Wondering what to plan for supper this week? Here are some healthy, frugal meals you can make if you’re vegan, paleo or anywhere in between. Even if you buy all organic ingredients, these are meals that are easy on your budget.
1. Soup — Use any veggies, leftovers, grains, meats or beans you have on hand. The combinations are endless. Favorites around here are black bean soup, butternut squash, Mexican, creamy potato, vegetable soup and chowder.
2. Stir fry — Again, use whatever veggies you have fresh or frozen. We use lots of garlic and onion, with a splash of organic GF soy sauce and serve it all over rice. Feel free to add meat, tofu or other protein sources (though a lot of veggies are high in protein themselves). You can make sauces to mix things up.
3. Veggie patties — Use whatever seasonal veggies you have in the fridge or root cellar to make these versatile treats that taste different every time you make them. I mix and match but basically include sauteed veggies (onions, carrots, celery, etc.) with a couple of cups of GF bread crumbs (I make 3 minute microwave bread for bread crumbs with whatever GF flours I have on hand), beans (optional), nuts or seeds, S&P, spices, and egg or flax as a binder. Coarsely chop it all in the food processor and shape (I do “meatballs” sometimes too), then shape fry and/or bake. I serve with skin-on organic potatoes, another veggie on the side and homemade gravy, or I make seasoned patties and serve with BBQ sauce and homemade fries.
4. Mexican — We have a Mexican night every Monday because the choices are endless and it’s tasty and frugal. Burrito bowls, taco salads, tacos, burritos and casseroles are popular here. Use whatever produce is in season. Right now, avocados are cheap so we’re using a lot of guacamole. When the garden is producing then we do a lot of taco salads.
5. Homemade pizza — I try to make pizza from scratch every Saturday night. Holler if you’d like my GF pizza crust recipe (it’s very quick and easy, and tastes great). I *think* it could be converted to paleo pretty well. If you make your own crust and sauce, it costs a fraction of what you’d pay in stores or for delivery.
6. Salads — During garden season these are practically free to make but even this time of year they’re a frugal, healthy choice. I get 6 packs of organic romaine lettuce heads for around $4 at Costco. Aldi also sells organic salad mixes for a low cost. If Bountiful Baskets is in your area, they tend to have lots of great salad options in their organic boxes. Add in whatever you have on hand (tomatoes, onions, peppers, garbanzo beans, leftover meat, homemade croutons…) and make up some homemade dressing or pick up an inexpensive organic dressing at Aldi or Trader Joe’s. If you want a more filling meal, serve with soup or bread (homemade if you can).
7. Casseroles — This is a great way to use up leftovers. I tend to use a combination of veggies, fillers and proteins and then season however I’m in the mood. Fillers can be quinoa, rice, potatoes, cauliflower or pasta; protein can be beans, meat, quinoa or high protein veggies; then you can use anything from broccoli to chopped tomatoes to create the taste you’re after. If you’re paleo, frittatas are a great option. Pot pies are another favorite here. Toss in whatever you have on hand.
Have any more suggestions to add? Please add them in the comments!
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