With these cheap plant-based meal ideas, you’ll never be stuck wondering what to eat! Find tons of easy recipe ideas that fit your budget.
Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t need to break the bank! In fact, going plant-based can help you save money on meals.
Research shows that in middle- to high-income countries, eating a healthy and sustainable diet can be up to 34 percent less expensive than a traditional diet.
I’m sharing 25 cheap plant-based meals and recipes to help you save cash while following a plant-based diet.
How to make affordable plant-based meals
You can use multiple strategies to make your plant-based meals more affordable. The cost of ingredients is only one part of making a lower-cost meal.
Other factors like utilizing leftovers and learning how to stretch more expensive ingredients across multiple servings can have a significant impact on the cost per serving.
Additionally, repurposing leftovers and cutting back on food waste are two great ways to save.
Choose lower-cost ingredients when shopping to cut back on the total price per serving. This is a great move for preparing cheap plant-based meals.
Buy seasonal produce and avoid purchasing pre-cut fruits and vegetables, as they’re often more expensive.
Canned and frozen produce is a nutritious choice that’s typically lower in cost, especially when the fruit or vegetable is out of season. They can be helpful for putting together budget plant-based meals.
Other ingredients like canned beans, tomatoes, and other vegetables are budget-friendly choices as are shelf-stable grains, peas, and lentils.
Stretch your dollar
When it comes to preparing cheap plant-based meals, extended dishes like casseroles, pastas, and soups are typically lower in cost per serving than ones that concentrate on single, high-cost ingredients.
For example, by mixing beans or rice with a higher-cost ingredient like avocado, you can lower the cost per serving.
Cut back on food waste
Cutting back on food waste is very helpful for putting together plant-based meals on a budget.
Repurpose leftovers and be sure to utilize all the ingredients you buy to cut back on food waste. This practice is both sustainable and budget-friendly.
Choose from the following list of cheap plant-based recipes to help you save on your next grocery trip.
1. High Protein Overnight Oats from my own kitchen
Oats are a pantry staple that are versatile and inexpensive.
“With only four simple ingredients, these vegan flapjacks are great for mid-morning snacking,” says Chloe, owner of Baked By Clo. “They can be prepped in advance and stored for the week, and they are super easy to make.”
3. Easy Vegan Apple Muffins by Rainbow Nourishments
“Here are easy vegan apple muffins which use only seven key ingredients and one bowl!” says Anthea Cheng, owner of Rainbow Nourishments. “These muffins are fluffy, moist, and just like those from your local bakery.”
14. Easy Instant Pot Mujadara (Lentils and Rice) by The Noshtalgic Life
“This Lebanese lentils and rice recipe uses these simple pantry staples combined with onions and seasonings to create a one-pot delicious meal that is also budget-friendly,” says Heather Kasvinsky, owner of The Noshtalgic Life. “You will love how easy and inexpensive this comfort food is to make!”
15. Basic but Brilliant Vegan Lentil Bolognese by The Vegan Larder
“Lentils are not only delicious, they're cheap, filling, full of protein and incredibly versatile,” says Louise-Claire Cayzer, owner of The Vegan Larder. “This recipe can be a key component for all kinds of other meals such as vegan shepherd's pie or as the filling for a lasagna.”
“This is made with tremendously simple and easily found ingredients like store-bought puff pastry and frozen mixed vegetables,” says Terrence Roche, co-owner of Plant Power Couple. “The hardest part of this vegan chicken pot pie recipe is waiting for it to finish cooking.”
18. Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe (with Lentil “Meat”) by Lettuce Veg Out
“These tasty lentil sloppy joes are made with canned tomato and lentils for a cheap but nutritious alternative to traditional sloppy joe sandwiches,” says Nicole Stevens, MScFN, RD, owner of Lettuce Veg Out.
“A pantry stocked with budget-friendly canned goods like beans and tomatoes makes it easy to create meals like this vegan slow cooker chili,” says Deborah Murphy, MS, RDN, owner of Dietitian Debbie. “Just chop a couple veggies and then dump all the rest of the ingredients into the crockpot and it does all the work!”
23. 4 Ingredient Guacamole Recipe by Fad Free Nutrition Blog
“Only four simple, inexpensive ingredients are needed for this tasty guacamole recipe,” says Melissa E. Nieves, MPH, RD, owner of Fad Free Nutrition Blog. “It’s also a great way to use up too ripe avocados, reducing food and money waste.”
“This buffalo chickpea dip is the perfect budget-friendly swap for the traditional buffalo chicken dip,” says Melissa Macher, RDN, owner of A Grateful Meal. “Chickpeas are much more affordable than using the typical chicken as the star of the recipe.”
Eating a plant-based diet can be both delicious and affordable. By choosing inexpensive ingredients and cheap plant-based recipes, you’ll save at the grocery store while also learning how to stretch every dollar for future meals.
This compilation of cheat plant-based meals should keep you going for awhile!
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