Inexpensive Vegan Meals

Inexpensive Vegan Meals: Plant-based and Practical Tips for the Vegan on a Budget

Publish Date August 14, 2023

Inexpensive Vegan Meals: Plant-based and Practical Budget-friendly Ideas

Are you a vegan on a budget? Delicious plant-based meals are possible without breaking the bank. Here are a few practical ideas and budgeting strategies you can use to navigate the world of affordable vegan eating. From grocery shopping to specific meal ideas when funds are tight, we've got you covered.

Tips for Budgeting a Vegan Diet

The first step for successfully budgeting vegan meals is to decide on your budget. Once you’ve determined your weekly spend for groceries and meal prep, you can decide what staples to stock up on. Here are some practical tips for effectively allocating your grocery budget to make the most of your kitchen:

  • Stock Your Pantry

When you're on a tight budget, purchasing dry ingredients in bulk is a cost-effective strategy for building a basic pantry. Look for bulk bins at your local grocery store for grains, legumes and spices in larger quantities. Buying in bulk often reduces the cost per pound or ounce, saving you money in the long run. Choose dry ingredients that are versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. Staples like rice, quinoa, lentils, beans, oats, nuts and pasta are budget-friendly options that can serve as the foundation for many inexpensive vegan recipes. Also, try shopping store-brand options when stocking up on dry ingredients. Brands like Simple Truth® offer quality ingredients free from additives at an affordable price point.

  • Use Your Freezer

Keeping a well-stocked freezer is a smart strategy for maintaining a versatile and budget-friendly vegan kitchen. Freezing certain vegan ingredients can extend their shelf life, provide convenience and open up a world of culinary possibilities. The goal is to reduce your weekly spend to a few recipe-specific fresh ingredients while keeping your kitchen stocked with foundational staples and possibilities. Be sure to buy and freeze these items when they’re on sale: fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, tofu and tempeh, plant-based meats, baked goods, and nuts and seeds. By keeping a selection of these vegan ingredients in your freezer, you'll have a wide range of options readily available to create delicious and nutritious vegan meals at any time.

  • Invest in Flavor-builders

Condiments, sauces and spices will allow you to transform your basic pantry and frozen goods into delicious meals, so you can create flavorful, satisfying dishes with just a few fresh ingredients each week. Look for affordable options like soy sauce, tahini, hot sauce, mustard and nutritional yeast, which can transform simple base ingredients into delicious vegan creations without hurting your budget.

  • Take Inventory and Add Fresh Ingredients

Now that your pantry and freezer are stocked with staple meal bases, shop in-store for deals on fresh ingredients. While most people head to the store with a list of what they need, it can be beneficial to take inventory of your on-hand ingredients, shopping sales for any additions. By shifting your mindset and shopping based on what you already have, you can cut down on food waste and build dishes around the staples you have at home.

  • Get Creative

Now it’s time to get creative. Check out our blog for inspiration and break your favorite recipes down to their individual components. What’s the protein source of the meal? Where are most of the carbohydrates? Which flavors are at the forefront and how are they achieved? By breaking dishes down this way, you can easily see where you can substitute recipe ingredients with the ones you have on-hand.

Inexpensive Vegan Meals to Keep in Rotation

Pasta dishes, soups, chilis, salads and bowls all invite creativity and experimentation. You can easily play with different variations of recipes, and since no one ingredient is the star of the show, you can add fresh flavor with what you have on-hand or what you see on sale. Create a sustainable vegan lifestyle by keeping these types of meals in your weekly menu rotation:

  • Pasta Dishes

Pasta offers endless possibilities for affordably delicious vegan meals. From our Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad to these Vegan Pasta Chips, pasta-based meals allow you to create satisfyingly affordable dishes.

  • Soups and Chilis

Homemade vegetable soups, lentil stews and hearty veggie chili are not only nutritious but cost-effective. By making them in bulk, you can enjoy multiple meals throughout the week. Soups, chilis and vegan stews also lend themselves to creativity. Toss in whatever veggies you have on hand or add beans or grains to stretch your meal without stretching your budget.

  • Salads and Bowls

Combining grains like rice or quinoa, beans or legumes and a variety of colorful vegetables allows you to create nutrient-packed and affordable meals. Add greens and a tasty dressing or sauce, and you'll have a delicious bowl that satisfies both your taste buds and your wallet. From Vegan Buddha Bowls to these Thanksgiving Bowls, there are so many ways to combine nutrient-dense and inexpensive vegan foods to create cohesive and flavorful meals.

When it comes to budget-friendly vegan meals, getting creative with simple ingredients and making the most out of what you have is the key to success.

Looking for More Ways to Save?

Get organized with our brand-new printable weekly meal planner , and visit our blog for even more fresh inspiration.