Since the economic downturn of 2008, "cheap" has become a bit of a buzz word, especially in the vegan world. It makes sense to connect veganism and budgeting together...because the cheapest foods are vegan! (Dried beans, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. The stuff that's not so cheap is prepackaged vegan convenience foods.) In order to save some money, I've jumped on the beans and rice bandwagon. I didn't like eating beans and rice much as a kid. BUT with the right sauce and some steamed greens on top, beans and rice make a great meal! My favorite beans and rice dish is from Vegan Yum Yum: Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans. If you have the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook, you can also find the recipe there. Bonus: This recipe can easily be made gluten-free by swapping tofu for the seitan (or omitting the seitan) and using Bragg's Liquid Aminos or wheat-free tamari in place of the soy sauce.
The idea of cheap vegan food is so popular, there's now even a cookbook, Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. I don't have a copy (trying to keep my cookbook collection under control), but let me know if it's good! From what I've seen, each recipe costs $0.50-$2 per serving, and the cookbook includes lots of money saving ideas, such as how to creatively reuse leftovers.
And finally, for tips on cheap vegan living, check out VegNew's Savvy Abby!
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