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In this time of financial strain, here is the place to let us all know how you are coping with your veg*n diet. I've been seeing more and more posts on the trials and tribulations of being a broke vegan or vegetarian, a college student, or just plain budget-conscious and thought this would be a great place for everyone to come to for some tips and some amazing recipes.

By answering some of these questions, you might give others lots of budget-friendly ideas for recipes, shopping, where to get the best deals, etc.

What's on your grocery list and what stores in your area have the best prices? What is your favorite budget-friendly recipe? What are some kid-friendly recipes that won't break the bank? Etc.

With all of the upcoming holidays and parties, what delicious-yet-easy-on-the-wallet party menu's have you come up with?

Please share! :)



Edited Oct 27 2009 14:13 by brighteyes82
137 Replies (last)

my kids love love love this wallet friendly meatless dinner. We bread and bake egg plant with Italian bread crumbs we just use water to make them stick we then lightly spray them with olive oil and bake until crispy brown. Then take them out put in oven proof pan or even microwave (we try not to use that to much) cover with store bought spaghetti sauce and lightly sprinkle with mozzarella cheese yum! 

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One of my favorite go-to's for a vegan meal is based on produce at great prices. It's a sauté:

  • 1/2 large or 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed & minced
  • kernels from 1-2 ears corn or 1-2 cups frozen
  • 2 small or 1 large green squash, diced
  • 2 cups cooked, dry or 1 can black beans (or beans of choice), rinsed to remove excess sodium
  • 2 cups fresh or 1 can diced tomatoes (optional--I add this for the flavor)
  • 1 2 tbsp. olive oil

Using a 12" non-stick skillet, sauté onion in oil until translucent, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add corn and sauté about one minute, then add squash and continue to sauté until just starting to soften, maybe 1-3 minutes. Add beans (with/without juices okay) and tomatoes, stir and let simmer about 5 minutes. (I frequently add 1 cup of frozen peas for the color & flavor.) It keeps well in the refrigerator if you have more than a meal's worth. I eat this over brown rice or pasta. If you prefer a different cooked grain that would probably be just as good.

This makes a tasty entree for 3-4 hungry people, or a side for at least twice as many.

You can always substitute in your favorite veggies or what's on special that week. I try to always include some sort of squash, beans, corn and grain for a better protein balance. You can add a soy product for even more protein.

I keep costs down when I can by

  • shopping my pantry & freezer
  • buying produce in season and on special
  • using & cooking dry beans when possible
  • stocking up on frozen corn, peas, etc. when the stores have specials
  • stocking up on canned staples (beans, tomatoes) on really good sales.
  • buying pasta, rice, grains in bulk or on sale.
  • buy soy products at asian markets



I am trying to do online couponing to save more money. 

I try to buy protein bars on sale/clearance/with coupons, and they can replace part of or an entire meal, sometimes for less than $1.

I was usually not a big fan of plain tofu, but I bought some last week to put in my pasta because it was less expensive than soy sausage, and I discovered that with a strong, tasty sauce I did not even need noodles!  That bland taste that I disliked before, combined with the texture of firm tofu, is the perfect replacement for noodles in a low carb dish!  I am a new fan of tofu.  Will hell freeze over soon?

What's on your grocery list and what stores in your area have the best prices? What is your favorite budget-friendly recipe? What are some kid-friendly recipes that won't break the bank? Etc.

Ive been using a lot of legumes & rice lately. (Must eat plenty of legumes if you're vegetarian people!!!) I always add heaps of onion & garlic too. It always adds a nice sweet flavour when its caramelised. I try to avoid Coles & Woolworth's when it comes to buying legumes and vegetables in general. The big supermarkets are way more expensive here in Perth, Australia. Farmer Jacks is great. Always the cheapest when it comes to fresh food. Hmmm kids recipes.. Well I don't have kids so I dont make kids food much :) 

With all of the upcoming holidays and parties, what delicious-yet-easy-on-the-wallet party menu's have you come up with?

Party menus... Again this is a difficult one. I don't really go to dinner parties where we bring food. Maybe its just my age or something. 


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As a low fat vegan I make sure I stock up on pasta when it's on sale 50c or up to $1 also sauce when it's on sale. I like to get items that don't go bad fast like frozen vegetables and beans unprocessed. I also buy the fruit that has a longer shelf life like apples, oranges, clementines, dates, bananas - I buy them at different days of the week so as im waiting for a fruit to ripen I always have something to eat. I also buy them in bulk from my local grocer supplier - if i can't get there my local Costco has them in bulk but it's a little more pricey but worth it when you're hungry.

dried lentils (red or brown), green split peas (for batch of vegan split pea soup) or yellow split peas, dried beans (to eat plain with spices or in soups or with veggies or for hummus or white bean dip for sandwiches etc), tempeh, quinoa bought in bulk at Whole foods store is still relatively cheap, buckwheat groats or oat groats (soak and sprout for eating), brown rice from bulk, pumpkin seeds tend to be one of the cheaper seeds as are sunflower, all kinds of green leafy veggies tend to be cheaper although I buy all mine organically or through farmers market, zuchini, carrots, celery, green bell peppers, fresh brussel sprouts are all cheaper fresh vegetables, apples arent too expensive (fortunately I have an apple tree though), green beans bought fresh are reasonable too, avocados arent too expensive.  I grow my own fresh herbs but some of these are inexpensive in the grocery store too.  I buy tomatoes organically but even there the romas are cheaper.

