One of the most overwhelming feelings for me is when I am trying to find an affordable recipe to cook and after clicking “5 cheap vegan recipes”, all of them are not at all cheap and include 10 different ingredients that you don’t even know how to find in your local store or what those ingredients are called in your language.
What is tempeh? Is tofu and tempeh the same? What if I don’t have garlic or onion powder at home? What on earth is liquid smoke? How can smoke even be liquid?
To ease the pain, I’d like to keep on sharing some of my really simple, actually budget vegan meals that I have figured out over 2 years. I am in no way expert at cooking, but I like to think I am an expert at trying to do things quickly and eating on a budget.
Red lentil (not that much of a dahl) dahl
(but it tastes good)
This one is a recipe a dear friend gave to me when I became vegan for the first time two years ago. I was so clueless about what to cook and for a while I actually disregarded this recipe thinking it is way too difficult to cook. I was so totally wrong about that – now it is one of my favorite quickest, cheapest and savory meals.
Note: for best results use the optional ingredients, however it’s still tasty without them and works if you want to save up.
Note: This meal is so incredibly versatile that you can combine it with pretty much anything you like. So far I have tried it on top of rice, spaghetti, pasta, even potatoes, and I like it on top of all of it!
- red lentils (250gram or a bit more, up to you)
- hot water (around 300ml)
- 2 cans chopped tomato
- oil (around 3 tablespoons)
- vegetable stock to dissolve in the water (optional)
- a lot of garlic (I do around 5 cloves, up to you)
- ginger (2 tablespoons, grated) (optional, you could also try with ginger powder)
- curry powder (3 tablespoons)
- cumin (2 tablespoons)
- chili, whatever other spices you like (optional)
Note: Before you start, you might want to prepare chopped up or minced garlic and some hot water, as well as a bowl with all your spices just to be ready as the process is quite quick.
- Heat up some oil in a large pot, then add the garlic and optional ginger. Cook for 1-2 min.
- Add all spices you want to use and stir, it should turn into a bit of a paste.
- Add quickly the canned tomatoes and stir, after which you can add the lentils and the hot water.
- Let it simmer for around 20 minutes as you stir often so it does not stick to the bottom.
- After around 20 minutes you can taste and see if it needs some salt (it usually will, especially if you did not use stock).
- Voila! Serve over whatever you want or eat as it is! Simple, quick and cheap!
Is this a healthy vegan meal?
If you’re like me you might be thinking if this is even healthy considering the canned tomatoes. I personally like it and believe it is healthy for me. However, we are all different so if you are worried you can always try cooking it with real tomatoes. It will cost a bit more but it might even taste better. I have personally never tried it.
Learn a bit more about lentils by watching my video about lentils on YouTube:
If you want to learn more about the nutrition behind lentils you can check out this lentil website. (NOT sponsored or anything).
Check out Vegan on a Budget Part 3 for more information.