What is the cheapest meal you make on a regular basis? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-14-2015, 05:43 PM
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What is the cheapest meal you make on a regular basis?

I'm looking for cheap food ideas! Preferably vegan but I can always modify recipes if I need to. Thanks!

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#2 Old 06-14-2015, 06:39 PM
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I love to make veggie-pot-pie! This is the recipe that I use: Veggie-Pot-Pie. Sometimes I'll cook it in a cast iron pan or skillet, either way it turns out good and it's both filling and tasty.

Home-made Chili is also cheap to make and very healthy. I use dry beans, soaked the night before because they are so affordable and substitute mushrooms for the meat a recipe calls for. It goes especially well with home made corn bread.

Vegetable stir fry is also one of our household favorites. When we catch a good sale we try to stock up on frozen vegetables that we want and cook them up with either rice or noodles.

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#3 Old 06-14-2015, 06:40 PM
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Beans and Rice.
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#4 Old 06-14-2015, 06:48 PM
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All my food is cheap, cuz I'm poor. Check out the what did you eat vegetarian today thread. My last few weeks (towards the end of the thread) are vegan.

Basically- breakfast-toast or cereal, plus a fruit, and coffee

Lunch- carby stuff (rice, potatoes, or pasta) plus veggies

Dinner- lots of salads, and veggie stuffed sandwiches this time of year, (it's hot!)

Dessert- usually more fruit

Snacks- air popped popcorn, rice cakes, or cereal, as needed between meals.
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#5 Old 06-14-2015, 06:53 PM
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Cheapest dish ever? Pasta salad.

I boil and drain pasta, rinse with cool water to chill it.
Add chopped veggies (or frozen veg if you add them to the pasta while the noodles are still hot) add mrs.dash and Italian salad dressing to taste, a bit of nutritional yeast if you have it.

Other cheapest dish-
Peanut butter sandwiches.

Other other cheapest dish-
Baked potato, top with whatever you got on hand. I've even used bbq sauce with good results.

Feeling inspired?
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#6 Old 06-14-2015, 08:06 PM
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I think the cheapest meal I make is mac n cheese, using that potato-carrot cheese recipe. Soooo easy as well.
I also just like to have big plates of steamed or roasted veggies all the time. Nothing makes me happier than sweet potato.
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#7 Old 06-15-2015, 02:34 AM
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Baked potatoes with steamed broccoli and nutritional yeast sauce (plant milk, nutritional yeast, pinch of flour or starch, spices like nutmeg, garlic etc). Sometimes I make a "cheese" sauce using steamed sweet potato, silken tofu, nutritional yeast, and plant milk blended together. I suppose plant milk and tofu aren't all that cheap but the sauce will work well even without the tofu, just less rich/creamy, and you only need a little plant milk and can use some water.

Oatmeal, banana, cinnamon

Sweet potato, black bean, kale with curry powder

Homemade whole wheat bread...toast with kidney beans and salsa on it for breakfast; peanut butter and banana sandwich; toast with pureed pinto beans and taco seasonings (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder)

Roasted chickpeas, yellow squash, fresh pineapple (or canned), carrots, brussel sprouts or broccoli all over brown rice
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#8 Old 06-15-2015, 02:59 AM
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Pasta, definitely. Sometimes we don't even have tomato sauce so we just drizzle olive oil and pile on the garlic and herbs, adding whatever veggies we have in the fridge.
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#9 Old 06-15-2015, 04:09 PM
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All my soups and chilis are super cheap. I cook dry beans in a pressure cooker- I waited years to find a stainless steel one on sale! And of course I use a lot of lentils
Just about everything I make is cheap.

I have a soy milk maker and for about .33 cents get 2 quarts pure soy milk. I also get okara and from one batch of milk make 6 burger with okara, oats, all kinds of spices and condiments, beans and sometimes rice

I buy fresh veggies when they're on sale and stock up on certain frozen ones like broccoli, spinach, corn and peas
I buy the better canned beans on sale just to have some on hand. I try and put some cooked in zip bags to freeze

I like to have instant potatoes on hand for thickening soups, crusting tofu, adding to burgers or sometimes even just mashed potatoes.