I do buy organic almonds (you dont even want to know what kinds of chemicals are sprayed on the cheaper bags of almonds you get and how much they are actually processed) but a little goes a long way, unless I grind them up for almond flour for a special baking treat for something.

I do spend more on groceries for higher quality food but I rarely eat out maybe 5 times per year (I bring my own food to potlucks and family get togethers if I need to) and I dont buy much processed food other than an occasional can of tomatoes (mostly I have switched to using fresh but will get lazy and buy the canned tomato sauce or paste) or a plant milk or canned pumpkin or coconut milk so that makes up the difference.  I can make a large batch of homemade soup for lunches for the week or a crockpot batch of something that will keep all week for meals, and a nice big raw salad to go with it and lots of fruit and veggies for a quick snack.  Or I make my own bread although I have moved away from much flour in my diet.  Making your own bread is cheaper and involves little more than yeast, flour, water, a little sweetener and you can make several loaves at the same time.  Very occasionally I use chickpea flour to make a higher protein flatbread (called socca).  A lb of chickpea flour will last me several months.   I also like to cook up a big squash (butternut or acorn) and have squash for breakfast with dried beans and fresh fruit during the week.  I just had this now. 

To jellikal... Just got this app or rather just started reading all the comments. Anyways wanted to answer u on where to get the faux meat. I have bought tvp chicken And tvp taco ground beef and others thru "self reliance". They sell in cans ... Geared more for food storage but I use it in my every day cooking and just keep replacing it. It's called thrive and self reliance makes them. They have fruits and vegetables and they are all freeze dried. So they still have all there nutritional value. I absolutely love it. I have apples to berries ... Peppers to potatoes. !! now I do have to say u might think they r kinda pricey. But we think in the long run it's actually cheaper ( and time saving) because like I said i use them everyday. And when u open a can u dont have to refrigerate! Awesome. And I love the tvp!!! We have started selling it also .... Love it!!! And a great way to start food storage! Hope this helps...
QUESTION... I've read that coconut oil is supposed to be healthy and good for u... (examples: help lose weight, natural remedy for skin problems like acne, athletes foot and more and good for hair) Of course it depends on the kind u get. Because from what I've learned cold pressed is better. I love coconut water and milk. And I also read/ hear from some other people that coconut oil is not good for u (causes weight gain, medicinal purposes, nausea, 10x saturated gas and more). So I'm confused ... It comes right from the coconut, off a tree so how can this be bad for you? That's My question... Is coconut oil, milk etc good for you or not?? I would appreciate Many opinions. Thanks
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Fdddgdgg @?:):

Saying something is "not as bad as bacon fat" is not the same as "good for you".

out of 4.5 grams of fat (in a TBS), 3.9g is saturated fat. That's 86% saturated fat.

I don't care how you slice it. That's not 'good for you'.


Will an occasional Thai meal with coconut milk curry kill you? no.

But that doesn't mean make it a staple of your diet.

I personally think all the fats you need are in the foods you eat. There is no need for processed, concentrated oils.

But whether you agree with me or not, 86% saturated fat is not good.

As far as the money thing goes, it costs just as much to get a larbar as it does a small fry form Mickys d's

Oh the problems of society hahaha
One thing no one has mentioned is dried shiitake mushrooms! These are available at Asian markets and, when rehydrated and destemmed, are a great addition to soups and stir fries. They have a really nice meaty texture and a rich flavor. A big bag costs me ~ 10$ but they last a really long time.
I am a new vegetarian so I have been trying new things but I agree it is very hard to find vegetarian food on a budget. The best thing I have found is the pasta filled with cheese and spinach. Those are healthy for you but also filling. Also peanut butter on anything apples, rice cakes, bananas, saltine crackers. My favorite is tuna and salmon. You can find and cook both very budget conscious. Hope this helps :)

I went to the grocery store today and I only spent $25 and it could have been less. I actually am a pescatraian so I spent $5 on fish. 1 wk of groceries for this money is good in MD where I am. I think the diffrence is I have to cook more b/c premade ready to go is almost out of the question. I made oven fried tofu tonight and for 5 servings of food I spent 3 bucks. I am really starting to appreicate the economic aspect of going vegetarian.

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Here's my 2 cents if you can grow ur own ;) even if it's just a few herbs. If you have no garden try a local alotment. Market days, fresh produce at a great value. Sunday shopping, on sundays I find store may have a end of week sale clearing out the end of week stock, usually you get bargains. Vouchers ppl get in ur vouchers and loyality cards, uk peeps get ur club cards out! Best before vs Used by always check this and know the difference, best before is usually good for a few days after the date, use ur remainings and make a big stock pot or cassarole. Used by must be used before so check ur dates on the stuff you buy and stop wasting. Waste not want not. Try to only cook what you'll actually eat and dnt throw away left overs, save it for the next day and have as a side or light lunch just add some salad to ur plate. Tin goods and frozen, can be cheaper and stored for when you need it. Just try to get water only or give erm a good rinse. Frozen is said to retain more vitamins as it's freshness is sealed in. ;) oh and go back to the basics, try to live as they would of dne during the war. Rations ppl you know u can do it
I try really hard to keep to a budget and here are some of my weekly buys:

Container of quick oats for oatmeal each morning Bananas raisins Soy milk

Morning star chix patties, burgers Flatbread buns Vegetarian bake beans Sweet potato fries

Frozen eggplant Pasta Lots of frozen broccoli for stir frys Tofu

Kashi bars Yogurts

....I plan out meals tentatively for a week and that helps!

I can't believe you are only 16!! Well written!

I'm a vegetarian too and leaning toward vegan for all the reasons you said!

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