11 Nutritious, Delicious, and Affordable Vegan Meals for the Whole Family

Vegan tacos with black beans, sweet potato and guacamole and tortillas flatbread
Black Bean & Sweetcorn Tacos with Guacamole

It is often argued that eating vegan is expensive, and that cooking vegan for the whole family is difficult, but we beg to differ.

While some vegan foods can be expensive and some vegan recipes can be overly-complicated (just as many non-vegan foods and recipes can be), feeding yourself and your family a nutritious and delicious vegan meal doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. In fact, a 2015 study found that a meatless diet is approximately $750 a year cheaper than a meat-based diet. What’s even better news is that we can live longer, healthier lives without consuming any animal products at all.

With 2020 the year our world suffered the dire consequences of using and abusing animals for food, 2021 marks the perfect opportunity to take pandemics OFF the menu by switching to lifestyle that is safer, more sustainable, and that has been proven to strengthen our immune systems against diseases like Covid-19.

To help get you started, here are a few of our favorite budget vegan meals, with each recipe serving up to 4 people and costing less than $10.00 (under $2.50 per person).

For more budget-friendly vegan meal ideas, you can check out the Plant-Based On A Budget website or sign up for our 31-Day Vegan Support Program, which includes daily recipes and nutritional guidance.

Bon appetit!


Black Bean & Sweetcorn Tacos with Guacamole

(Under $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups canned black beans
  • 8 Corn tortillas
  • 1 cup cooked sweetcorn.
  • 2 cups chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
  • Your favorite Pico de Gallo salsa (optional)

For the guacamole:

  • 2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

METHOD

  1. To make guacamole: combine mashed avocados and mix in lime juice, salt, diced onion, and chopped cilantro.
  2. Drain and rinse the canned black beans.
  3. On the stovetop, warm the beans and corn. Lay out corn tortillas and top with the corn and beans and gently smash with a fork. Top with the salsa, romaine lettuce, and guacamole.

Hearty Vegetable Marinara Tagliatelle

(Under $10)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 x 16oz packs of tagliatelle (or your pasta of choice)
  • 1 x 8oz pack of white mushrooms
  • 1 x large eggplant
  • 1 x bunch or bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 x large (28oz) can of San Marzano tomatoes *OR* 6 x Fresh Roma tomatoes, blended or diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 x tablespoons olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste.

METHOD

  1. Add your pasta of choice to a pan of simmering, salted water. Stir and leave to cook for 8-10 minutes, until the pasta has softened, and then drain.
  2. Rinse and chop your mushrooms into quarters. Remove the dark skin of the eggplant using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, and chop into similar sized chunks.
  3. Add the chopped eggplant and mushrooms to a stainless steel or non-stick frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, and 2-3 cloves of finely diced garlic (or garlic powder).
  4. After 3-5 minutes, add your spinach – roughly chopped – into the pan. Stir in and allow to cool for 30 seconds.
  5. Now add you chopped, diced or blended tomatoes, plus salt and pepper to taste, and allow everything to cook together for 2-3 mins.
  6. Add you cooked pasta to the sauce, stir and serve OR add your pasta to plates, and spoon the sauce over the top.

Breakfast Apple Crisp

(under $5.00) – Recipe by: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

INGREDIENTS

  • red apples, cored and diced (4)
  • cornstarch (1 tsp.)
  • cinnamon (2 tsp.)
  • quick oats (1 cup)
  • maple syrup (3 tbsp.)
  • sugar (3 tbsp.) (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Place the apples in a large bowl. Add the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and sugar.
  3. Stir to evenly coat all the apples. Transfer the apples to the glass pie plate.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the quick oats, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and maple syrup.
  5. Evenly spread the topping over the apples and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Easy Black Bean Chili

(Under $10.00) – Recipe by: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained, and liquid reserved.
  • tomato sauce/salsa (1 x 16-ounce jar or container)
  • frozen corn (8 ounces)
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • fresh cilantro
  • hot sauce/chili flakes (optional)

METHOD

  1. Mix beans, corn, and salsa in a 5-quart pot. Add the reserved liquid to reach desired consistency. The more liquid, the “soupier” the chili will become.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Serve with basmati rice or inside a baked sweet potato.

