Being vegan on a budget usually seems a bit impossible for new vegans and they are definitely have a good reason for feeling this way. I have been experimenting with plant-based food for over 3 years now and in the beginning one of the most difficult things to do was to cook under a budget since I kept experimenting all the time (usually failing and having to get new food). However, time has taught me that it is indeed possible to be vegan on a budget and your diet doesn’t have to suffer because of it. Many vegans I know even swear that they ended up spending less when changing their diet to a plant-based diet than before. I personally seem to spend the same amounts on food than I did before but now I experiment a lot more and I cook more often than I used to.
Vegan on a budget – the start
The truth is that you will not just automatically know how to buy the right things. In the beginning you might find yourself filling up the cupboard with nugget replacements, vegan burgers, vegan yogurts, vegan cheese and all kinds of things that are very expensive and you do not really need to have all the time at home to satisfy your cravings.
While you will definitely need to experiment to find what works for you, over the years I have found some of the best vegan meals that you can cook at ANY time are quite simple, often take almost no time to make and will fill you up nicely.
You might also find that being vegan on a budget depends a lot on how much you are able to cook in the first place. For people who have been cooking for a while this meal is obvious, but for those of you who are new to cooking it may not come so naturally. For those who don’t have much cooking experience – this meal can be a lifesaver! I particularly like it because it allows me to often use up some of my leftover veggies, so that I don’t have to throw them away.
Vegan rice with any vegetable
Rice with any vegetable
- 2 cups rice
- 1 or more piece of any vegetable you have
- – – any spices you enjoy, I like paprika, cumin, basil, oregano and curry with my rice
- 1 piece onion
- 2 tbsp oil of choice Optional (can be replaced with water)
- 6 cups water to boil rice in
- salt to taste
- Warm up a big pan or whatever big thing you have for cooking with some oil.
- Put in the cut up onion and stir around for 2-3 minutes. You can do it longer if you want, I think personally I like it better when I do it for around 4-5 minutes but it is up to how much time you have.
- Insert vegetables among with spices you have and soy sauce(optional). Stir them around for 4-5 minutes.
- Add rice and stir quickly around.
- Add water enough to cover the rice.
- Let it boil and then turn down heat a bit and simmer (stir around occasionally).
- When all the water is gone, check how it tastes, if you like it, voila, if you don't add some more water, salt, or whatever else it may be missing and wait a bit. Try again and do the same depending on whether you like it or not.
- For extra protein, pour a can of chickpeas or beans into your rice 2-3 minutes before you take it off the heat.
This one may be obvious but it actually took me a long time to realize that with a lot of spices and any vegetable, rice can really taste amazing. One of the biggest mistakes I had been making with rice for a long time was not using enough seasoning and not adding enough salt (or soy sauce).
You now have the cheapest, easiest, vegan, healthy, nutritious meal! And you probably spent close to nothing on making it.
Cooking rice with any vegetable you have left is also a great way to make sure you do not throw out food. We can all rarely finish all the food we buy before it gets bad which is really a shame. Those leftover broccoli and peppers can easily go into the rice for a nice simple vegan meal.