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Many people become vegan primarily to help the environment and live out their values of compassion for animals and the earth. It just so happens that a plant-based diet is also quite healthy!
Unfortunately, eating a vegan dinner and other meals can get very expensive. While plants cost less than meat and dairy per item, you end up eating quite a bit more of it.
Vegetables and fruits also don’t keep as long, so if you’re not organized, food can go to waste. If you shop organic, those costs can add up quickly.
No one wants to eat rice and beans every day in order to be humane on a budget. The good news is that you don’t have to!
Vegan dinner and other meals can be done on a budget. Here are some tips on making vegan dinners that don’t break the bank – and some recipes that make dinnertime a breeze!
Keep the Right Staples on Hand
Dinner can be a stressful time of day, with everyone getting home hungry. If you have children, they may need to leave quickly in order to go to after-school activities.
While making a vegan dinner in this environment may seem impossible, it’s actually simple if you keep some ingredients on hand that can make a quick dinner.
If you have beans, you can make a quick bean dip to serve with chips and a big salad. Brown rice can be used for side dishes, cold salads, or a base for curried chickpeas.
Tomato sauce and canned tomatoes can be used for almost anything from making quick spaghetti to stretching a can of soup. Dried fruit is another great snack, especially as a way to stave off complaints until dinner is done.
If you have the right staples in the cabinet, you’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Plan Your Meals Ahead
If you’re going to eat vegan dinners, lunches, and breakfasts, it pays to plan ahead. Planning can take just a few minutes a week and makes grocery shopping much easier.
When you plan meals ahead, you’ll be able to save money since you buy exactly what you need. You can avoid waste by planning to use everything you buy. You can also ensure that simpler meals are planned for nights you have evening activities.
By taking a little time to plan your meals, you will make eating vegan dinners and other meals simple and stress-free.
Vegan Dinner Recipes for Compassion on a Budget
Speaking of planning, let’s get to those recipes! Here are some simple, affordable vegan dinner recipes that will help you plan your meals, avoid waste, and help the planet.
Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Pasta
What’s more enjoyable than a quick and easy meal of pasta and sauce? Skipped the jarred marinara and create your own incredible roasted tomato and red pepper sauce in no time flat.
This recipe has only seven ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and takes 10 minutes to make. Perfection!
Pizza Night: Loaded Veggie Pesto Pizza
Who says you can’t have pizza and still be compassionate? Skip the fatty meats and greasy cheese and make a flavor-filled veggie pesto pizza.
In just 20 minutes, with prepared pizza crust and five different kinds of vegetables in the mix, you can have pizza night on the table. It’s perfect for a Friday night after a long week, or a Wednesday night when the kids have to be out the door in 45 minutes.
Vegan Meatball Subs
There’s a reason sandwiches are so popular – they’re delicious, filling, and fast. These vegan meatball subs are perfect in all of those areas.
For only $3 per serving, you can have an amazing hoagie that will put meat eaters to shame. Bonus points if you used meatballs in a previous recipe – then these sandwiches take minutes to prepare.
No cruelty, just maximum flavor. Yummy!
“Chicken” Salad Sandwiches
Perfect for back to school or a quick vegan dinner, these faux-chicken sandwiches are missing nothing except the bird. For a mere $1.88/serving, you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less.
This recipe has only seven ingredients, including mock chicken strips that simply need to be sautéed and cut up. You’ll have it together quickly, and you can even make it ahead to save more time!
Chicken salad sandwiches with a quick salad or carrot sticks are a perfect quick-and-easy vegan dinner, and it won’t break the bank!
Macaroni and “Cheese” Casserole
Almost everyone loves macaroni and cheese for dinner, but many vegans think that it’s no longer available to them. Not so!
In fact, this budget-friendly mac-and-cheese makes a perfect vegan dinner for nights when you have a little more time. At only $2.75 per serving, this eight-ingredient dish is simple, quick to assemble, and needs just 20 minutes in the oven.
If your family loves macaroni and cheese, this could be a perfect vegan dinner with some vegetables on the side.
Vegetable Stir-Fry with Noodles
Vegetable stir-fry is one of the most versatile vegan dinners available. You can use the vegetables in the recipe, or you can just throw in whatever you have on hand.
Stir fry is a particularly great way to use up vegetables before they go bad, or before your next trip to the supermarket. Little bits of this and that are perfect in a stir-fry!
This recipe shows you how to create a basic stir fry sauce at home, and uses affordable vegetables and ramen noodles as the base. If you’re not a fan of ramen, feel free to use rice instead.
Eating affordably as a vegan doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are many, many affordable vegan recipes available. If you keep the right staples on hand, plan your meals in advance, and take advantage of these yummy vegan dinner recipes, you’ll be set!
Don’t let the dinner rush ruin your sense of compassion. Keep your plant-based diet strong with these affordable and quick vegan dinner recipes.