Good morning! I thought it would be fine to highlight some of the more affordable recipes on my blog today. The reality is vegetarian cooking is generally inexpensive, since we’re typically using beans and eggs for protein. I went through the archives and marked the least expensive meals with my new “budget-friendly” category, which you can access here or at any time by hovering over ALL RECIPES, then mousing down to “EVERYDAY” and clicking “Budget friendly”.
I thought I’d share a few tips on saving money without sacrificing quality while we’re at it. In-season vegetables are generally your best bets since they require less resources to grow under optimal conditions, so check my monthly seasonal produce guides to find out what’s in season now! Organic produce is typically more expensive. You can spend wisely by choosing organic produce for the items on the dirty dozen list and often opt for conventional if they’re on the clean fifteen list. That’s generally how I shop.
Cooking well-balanced meals from scratch with whole grains is a great way to save money and keep your belly full until the next meal. Whole grains offer more nutritional bang for your buck—they offer more fiber, nutrients and healthy fats than processed grains do. Some of my favorites include whole grain pasta, brown rice and farro. Gluten-free, grain-like options include quinoa, millet (millet is downright cheap, by the way) and sorghum. Beans and lentils are great additions as well, and they’re especially affordable if you cook them from scratch (although canned beans are undeniably convenient and still inexpensive).
In going through my recipes, I noticed that the biggest culprits for increasing cost per recipe included fresh herbs other than cilantro and parsley (growing an herb garden is a great way to save $$$) and vegetable broth (which can be made from scratch or just replaced with water, albeit with less flavor).
Other culprits included extra-virgin olive oil, which I use liberally for its incredible health benefits. It’s my go-to cooking oil (quality extra-virgin olive oil can actually be heated up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit before it starts breaking down). Big bottles of California Olive Ranch, Trader Joe’s 100% Greek Kalamata and organic olive oil purchased on sale are my top picks. Honey and maple syrup are pricy and there’s not much to be done about it, although I do buy the biggest jars available to save per ounce.
Alright, I think that just about covers my tips. What are yours?!