Vegan Boston Bánh Mi- $12.68 recipe/ $1.58 per sandwich

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I named this recipe in homage of the first Vietnamese Bánh Mi sandwich I ever ate, which was when I was in college in Boston. Spicy daikon pickles, dill aioli, and lemongrass tofu give this the classic feel of a good bánh mi- stuffed and overflowing with savory flavor, yet light and fresh with a variety of vegetables. This makes 8 sandwiches, so even though there is a bit of prep involved with the pickles and slicing the veggies, you can keep all the fixings in your fridge and make sandwiches with the ingredients all week!

Ingredients

1 block tofu ($1.50)

8 hoagie rolls ($3.10) – french bread works well too

2 carrots ($0.71)

1 long red pepper ($0.40)

1 daikon radish ($1.73)

1 bunch spinach ($1.99)

1 bunch cilantro ($.50)

2 tbsp. soy sauce ($0.14)

2 cloves garlic ($0.03)

2 jalapenos ($0.30)

1 tsp. dill ($0.03)

1 stem lemongrass ($0.21) – this is optional

4 dried red chili peppers ($0.10)

1 tbsp. mustard ($0.10)

4 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise ($0.52)

1 cup rice vinegar ($1.20)

2 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.12)

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1. Slice your tofu into triangles. Make marinade by combining 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 thinly sliced stem of lemongrass, and 2 tbsp. soy sauce. Put marinating tofu in the fridge while you do the rest of your sandwich making preparation. 

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2. Peel and slice your daikon into matchstick pieces. Combine in one or two jars with garlic clove, dried peppers, and rice vinegar- top off with water. This makes a lot of pickled daikon, as it sits in the fridge it only gets better, I added some dried red pepper flakes to mine as well for even more heat- but that’s optional. Put your daikon pickles in the fridge and leave them while you make the rest of your sandwich fixings. 

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3. Now we’re making the aioli. Combine vegan mayonnaise, mustard, and dill in a small bowl. Combine thoroughly, cover, and put in the fridge until you are ready to use. 

4. Now shred your carrots using a cheese grater, set aside. Wash and prep your spinach and cilantro, slice your jalapenos, red pepper, and cucumbers- now that everything’s prepped it’s time to make your tofu and assemble your sandwich. 

5. Cook tofu over medium heat in a skillet with vegetable oil for about 15 minutes- the tofu will be browned on both sides. 

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Assemble your sandwich and chow down.

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We did!

Vindaloo Spaghetti Squash- $5.14 recipe/ $0.52 serving

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This is a delicious and nutrient packed side dish, it requires very little hands on time and makes ten servings- so you can use it throughout the week with various entrees.

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash ($4.63)

1 tbsp. olive oil ($0.16)

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter ($0.30)

1/2 tsp. vindaloo curry powder ($0.05)

1. Preheat oven to 375. 

2. Slice squash in half. Rub olive oil into each half of the squash, evenly spread vindaloo powder over each half. 

3. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, rub each half of squash with butter, evenly coating each half. 

4. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, and enjoy! 

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I can eat this as a side to anything, I love the pasta like texture and fresh crunch. The Vindaloo adds depth and a nice smokey finish.

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I still have lots of Broccoli and Sausage Penne from earlier in the week. I combined the two for our dinner tonight. Cost of a healthy vegan dinner for two: $3.06

Tex Mex Sausage Rice- $3.88 recipe/ $0.39 serving

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This tangy rice is perfect as burrito filling, but you could also mix it with some greens and roasted peppers for a nice southwestern bowl. It’s great for a lazy night because the whole recipe only takes about 15 minutes, and it makes 10 massive burritos. I didn’t include the cost of tortillas in my information because there are so many you can choose from. I used large flour tortillas (small corn tortillas are cheaper) which bumped the cost to about 70 cents a burrito. I’m still beating taco bell’s cheapest option by 19 cents a burrito, so I feel good about that!

