While it can be tempting to grab one of every organic apple variety that you’ve never heard of, fresh produce, and the latest vegan products to hit the shelves at your local fancy grocery store, let’s face it — that gets real expensive, real fast. Many of us like to eat healthy – or at least we try to. What’s the solution to eating well when you’re on a budget? A whole foods plant-based diet! Contrary to the popular belief that eating a vegan whole foods-based diet is expensive, it’ actually affordable. By looking for frozen produce, nuts, seeds, and grains that you can buy in bulk, you can save some money that will do your wallet some real favors.
You may see a lot of repeat ingredients when it comes to recipes planned around a whole foods-based diet on a budget, but trust us, even if you walk out of that grocery store with limited ingredients, you can still create unique meals. You can use different sauces seasonings, meal types, and cooking methods to make the most of any ingredient.
These 15 recipes show that you don’t need to spend a fortune or use countless fancy ingredients to make a whole foods based lunch or dinner that rocks your taste buds and keeps you full.
1. Sloppy Lentils
Comfort food should accomplish several points to make it truly awesome. 1. It should evoke feelings of nostalgia (which is great for your soul), 2. It should be quick and easy (nostalgia shouldn’t take all night to achieve!) and 3. It should be nourishing (comfort shouldn’t come at the cost of our health). Fortunately, these saucy, hearty and all around amazing Sloppy Lentils tick off each of these points perfectly.
2. Green Protein Bowl With Garlicky Dressing
In this Green Protein Bowl, leafy greens, broccoli, and seeds are topped with a creamy, lemony dressing. This salad has all the varying flavors and textures that its green ingredients bring, plus a little bit of cheesiness. Creamy tahini dressing spiked with lemon and garlic makes it reminiscent of a simplified Caesar, and the generous sprinkling of seeds keeps your belly full. You won’t need a side to go with this protein-packed salad.
3. Carrot Hot Dogs
When it comes to recreating your favorite childhood meals, it’s all about the seasoning and these Carrot Hot Dogs got it right. They’re made by boiling carrots until soft and then marinating them in a savory sauce. After that, you just fry them to make them a little crispy and … ta-dah! You have yourself a whole foods-based and budget-friendly meal that’s a childhood favorite.
4. Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Forget pizza and take-out, these Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are now the ultimate feel-good dish! Top it up with some hearty black beans, some deliciously charred corn, and the perfect garlic-y tahini and you’ve got yourself a meal to cure any heartache! The beans give it a certain rich and earthy meatiness which pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the potato and the corn. Together with the velvety tahini sauce, it is completely addictive and absolutely good for you!
5. Herbed Edamame Chickpea Burgers
Edamame, chickpeas, tart lemon juice, and fresh herbs are combined to form tasty burgers. They’re paired with a herby green dressing made from coriander, mint, creamy tahini, garlic, and a squeeze lemon juice. These Herbed Edamame Chickpea Burgers are even more delicious when served on toasted sourdough buns with plenty of green dressing, lettuce, hummus, avocado, and sauerkraut. Don’t forget the fries!
6. Super Veggie Peanut Sauce Stir Fry
This Super Veggie Peanut Sauce Stir Fry with cauliflower rice is fresh, fun, and satisfying. The delicious sauce is super easy to make and ties together the rainbow of vegetables in this dish perfectly. It’s also very healthy because it’s made from peanut flour as opposed to regular peanut butter. Yummy, guilt-free goodness!
7. Swiss Chard Lentil Quinoa Burgers
These Swiss Chard Lentil Quinoa Burgers are crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Lentils and oats give it a meaty and dense texture while Swiss chard adds a unique touch. Top these burgers with some tahini or guacamole and then serve them on hamburger buns for a crowd-pleasing and mouth-watering lunch.
8. Rice and Veggie Bowl
Who doesn’t love easy one-pot dishes? Rice is tossed with fresh chopped vegetables like broccoli, red bell pepper, cauliflower, and seasoned with flavorful spices and savory tomato paste to create a hearty and delicious meal. This Rice Veggie Bowl is a fast wholesome meal to prepare for a busy week; make a big batch for dinner and save leftovers for lunch, served with different condiments and sauces to keep things different.
9. Mexican Quinoa Wrap
These Mexican Quinoa Wraps are lovely fresh gems. There is no big secret here – all you need to make this on-the-go lunch or after-workout snack is gluten-free tortilla wraps, a bunch of vegetables, beans, and some cooked quinoa. One of the many aspects I enjoy so much about it is its versatility – it can be used as fillings in cannelloni, in bowls or stews, in salads … you name it.
10. Chickpea, Spinach, and Potato Curry
This chunky tomato-based Chickpea, Spinach, and Potato Curry is made using a homemade curry paste. The spices are quite mild, so if you enjoy hot and spicy food, go ahead and throw in some more chili and garam masala. The curry is ideally served with basmati rice, but any grain that you have on hand also works.
11. Sweet Potato Sushi Burrito
Behold: the Sweet Potato Sushi Burrito! You love sushi and you love burritos, so why not combine them for a tasty two-in-one lunch? Roasted sweet potato, avocado, and shredded red cabbage are rolled up in brown rice seasoned with rice vinegar and a big sheet of nori.
12. Turmeric Falafel
Chickpeas are wonderful. One of the great things about these healthy little guys is that you can mash them and form them into balls to top salads, or use them as a sandwich filling. These Turmeric Falafel are moist and fluffy, and with a teaspoon of turmeric and just a teaspoon of olive oil, they are flavorful, but not too heavy.
13. Super Fast Chickpea Sandwich
This Super Fast Chickpea Sandwich is awesome and it’s not limited to being eaten between two slices of bread. Wraps, salads, lettuce leaves, or heck, even just right out of the bowl works! You can just have this filling dish any way your heart desires. It’s one of those meals you can make when your so ridiculously on the verge of a hunger meltdown recipes because it takes all of ten minutes and is so filling.
14. 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 or dinner with a salad on the side, or give it some grains to bulk it up.
15. Roasted Tomato With Broccoli and Red Onion Over Quinoa
Easy meals, like this recipe for Roasted Tomato With Broccoli over grains, quickly become a household staple. You can use any vegetables you want, but broccoli and red onions are a wonderful pair. The caramelized broccoli take on nutty notes, and the onions get tender and sweeter. Toss them in a lush, tomato-y seasoning and top it off with the beans and some more slow-roasted tomatoes to finish roasting. This is a simple, comforting weeknight meal, for those days when you just don’t have time.
All of these recipes are cheap, easy, and most important — delicious. Tell us about how you save money in the kitchen.
Lead image source: Charred Corn and Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes