One myth that gets banded about regarding veganism, is that it’s expensive. Eating in this day and age generally is expensive but being a vegan doesn’t mean it’s going to cost you more. If anything, it’s going to cost you less. In fact, have seen a lot of money food blogs suggesting ways to save money is by ditching meat. Which, if you are vegan and reading this, you will already know that but for the purpose of this being read by someone being vegan-curious, then I hope this is one of the many reasons to aid your choice.
Through experimenting, I have realised it’s not totally necessary to cook with fresh ingredients all the time. Now and again, you can make the most of some “cheat” options without compromising on taste.
I’ve always professed that cooking with fresh is best and the only option to make the most out of a meal but I am happy to eat my hat in this case. I was wrong and because of that, I wanted to put together my 8 Thrifty Vegan Cooking and Shopping Hacks I use and share here with you.
I grow herbs, I but fresh herbs and I love love love fresh herbs. Basil, mint, coriander and parsley are my absolute favourites. For some dishes, fresh will only do but in others, you can afford to cheat. I use frozen herbs a lot in my cooking and this has saved me time and money. For sauces, soups and casseroles you can easily get away with using frozen and occasionally dried. Always Garnish with fresh but for the actual cooking – frozen works an absolute treat.
NB: salads will always require fresh – never skimp here especially Tabbouleh – I’ll be sharing my quick and easy recipe here very soon.
Onions and Garlic
Ever chopped into that last onion you picked or bought only to discover its off?? Yeah, me too. Been there a few times. To the point, I always overbuy onions to make sure I’ve got enough to use in case that happens. The smell of cooking onions is something special. I love cooking with fresh garlic and onions but lately have found myself reaching for the frozen option. Again, great for sauces, soups and casseroles. I’d always use fresh when overnight baking mixed vegetables with cloves of garlic and roughly chopped onion but otherwise, the frozen option is a versatile one.
Spicing up a dish with some chilli is something I do a lot of. I love chilli. I love spice and heat. But the girls don’t quite like it as hot as I go, so I use low heat for their dish and max it out on mine because I can add frozen chilli to my pan after dishing out the girl’s portions. The frozen chilli doesn’t take as long to cook down and you don’t have to faff cutting and de-seeding – I’m not a de-seeder myself as it just adds to the heat.
Lemon and Lime Juices
As a huge fan of lemons and limes, keeping fresh isn’t an issue but occasionally I forget to order or I might have one left in the bowl but it looks a bit deflated. Keeping some backup lemon and lime juices in the fridge has been cost-effective and convenient.
A really tasty and cost-effective way to enhance most dishes is with some spices. My staples are cumin, mild curry powder, harissa powder, paprika and garam masala.
Frozen Fruit and Vegetables
Not only do frozen fruit and veg taste amazing, it’s cheaper and you are less likely to waste it. Our fridge is stocked with at least 8 different nags of vegetables and some bags of frozen fruit. I found the best way to cook frozen broccoli and cauliflower is to steam them. Frozen fruit is perfect for smoothies and adding to dairy-free ice cream, porridge and pancakes.
Batch Cook and Freeze
Batch cooking one-pot meals and freezing in freezer bags or pots is another great way to stay thrifty. My fridge usually has a vegan bolognese, casserole, curry and soups to hand for days I don’t fancy cooking from scratch or if we are late home from being out.
Buy Dried Pulses, Grains, Pasta and Seeds
There’s a fair few Kilner jars in my cupboards filled with bulgur wheat, green and red lentils, a variety of beans, brown and white rice, pasta, quick soup mix, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds. All versatile, healthy and delicious.
Light & Love Kat x
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