EASY, QUICK, AND AFFORDABLE VEGAN STAPLES - BEGINNER FRIENDLY
You have thought about going vegan but hear how difficult and expensive it is. Just like a non-vegan diet, your grocery bill can be as affordable or as expensive as you want it to be. To help you get started, I’ll tell you how I mix and match several items that are inexpensive, fast and easy to prepare. This isn’t a nutritional guide, but a simple way to cook and eat vegan.
Where do vegans get their protein? That’s a long-standing joke, but I’ll tell you where I get mine: vegetables, beans, pumpkin seeds, vegan shakes, and tofu are on my short list. There are many more sources that you can explore.
Living in Tampa Bay, Florida, I shop mostly at Walmart. I order online and get my groceries delivered to my car at no charge, and Aldi’s where Instacart is available. During the pandemic, it is easy and safe. In a pinch, I will run to Publix. They are more expensive, unless you purchase items on sale.
Beans are a solid staple and easy to prepare. You can purchase dry beans, but we are going no frills here and canned goods are easy, cheap, and last a long time. I love black beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Occasionally, I explore red beans and one of the other many varieties. One can of beans is .59 to .89 a can, depending on if you want organic.
I purchase all my vegetables in the frozen food section, which allows me to keep fully stocked longer without risking spoilage. For salads, I purchase a spinach mix, tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers.
My favorite frozen vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, Cauliflower Rice, Spinach, and Asian Stir Fry selections. I purchase my corn canned.
Before I went vegan, cheese was a big part of my diet. Luckily, there are some decent vegan cheese options. Walmart and Publix have good sliced vegan cheeses and a few varieties to select from, including American, Gouda and Mozzarella. Choose your Breads by reading the ingredients and ensuring they are vegan friendly.
Aldi has a nice selection of vegan veggie burgers. The Chipotle’ is my favorite. At Walmart or Publix, I purchase mostly Boca Burgers, and prefer the fake chicken patties, or the original. There are several brands you should try to see which are your favorite.
If you are going to buy pasta, just read the ingredients and make sure that there are no eggs or dairy ingredients.
Rice is a great staple. I am Diabetic, so I purchase Cauliflower Rice, which does not raise my blood sugar and is low in Carbs.
Select a nondairy milk of preference. I use Almond Milk for my vegan shakes and cereal. Read the cereal ingredients to ensure it is vegan friendly.
There are many frozen prepared vegan foods, like pizza and Amy’s has vegan burritos and other choices.
Peanut butter is a big part of my life as a vegan. I eat it right out of the jar on a PB& J. I also make my Version of peanut sauce and add it to Cauliflower Rice or on my tofu mixed with vegetables.
Sometimes I will meal prep in advance in a large Stew Pot and add a variety of vegetables. I stir-fry them with some olive oil, onions, and garlic and then add tofu and my frozen vegetables and let it slow cook for as long as it takes. My Instant Pot is a lot faster, not as large, but super-efficient. You can fry, then pressure cook in the same pot, and it really seals in all the flavor fast.
I drink a lot of spring water. Sometimes I will and a sugar free flavor. They come in powder and liquid.
Making a quick and easy curry sauce is also very easy. Purchase canned coconut milk, powder curry, and vegetables of choice. I start with pan frying my garlic, onions, herbs, and spices, and then add the coconut milk and curry. Bring the heat down, and slowly stir till it seems done.
Marinara tomato sauce is usually vegan, and an impressive addition to pasta and other meals for some flavor.
Keepbags of a variety of nuts and pumpkin seeds on hand as snacks. There are many vegan protein bars and cookies for on the go snacks as well. Many processed vegan foods like chicken strips are easy to pop into the microwave.
For salad dressing, the easiest and cheapest way is to use vinegar and oil, but many store brands are vegan friendly. Again, get used to reading your list of ingredients. Balsamic Vinegar and Virgin Olive oil are great or try red wine vinegar or apple cyder vinegar are great alternatives.
Are you hungry? Grab a can of chickpeas, black beans, and canned corn, drain and rinse in a strainer and pour it over your leafy salad mix of choice. Add diced red onions, some Himalayan salt, and black pepper, then, your dressing and toss that baby up. This is a healthy, fast, and easy meal in a pinch.
I recommend purchasing your produce the day of a prepared meal in order to avoid anything going bad or tasting less than fresh.
This list of plant based ingredients and meals is far from fancy or complete, but great in between grocery runs and perfect for beginners. Stay tuned for more blogs on living cruelty free. .
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