Eating Vegan & Gluten-Free: A Week For Under $30

I love food and spending less so I’m always looking for ways to eat well without emptying my pocket. Meal preparation has cut down a lot on my food costs but if I’m trying out new recipes, there’s still the danger of spending a lot on a few expensive items.

With this week of meals, even if you don’t have anything in your kitchen, you can spend under $30** for a week of eating well with a minimal amount of prep work.

First, the grocery list*:

Produce:

  • 12 yellow potatoes (cheapest to buy in a 5-10 lb. bag)
  • 6 sweet potatoes (cheapest to buy in a 3-5 lb. bag)
  • 4 carrots (cheapest to buy in a 1-3 lb. bag)
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 8 cups of lettuce of choice (e.g.: a package of 3 romaine hearts)
  • 1 bulb of garlic (usually sold in 3’s)
  • 3 large bananas (very ripe)
  • 1 large cucumber (or 3 mini cucumbers)
  • 1 ginger root (only need 2 tbsps minced so approx. 1/3 lb. is more than enough)
  • 1 package tofu (approx. 1 lb.)

Pantry:

  • Salt (used to personal taste)
  • Black pepper (used to personal taste)
  • Oil of choice (used for cooking and dressing; a light tasting oil is best)
  • Apple cider vinegar (used for dressing)
  • 2 cans of beans (pinto or black beans work best)
  • 2 cups of rice (uncooked volume; I prefer aromatic rices like basmati or jasmine)
  • 1-1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Next, we need to prep some meals. Here are 6 different recipes that all can be prepped in a few hours (so you can spend a bit of your Sunday getting food ready and you won’t have to cook for the rest of the week):

Breakfast recipes:

Breakfast potatoes (makes 4 servings):

IMG_0802

Dice 6 potatoes, mince 2 cloves garlic, and toss in oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Roast on a baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes.

Banana and peanut butter oatmeal (makes 3 servings):

IMG_0813

Mash 3 bananas. Add bananas, 1-1/2 cups oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter, pinch of salt, and 2 cups water to a large, lightly oiled pan. Simmer while stirring until thick (approx. 10-15 minutes).

Lunch recipes:

Roasted vegetables, beans and rice (makes 4 servings):

FullSizeR (1)

Vegetables: Peel and dice 1/2 butternut squash, 2 sweet potatoes, and 1 carrot. Mince 2 cloves garlic. Toss in oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast on a baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes.

Beans: Drain and rinse 1 can of beans. Quickly saute in oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Rice: Cook 1 cup of rice according to its directions, adding 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt.

Tofu hash (makes 3 servings):

FullSizeR (2)

Dice 4 yellow potatoes and 1/2 butternut squash (peeled). Mince 2 cloves garlic. Press out excess water from a block of tofu and manually crumble. Sautee in oil, salting and peppering to taste.

Dinner recipes:

Salad with roasted vegetables and beans (makes 4 servings):

FullSizeR

Vegetables: Dice 4 sweet potatoes (peeled) and 2 yellow potatoes. Toss in oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast on a baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-45 minutes.

Beans: Drain and rinse 1 can of beans. Quickly saute in oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Lettuce: Wash and cut to preferred size.

Dressing: Whisk together 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, pinch of pepper, and pinch of salt (for a smoother dressing, mix in a blender or food processor).

Serve vegetables and beans warm over fresh lettuce, adding dressing right before your meal.

Cucumber salad over rice:

IMG_0787

Cucumber salad: Peel and julienne 1 cucumber and 3 carrots. Mince 2 tablespoons ginger root. Toss in a tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil, and a pinch of salt.

Rice: Cook 1 cup of rice according to its directions, adding 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt.

Serve salad cold over warm rice.

Now, you can eat these in any order you like but, if you want to remove any decision making from the process, here is my recommended meal schedule:

21 MEALS FOR UNDER $30 MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY
BREAKFAST Breakfast potatoes Banana and peanut butter oatmeal Breakfast potatoes Banana and peanut butter oatmeal Breakfast potatoes Banana and peanut butter oatmeal Breakfast potatoes
LUNCH Roasted vegetables, beans and rice Tofu hash Roasted vegetables, beans and rice Tofu hash Roasted vegetables, beans and rice Tofu hash Roasted vegetables, beans and rice
DINNER Salad with roasted vegetables and beans Cucumber salad over rice Salad with roasted vegetables and beans Cucumber salad over rice Salad with roasted vegetables and beans Cucumber salad over rice Salad with roasted vegetables and beans

*I purchased the majority of my groceries at Aldi, getting what I wasn’t able to there at a local grocer. Cheap staples like salt and pepper or apple cider vinegar I have from the Dollar Tree.

**All of the items I have listed added up to $29.82 for the full containers/bulk bags I bought and I have a good amount of leftovers for most products. Although I cannot guarantee that it will cost under $30 at your closest supermarket, it shouldn’t fall far from those bounds.

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