Over the years, doctors and nutritionists have recommended eating plant-based foods due to their benefits over other alternatives. These benefits include a reduced risk of health complications such as diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, obesity, and more. Many people, especially in developed countries, believe that eating plant-based diets is very costly. However, there are several affordable plant-based foods you can add to your diet without breaking the bank.
1. Canned Beans
Canned beans serve as a dual-purpose food, providing both plant-based protein and vegetable content. They are not just affordable but also versatile and easy to prepare, requiring no cooking. Adding canned beans to salads or grain bowls offers a substantial dose of filling fiber, averaging between 4 to 8 grams per serving. Canned bean costs around $0.79 per 15-ounce can.
2. Canned Tomatoes
Canned tomatoes are a practical alternative to off-season fresh tomatoes, which are usually more expensive. Canned tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an essential antioxidant. It is also important to note that canned tomatoes are picked at their peak and canned, retaining their flavorful essence. You can get canned tomatoes at around $0.60 per can.
Peanuts stand out as one of the most cost-effective sources of plant-based protein available. Recent research highlights their many health benefits, including aiding weight loss, reducing blood pressure, and improving fasting glucose levels. You can get peanuts for as low as $0.17 per ounce.
4. Russet Potatoes
Potatoes offer substantial health benefits. They contain more potassium than a banana, a nutrient recognized as under-consumed in many diets. Potatoes also offer polyphenol health benefits and can serve as an affordable and versatile post-workout fuel. You can get a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes for about $3.79.
5.100% Whole Wheat Pasta
100% whole wheat pasta provides a more affordable yet nutritious choice for those on a budget. These whole wheat options typically offer around 6 grams of protein and fiber per serving, making them a valuable addition to meals. Whole wheat pasta costs approximately $1.79 per 16-ounce bag.
6. Burrito Bowl
Burrito Bowl is described by many as both tasty and affordable, making it stand out as an economical, quick, and customizable meal option. By substituting chicken or beef with rice or quinoa alongside a medley of vegetables and beans, one can create a satisfying dish. Additional protein and texture can be achieved by adding avocado or tofu.
7. High Protein Overnight Oats
This breakfast option is made by soaking oats in a liquid, often plant-based milk or yogurt, overnight. The oats absorb the liquid, softening and becoming easily digestible. You can add extras like chia seeds, nuts, or protein powder are added to boost protein content.
These flapjacks are a simple snack made with only four ingredients, including oats, sweeteners (such as syrup or sugar), plant-based butter, and optional dried fruits or nuts. The ingredients are mixed together, pressed into a baking tray, and baked until golden, resulting in a chewy, satisfying snack perfect for a quick bite during the day.
9. Easy Vegan Apple Muffins
This recipe yields bakery-style muffins with a delightful taste. It typically includes flour, sugar, plant-based milk, oil, baking powder, chopped apples, and cinnamon or vanilla extract. The ingredients are combined, portioned into muffin cups, and baked until they rise and become golden.
10. Tofu Scramble
Tofu scramble is a breakfast or brunch meal that mimics scrambled eggs by using crumbled tofu. It incorporates various low-cost vegetables like potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, or seasonal vegetables, seasoned with herbs and spices for flavor. The tofu provides a protein-rich base, resulting in a savory and filling meal.
11. 3 Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
These cookies are a cost-effective snack made from three main ingredients, including ripe bananas, oats, and cinnamon. Mashed ripe bananas are mixed with oats and cinnamon, formed into cookies, and baked until golden. The resulting cookies are soft, naturally sweet, and serve as a convenient, budget-friendly snack option.
12. Vegan Protein Oatmeal
This breakfast dish includes dried red lentils, a low-cost protein source, combined with traditional oats to create a balanced and protein-rich oatmeal. The lentils provide a different texture and significantly boost the protein content. For an even better taste, it is seasoned with spices, fruits, or nuts to enhance flavor, offering a hearty and filling breakfast option.
13. Instant Pot Mujadara
Instant Pot Mujadara is a Lebanese dish prepared in an Instant Pot, combining lentils and rice with flavorful spices. This dish is budget-friendly, quick to prepare, and yields a deliciously simple meal. Overall, it is a versatile dish with a satisfying blend of lentils and rice.
14. Vegan Lentil Bolognese
This dish includes lentils as a protein-rich component, offering a plant-based alternative to traditional Bolognese sauce. Lentils are cooked with tomatoes, herbs, and seasonings, creating a flavorful sauce suitable for various dishes like pasta or lasagna.
15. Potato and Lentil Dahl with Spinach
It is a one-pot meal combining red lentils and potatoes with flavorful spices and spinach. This dish is budget-friendly, nourishing, and quick to make. Overall, it is a comforting and quick-to-prepare meal option packed with plenty of plant-based protein.
16. Vegan Pot Pie Casserole
This dish utilizes easily available ingredients like store-bought puff pastry and frozen mixed vegetables to create a flavorful and convenient pot pie. It’s a simple and quick-to-prepare hearty option, suitable for a comforting meal.
17. Vegan Sloppy Joes
A nutritious twist on the classic sloppy joes, using canned tomatoes and lentils to create a flavorful and protein-rich filling. This plant-based alternative offers a satisfying meal option.
18. Vegan Slow Cooker Chili
This meal consists of budget-friendly canned beans and tomatoes, making it easy to prepare in a slow cooker. It’s a convenient and filling meal, packed with plant-based protein and flavorsome spices.
19. Easy Vegan Apple Crumble
This can be had as a dessert. It is a comforting and simple vegan apple crumble that requires only a few pantry-staple ingredients. Usually made with sliced apples layered in a baking dish, the crumble topping is typically a mixture of flour, oats, sugar, and plant-based butter or oil. It’s baked until the apples are tender and the topping is golden and crisp.
20. Crunchy Baked Sweet Potato Chips
This dish is a budget-friendly snack made with just two ingredients—sweet potatoes and oil. The sweet potatoes are thinly sliced, tossed in oil, and baked until they become crispy. This recipe offers a healthier diet alternative to store-bought chips, making it ideal for health-conscious individuals.