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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Nutrition and Good Eating › Vegetarian and Vegan › ISO: CHEAP & HEALTHY, Vegan, GF, "Soy Free", Whole Food Meal Ideas/ Recipes
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ISO: CHEAP & HEALTHY, Vegan, GF, "Soy Free", Whole Food Meal Ideas/ Recipes

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am looking for some really, really cheap - I am talking dirt cheap... mom paid my rent this month, cheap - vegan, gluten free (my son has gluten sensitives), unfermented soy free (no tofu) meal idea and, or recipes, that have no processed foods, or dyes, in them. It would also be great if they are sugar free, but we do rather well sub.ing out for agave, and maple syrup so feel free to post if it had sugar (I will let you know how our sub.ing worked, :D ) Also, I am pregnant and kids are growing so high protein, vit.s and minerals is always good. 

There is just one "catch" - THEY MUST BE HEALTHY and yummy (okay, thats 2,lol)!

I am looking for meal ideas/ recipes across the board:








Baked Goods


Anything, you name it.

We have very little $$$ this month, and while I can make 3 adults and 2 kids (5 and under) for about $100 a week, we could still really use cutting costs.

Edited by onlyAngil - 4/22/11 at 6:01pm
post #2 of 16


White bean soup - cook a bunch of navy beans, add garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and chopped leafy greens to the cooked beans and let stand until the greens are tender. I like this with polenta.

Lentil shepherd's pie

The ubiquitous honey baked lentils that everyone raves about around here - they work fine with maple or agave, in place of the honey- with rice.

Pinto beans and corn tortillas

Black or whatever bean-sweet potato enchilada casserole

Rice and garbanzo flour griddle cakes

More beans and rice.

Colcannon- onions, cabbage, potatoes

hummus- you can make your own tahini on the cheap with bulk sesame seeds if you have a food processor - you need about 3 cups to puree successfully. Cook your own garbanzo beans. eat for lunch with tortilla chips and carrot sticks - buy bulk carrots and chop them up. Hummus is also a great topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes for dinner.



Here's my recipe for GF crazy cake, more expensive than the wheat based one, but cheaper than store bought:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup 'sticky' white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup water or cold coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp neutral flavored liquid vegetable oil (canola, almond, safflower)
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk together dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and stir to combine. portion into lined cupcake pan. I got 15 cupcakes out of this. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
post #3 of 16

I am in love with these lentils right now: http://www.joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/2011/04/lentil-mango-picadillo.html

The first time I made them I was out of cumin and oregano and they were still great (and we can't do nuts right now either).  I make them with broth so they are a little saucy  and go a bit further.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Wow! Thanks guys, new ideas and already have filling my menu for next week. GREAT! I cannot wait to see what else pops up. 

Catnip: We are going to try the crazy cakes next week on our baked good day :D and the soup I think I might be able to squeak in this this week, other wise next. 

To be honest, I suck as a cook and my mate hates lentils but willing to try different recipes. He says they taste like shoe :( 


Are these anything like the recipes you use?
     (Do you have an idea about a sub. for the soy sauce/ tamari?) 

Also can you tell me more about these "Rice and garbanzo flour griddle cakes"? I tried to google it... and got nothing, but they sound like they could be really good to freeze and let the kids top as snacks.

CoBabyMaker: These look amazing! I cannot wait to use them next week :D I think my lentil disliking mate might even like this. What type of broth do you use? We just had to stop using out last seasoning mix because they started using soy sauce. 


post #5 of 16

I've had great luck with this online free vegan cookbook.  It is 90% GF.  It has soy recipes but is otherwise a treasure trove.



He uses pine nut creme a lot.  I have learned that cashew creme is a great cost effective substitute since we can't afford pine nuts.  His Roasted Veggie Soup is soooooooooooooooooooo yummy, delicious, and fill your gut good.  In that recipe I delete the celery root (too expensive) and use plain celery.  :) 


I specifically mention this cookbook because everything I've made is good and everything I've made is so nutrient dense that I eat far less.  It truly just fills you up.  Enjoy!

post #6 of 16

I've just made essentially a pancake recipe with a mixture of rice and garbanzo bean flour - 2 cups flour, tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbs ground flaxseeds, 1 tbs cornstarch, non-dairy milk to desired consistency. Add some garlic, curry, cumin etc and chopped up or grated veggies for something savory, some cinnamon, grated apples and raisins for a sweet.


You can always sub salt for soy sauce, about a teaspoon for the honey baked lentils.


http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/vegetarian-shepherds-pie-ii/Detail.aspx This is my favorite shepherd's pie recipe. Brown rice subs for barley - sunflower seeds work for the nuts on the cheap.



post #7 of 16


Wheat Free Cornbread: 2 Cups Polenta, 1tsp salt, 2 Tbs oil, 2 Cups boiling water, 1 cup cold water. Oil a cast iron skillet and place in the oven to heat. Preheat to 425. Mix polenta and salt together. Add boiling water and stir well. Add the 2 Tbs oil to the 1 Cup cold water and then add mixture to the corn mix. Stir well again. Pour into hot skillet and bake for 20 minutes at 425.   Variation:  Add fresh/frozen corn.











post #8 of 16

You can also sub in coconut aminos for soy but I find I have to use more as the flavor is not as rich.  It's also kind of expensive.  http://www.coconutsecret.com/aminos2.html

post #9 of 16

Brown Rice Pasta (from bulk section), with various toppings: Sunflower Seed Pesto (with Spinach/Arugula/Basil), Pasta Primavera (Various Veggies w/ olive oil and garlic) and tempeh.




post #10 of 16

I make Mujadara at least once a week, it's crazy cheap and really yummy - they key is to fry the onions for like 30 minutes, until they are dark, dark brown.  It only has 4 ingredients:  just lentils, rice, olive oil for frying and lots (LOTS!) of onions.  Some online recipies have more spices, and you can certinally add those if you want, but if you are going for cheap, just cook the rice and lentils together, and top with lots of carmilized-fried onions.  Salt and pepper to taste.


