When we think of budget-friendly and plant-based meals, we often picture stacks of vegan ramen noodles, pasta with tomato sauce for dinner, or a plate of rice and beans. While we love those, if you’re trying to eat healthier, they’re not what you want to put in your grocery cart. But don’t worry, because you can have delicious, nutritious meals without spending a fortune.
If you’re on a budget, then we’ve got some penny-pinching food hacks for you. It all starts with creating the right grocery list. Try to plan your meals in advance so that you know exactly what you need to get when you make your weekly shopping trip. If you’re looking to pack in as much nutrition as possible, you should aim to include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet along with grains and beans. The more you plan, the less money you’ll spend on items that you won’t use that week. When you get to the grocery store, start in the fresh produce aisle and then move on to fresh fruit. Canned and frozen produce, grains, and beans are among the most affordable and healthy foods out there. Plant-based eating is expensive? Myth: busted.
Of course, what good is advice without recipes you can use it on? With so many budget-friendly vegan recipes, it was tough to choose, but we went and narrowed it down to 15 vegan meals that are healthy, delicious, and affordable. Now, that’s something to celebrate.
Don’t forget to check out our budget-friendly vegan recipes archives, where we bring you our picks every month!
1. Perfect Ratatouille
This recipe teaches you how to make the Perfect Ratatouille, a budget-friendly dish hailing from the French countryside. The way that the vegetables are arranged gives this savory dish a colorful appearance, but it also ensures that you’ll find different flavors in every bite. It’s best served on its own, or with a side of bread to get every last bit of sauce.
2. Red Lentil Burger Wraps With Pumpkin Fries
These Red Lentil Burger Wraps are made with affordable and healthy ingredients like lentils and fresh spinach – plus they come with a side of curry-spiced pumpkin fries! Wrap these patties up in a soft flour tortilla and serve them with fresh veggies and plenty of sauce.
3. Ultra-Cheesy Mac and Cheese
You can stop searching because Ultra-Cheesy Mac and Cheese is the last recipe you will ever need! Why? It’s nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free, ridiculously easy to make, and the cheese sauce is amazingly nutritious. This creamy, cheesy, and comforting sauce is made from sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini.
4. Orange Vegetables Tagine With Peaches
This Orange Vegetable Tagine With Peaches is an earthy and nutritious dish, full of grounding flavors and affordable ingredients like yam, pumpkin, chickpeas, harissa, raisins, and canned peaches. The perfect juxtaposition of sweet and savory! The great secret of an authentic tagine is to simmer the ingredients over a low heat so that everything remains deliciously moist and tender. If you do not have a tagine, feel free to cook the dish in a heavy casserole dish or dutch oven.
5. Campfire Broccoli and Chickpea Curry
Get your campfire ready for something new! This spicy Campfire Broccoli and Chickpea Curry will give you all the energy you need for outdoor camping fun and activities. It’s simmered with fresh broccoli, yellow bell pepper, and chickpeas, and swirled with creamy coconut milk. Serve with a side of rice and follow it up with some campfire treats, even if you’re not actually on a trip.
6. Cleansing Detox Soup
This Cleansing Detox Soup is packed with all the good stuff! Even though it’s oil-free, it’s full-flavored, thanks to fresh lemon juice, fresh ginger, bright turmeric, balancing cinnamon, and a touch of spicy cayenne. The soup’s leafy greens, broccoli, celery, and carrots will nourish you and make you feel whole. Enjoy this soup as a light lunch with a salad on the side or bulk it up with some brown rice.
7. Black Bean Loaf
This Black Bean Loaf has a nice crust and soft interior that just melts in your mouth. Made from black beans, carrots, bell peppers, and oats, it’s as nutritious and budget-friendly as it is delicious. Like a traditional meatloaf, it’s glazed with ketchup that seeps in as it bakes — yum!
8. Brown Rice Casserole
Need a meal that’s easy, budget-friendly, filling, and nutritious? This savory Brown Rice Casserole will definitely be a winner in your weeknight recipe rotation. Hearty seasoned brown rice is baked with broccoli, carrots, and other veggies to create a dish that’s flavorful, filling, and easy to make.
9. Kale and Chickpea Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
If you are under the impression that veggies are just meant to be side dishes, you have to try this amazing Kale and Chickpea Stuffed Spaghetti Squash! It’s filled with sautéed kale, chickpeas, and toasted almonds. It’s filling, wholesome, budget-friendly, and tastes as good as it looks!
10. Sweet Potato and Tofu Scramble Mega Breakfast Burrito
These Sweet Potato and Tofu Scramble Mega Breakfast Burritos have everything you need to start your day off on the right foot. Fluffy scrambled tofu with sweet potato, spinach, and other exciting flavors make this possibly the breakfast — and lunch or dinner — ever. Top it with some salsa, avocado, and fresh cilantro, and you have a fresh and filling breakfast that’s also great for taking along on your morning travels.
11. Sweet Potato Dal
Dal, also spelled dhal, is an Indian dish that’s made using lentils and blended spices. This Sweet Potato Dal keeps the lentil but adds creamy sweet potato into the mix. The result is a dish that’s nourishing, flavorful, and easy to make. It can be served over any kind of rice, but brown rice is highly recommended.
12. Hearty Lentil Broccoli Bolognese
This Hearty Lentil Broccoli Bolognese is so tasty, satisfying, and filling, you’ll always want to have a batch stored in your freezer. Broccoli, cauliflower, or kale (or all three!) pair wonderfully with the rich tomato sauce. Serve over black bean pasta or brown rice pasta with a salad on the side.
13. Zucchini Chickpea Burger
These Zucchini Chickpea Burgers combine balance plant-based protein, carrots, and green vegetables with the love for grilling. Aside from the vegetable base, they’re packed with flavor from jalapeño, Sriracha, and other spices. These can be served on a bun or try them on a bed of greens for even more nutrition.
14. Braised Cauliflower With Chickpeas, Tomato, and Kale
This Braised Cauliflower With Chickpeas, Tomato, and Kale is comfort food at its best. In this recipe, whole cauliflower is braised until tender in a mixture of tomatoes, chickpeas, and kale. This one-pot meal is light on seasoning, yet it is savory, a little cheesy, and satisfying. This meal is an ideal date-night dinner, especially when followed up with a refreshing dessert.
15. Roasted Butternut Squash, Millet, and Lentil Burritos
Eating one of these Roasted Butternut Squash, Millet, and Lentil Burritos is like getting a big, warm hug from the inside out. A nutritious filling of roasted butternut squash, lentils, and millet create the heartiest, yummiest burrito you’ve ever tasted! Add greens for an extra boost of nutrition or enjoy as is!
What are your tips and tricks for saving money on groceries while eating plant-based? Share what you do in the comments!
Lead image source: Black Bean Loaf