Ingredients

2 cups rice ($0.17)

1 can black beans ($0.33)

1 can ro-tel ($1.49)

2 vegan sausages ($1.50)

2 tbsp. olive oil ($0.32)

1 tsp. chili powder ($0.05)

1/2 tsp. cumin ($0.02)

1. First make your rice. 

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2. Once your rice is done, add in black beans and ro-tel. Mix well. 

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3. Now mince and saute your sausages. Saute them in olive oil with cumin for about 5 minutes on high heat. 

4. Fold sausage into the rice and tomato mixture. Evenly add in chili powder, mix well. 

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Now use however you like! I love this in a simple burrito with a little vegan cream cheese (Tofutti). It would also be great with avocado slices, sour cream, shredded lettuce, or salsa.

Garlic Hasselback Sweet Potatoes- $2.90 recipe/ $0.73 serving

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Hasselback potatoes are a pretty celebration of one of my favorite root vegetables. The garlic and sage draw out the natural sweet molasses undertones of the sweet potato, and the texture of the slices is irresistible. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a holiday dinner. It looks and tastes like a complicated side, but it’s almost stupidly simple.

Ingredients

4 small sweet potatoes ($2.50)

4 cloves garlic ($0.03)

2 tbsp. oil ($0.32)

1/2 tsp. sage ($0.05)

1. Preheat oven to 425. 

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2. Slice your sweet potatoes, stopping about 1/2 inch before you cut all the way through. I make each slice about 1/4 inch wide. This sounds more difficult than it is, just take your time on the first one if you need to. 

3. Oil each sweet potato completely, use about 1/2 tbsp. Mince your garlic and combine it with another 1/2 tbsp. olive oil. 

4. Pull apart a few slices on each potato and stuff with oil and garlic. I use about 1 clove per potato. 

5. Bake on parchment paper or non-stick surface for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. 

6. Mix together sage and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Cover each sweet potato with a healthy portion of the mixture and return the potatoes to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. 

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That’s all there is to it. I coiled one of my potatoes here so that you can see how pliable each slice becomes. When we went back for seconds after dinner we  pulled out the slices with our fingers and ate them like buttery baked chips. I think these will now be mandatory at our house- there are a million ways to make them so I’m sure I’ll be posting many varieties in the future!

Easy Carrot Casserole- $2.86 recipe/ $0.47 serving

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This quick casserole is savory and light, the recipe makes 6 very large servings- but you could easily turn it into 8 small side dishes instead. I’m eating a big piece for lunch today with a side of spaghetti squash. Delicious!

Ingredients

2.5 lbs. carrots ($1.50)

4 stalks celery ($0.30

1 can chickpeas ($0.33)

1 can green beans ($0.33)

1/2 tsp. sage ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. arabic 7 spice ($0.05)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1 tbsp. olive oil ($0.16)

1/4 cup bread crumbs ($0.13)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Heat water in a medium pot until boiling. 

2. While water is warming, peel and roughly chop your carrots. Toss them in the water immediately. 

3. Boil carrots until they are easily sliced with a spoon. As they cook, you can slice your celery and get your other ingredients ready. 

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4. When the carrots are just about done, put spices, olive oil, celery, 1 tbsp water, and green beans into a skillet. Saute over high heat for about 10 minutes. Then turn off heat and set aside.  

5. Strain your carrots, and then put them back in the original pot you cooked them in. 

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6. Add in your chickpeas. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender, add in about 1/3 cup water. The mixture should be smooth but still a thick consistency. 

7. Add celery and green bean mixture to carrots, combine throughly. Pour the fully combined carrot mixture into the casserole dish of your choice. 

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8. I pressed down the top of mine with a spatula to smooth it out. 

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9. Then lightly sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for 30 minutes. 

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It holds together very well, although I did destroy the first corner I scooped out (it was still delicious). I don’t think carrot casseroles are very common, but I don’t know why. I buy carrots in 5 lb. bags each week ($3) which means I’m always looking for new ways to use them- this does not disappoint, it’s surprisingly delicious.

