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12 Cheap Vegan Meals (with Recipes!)

Think eating vegan has to be expensive? Think again! With budget-friendly ingredients like grains, veggies, and legumes, lots of delicious vegan meals can be prepared on a budget. Here’s proof, in the form of 12 cheap vegan meals!

“Eating vegan is so expensive!” I hear that again and again.

Well, seeing as I create vegan recipes for a living, I’m here to tell you that the people saying that are wrong, wrong, wrong.

I mean, vegan food can be expensive. Cooking for any diet can be expensive, depending on what types of ingredients you’re using. If all of your meals revolve around fake meats and cheeses, they might cost a few extra bucks. But by and large, plants are cheaper than meat and dairy. So your vegan meals need not hurt your wallet. In fact, if done right, a vegan diet can save you some cash.

My tactic for cooking on a budget is to create my meals around inexpensive types of ingredients like beans, rice, grains, pasta, and of course, produce. Frozen veggies are cheap. Many fresh veggies are too — just pick the right ones! Canned beans are also cheap. Dried beans even cheaper! Rice, oats, noodles…they’re all among the least expensive items at the supermarket. Even better: they last a long time, so less food waste (which means less cash down the drain).

Don’t believe me? Check out this list of 12 cheap vegan meals!

Jump to:
Close Up of a Vegan Sloppy Joe Sandwich.

Beans are about as cheap as you can get when it comes to main ingredients. Well, good news: beans make a mean base for vegan sloppy Joes! And this recipe works with just about any variety of beans you’ve got on hand.

Cost per serving: about $2.10

Plate of vegan fried rice with chopsticks.

Not only is fried rice cheap, but making it is a great way to use up leftover rice, so you avoid wasting food!

Cost per serving: about $1.75

Wooden Table Set with Two Bowls of Vegan Chili, Spoons, Drinking Glass and Half an Avocado.

Meatless chili is basically the quintessential cheap and delicious meal! So much goes into it, but you get an enormous batch that you can enjoy for days and days.

Cost per serving: about $1.85

Bowl of Broccoli Pasta with Skillet, Water Glass and Tea Towel.

Cheap vegan tip: keep a few boxes of dried pasta on hand at all times. It’s one of my budget-friendly staples for throwing together inexpensive vegan dinners. This broccoli pasta makes a delicious meal that comes together with minimal ingredients.

Cost per serving: about $2.75

Barbecue Chickpea Burger on a Bun Topped with Slaw Barbecue Sauce and Tomato Slices with Glass Bowl and Drinking Glass in the Background.

These flavor-packed burgers are made with a handful of super inexpensive pantry staples, and they’re great topped with (also super inexpensive) vegan coleslaw. Perfect for cookouts!

Cost per serving: about $2.60

Bowl of navy bean soup with spoon on a wooden surface with drinking glass.

I don’t file all of my soups under the “meals” category, but this one I most certainly do! With beans, potatoes and veggies, it’s super satisfying and totally stands on it’s own as a meal. It’s also very budget-friendly!

Cost per serving: about $1.60

Plate of Three Tofu Tacos with Bunch of Cilantro and Skillet the Background.

Tofu is one of those ingredients that people seem to think is expensive, but in my experience, it’s not! A four to five serving block goes for about 2 bucks. Not bad! So tofu makes a great main ingredient for a killer vegan taco that also happens to be budget-friendly.

Cost per serving: about $2.10

White Wooden Surface Set with Skillet, Plate of Crispy Orange Tofu and Chopsticks.

There’s no need to spend money on takeout, when this crispy orange tofu is way cheaper, tastes just as good, and can be on the table just as fast!

Cost per serving: about $2.50

Partially Sliced Vegan Meatloaf Topped with Glaze and Fresh Parsley.

This vegan “meatloaf” is made from chickpeas, and chickpeas certainly cost less than meat! It’s also really easy to make, and great for leftovers (try making them into sandwiches!).

Cost per serving: about $1.50

White Wooden Table Set with Bowl of Vegan Pasta e Fagioli Water Glass, Pot and Spoon.

The combination of beans and pasta make this one seriously satisfying (and inexpensive) soup!

Cost per serving: about $2.00

Hands holding a bowl of vegan haluski and fork.

There are lots of versions of haluski out there, but this version is based on a recipe made with simple cabbage noodles and pork. We’re subbing smoky tofu for the pork, and the dish is still super cheap!

Cost per serving: about $1.50

Table Set with a Large Pot, Plate of Pasta and Lentil Bolognese, and Water Glass.

Lentils have the perfect texture for swapping out meat in this vegan Bolognese sauce, and as an added bonus, they’re super cheap!

Cost per serving: about $2.50

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