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. 

Autumn Squash Bake – $3.67 recipe/ $0.46 serving

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This lovely little casserole is a perfect side dish for a potluck. Layered with zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, and hearty baked tofu, it browns very nicely in the oven and reheats beautifully.

Ingredients

1 yellow squash ($0.30)

1 zucchini ($0.34)

1 orange bell pepper ($0.89)

1 block soft tofu ($1.85)

1 tbsp. vegetable oil ($0.05)

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter ($0.10)

1 tsp. dill ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. cumin ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. coriander ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. onion powder ($0.03)

1/4 tsp. cayenne ($0.02)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Slice squash and zucchini, and dice bell pepper. 

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3. Grease dish with oil and layer with zucchini. Set aside, now cook your tofu. 

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4. Crumble soft tofu in a pan, add in peppers, herbs, and non-dairy butter. Saute for 10 minutes on high. 

5. Layer sauteed tofu mixture on top of zucchini in casserole dish. Then add another layer of zucchini and yellow squash, reserving enough to make a design on the very top of the casserole. Spread the remaining tofu mixture on top of the squash and zucchini.

6. Now make a pattern with the reserved squash. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a few cranks of fresh black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. 

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7. Now serve! Use a slotted spoon as there may be a bit of reserve liquid on the bottom of the casserole. The extra liquid is important, it enables you to easily re-heat the casserole without it drying out.

Holiday Green Bean Casserole

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I often make a variation of this around the holidays, and it has come to be one of our favorites. I love it because it really delivers flavor wise, but it doesn’t require a huge amount of minute to minute attention. It’s also a bit of a multipurpose dish; I make it so that there is reserve liquid at the end of cooking, that way when you’re done you can drain the liquid, heat it over low, add a bit of flour, and within a few minutes you have perfect mushroom gravy!

Ingredients

1 lb. green beans

1/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup chopped pecans

10 white mushrooms

1 can corn

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. madras curry powder

1 pinch white pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Trim beans, slice mushroom caps, chop pecans, and portion other ingredients. 

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3. Mix beans, pecans, mushrooms, and cranberries together. Spread in casserole dish and top with non-dairy butter and spices. 

4. Bake for 10 minutes. Mix well, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. 

5. Add in nutritional yeast and a drained can of corn. Mix well, cover with aluminum foil, and return to oven for a final 20 minutes. 

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Serve with a slotted spoon! Reserved liquid may easily be turned into mushroom gravy.

Carrot Bisque with Country Style Dumplings

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Pillowy herb dumplings and fragrant carrot broth are the perfect remedy to a freezing cold walk home from the train. Country style vegan dumplings like these are easy enough to make on a whim, you could easily use them in any number of stocks. I think that next I’ll try them with a tomato based broth and Italian herbs.

Ingredients

(for the soup)

8 cups vegetable stock

6 large carrots

4 large leeks

olive oil

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 pinch ground cloves

(for the dumplings)

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/4 cup boiling water

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tsp. sage

1 tsp. dill

1 tsp. basil

1. Halve and slice your leeks. I only use the end, of the leeks- once the green color deepens it becomes tougher, I only use the white and light green part. Dice your garlic, and peel and chop your carrots. 

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2. Saute garlic and leeks in some olive oil. I do this in the pot I will be making the soup in. Saute for high uncovered for 5 minutes. Then saute over low heat, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.  

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3. Add vegetable stock, and carrots to pot. Cook over high heat, uncovered for 15 minutes. Lower heat slightly and cover, let cook for an additional 30 minutes. 

4Add in onion powder, oregano, and cloves. Let soup cool for a bit and use an immersion blender to puree. Be careful if the soup is hot, it could easily splash. Puree evenly and completely, so that the carrot stock becomes perfectly smooth and creamy. 

5. Keep soup on low heat uncovered as you make your dumpling dough.

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6. Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add in baking powder, salt, sugar, sage, dill, basil, boiling water, and non-dairy butter. Your dough will get nice and elastic, and that’s when it’s time to cook your dumplings. 

7. Turn the heat up on your soup pot, make sure it is strongly simmering. Spoonful by spoonful, take lumps of the dough and drop it into the carrot soup. I allow a few seconds between each dumpling, it gives them a moment to solidify before you drop in the next pocket of dough. Simmer for about an additional 10 minutes, and serve. 

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Look at these perfect warm pockets of dough.

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Spaghetti Squash Pepper Pot

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Spaghetti squash stuffed in a baked pepper and served with parsnip steaks, flat green beans, and Indian eggplant. It’s a perfect autumn dinner for four. The vegetables are vibrant and fresh, and the herbs are subdued so that each piece can be fully heard.

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Suntan peppers, Indian eggplant, parsnips, and flat green beans are great this time of year. If you need to swap out the produce, use bell peppers, regular green beans, and one large eggplant, diced.