Broccoli and Sausage Penne- $6.04 recipe/ $1.00 serving

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Creamy penne with simmered tomatoes and hearty broccoli is quick and easy for any weeknight dinner. I was lucky to find a good deal on vegan sausage this week, I only use two from a pack of four to keep the cost low- but you could easily omit it altogether to drive the cost down even more. I’ll be exploring homemade sausages more in the future, which will make this recipe even cheaper, but I think it’s still a great deal as it is. This makes six dinner sized servings.

Ingredients

1 box penne ($1.00)

2 vegan sausages ($1.50)

1 head broccoli ($1.76)

1/3 cup water

1 tomato ($1.00)

4 tbsp. olive oil ($0.64)

4 cloves garlic ($0.03)

1 tbsp. basil ($0.05)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. cumin ($0.03)

The secret to making this and easy and quick meal is all in the order that you do things.

1. First fill a pot with water, and set it on the stove to boil. When it is boiling, cook your pasta.

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2. As the water heats, chop your tomatoes and garlic. Throw them in a large pot with 2 tbsp. olive oil and all the herbs. Mix them well and keep over low heat, covered for about 10 minutes.

3. As the tomato mixture heats and the pasta cooks, chop your broccoli and thinly slice your sausages. Slicing the sausage very thinly makes the dish feel heartier. Once you’re done chopping, add the broccoli and water to the tomato pot.

4. Keep the tomato and broccoli covered over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add in sausage, and keep covered for reminder of pasta cooking time.

5. When pasta is done cooking, drain- but only rinse lightly (this will help thicken the sauce).

6. Mix pasta into the tomato sausage mixture gently and completely- add in the last 2 tbsp. olive oil and mix again.

I let mine sit on the heat for about 5 or 10 minutes after this while I got our dishes and other dinner things ready- but you could serve it immediately if you wanted to. I also added a bit of nutritional yeast to mine- fresh basil would have been delicious too.

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This is so creamy and good- I love the heartiness of the broccoli.

Cauliflower Bean Bowl – $3.51 recipe/ $0.35 serving

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I thought this would be the perfect recipe to kick off my new spin on this blog: frugal vegan cuisine. At just .35 a serving it fits even the most modest budget. The flavors are well balanced and mild enough for a sensitive palate. It’s also gluten free and low calorie- but still packed with protein. Most of my recipes are fairly inexpensive, but from now on I’ll really be breaking down the cost for you, and designing recipes and menus that are more intentionally budget friendly.

Total Meal Cost: $3.51       Cost Per Serving: $0.35      Number of Servings: 10 

Ingredients 

1 large head cauliflower ($1.29)

4 cups water (free!)

1 small can tomato paste (.70)

1 can kidney beans (.33)

1 can chickpeas (.33)

1 cup frozen peas (.25)

1 bouillon (.22)

3 cups rice (.25)  – made separately and set aside

1 tsp. cumin (.03)

1 tsp. vindaloo curry (.05)

1 tsp. onion powder (.03)

1/2 tsp. basil (.03)

salt to taste

1. First heat your water to nearly boiling.  I used a dutch oven to cook this, but you could use a large lidded pot.

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2. While your water is heating up, go ahead and slice your cauliflower. It will get tender while cooking so you can leave it in fairly large slices for now and break it apart with a spoon when it’s softer.

3. Now that your water is warm, add in the bouillon, tomato paste, and all of the herbs. 

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4. Now add your cauliflower to the pot. Cover and cook over high for about 15 minutes. You may want to stir it occasionally so that each piece of cauliflower has a chance to be submerged. 

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5. Your cauliflower should be lovely and tender now. You can take this time to break it up more with a wooden spoon. Add in your beans now and cook for an additional 10 minutes covered over medium heat. 

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6. Now add in the peas and mix. Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Taste to see if you need any more salt- add if desired. 

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7. I added some crushed red pepper and hot sauce to mine for extra heat. I served mine with basmati rice, but you could use any grain of your choice.