Healthy Vegetarian Cheap Meals
As a vegetarian, you might assume that making a delicious family meal will cost a small fortune. After all, fresh and healthy produce these days doesn’t come cheap. The good news is that there are plenty of ways you can create healthy vegetarian cheap meals, without squandering quality or taste. The great thing about choosing to be a vegetarian is that there are endless options available, this isn’t a restrictive lifestyle choice at all. There are countless healthy vegetarian family meals you can create from an array of colourful, fresh, and organic produce. The Internet is also brimming with ideas on how to make fantastic vegetarian cuisine, so it’s really about thinking outside the box, being resourceful, and using every delicious fruit and vegetable option you can think of.
How to Save Cash When Creating Balanced Meals For Vegetarians
While many vegetarian meals do not come cheap, there are ways to stock up your refrigerator with delicious produce without breaking the bank. You simply need to know where to shop and when. Here are some great tips on how to source fruit and vegetables cheaply and efficiently.
Get Fresh Fruit and Veg from Local Market Stalls
You’ll often see organic produce on offer at supermarkets but fresh markets are always the best place to go. By shopping locally you’ll be able to benefit from both lower prices while also supporting local businesses as well. In addition, fruit and veg often is much healthier and tastes a whole lot better than grocery store produce.
Find Out When Your Favourite Vegetables are in Season
In addition to this, it is best to work out which of your favourite vegetables are currently in season. These will be a lot cheaper because they’re easier to get a hold of. Trying to find vegetables out of season is more difficult and therefore more expensive. Things like Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic and Potatoes for example, are year-round vegetables and so are never out of season. On the other hand, Broccoli for example, is in season from June to September.
Bulk Buying and Freezing Excess Food
You can make your bulk-bought organic vegetables last longer by freezing them as soon as you get home. This obviously gives them a longer shelf-life and you can purchase offers when you find them whilst shopping around. In addition, rather than throwing away your leftovers, you can save them for another day and cut down on the amount of time you spend cooking during your busy working weeks.
Grow your own Vegetables
Another great thing you can do to source your vegetables extremely cheaply is by considering growing your own vegetables yourself. This will cut the cost right down and it isn’t too difficult to do either. Furthermore, by growing your own fruit and veg, you will know exactly where it came from and they’d be the freshest they could ever be as you’d literally be plucking them right off the stalk or from the soil!
5 Delicious Healthy Vegetarian Cheap Meals to Try
Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake
All ingredients listed below are cheap and cheerful, and when combined become a delicious treat for all the family. This meal can be made ahead of time and frozen quite conveniently.
- Any type of pasta you like
- 280g floret broccoli
- 25g butter
- 25g flour
- 300ml milk
- 140g grated cheese of your choice
- 1 tablespoon mustard (wholegrain is tasty!)
- Cook the pasta to your liking and add in the broccoli toward the end until it’s tender
- Drain and place the pasta and broccoli to one side
- Take a small saucepan and add the butter and the flour, stir and cook for a minute
- Add the milk slowly and stir continuously
- Allow to reach boiling point and then simmer for another 2 minutes
- Add the mustard and half the cheese
- Mix everything together and place in an ovenproof dish
- Add the rest of the cheese and grill for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted.
Lentil, Chilli & Chickpea Soup
This is one of the heartiest and most delicious healthy vegetarian protein meals to try, and it’s super-easy to make too. Also, the great thing about soup is that there are so many variations and different types of vegitarian friendly soups that are easy to make.
- Chilli flakes, as many as you like
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon oil (olive oil is best)
- 1 chopped red onion
- 850ml water or vegetable stock if you prefer
- 140g red lentils (split)
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas
- Add the cumin and chilli flakes to a saucepan and fry them dry for a minute
- Add the oil and onion, stir and cook for 5 minutes
- Add the water/stock, lentils and tomatoes, stir well and bring to the boil
- Turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes
- Take a hand blender and give everything a good mix together until it resembled a slightly chunky consistency
- Pour back into the saucepan and add the chickpeas
- Heat again for a few minutes, season and serve.
Chilli & Mint Risotto
This delicious combination of fragrant mint with a kick of chilli adds serious flavour to this risotto and is ideal for lunch or dinner. In terms of healthy vegetarian family meals, this checks the box.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 crushed cloves of garlic
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 200g risotto rice
- 300g peas (frozen are fine, defrosted)
- 25g grated vegetarian hard cheese
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- 2 deseeded red chills
- A small amount of chopped mint
- 2 slices bread
- Take a large pan and add the oil
- Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, then add the garlic
- Add the rice and cook for 2 more minutes
- Stir in the vegetable stock and allow the rice to absorb it all, usually taking around 20 minutes
- Place the peas in a small bowl and mash them up using a fork
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the peas, giving them a good stir
- Add the cheese and lemon juice, mixing well
- Grate the two slices of bread onto a plate and then grate the chilli finely
- Take a small frying pan and add a little more oil, cooking the chilli, breadcrumbs and the zest of the lemon for a couple of minutes
- Pour over the risotto
- Add the mint and serve.
A classic and delicious vegetable curry is one of the best healthy vegetarian cheap meals to make and can be frozen ahead of time, or if there are any leftovers they can be frozen for another day.
- 1 diced potato
- 1 seeded, peeled, and diced butternut squash
- 1 diced aubergine
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sliced onions
- 2 sliced red peppers
- 2 diced courgettes
- 6 tablespoons tikka masala paste
- 1 jar of passata
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 100ml water
- Preheat your oven to 200° or gas mark 6
- Take a large ovenproof dish and add the potato, aubergine and butternut squash, adding a little oil and coating well
- Add 2 tablespoons of the tikka masala paste and combine well
- Cook in the oven for half an hour
- Take a medium frying pan and add the rest of the oil, cooking the onions until soft
- Add the rest of the tikka masala paste and stir, cooking for another few minutes
- Add the passata, coconut milk and 100ml of water, stirring well
- Turn the heat down to a simmer for a few minutes
- Add the roasted vegetables to the pan and stir
- Add the courgettes and peppers and combine
- Simmer the contents of the pan for 15 minutes and serve with rice
Spinach & Sweet Potato Bake
This is the perfect vegetarian meal for a cold evening, or when you simply want a little comfort food with a healthy kick.
- 1 peeled garlic clove
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- A little grated nutmeg
- 300ml cream (single or double, depending on your preference)
- 1 bag of frozen spinach
- 850g peeled and sliced sweet potatoes
- 25g grated vegetarian hard cheese
- Take a small saucepan and add the garlic, rosemary and cream, bringing it to just under boiling point
- Take the pan away from the heat and place to one side
- Take a colander and add the spinach, pouring hot water over it from the kettle
- Drain and squeeze out the excess water
- Season the spinach with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg
- Take an ovenproof dish and grease to prevent sticking
- Arrange half of the potato slices along the bottom
- Add a layer of the spinach on top of the potatoes and then add the rest of the potatoes on top
- Take the sauce and pour over the top of the potatoes
- Add the cheese
- Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes, until everything is golden and bubbling.
Ready to Start Creating?
As you can see, it’s relatively simple to make healthy vegetarian cheap meals without breaking the bank. You can easily adjust any of the recipes above to use different vegetables you prefer, or add in even more if you want to bulk it up. However, these are just to open your eyes to the wonderful combinations out there. You can create a million and one meals on a budget that won’t affect how wonderfully tasty they are. It all comes down to buying the freshest and most delicious vegetables and adding ingredients that compliments them best.