Contributed by Jennifer B. Niles, author of Eating Vegan – On a Budget! One of the persistent myths about adopting a vegan diet is that you need to buy lots of expensive and hard-to-find ingredients. This doesn't have to be the case at all! Here, we'll learn 5 ways to make this healthful and earth-friendly lifestyle a frugal one as well.
1. Substitute Specialty Items With Natural Alternatives
As my vegan cookbook, Eating Vegan — On a Budget! demonstrates, you can prepare delicious vegan meals without utilizing expensive and hard-to-find specialty items. I live on a small island in the middle of the South Pacific and do not have access to modern staples such as soy milk, tahini, chia seeds, tempeh, almond flour, rice flour, etc.
That being said, all of the recipes in my cookbook contain inexpensive and widely available natural substitutes that taste just as good as the store-bought variety - and a lot of the time even better! For example, did you know that roasted peanuts are an excellent substitute for tahini? And instead of spending a ton of money on rice flour, you can make your own. You would never know the difference!
2. Create Your Own Sauces
Forget buying multiple jars and cans of expensive, pre-made, processed sauces, dips and dressings. You will save so much money, as well as reap all of the healthy rewards, by creating your own sauces. All you need is a high-speed blender and some natural ingredients from your local farmers market to make these delicious and healthy alternatives at home. Aside from the ones you'll find in Eating Vegan — on a Budget! you can explore the many kinds of simple sauces here on VegKitchen.
3. Mix and Match
After you go through all of the fun work of creating your own sauces, the next step to frugal fare is to learn how to mix and match these sauces with various staple foods to create a multitude of unique meals. Buy a case of mason jars and store your new homemade sauces in the refrigerator. You would be surprised at how good the same sauce, dressing or dip can taste on inexpensive foods such as potatoes, rice, noodles and beans.
4. Stock up on Staple Foods
Speaking of these wallet-friendly foods, no matter where you live, potatoes, rice, pasta, and beans are widely available, healthy, inexpensive, versatile and delicious! You can do so much with these affordable staples when you learn how to create your own sauces, dips and dressings to accompany them. You'll be surprised at just how many mouthwatering vegan recipes you can make with these all natural and inexpensive items.
5. Simple Meals Are Healthy Meals
I tend to create simple vegan meals at home that do not contain more than ten ingredients on average. A simple meal is a healthy meal. A simple and healthy life is a happy life. For more tips, Eating Vegan – On a Budget! will show you how to avoid scouring the isles for expensive specialty items, and instead prepare meals using simple whole ingredients. The possibilities are endless!