I buy Better than Boullion no chicken from iherb.com because it's such a great flavoring and makes a quick gravy/sauce with cornstarch

I rely on the 'beans, greens, and grains' approach and will have things like lentils, rice, greens or peas, and a sprinkle of nuts.

I make seitan about once a month.

I use the marinades in things jarred jalepanos to flavor beans or burgers. Use pickle juice to pickle cucumbers in season.

Best advice is use what you have and don't ever waste. Don't overbuy.

I found my best advice was not clip coupons or read ads but buy what you need, be consistent, and know prices. Coupons and ads just made me want to buy more.

I shop Aldis and go to Trader Joes and Whole Foods about 4 times a year. WF's for bulk

Shop Asian -Indian stores
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#10 Old 06-15-2015, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paisley.Dear View Post
I love to make veggie-pot-pie! This is the recipe that I use: Veggie-Pot-Pie. Sometimes I'll cook it in a cast iron pan or skillet, either way it turns out good and it's both filling and tasty.

Home-made Chili is also cheap to make and very healthy. I use dry beans, soaked the night before because they are so affordable and substitute mushrooms for the meat a recipe calls for. It goes especially well with home made corn bread.

Vegetable stir fry is also one of our household favorites. When we catch a good sale we try to stock up on frozen vegetables that we want and cook them up with either rice or noodles.
Someone posted a thread on savory pies- can I link this recipe?
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#11 Old 06-15-2015, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silva View Post
Someone posted a thread on savory pies- can I link this recipe?
Of course! The recipe is not actually my own, but it is delicious.

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#12 Old 06-15-2015, 06:55 PM
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pasta with jar sauce and frozen veggies, curry and veggies made with curry paste, bean burritos, enchiladas, stir fry noodles, fried rice, vegan banana muffins, peanut butter and jelly (whole foods has the cheapest all-natural pb around), baked potato/sweet potato, vegan "chili" or just multiple different dry/canned beans cooked together with onion, spices, tomato.

I'll post more if I think of them. I'm very low-income myself, so everything I make is cheap! haha.
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#13 Old 06-15-2015, 07:00 PM
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Dried soya mince + pasta + herbs/ spices...Quick and cheap

Tesco whole foods soya mince = £1.90 for 375g...I would use this for 3 meals (it swells with water ++)...Tesco or Sainsbury's penne pasta is ~30p per 500g bag...Again lasts ~3 meals...I use Dunn's River all purpose seasoning (small pot ~£1 lasts for many portions)

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#14 Old 06-15-2015, 07:07 PM
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Thanks so much everybody! Tons of great ideas here, keep them coming!

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#15 Old 06-15-2015, 07:21 PM
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All my meals are cheap, but probably the cheapest is hoppin' john
Rice, some dry peas, and any random vegetable that happens to be available. Pre-soak the rice and dry peas, cook until chewable Sometimes I add fresh mint or fresh catnip.
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#16 Old 06-15-2015, 07:44 PM
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one cheap thing to eat for lunch or dinner is just bowls with 1/2 can chickpeas, chopped cabbage with tahini, coconut oil, agave/sweetener and vinegar, baked sweet potato, and put tomato or avocado or whatever u like!
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#17 Old 06-16-2015, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Auxin View Post
All my meals are cheap, but probably the cheapest is hoppin' john
Rice, some dry peas, and any random vegetable that happens to be available. Pre-soak the rice and dry peas, cook until chewable Sometimes I add fresh mint or fresh catnip.
your hoppin john is totally different than mine! Mine is blackeyed peas, tomatoes, onions, and collard greens, served over rice. I use season salt and black pepper to taste.
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#18 Old 06-16-2015, 09:14 PM
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Yeah, sometimes I use blackeyed peas, and I'm growing whippoorwill cowpeas this year (an extremely close relative, same species) but any of the above including field peas still count as traditional and dried peas tend to be cheapest.
I've done it with collard greens and onions, they count as random vegetables Thats quite good.
Turnip greens also work if the weathers cold enough.
I've never tried tomato + onion in it tho. In my kitchen when a tomato touches a onion I just get all excited and the result is a big pot of gumbo.

