I hope you enjoy these cheap vegan recipes! Each is under $1.50 per serving, and doesn’t skimp on flavor or nourishment. I think you’ll also enjoy how easy these cheap vegan recipes are to make. These are all staples in my household, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Don’t miss the video & full recipes down below!
Being vegan doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money on food, or a lot of time in the kitchen. Just like any way of eating, you *can* splurge on luxury ingredients, but they are totally unnecessary for making delicious and filling meals. In fact the ingredients that I most recommend for maintaining a healthy balanced vegan diet, also happen to be the least expensive: whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. For generations these plant-based foods sustained the world’s population, and eating them has always been the most efficient and least expensive ways to get your necessary nutrients and calories. Look at the traditional cuisine (pre-industrialization) of most of the world’s ethnic groups and you’ll find plant-based cuisine at the center.
In the twenty-first century we access to all sorts of plant-based food, from all around the world. It’s never been a better more delicious time to be plant-based or vegan. And luckily it’s still affordable. Beans and other legumes are still far less expensive than meat and dairy, whole grains like rice and oats are still easily accessible, and veggies are still the most nutrient dense foods.
Now, let’s eat!! Watch the video below, then keep scrolling for the recipes…
I find that it’s incredibly easy to make cheap vegan recipes. Actually, the recipes I’m sharing today are already delicious easy-to-make staples in our household, they just happen to also be cheap!
If eating vegan on a budget is your goal, keep in mind the following:
- You don’t have to shop at a health food store or fancy grocer to buy staple products like legumes, grains, or veggies. Your local grocery store should have everything you need.
- Utilize websites like Thrive Market to find inexpensive “fancy foods” (ex, wholesome sweeteners, prepackaged vegan products, and organic non-perishables). Use my link to save $20 on your first 3 orders!
- If you have the space––even if it’s just in your window sill––grow your own herbs, fruits, and veggies. Or join a community garden if you have the time and desire.
- Shop at the farmer’s market for awesome deals on locally grown and nutritious veggies and fruits.
- Don’t necessarily prioritize organic. Depending on where you live and the time of year, conventionally grown local produce may be more nutritious (especially if the organic produce had to travel long distances to reach your supermarket), and it’ll certainly be less expensive.
- Shop at stores like Costco, Aldi, ethnic grocery stores, and Trader Joes for fantastic prices on produce and other vegan staples. For example: Costco has great prices on bulk size packaged goods like Gardein, Asian grocery stores have the least expensive and widest selection of great mushrooms, and Indian markets have the freshest spices at amazing prices.
- Shop in bulk. We buy legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in bulk because it’s cheaper per pound. We also love that we can eliminate plastic buy using our own reusable containers and bags when we fill up. You’ll find bulk sections in typical health food stores, but also larger chains like Sprouts.
- Check out Imperfect Produce: a subscription service that delivers produce to your door for 30-50% less than you’d buy it for in the store. Why? They sell fresh produce that may not sell in a mainstream grocery store because it’s got an imperfection. This produce may otherwise go to waste! Imperfections include silly things like: too small, too big, not perfectly shaped, too long, too short…Check them out!
- Join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), the original produce subscription concept. In a CSA you pay a small fee every month or week, and in return get a large box of seasonal produce from a local farm. You can’t choose what you get, but it’s a lot of fun to discover what the farmer has packed up for you each week, and you’ll save lots of money.
- Shop with the seasons. Ever notice how expensive a mango is in December, and how the price drops in April? That’s because it’s not in season all year. Produce is it’s least expensive when it is in season, and usually more nutritious too. By shopping at the farmer’s market and/or joining a CSA, you can’t help but shop in season. However, keep the seasons in mind when you’re planning your meals and shopping lists.
SWEET POTATO RED LENTIL CURRY $1.48/serving $5.91 entire dish
Sweet Potato Red Lentil Curry | Cheap Vegan Recipes
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch ginger minced
- 1 cup red lentils rinsed
- 2 large sweet potatoes cubed
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups water + 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon paste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- juice of 1-2 limes
- salt to taste
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Warm the oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot on medium heat.
- Add the curry powder and cumin, and fry for about 30 seconds. Stir it halfway through.
- Add the onions, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until the onions start turning translucent.
- Add the red lentils and sweet potatoes. Stir well, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the coconut milk and water + bouillon paste.
- Cook for 30 minutes with the lid ajar on medium heat: until the lentils and sweet potato are tender.
- Add the black pepper, and lime juice (start with the juice of 1 lime, and add more if necessary).
- Season to taste with salt.
- Serve over cooked rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
BROCCOLI & CRISPY TOFU $1.26/serving $5.03 total
Broccoli & Crispy Tofu | Cheap Vegan Recipes
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 crowns broccoli cut into florets
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water + 1 teaspoon Veggie bouillon paste buy it here
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fermented black bean sauce
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 4 cloves garlic minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
- 1 bunch green onions white and light green parts only, finely chopped
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- Start by pressing your tofu to release the excess water. To do this simply remove the tofu from the package, and wrap the whole block in an absorbent clean kitchen towel or a few layers of paper towel. Place the wrapped tofu onto a plate and place a heavy sturdy item on top to press the tofu. I use my cast iron skillet to do this. Press for at least 10 minutes. The longer the better.
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Once pressed, cut the tofu into cubes.
- Warm 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet, then add the tofu and salt. Cook the tofu on all sides until it turns golden and begins to crisp up, 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to the warm oven, and bake for 15 minutes, until crispy.
- While the tofu cooks: Boil 3 cups of water, then drop the broccoli in to blanch for 1 minute. Drain, then set aside.
- To make the stir-fry sauce combine the vinegar, water + bouillon, soy sauce, black bean sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and arrowroot powder in a bowl and stir well.
- Remove the tofu from the skillet, and set it aside.
- Warm the rest of the oil in the skillet, then add the garlic, ginger, and green onions, and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the broccoli, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir the sauce once more, then add it to the skillet. Stir well as it thickens.
- Add the tofu, and continue to stir and toss to cover.
- Serve over brown rice.
LENTIL ZUCCHINI BURGERS $1.27/serving $5.07 total
Zucchini Lentil Burgers | Cheap Vegan Recipes
- 2 zucchini squashes shredded (I use a food processor to do this, but a box grater works too)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves whole
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 cups cooked green lentils
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place your shredded zucchini into a large mixing bowl.
- To a food processor add the sunflower seeds, smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, salt, and garlic. Blend until you've got a grainy mixture. Transfer it to a bowl.
- Now add onions, brown rice, and lentils, the sunflower spice mix and 3/4 of the zucchini back into the food processor.
- Blend until you’ve got a thick batter.
- Transfer it to a mixing bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and the remaining zucchini.
- Form into patties, and coat in breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Serve on a bun with kale or lettuce, and topped with BBQ sauce.