I often think that going vegan or vegetarian could be quite intimidating for someone who’s never done it before. If you’ve lived for years on meat, taking a look at how much items like tofu and coconut oil cost could be really off-putting, while many people think it’s impossible to be healthy without meat-replacements with a hefty price tag, like Quorn.
I took a look through my blog archives today and saw that a lot of my posts – while I’m really proud of all the food I make here – aren’t a true indication of stuff I eat on a daily basis. Often I’ll spend extra money to get cool ingredients for recipes, or in some cases I’ll even have to save up for a few weeks to make something special… But in reality, I mostly eat pasta and toast like anybody else, and actually spend less money than the average meat eater.
So I thought I’d do a little experiment, where I give you five healthy recipes that you can buy (all ingredients included) for under £5, to prove that being vegan doesn’t have to be expensive!
Let me know if this helps with your budgeting and meals, and I hope you enjoy reading it – if this is something that proves helpful I’ll be sure to do it more, or include prices with my other recipes!
How this will work:
I do my weekly shop in Lidl (a cheap supermarket), and I have a budget of about £15 a week for all of my shopping – but I’m lucky to have a giant Lidl right by my flat. For this experiment, all the prices are going to come from Tesco, as many more of you are likely to find that more convenient.
I’m going to calculate the price for each recipe as it comes – so if it serves one, it will feed one, whereas if it serves four it might be more expensive for the ingredients, but it’ll do a whole family.
If the recipe has a bulk item like pasta in it for example, I’ll calculate in the cost of a whole bag so you’ll have leftovers with the same money. The same goes for vegetables – if the recipe calls for half a pepper, you’ll have half leftover to use another time with your money.
I’m even calculating oil, salt and pepper – so you really only need £5 and nothing in your cupboard to make these!
1) Rice with roasted chickpeas and vegetables
This is a dinner recipe I cook at least once a week, as it’s so easy.
All you need to do is: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop up one peeled carrot, half a red pepper, a tablespoon of sweetcorn, and a few “trees” of broccoli, and toss them in vegetable oil with half a tin (200g) of chickpeas and some salt. Roast them all for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook a portion of white rice. Then, serve them together.
2) Mini Vegan Roast Dinner (for when you’re feeling fancy)
This small roast dinner in no way is attempting to be a full roast dinner; I was craving roast potatoes and my best mate came round for dinner, so I thought I’d go for it – you can add roast carrots, Yorkshire Puddings or anything else, but these are my basics for a simple roast.
My small vegan roast – nowhere near as good as a full family roast, but still good enough for a Sunday in – includes: Linda McCartney veggie sausages, roast potatoes, peas and veggie gravy.
To roast the potatoes, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Boil the potatoes in water for 20 minutes, then drain. Coat the potatoes in oil and salt, then roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until really crispy.
Put the sausages in for 15 minutes, cook the peas, make the gravy according to the packet instructions, and voila! You have a mini-vegan roast!
3) Avocado on toast
You guessed it! It’s just avocado on toast, with a little bit of lime squeezed in to the avocado mush, and some paprika to give it flavour. It’s not the most filling meal in the world, but it’s great if you feel like something healthy for breakfast, or you only have five minutes to eat and get out of the house.
Use one whole avocado for two pieces of toast – one half smooshed one each slice of bread (I calculated the cost of nice wholemeal stuff).
4) Minestrone Soup
Minestrone Soup is the bomb if you need something really filling and warm without being stodgy – and it’s super healthy as well, packed full of veggies and good starch. Make it on Sunday and bring the portions into work or school throughout the week.
Click here for my full recipe.
Cost: £4.88 for just the soup, £5.63 with crackers for the side, £5.77 for wholemeal bread for the side.
5) Lentil Dahl
This recipe I learnt while I was volunteering in Nepal; we had it almost every day and it tastes divine. Lentils are super cheap, so with the pack of lentils and spices build into the price of this meal you’ll probably be able to make a whole week’s worth of food – and lentils are really good for you as well.
This recipe’s great for busy weeks, as you can start cooking and be done eating all within around half an hour.
Cost: £4.80 on its own, £5.30 with pitta breads for the side.
This April, I’m running the London Marathon for Myasthenia Gravis Awareness. To find out more or to donate, click here.