I do realize my mint flavor is probably a big deviation from the tradition, but it fits quite well and it just amuses me that my urine smells like mint the next day.
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#19 Old 06-17-2015, 02:09 AM
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Cheap (I think the whole batch of soup comes to about £3 - I'd say you get 8 servings from this)
2 medium to large onions chopped fine
1 clove garlic (optional) crushed
500g bag of red lentils
2 or 3 tins chopped tomatoes (really depends on what other veg you have lurking in the cupboard)
Lurky veg (you know that abandoned half a pepper or courgette - grab em all)
dried ginger
salt & pepper

Fry the onions, add the lentils, garlic (and any veg you have at the back of the cupboard) stir around for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes. Add water (1litre), salt & pepper (or stock cube) and ginger. Boil till ready. Mash all the veg up (or use a blender). Add water if it's too thick.

Cheapish (Puy lentils are almost 2x as expensive as green ones but they are very tasty)
Chop 2 carrots, 2 medium onions, 2 celery sticks & fry until translucent. Add green or puy lentils stir (about 500g). Add water (1litre) & stock cube if you have it (if not use salt & pepper). Boil till ready - add greens (spinach, cabbage, chard etc) and let putter for a few more mins.

I freeze this in small batches and use as a base for a variety of meals (it's adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe) but with some Indian spices you can serve it like a dahl with rice (with some green peas on the side).

It's also by far my most popular vegan dish - I serve it at dinner parties and everyone loves it (Last weekend the best comment, "I want to know what you have done to these lentils. You have done something to them I can tell!").
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#20 Old 06-17-2015, 07:51 AM
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I make stir-fry with whatever veggies are on hand. Either from my garden, or friends, or on clearance at the grocery store.

Cucumber? Cut lengthways into fourths and slice out the seeds. Squash, zucchini, and such-lengthways strips. Hard root veggies like turnips, potatoes, and carrots- I cut into small chunks or grate. Any soft leafy veg goes in whole. Harder leaves (like collards) get sliced thin. Tomatoes and soft things, I dice and add right near the end of cooking.

I season with green onion, chive, basil, sage or garlic- which grow right by the front porch. Maybe liquid aminos, depending on the taste I'm going for.

Whatever veggies I use, I put over rice.

Or put the raw veggies,chopped, over cooked, chilled pasta. A seasoned vinegar and oil sauce is cheap to make, or silken tofu and spices blended together for a creamy dressing.
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#21 Old 06-17-2015, 09:23 AM
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Pasta pesto, or pasta with homemade basil tomatoe sauce. Though lately I'm getting sick of eating pasta! Lol

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#22 Old 06-17-2015, 12:57 PM
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Pasta is the cheapest food. I eat them with tomatoes and lentils or beans and some veggies assorted veggies. I miss them with creamy sauces but I find it too heavy for my stomach after.

But lately, I ate pasta added with stir fried mushrooms and a bit of soy sauce. It was so amazing. So rich yet light. I loved it.


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#23 Old 06-17-2015, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paisley.Dear View Post
I love to make veggie-pot-pie! This is the recipe that I use: Veggie-Pot-Pie. Sometimes I'll cook it in a cast iron pan or skillet, either way it turns out good and it's both filling and tasty.

Home-made Chili is also cheap to make and very healthy. I use dry beans, soaked the night before because they are so affordable and substitute mushrooms for the meat a recipe calls for. It goes especially well with home made corn bread.

