I’m not a confident or adventurous cook so when I want easy cheap vegan recipes to try I need a little help. I can’t just conjure something out of my pantry, it’s likely to end in disaster.
I’m not a fully fledged vegan or vegetarian but I enjoy my veggies and am happy to go meatless if the recipe is tasty.
In fact when I go out for a meal I often choose the veggie option because in my opinion meatless meals done well are often better than the meat options available.
Trying to create my own vegan meals though, I need recipes that inspire me and not overwhelm me. I’m not a fan of trying new recipes that require me to seek out specialist food stores for ingredients I cannot get at my local store.
Easy cheap vegan recipes are a must, I don’t want expensive and I certainly don’t want hard or complicated.
You and I haven’t got the time or the inclination to become a slave to our meals have we? Tasty food yes, fussy food no.
Which is why I’ve pulled together these 20 easy vegan recipes. They’re easy and they’re cheap. You can enjoy good vegan food without fuss and during the week.
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Pay less for your cheap vegan recipe ingredients
Some vegan products can be expensive, especially those fake meat products, but many ingredients used in vegan recipes are pretty cheap. Just because they are cheap though doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to buy them a little cheaper still.
When it comes to beans and pulses, you have 2 options on how to buy them. The easy, slightly more expensive option is to buy them in cans, you just open the can and throw them into a recipe for a quick meal.
The cheaper option is to buy dried beans, lentils and pulses, but these do require a little more preparation in order to use them in meals.
I usually buy dried beans and prep the entire packet in advance. I will soak all the beans for the required time, usually 8-12 hours, then cook them so they are almost ready to eat.
Once cooled I portion them out and freeze them for future use. I can then pull them out and use in any recipe that requires a can of beans, no added cooking time.
I do the same for pulses like barley and green lentils. Soak them, cook them and then freeze. You do not need to do this prep work for red lentils as they cook up quickly and require no soaking.
While buying canned beans and lentils might be slightly more expensive than their dried equivalents, the whole recipe is still going to be cheaper than a meat based meal.
So don’t stress if prepping dried beans seems like too much faff, buy the canned version and enjoy your vegan meals just as much.
Storing Beans and Pulses
Beans, pulses and lentils can be stored for a long time. In fact they are some of the best foods to stockpile due to their longevity.
Store them in a cool, dark place in their original packets. For added protection you can store them inside containers like these.
I also like to keep a few meals worth of prepared beans and pulses in my freezer because sometimes the idea of prepping the beans, soaking, rinsing and cooking doesn’t appeal. I can be a tad lazy so my freezer helps me overcome these tendencies.
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Cook Once Eat Twice
Most recipes can be doubled or tripled depending on how many people you are feeding. But the size of your recipe can also be doubled in order for you to double up on your meals.
The term batch cooking makes it sound like you are cooking great vats of each recipe, but really you decide on the bulk. I often cook a double batch of a recipe so we can eat it that day and have it again another day.
Most meals can be frozen, if not then it will last in the fridge for a few days, perfect for getting a meal on the table within 15 minutes of arriving home late.
Your vegan questions answered
You don’t need to be a practicing vegan to enjoy these easy cheap vegan recipes. I’m not vegan and may never be but I appreciate good recipes that make the most of the vegetables that I grow and buy.
How can I be vegan cheaply? – if you are wanting to know what is the cheapest meal you can make then you’ll be in for a surprise. It’s not just one super cheap vegan recipe you should look at, there are so many that really are as cheap as chips.
Focus on the recipes below that use beans, pasta and rice as a main ingredient. These are some of the cheapest foods to buy when you are on a budget. A little of these ingredients will fill you up and go a very long way.
What can you cook for $5? – you don’t need to limit yourself to rice and beans when you are on a tight budget. For $5 you can cook many of the recipes below, not just one portion either.
Vegan recipes can be some of the cheapest recipes around, especially if you don’t buy specialist vegan protein and use beans and pulses instead.
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7 One Pot Easy Cheap Vegan Recipes – So Very Simple!
I love one pot meals, they appeal to the lazy side of me. The side that doesn’t want to do endless washing and clearing up after a meal. So these easy vegan recipes are not only easy to make they are easy to clear up afterwards.
Morrocan Chickpea Stew – Give me a slow cooker recipe every time! I love chickpeas because they hold their texture so well even with slow cooker cooking. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s 3 recipes in one. Not got a slow cooker? No problem, use your InstantPot. Not got one of those? Follow the stove top recipe.
One Pan Mexican Sweet Potato Bake – Roasted sweet potato takes on a life of it’s own, sweet, and creamy, it goes well with everything in a bake. I always aim to make double but somehow there never seems to be enough leftover for another full meal. So the leftovers become a very tasty side.
Vegan Peanut Stew – If you like to do freezer meal prep then this is the recipe for you. Prep and freeze ahead of time or dump everything in your slow cooker and leave it to work it’s magic. The final touch of mashing the sweet potato to thicken it up works a treat and well worth the 30 seconds of effort.
Slow Cooker Lentil Chili – Chili is one of my favorite easy cheap vegan recipes. Truth be told chili is one of my favorite meals whether it’s vegan or meat based. With this recipe you can double up the quantities and have plenty for future meals. This is a cook once, eat twice or thrice recipe.
Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Stew – Barley (it’s called pearl barley in the UK) is one of my favorite things to add to a soup or stew. Unfortunately my husband is not as keen as me, sigh. This recipe is the perfect dump meal or to meal prep and freeze ahead of time. Easy, quick and of course cheap because barley is such a budget ingredient.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Farro Chili – If you want a low fat, healthy chili then this is recipe for you. I substitute (pearl) barley for the farro just for ease as I always have it in my pantry. Chili comes in all flavors and this is one you will love, I promise!
Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potato – Your trusty slow cooker to the rescue again. This is another dump meal that comes up trumps every time. It’s an easy cheap vegan recipe that uses coconut milk to give it the creaminess without the dairy element. Red lentils are extremely cheap and you can make enough to have leftovers for lunch.
7 Quick Budget vegan recipes When you don’t have time
Our time at home is precious, you have busy lives with lots of things going on. Having some cheap vegan meals you can make quickly without blowing your grocery budget is what you want.
Most of these recipes are ready in just 20 minutes. You’ll spend more time driving to and walking around the grocery store to buy something ready made than you will to make these delicious meals.
White Sweet Potato and Green Beans – This is the perfect recipe to use up the glut of green beans we get every year from growing too many. 5 ingredients and 30 minutes is all you need for a deliciously simple and cheap vegan meal. You could also use this as a side dish to accompany another yummy recipe.
Red Pesto Pasta – Pasta is a favorite of mine, as is pesto so this is a winning combination in my book. Not convinced? How about 20 minutes and 7 ingredients? I use wholewheat pasta which works so well in this cheap vegan recipe.
Very Veggie Fried Rice – Ever needed a recipe to use up leftover rice? Here it is. Even better it uses brown rice which is my rice of choice (such a nutty flavor). Just 20 minutes to plating up when you use already cooked rice, this is the perfect dish for making in a flash.
Chickpea Tikka Masala – 20 minutes! That’s all it takes to make this gorgeously, creamy curry. If you use brown rice you’ll need to start cooking that before you make a start on the masala it’s that quick.
Green Lentil Daal – A simple one pot dish that is so versatile and perfect for busy nights. Have it as is or add a naan bread for hungry peeps. This an extremely easy vegan recipe and cheap too. Green lentils have a lovely texture and if you buy them dry and prep them beforehand they are even cheaper than canned.
Spanish Beans and Tomatoes – One pot, 20 minutes and only 7 ingredients, that smacks of being a cheap easy vegan recipe doesn’t it? Butter beans are one of my favorite beans so you can bet this is a regular on my meal plan. Especially if I am in charge of cooking (cos I’m lazy and not a fan of spending hours in the kitchen!).
Quick Chana Masala – this doesn’t actually taste exactly like the chana masala you might have in a restaurant (many true recipes don’t) but this is a very easy cheap vegan recipe so we can forgive this difference. It has it’s own unique taste which is far superior to that which you might order.
More recipes you might like:
5 Easy Cheap Vegan Recipes full of comfort
I love comfort food, it’s one of the highlights of winter for me, apart from when we get snow (which is rare unfortunately). Stews, soups and curries are all warming and hearty.
Want 7 cheap vegan meals for a week of meal planning? Look no further, these meals will fill you up and won’t take up much time either.
Veggie Noodle Curry Bowls – Creamy, spicy and full of delicious veggies that you know are doing you good with every bite you take. This is a super frugal recipe with the main ingredients of carrots, frozen veg and chickpeas. This meal will satisfy your cravings for a meal at your favorite Indian restaurant, without the cost.
Vegetarian Feijoada Recipe – This is the Brazilian national dish made vegan by swapping out the traditional meat for black beans. I love that there are 3 versions to this recipe and advice on how to speed up using dried beans in case you forgot to do the whole soaking thing the previous day (like I often do, sigh).
Gluten Free Vegetable Stew – With just 10 minutes of prep time and endless variations (hello empty fridge) you can get this hearty stew going and then leave it cook and do it’s magic while you get on with more important things like relaxing and chilling.
Mexican Hash Brown Sliders – Fancy breakfast for dinner with a Mexican twist? Then this recipe is for you. Stack them as high as you want, have as many as you want. I like to add some sour cream on top, just because I can (obviously this makes it vegetarian and not vegan).
Spiced Cauliflower, Kale and Chickpea Stew – A warming vegan curry of cauliflower, kale and chickpeas is perfect for a cold, dark night. Or any other night you feel a need for a warming curry. It fits another of my meal prep criteria as well, it’s a one pot meal which means less washing up afterwards – always a bonus in my book!
Roasted Garlic Turmeric Potato Soup – Soup in the slow cooker is always a treat because it’s ready as soon as you walk through the door. This recipe is perfect for those nights you want comfort food but a lighter version. Add some chili flakes to give it more warmth.
Easy Cheap Vegan Recipes You Will Devour
There are so many cheap vegan meals that you can try, you might never cook the same meal twice.
I love vegan recipes that celebrate being vegan rather than being purely a meatless version of traditional recipes. That way I can avoid buying over priced specialist fake meat products and keep my grocery budget nicely in check.
The recipes above only scratch the surface of what vegan meals you can make and enjoy. Start with them and then why not explore further?
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Last Updated on 10th January 2022 by Emma