fridge where they can lose their flavor more quickly and even age more quickly depending on where you keep them. Be sure you save some for lunch the next day, and you’ve made a couple meals out of less than $5 all from your pantry.
Another pantry item to be sure you keep in the pantry is sweet potatoes. They also retain their flavor better when kept in a cool, dry place just like onions do. This healthy Sweet Potato Scramble could serve as a savory breakfast option, a quick lunch, or even as a light dinner. If you have some leafy greens on hand to place under the scramble, great! But if you don’t, no worries; the onions, spices, and herbs used here will still provide you with plenty of health benefits.
Now honestly, who wouldn’t want a couple of these babies for breakfast!? This recipe for Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Quinoa Brownies proves pantry eating can be filling, delicious, and even downright decadent! You can use whole quinoa (and grind them into flour), quinoa flakes, or quinoa flour to make these. And, since we all know peanut butter is one of the most protein-rich and economical ingredients to keep on hand, these muffins are great for using pantry goods to make healthy meals. Power up your mornings with these delicious bites!
These Raw Apple Bars require minimal ingredients to make and if you don’t have fresh apples in your pantry (or on the counter), just sub in applesauce and add a little more chia seeds to thicken things up. You could also use dried apple pieces if you happen to have any lurking in your pantry or, get creative and sub in dates instead and just use apple pie spice that you likely have leftover from the holidays. These bars have no rules; feel free to customize them and make do with what you’ve got!
While you might think oats are just for breakfast, they actually make wonderful savory grains, too. Oats add fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium (surprise, surprise!) to your recipes. Chickpeas are another great source of vegan protein and when combined with sweet and nutty oats like in this Oats and Chickpeas Pilaf, they really turn into something special. Use as many of these spices called for as you have on hand, but don’t be afraid to experiment with your own options too. Give oats a try outside morning meals once in awhile for something new and tasty!
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Now, who would ever guess these masterpiece Super Easy Black Bean Salsa Burgers came out of the pantry? Filled with protein, fiber, and antioxidants, these burgers are the epitome of a healthy and fast recipe. Jarred salsa used here is a top ingredient to keep on hand because you can use it to add more flavor to any recipe instead of using canned tomatoes. Try it in these burgers and potato rounds for an easy meal that can be made five ingredients or less each!
We couldn’t post a round-up of frugral meals without an oatmeal recipe, now could we? Everyone knows how economical and filling oats are, and luckily, they’re also well-loved by most everyone. This recipe for a Maple Spice Oatmeal Bowl of Goodness uses simple ingredients but is packed with flavor and nutrition. If you don’t use or don’t have maple syrup on hand, just use whatever sweetener you enjoy instead and a little vanilla extract for extra flavor. Or, just use the raisins and almond butter called for. Whatever you decide, you’re in for a frugal, filling morning treat!
Another super easy lunch or dinner recipe using one of everyone’s pantry favorites — rice and beans — takes on a whole new flavor in this recip for Cilantro, Lime, and Black Bean Rice.If you don’t have fresh cilantro, just used dried. It will still pack in plenty of flavor to satisfy the taste buds and add nutrients. Rice and beans are a classic frugral recipe most everyone loves, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to seasoning them. They’re delicious with a little added flair every now and again!
Bananas are a classic frugral food to keep on hand for breakfast, lunch, and snacks too. They’re great to pair with breakfast because they keep you full and also add vitamins and nutrients to your morning meal. Pair them with quinoa (or oats if you don’t have any) for a sweet breakfast porridge everyone will love. In this Warm and Cozy Breakfast Quinoa, there’s something special added with non-dairy chocolate chips, but you could easily leave them out and still have an excellent meal in just minutes.
One of our most flavorful, filling recipes for hearty nights or quick, satisfying lunches, this Mexican Black Bean Soup is a sure crowdpleaser everyone will love. You’d never know it was so frugal and made completely out of pantry staples. Use a variety of beans to add different textures and nutrients; they all pack a protein punch and add a nice dose of iron to your meals. Pair these with some tortilla chips or toast up some sprouted grain bread or pita slices for easy dipping. Whatever you choose, you’ll be happy you chose this recipe, no doubt!
If you need more budget-friendly tips, then just stop on by our budget-friendly recipes page! Who said eating frugal means giving up on flavor?
Lead image source: Sweet Potato Scramble