Lentil Protein Burgers

(under $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 15-ounce cans brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped yellow onions
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1⅓ cups quick-cooking oats
  • (Optional: ½ tsp smoked paprika/ or cayenne pepper)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place all ingredients, except for the oats, in the bowl of a food processor. Process until near-smooth.
  3. Transfer lentil mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the quick-cooking oats and stir until well combined.
  4. Shape mixture into 10 even-sized patties and place on the baking tray.
  5. Bake burger patties for 15 minutes, then flip them over, then bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve on wholewheat buns with toppings of your choice.

Tofu Rainbow Power Bowl

(Under $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-16 oz block of tofu (drained and cubed)
  • 2 Tbsp of your favorite dried spices (e.g. garlic power, smoked paprika, chili powder…)
  • 2 large sweet or regular potatoes, Baked and diced
  • 10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced or diced
  • 1 cup red or green cabbage, chopped
  • 4 cups kale (or another green leaf), chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (or bean of choice)

METHOD

  1. To bake tofu: preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment or use a silicone mat.
  3. Toss the cubes in a bowl with spices of choice until well coated.
  4. Place on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, gently flipping them at the 10-minute mark.
  5. Assemble all of the other ingredients in your bowl as you prefer.

Burrito Bowl with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

(Approx. $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup brown rice (or any whole grain)
  • 1 ½ cup cooked black beans (rinsed and drained from a can or freshly cooked)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chile powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder (or minced garlic)
  • 1 tomato- diced
  • ½ yellow pepper- thinly sliced
  • ½ red pepper- thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado sliced (optional)
  • 1–2 cups of lettuce, chopped.

Creamy Vegan Cilantro Sauce:

  • 1 container silken tofu – firm (drain off the excess water from the tofu)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper (optional)
  • 2 slices jalapeno (optional)

METHOD

  1. Add the rice to a pot, with 2 cups of water, and add spices, salt and cooked beans, give a stir, bring to a boil.
  2. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer until rice is cooked and water is evaporated, about 17-18 minutes.
  3. To make the cilantro sauce: Add the tofu, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper (optional), and jalapeno (optional) into a food processor and process until very smooth.
  4. When rice is done, assemble your bowls with veggies and drizzle creamy cilantro sauce on top.

Crunchy Quinoa Salad

(Approx. $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and cooked
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons water

METHOD

  1. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, water, and salt to taste. Whisk until blended, then set aside.
  3. Mix dressing to quinoa bowl and season with salt and black pepper to your preferred taste.

Soul-Warming Vegetable Soup

(Approx. $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 X 14-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (or any other dried herb like oregano or basil)
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

METHOD

  1. Heat a little oil in a large pot and sauté the garlic, celery, and onion over medium-high heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
  3. Pulse in a blender for just a few seconds to create a thick, hearty soup.
  4. Serve immediately with a crusty baguette or croutons.

Roasted Cauliflower Bowl with Tangy Guacamole

(Under $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 head Cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 1/8 tsp Cumin
  • 1/8 tsp Chili Powder (or any other preferred spice)
  • 1/3 cup Black Beans (cooked)
  • 2 tbsps. Water

For the guacamole:

  • 2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with the cumin and chili powder.
  2. Place cauliflower in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  3. To make the guacamole: combine mashed avocados and mix in lime juice, salt, diced onion, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, and diced tomatoes.
  4. Divide the cauliflower into bowls and top with beans and guacamole.

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil-Bolognese Sauce

(Under $10.00)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large Spaghetti Squash
  • 1/3 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup Crushed Tomatoes (canned)
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/4 Garlic (clove, minced)
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 cup Baby Spinach (chopped)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Carefully slice the spaghetti squash in half and discard the seeds.
  3. Place the two halves onto the baking sheet, then brush the flesh with olive oil, and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Turn the squash flesh side down onto the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the crushed tomatoes, lentils, garlic, sea salt, black pepper and dried basil in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Once simmering, add the spinach and stir just until wilted. Turn off the heat.
  7. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven. Let cool slightly before carving out the flesh into noodles.
  8. Serve with lentil vegetable tomato sauce over the spaghetti squash noodles.

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