Vegetable stir fry is also one of our household favorites. When we catch a good sale we try to stock up on frozen vegetables that we want and cook them up with either rice or noodles.
I bookmarked this pot pie recipe. I love pot pie and I'm hoping to get a crock pot in the next few months. Thanks!
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#24 Old 06-17-2015, 02:23 PM
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Wow great ideas all! Very inspiring to get me in the kitchen!
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#25 Old 06-19-2015, 12:59 AM
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cheapest meal

banana smoothie
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#26 Old 06-19-2015, 04:03 AM
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Classics I did when I was low on money. Dinners were lentils cooked in vegetable broth with frozen veggies(usually broccoli, an carrots) poured over rice. And black beans put on rice and corn mixture with jalapenos and salsa on top. And mornings were oatmeal with a banana and some brown sugar.
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#27 Old 06-19-2015, 04:17 AM
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oil-?p
onion-16p
baked beans-30p
curry powder-?p
N.yeast-?p
soya-sauce-?p
(100g)rice-13p

must be around a pound(1.60 dollar)

about 1000kcals.

I add a tin of mushrooms sometimes.
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#28 Old 06-19-2015, 05:41 AM
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Well One of my cheaper meals (when we have low funds in our food budget) would be 5-6 bananas. At 52 cents a pound, it really is cheap, they are nutritious and calories-dense (for fruit). Another that comes to mind would be 2 heads of kale (at a buck a piece, that's only $2 for a filling, nutritious meal), or 5-6 apples when they're on sale for >75 cents a pound. Of course, for a cooked vegan, one of my favorite less-expensive (though not dirt cheap) meals would be about 2 cups shredded red cabbage, 2-3 shredded carrots, about 1/4 of a red onion (chopped) and a splash of apple cider vinegar (you could also add a tbsp of agave syrup too). Just toss em' in a pot, and cook on med heat (stirring frequently) until they become soft and tender (about 15 min). Very tasty! Other dishes that come to mind would be mashed potatoes, beans and rice, rice noodles with vegan bullion for flavor (you could add a frozen veg stir-fry too to keep costs low), lentils, pasta....

Of course the simpler you keep the meal, the less expensive it is. May not be the most delicious, but if it keeps your cost low and has reasonably good nutritional value, IMO, it's better than putting food on a credit card or simply not eating because you can't have a more complex meal! If your cooked-vegan, make pasta, rice noodles, rice, grains and beans (from the bulk section, if available) the staples of your diet because of the low cost and relatively good nutritional value. Buy whatever fruit or veg are on sale (or a always cheap) to make sure your getting as much fresh produce as possible. Incorporate whatever that may be into your meals.
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#29 Old 01-11-2016, 11:57 PM
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Any kind of dry beans or lentils prepared with onions and/or garlic sautéed in oil before adding water and bouillon or veg broth, dried spices of choice, and fresh or frozen vegetables of choice...I can't imagine it getting any cheaper for the amount of nutrition you get. If you go to a food bank many times you can request dried rather than canned beans. Onion and garlic are cheap, flavorful, last forever in a dry pantry, and are nutritious. You can get vegetables frozen on sale, and fresh celery and carrots tend to be very cheap, as well as potatoes. Add rice or other grains if you don't want or have potatoes to get a complete protein.

Everyone is saying pasta...you can make a nutritious "cheese" sauce from oil and flour made into a roux, add soy milk, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and just a dab of dijon mustard or tumeric for flavor. If you always keep those things on hand anyway, it's likely cheaper than specially buying vegan butter or pasta sauce, and you can always add tomatoes or spinach if you have it.

Ramen (throw icky spice package away) prepared, drain most of the water, except for a small amount to help melt a heaping spoonful of nut butter, top off with lemon or lime juice, soy sauce or Braggs aminos, and Sriracha or chili oil if desired.
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#30 Old 01-13-2016, 02:33 PM
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This is cheaper in the summer, but my favorite cheap meal is Zoodle Soup.
Dice 1 tomato and saute in a drizzle of olive oil, add italian seasonings and chopped fresh garlic. Before garlic gets brown and bitter, add 1/2 cup of water. Add in 1 medium-large zucchini that has been spiralized (if you don't have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips) and cook until it's as done as you like it, I prefer a bit of crunch. Add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water to get as soupy as you like. Season with black pepper, red pepper flakes, and veggie or tomato bouillon. Finish with a bit of dairy or non-dairy cheese if you like.
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