Ingredients

4 suntan peppers

4 small eggplants

2 large (in circumference) parsnips

1 lb. flat green beans

1 medium spaghetti squash

2 cups vegetable stock

olive oil

salt

pepper

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. sage

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1. Preheat oven to 375. Thickly slice your parsnips, only at the largest part- discard it when the diameter is less than 3 inches. Also trim your beans, halve and scoop seeds out of your squash, and halve your eggplants. 

2. Place parsnips in a baking dish, spread them out so that they cook evenly. Cover with vegetable stock and place in oven. Now rub olive oil into the flesh of the spaghetti squash and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place it on a casserole dish or baking pan face up- put that in the oven as well. Bake both dishes for 40 minutes. Turn the parsnips over at the 20 minute mark. 

3. While squash and parsnips are baking, put your eggplant face down in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, liberally drizzle olive oil. 

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4. Pile your green beans on top of the eggplants and drizzle with lots of olive oil again. Add in sage and basil- make sure your green beans are evenly coated, and keep the flat side of the eggplants down. Cover and cook on medium for 30 minutes, check on it occasionally and make sure to keep adding oil if it gets dry. 

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5. By now your squash and parsnips are done. Remove them both from the oven. Cut the tops off of your peppers and prepare them for filling. Using a fork, scoop the spaghetti out of the squash and fill the peppers with it. Rub a bit of oil on the outside of the peppers, and place in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. 

And serve! The squash is so crunchy and fresh, the parsnips take on an unbelievable texture, and the herbs on the eggplant and green beans bring the whole dish together with a Mediterranean sensibility.

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Peanut Noodles with Crunchy Daikon Relish

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I don’t know if there’s anything better than peanut noodles, really, I don’t. The problem I have with a lot of peanut sauces is that they are too thick, heavy, and sugary tasting- especially restaurant versions. This sauce is filled with peanut butter creaminess, but the flavor is cut nicely by the fresh taste of coconut and crunchy relish. The relish and lime lighten the dish considerably, making it much more fresh and multifaceted than most peanut sauce dishes. I actually added some extra sauce to each serving after I took this photo, so it’s definitely customizable (you can tell if you compare it to the finished product at the bottom of the post). These noodles are also great served cold as leftovers.

Ingredients

1 box fettuccine

1 medium daikon radish (you can substitute a large carrot if you can’t find daikon radishes in your area)

2 stalks celery

1 can water chestnuts

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 can coconut milk

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. hoisin sauce

1.5 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. sriracha (or other asian hot sauce, chili oil or chili paste would work too)

lime and cilantro (optional garnish)

1. Heat pot of water and cook pasta, when pasta is done strain and set aside. 

2. Peel and chop daikon radish, also chop your water chestnuts, and celery. 

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3. Mix in 1 tbsp. soy sauce, sriracha, and olive oil. Mix well and saute in a small pan for about 3 minutes on high. Set aside when done. 

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4. In a separate saucepan over low heat, mix together peanut butter, coconut milk, hoisin, and 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce. Once the mixture has been well combined pour it over the pasta.

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Make sure the pasta is well coated in peanut sauce before serving. Garnish with your daikon relish and top with cilantro if desired. 

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Broccoli Leek Bake- $6.34 recipe/ $0.42 serving

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This casserole is great as an entree, or as a holiday side dish. The pureed broccoli topping is rich and savory, and the tender carrots and potato at the bottom are just perfect. It started raining as I wheeled these groceries home from the store, but within minutes my apartment was filled with the incredible smell of roasting carrots and simmering leeks, which made it worth it.

Ingredients

3 small leeks ($1.29)

3 white potatoes ($0.68)

1 head broccoli ($0.75)

2 large carrots ($0.37)

4 cloves garlic ($0.12)

2 plum tomates ($0.48)

1 cup pecans ($1.25)

1.5 cups crushed tomatoes ($1.12)

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil ($0.18)

olive oil ($0.10)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

2. Wash and scallop potatoes and carrots. Scallop the carrots at an angle so that each slice is elongated. 

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3. Grease your casserole pan with olive oil. Layer in first the potato (overlapping each slice) and then the carrots. 

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4. Cover with crushed tomatoes and bake for 45 minutes. 

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5. Saute leeks and garlic in oil until tender, when they are done set them aside.

6. Chop broccoli florets and puree in a food processor along with pecans, fresh basil, and olive oil. 

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7. Layer leeks, and then broccoli pecan mixture on top of casserole. Bake for 10 minutes. 

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8. Slice your tomatoes and layer them on top of the broccoli mixture, press them into the mixture using moderate pressure. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and place back in oven for 15 minutes. 

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Enjoy!

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