Easy Vegan Meal Ideas- all under £1 per portion!

It’s January. We have our resolutions all set out for the year ahead. One of them might be to eat more veg, another might be to reduce your spending, and one might be to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

What’s one thing that could incorporate all of these things? Cooking cheap vegan meals for family (and yourself of course!).

Fresh fruits and veg often have a reputation for being expensive, and therefore a vegan diet can also be considered an expensive lifestyle choice by some. In fact, eating some vegan meals as a family each week is actually likely to reduce your weekly grocery bill.

It really is possible to enjoy healthy meals on a budget. These recipes will be gobbled down by adults and kids alike, and are perfect twists on a couple of traditionally meat-based meals. You can be sure that the whole family will get on board with these simple but delicious vegan meal ideas.

Although I am not vegan myself (I’m technically a lactose intolerance pescatarian but that sounds WAY too pretentious for my liking) I do often eat vegan food due to my intolerance to dairy. I’ve eaten a dairy free diet for well over a decade now, and have found a few favourite vegan recipes along the way…

All ‘price per portion’ information is based on Tesco own brand products as of January 2020. Price per portion is worked out by dividing the cost of an item between the amounts needed. For example if a 1kg bag of lentils costs £1.80, and you need 100g for a recipe, that is equivalent to 18p.

Vegan Tomato & Lentil Soup

This tomato and lentil soup does not only taste delicious, but it’s super cheap to make and freezes really well. I always try to make sure that I have a few portions in the freezer for those days where I need to take something into work for lunch and haven’t planned ahead.

The recipe is actually from my boyfriend’s mum, who introduced this soup to me a few years back. Thanks Jane!

Vegan Tomato & Lentil Soup

Nutritious vegan soup recipe for winter and beyond

  • 1 Onion
  • 120g Red Lentils
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • 300ml Tomato Juice
  • 900ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  1. Chop the onion and fry in a little oil until soft

  2. Add the thyme and add a little pepper for seasoning

  3. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, vegetable stock and marmite and bring to the boil

  4. Simmer on a low heat for 30 mins, stirring occasionally

  5. Blend or leave as is and serve!

This makes around 5 portions, which makes it just 30p per portion (plus some bread if you’re feeling fancy!)- making it a super cheap vegan meal. I often double the ingredients in this recipe to make the ingredients go further, or freeze any leftover tomato juice to make a batch of soup in the future.

It’s up to you whether you choose to serve the soup chunky or blended. Personally I prefer to blend it with a hand blender, but that’s just my taste.

There are so many other cheap vegan soups that you can also try making- cooking vegan often means ingredients come in under budget.

Vegan Chilli Con Carne

This is a great twist on a meaty classic, and it’s super easy to adjust the recipe according to your preferred level of spiciness. Again, this meal can easily be frozen in batches, and I also like to double this recipe sometimes to keep extra meals in the freezer.

Vegan Chilli Con Carne

A fabulous vegan twist on a traditional meal

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 300g Mincemeat Substitute
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tin Kidney Beans in Chilli Sauce
  • 2 tsp Hot Chilli Powder (to taste)
  • 2 Fresh Birds Eye Chilli (optional)
  • 300ml Vegetable Stock
  • Rice (as much as you need per person)
  1. Chop up the onion and garlic (and fresh chilli- optional) and fry in a little oil until soft

  2. Add the mincemeat substitute and cook on a low heat until soft

  3. Add the hot chilli powder, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring to the boil

  4. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes and then add the kidney beans

  5. Simmer on a low heat for a further 5 minutes and then serve with rice

This recipe makes around 5 portions, which makes it just 85p per portion (including rice).

If you don’t have kidney beans in chilli sauce available to you, just drain a standard can of kidney beans and add a little extra chilli powder and vegetable stock. You’ll hardly notice it’s vegan!

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

Another twist on a family favourite, this recipe includes soya cream which I think adds something special to this traditional dish. However, it still works without the cream if you’re looking for a seriously frugal recipe to add to your repertoire. This is yet another dish that’s perfect for the freezer for those days when you are strapped for time.

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A meat-free alternative with a creamy bolognese sauce

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Birds Eye Chilli (optional)
  • 300g Mincemeat Substitute
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 300ml Vegetable Stock
  • Soya Cream (to taste)
  • Spaghetti (as much as you need per person)
  1. Chop up the onion, garlic and fresh chilli (optional) and fry in a little oil until soft

  2. Add the oregano and mincemeat substitute and cook until soft

  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock, season with a little pepper, and bring to the boil

  4. Simmer for 20 minutes and then serve with soya cream (to taste) and spaghetti

This makes around 5 portions, which makes it just 65p per portion (including spaghetti). As you may have guessed by now, I love a little bit of fresh chilli in almost everything I eat, but it’s completely up to you whether you add it to this meal or not. If you’re cooking for kids, you may prefer to leave this out of the recipe.

Like I mentioned throughout, each of these 3 recipes are excellent for batch cooking. They freeze really well. And because the base of the bolognese and chilli are so similar (onions, garlic, fresh chilli, tinned tomatoes, meat substitute), you can batch cook both at the same time to stock up your freezer and make some serious savings on your food bill.

If you’re toying with the idea of eating more vegan or vegetarian food, I would definitely give these recipes a try- they are delicious and a few of my all time favourites.

People are often shocked by how little our food bill is for the two of us, but the truth is, we batch cook in bulk often, and because neither of us eat meat and try to take a packed lunch with us to work every day, we make serious savings on our grocery shop each month.

If you do try out any of these recipes I would love to see them! Tag me on Instagram @thriftylondoner

You might also enjoy: 50 money tips to start the year off right, what 25 money bloggers wish they knew in their 20s, 5 eco travel tips for more environmentally friendly travel

1 thought on “Easy Vegan Meal Ideas- all under £1 per portion!”

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