Roasted Roots are another cheap dinner idea.  Root vegis are typically pretty affordable, chop and toss with oilve oil, salt and garlic powder.  Cook in oven until starting to brown and vegis are cooked.


Trader Joes has GF pasta for $2.00 a bag, cheapest I've found - you could top that many different ways.


I make my own hummus - it has minimal, cheap ingredients - can of garbanszos (dried are even cheaper, I'm just not together enough to do that, lol), lemon, garlic and a jar of tahini (this is a little expensive to buy, but will last a long ling time)



post #11 of 16

I think beans & rice will really be your friend here. You can cook them in so many ways - change up the spices/herbs to suit different dishes, toss the beans in stir-fries or casseroles. Lentils & rice are amazing together too. Even if you buy canned beans, it's still cheap. I second the homemade hummus as well: cheap and delicious. I'm also a big fan of roasting vegetables (whatever looks good/cheap that week) and will toss a can of garbanzo beans in the roasting pan as well (& side note: roasted garbanzo beans w/a little oil/salt are a yummy snack); serve over rice or couscous or even pasta! We've recently discovered the joys of cold quinoa salads as well, which is another super versatile "grain" (it seems expensive, until you realize how many servings you will get in that one package). 

post #12 of 16

grated carrot salads - make them simple with lemon juice & raisins, or also good with any herbs, lemon, and olive oil


simple rice salad - cooked rice, chopped tomato, cucumber, parsley, lemon, olive oil (you can use small amounts of the veggies leftover from other recipes and more rice, it's still good)


these black bean tacos might be another option (real yummy, I you'd only have to ditch the feta.  slaw would be pretty inexpensive too if everyone likes it, and you could likely make it several times with a big bag of corn tortillas over the month).


coconut-milk-pureed veggie sauce over rice stick noodles - steam a soft veggie like 1 sweet potato, heat 1 can coconut milk with a few slices of ginger for 10-15 min, puree the steamed veggie into the coconut milk.  Good as a dipping sauce or with rice also.  I suspect you could do this with zucchini too or yellow squash. 

post #13 of 16
post #14 of 16

could u by any chance grow a little garden patch if you don't already?  I thought I would through that out there but of course disregard if you already do or don't have the space or whatever. ( It's been great for our super tight budget :)




My bst friends are a crazy tall stack of corn tortillas, I buy like the 200 pack for about $3.  I then make my own chips and taco shells with them and then I also use them to make all kinds of different enchiladas (sweet potato/black bean, quinoa/garbanzo, spinach/white bean etc, I use all of these fillings for tacos, too.) and I always stock cans of enchilada sauce for a quik dinner in a flash, I don't even use fake cheese  and they are really tastey, I just top with guacamole.

Beans and grains meals are the "meat and potatos" around these parts, I grow my own herbs so that always freshens everything up.

Pumpkin soup with a little tahini in it and pumpkin seeds on top

hummus pasta(of course can be GF) with garbanzos and chopped tomato, I thin the hummus(homemade) with some of the pasta liquid and then top with parsley, mint or cilantro....

I love lentils over mashed potatoes, I make the lentils with red wine and canned tomatoes and garlic, its so yummy, but you could easily omit the red wine and just use broth.

cabbage stir fry over rice or asian rice noodles



peanut butter, overipe frozen banana and brown rice milk



cooked quinoa, mashed banana, cinnamon     opt. coconut oil, agave nectar, nuts, coconut etc.  soooooo yummy




post #15 of 16

Could you please tell me how you make your lentils with red wine?  That sounds soooo good!

post #16 of 16

Beans and rice

all-veggie stir fries (include some kind of legume for complete protein) and brown rice

chili (3 can whatever kid of beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, chili powder 1 can tomato paste, water to desired consistency)

rice and mushroom sauce (1 lb mushrooms of any type, salt pepper until browned, dash of sherry, add in 1-2 Tbls any type flour, 1 1/2 cups milk, either serve as is or blend together in a blender or processor) 

baked potato/sweet potato and a salad

white beans, kale and can diced tomatoes cooked together with lemon juice and sage, i usually serve with bread

rissoto with various addition

Congee has saved our butts many a time! For every cup of rice you want about 8 cups of water, stock or a mixture. Simmer for oh, an hour and a half or so (for brown rice). If it gets too thick, dilute with more stock. If too thin, cook for longer. Very easy. Great for very little ones as the longer it cooks, the easier to digest it is. Top with leftover veggies, tofu, beans, whatever. I also make a pear congee where I add 2 grated pears to the above recipe instead of savory ingredients. Can be made with part milk and cinnamon or other spices. (this is great breakfast food)


you can buy gluten-free oatmeal in a well stocked bulk section for cheap breakfasts, and I mix in cooked quinoa or any other cooked grain while cooking the oatmeal

french toast made with puree sweet potato and milk, can be topped with cooked apples if desired and/or nuts and granola


That's about all I have, as most of my recipes I have stored away come with cheese or other animal products... hope this helps!








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