Low-Cost Vegan Menus

Many people are having a difficult time making ends meet financially so we thought that The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Low-Cost Vegan Menus and Recipes would be a great resource to share. VRG met the challenge planning a week’s worth of vegan menus that people on the Supplemental Nutrition assistance Program (SNAP) could afford. Menus were planned to meet the needs for most nutrients, to provide adequate calories, to use foods that would be available in chain grocery stores, and to be easy to prepare. We are including some of the recipes below. For the complete article, menu, and recipes click here.

Recipe by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD
(Makes 14)

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons vegan sugar
1-3/4 cups soymilk
5-1/2 Tablespoons oil, divided
Blueberries (optional)

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add soymilk and 3 1/2 Tablespoons of oil, and mix until flour is moistened. Place the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and heat on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, pour batter into circles about 4 inches across. Cook a few minutes on one side, until bubbly, and then flip and cook on the other side about 2 more minutes or until golden brown.

Total calories per pancake: 122 Fat: 6 grams
Carbohydrates: 15 grams Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 209 milligrams Fiber: 1 gram

Lentil Soup
From The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook
by Debra Wasserman
(Serves 4)

2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups dried brown lentils
10 cups water
Salt to taste
One 10-ounce package frozen spinach

In large pot sauté onions and garlic in oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except spinach, cover, and simmer 40 minutes over medium heat. Add spinach. Cook 25 minutes longer until lentils are soft.

Total calories per serving: 438 Fat: 4 grams
Carbohydrates: 77 grams Protein: 29 grams
Sodium: 279 milligrams Fiber: 15 grams

Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman
(Makes 11 burgers)

4 cups cooked black beans, mashed
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, minced
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

Mix ingredients except the oil in a bowl. Form 11 flat patties. Fry in an oiled pan over medium-high heat until lightly browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Total calories per burger: 111 Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 18 grams Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 215 milligrams Fiber: 6 grams

Wayne’s Tofu Chili
Recipe by Wayne Smeltz adapted from Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman
(Serves 4)

12-ounce block firm tofu, cubed into small pieces
1-1/2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 medium onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
3/4 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (remainder can be frozen for future use)
One 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (see note below)
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large jalapeño pepper, minced
Garlic and chili powder, to taste

Sauté tofu in oil for 10 minutes. Add onions and green peppers, and stir-fry 5 minutes longer. Lower heat. Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, jalapeño, and optional spices. Simmer for 12 minutes.

Cook’s Note: Can’t find black-eyed peas? Substitute black beans, navy beans, or pinto beans in this recipe.

Total calories per serving: 555 Fat: 14 grams
Carbohydrates: 84 grams Protein: 32 grams
Sodium: 500 milligrams Fiber: 22 grams

Pasta Fruit Salad
Adapted from Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman
(Serves 4)

3 cups cooked whole-grain pasta
3 apples, cored and chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
7.5 ounces water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3/4 cup raisins

Combine ingredients in a bowl. If time permits, chill before serving.

Total calories per burger: 316 Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 80 grams Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 40 milligrams Fiber: 9 grams

By: Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, is VRG’s Nutrition Advisor and a regular Vegetarian Journal columnist. She is the author of Your Complete Vegan Pregnancy and contributed to Simply Vegan, and The Vegan Handbook.


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