I’m Melissa and I’m stingy. I hate spending money: I’ve got holes in my pants, I cut my own hair and I’m the cheapest date you’ll ever have. Good thing I’m vegan. Meat is expensive and beans are cheap! If you’re living (or considering) a plant-based lifestyle and you’re on a budget or stingy like me, you’re in the right place. I’ll break down the total cost and cost per serving of each of my recipes to show any naysayer that a vegan diet isn’t expensive!
There’s this pervasive myth that eating a plant-based diet is expensive, and it drives me up the wall. I’ve heard people use it as an excuse to not go vegan. I started this blog in response to a BBC “documentary” about veganism (hands down the worst piece of reporting about a vegan diet that I’ve ever seen). The subject of this documentary lamented about how utterly and unexpectedly expensive her new vegan diet was. What do you think she was buying? You guessed it: meat analogues, prepared veggie burgers and soy cheese.
Yes, these products are expensive and, being processed, they’re not very healthy either. This is not what I think of when I think about a healthy plant-based diet. I think of fresh colourful fruits and leafy green vegetables, all kinds of grains, beans, lentils, pastas, rice of every colour and potatoes (LOVE potatoes!). I think of delicately spiced curries, hearty bean and rice burritos, Buddha bowls, vegan jambalaya, lentil shepherd’s pie and vegetable pho (OMG, so good!). All of these are made with the most basic of ingredients, can be ready in 30 minutes or less, and are cheap!
A little about me: I’m Canadian but have lived in Western Europe for the last four years. That means a lot of things with regards to my budget. Firstly, meat analogues, soy cheese and vegan speciality products are hard to find so I generally don’t use them in my recipes. What I do have is a really great Asian supermarket where I can get tofu on the cheap. I usually pick up a couple of big blocks, cut them in half and freeze them. I also get big bottles of soy sauce and rice vinegar much cheaper than in regular supermarkets.
I don’t shop at Whole Foods. I buy my staples (rice, beans, pasta) at the regular supermarket, my fresh fruits and veggies at a hole-in-the-wall (cheap) veggie store and spices, seasonings, noodles and tofu at the Asian market. I live in an apartment and have a small pallet garden on the roof of my building where I grow kale and spinach in the winter and tomatoes and peppers in the summer. I encourage everyone to try to grow their own food, even if it’s just a couple pots of herbs on a windowsill – that alone will save you tons of money!
The prices you see in each recipe are just meant as a reference. Obviously the price it will cost you to make a recipe depends on where you live and what products you have available to you – it may cost you less or it may cost you more. What I hope is that after you peruse a couple of recipes you’ll realize that a delicious plant-based diet doesn’t have to cost as much as you thought it would!
If you would like to contact me with a question or comment, email me at melissa [at] the stingyvegan [dot] com or fill in the form below: