These tasty Cheap Vegan Meals are under $1.5 per serving, making them low-cost and affordable for when you are on a budget but still want to eat a healthy dinner.
Cheap Vegan Meals
1. Smoky Lentil Soup
Warm, smoky, and aromatic, this lentil soup is super budget-friendly. It’s also light enough for lunch and is low on calories. To make it a dinner, serve it with bread or a side salad.
2. Fried Rice
Fried rice doesn’t have to mean expensive, unhealthy takeout! Vegan fried rice is surprisingly simple to make, and you can easily jazz up the recipe by adding vegan chicken, marinated tofu, or swapping out vegetables to suit your taste.
3. Tempeh Bolognese
Bolognese seems complicated, but vegan Bolognese is anything but. Made with fragrant herbs and unctuous crumbled tempeh, this Italian dish is wonderful when served over fresh pasta.
4. Scalloped Potatoes
What could be more comforting and satisfying than warm, creamy scalloped potatoes? Vegan sausages give this dish an extra kick and elevate it from side dish to main course. Make sure you choose sausages with plenty of spices to add depth to the potatoes and vegan yogurt.
5. Ramen Soup
Most people are intimidated by the thought of making ramen at home, but vegan ramen is easy and inexpensive. Ginger, garlic, and sesame oil flavor the broth, creating a rich tang.
6. Spicy Black Bean Soup
Beans are filling, nutritious, budget-friendly and in this spicy black bean soup, they serve as a delicious backdrop to a range of zesty Mexican flavors. Add spices, lime, and herbs, or top the beans with vegan cheese, avocados, or crispy tortilla strips.
7. Mac and Cheese without Cashews
Nobody can resist a gooey, creamy, flavorful dish of mac and cheese, and because this recipe doesn’t use cashews in the sauce, even people with a nut allergy can enjoy it. You can also add different vegetables to the pasta to create new flavors.
8. Vegan Pot Pie
Pot pie doesn’t have to contain meat to be rich, tasty, and satisfying. Adding chickpeas and tons of veggies to a tender, flaky vegan crust will make this a go-to recipe for vegans and non-vegans alike. The inexpensive ingredients make it a fantastic option if you’re on a budget.
9. Sloppy Joes
Quick, healthy, and fun to make and eat, vegan sloppy joes are a great option for a weekday dinner or weekend lunch. Smoked paprika, garlic, vinegar, and mustard help give the sloppy joe sauce depth, and crumbled tempeh mimics the texture of beef.
A dish of lentils and rice, mujadara is cheap, vibrantly spiced, and easy to make. The mixture of rice and lentils also makes the dish filling, and you can add different vegetables to help use up anything in your fridge.
11. Hummus Pasta
You’ve probably never thought of putting hummus on pasta, but the creamy, savory chickpea dip works perfectly with warm pasta and veggies. Add kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and a dash of olive oil to ramp up the Mediterranean flavor.
12. Spanish Rice and Beans
Rice and beans is about as traditional as you can get, and there’s a reason why this dish has been around for centuries. It’s filling, comforting, delicious, and easy to make. It’s also very inexpensive, and you can customize the dish by leaving it as-is or adding tofu, vegetables, or vegan meat substitutes.
13. Instant Pot Tomato Soup
A childhood staple with a grown-up flavor profile, Instant Pot tomato soup is delicately spiced and super creamy. The addition of almond butter helps to bring out the earthy taste of the tomatoes and herbs and gives the soup a thicker, richer texture.
14. Pasta Fagioli
If there’s a better cold-weather meal than pasta fagioli, I can’t think of it. This recipe combines small pasta with cannellini beans in a tangy, slightly spicy tomato sauce broth. You can add vegan meat substitutes or some vegan cheese to boost the flavor profile.
15. Chickpea Tikka Massala
Tikka masala is an incredibly flavorful, complex dish that’s shockingly simple and affordable to make. Made with chickpeas, it’s perfect when ladled over fluffy rice or quinoa and served with vegan naan bread.
16. Lentil Loaf
When it comes to comfort foods, meatloaf is at the top of most people’s lists. Lentils make it a snap to create a meatless version, and you can mold the lentils into a traditional loaf shape or use the mixture to stuff peppers.
17. West African Peanut Stew
Delicious and unusual, this amazing peanut stew sparks a flavor explosion. You can add in different greens, including kale, for more vitamins, and although it’s perfect by itself, the stew is even better when served with brown rice, white rice, or naan.
18. Spicy Italian Arrabiata Beans
Arrabbiata, a spicy red sauce, is often used in pasta dishes, but it’s also great for pepping up white beans. Filling, healthy, and quick to make when you need dinner on the fly, this beautiful recipe is excellent by itself but also works well when served with a chunk of bread.
19. Black Bean Burger Patty
Burgers should be simple, and these vegan black bean burgers are just that. They’re made with only black beans, flour or oats, salsa, and salt, and you can grill or pan-fry them. Add a range of toppings to make the burgers your own.
20. Easy Vegetable Ramen
Oil-free and easy on the bank account, this quick, simple ramen dish combines noodles and vegetables in a savory broth flavored with garlic, onion, ginger, and rice vinegar. You can swap out any of the vegetable ingredients for ones you like better or whatever you have in your fridge.
21. Tuna Pasta Salad
Vegan “tuna” pasta salad isn’t just delicious—it’s also super quick to make. Instead of tuna, chickpeas add flavor and protein to this light summer recipe. While your pasta cooks, throw together the rest of the ingredients to create a meal in minutes.
22. Smoky Potato Chickpea Stew
Add curry powder and red pepper flakes to potatoes and chickpeas to create an amazing, flavorful dish that’s perfect for cold weather. This smoky stew also freezes well, so it’s a great option if you want to make meals ahead. Don’t forget to serve each bowl with a piece of bread.
23. Peanut Butter Noodles
If you love Asian food but don’t want the hassle, expense, and calories of takeout, consider trying these easy peanut butter noodles. Made with a spicy peanut sauce, the dish uses ingredients you probably already have in the pantry, so it’s a snap to make.
24. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Traditionally made using a meat stuffing, cabbage rolls made with Impossible meat are just as filling and even more delicious. Topped with a zingy tomato sauce, these rolls make an excellent hearty and cheap dinner.
25. Coconut Chickpeas with Tomatoes
Chickpeas are a super versatile ingredient because their flavor melds so well with other intense flavorings. This dish requires only four main ingredients, but you can add more spices or serve the coconut chickpeas over rice or noodles for a bit more substance.
26. Easy Vegan Pizza
I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love pizza, and one of the best things about this staple is how simple it is to make it your own. This quick pizza is delicious with a simple tomato sauce, basil, and vegan mozzarella, but you can add any other ingredients you like.
27. Broccoli and Potato Soup
Creamy, warm, and super cheesy—but without the cheese! Vegan cheese, potatoes, and nutritional yeast give this amazing soup a velvety texture and rich taste.
28. Bean Quesadilla
It might seem impossible to make a delicious quesadilla without cheese, but a hearty, spicy bean paste makes this recipe even more scrumptious than the traditional cheese version. Add veggies or vegan meat or top with salsa or pico de gallo for an extra kick.
29. Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup
Ready for a dish that looks beautiful and tastes complex but is actually incredibly simple? This rosemary garlic white bean soup is just the thing. There are only eight ingredients, but this gorgeous recipe creates a filling, satisfying, and, most importantly, delicious dish that takes no time at all.
30. Mexican Sheet Pan
What could be better than a one-pot meal? How about something you can quickly toss together, pop into the oven, and leave to bake without any other hassle? This southwestern vegan sheet pan dinner does just that. A combination of sweet potatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, and tomatoes is mixed with spices and topped with an avocado crema for a hearty yet refreshing summer dish that’s also budget-friendly.
31. Thai Bean Curry
Curry might seem overwhelming to make because of its many ingredients, but this Thai greens and bean curry isn’t hard at all. In fact, you can probably make it in less than half an hour. Pour the curry over white rice for a filling meal.
32. Fettuccine Alfredo
What if you could make fettuccine alfredo that tastes amazing, has more nutrients, and doesn’t feature any dairy? This recipe does all of that, and it’s inexpensive to make to boot! Cauliflower, oat milk, and either nutritional yeast or vegan cheese are the stars of this dish, and you can use any leftover sauce as a pizza topping or in vegan lasagna.
33. Potato Soup
There’s pretty much nothing simpler than this basic—yet amazingly delicious!—vegan potato soup. A mixture of potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery, plus light seasonings, create an incredibly satisfying meal that only costs about 50 cents per serving.
34. Spanish Beans with Tomatoes
Low in both calories and cost, Spanish beans with tomatoes is a traditional staple that will quickly become a favorite cheap dish. You can eat these spicy beans as a side or serve them with bread or even over pasta for a complete meal.
35. Sour Cabbage Soup
Crunchy, tangy, and decidedly refreshing, sour cabbage soup is a perfect dish when served cold on a hot summer day, but the acidic taste also works well if you want to serve the soup warm during the winter. You can make a simple version of this recipe or add vegetables, additional seasonings, or beans to take the soup to a new level.
36. Lentil Dahl
Easy, inexpensive, low in calories, and super quick to make, this lentil dahl recipe really has it all. Using split lentils means you don’t need to presoak anything, and you can mix together the lentils, coconut milk, and spices to create a dish that’s comforting yet refreshingly different.
37. Easy Pea Soup
f you want something colorful, this pea soup is the ticket. Made with frozen peas, vegetable stock, onion, and oil, this soup is super quick and simple, and any excess can be frozen and warmed up as needed.
38. Oven Baked Mushroom Garlic Rice
An easy, inexpensive dish that can serve a crowd, this baked garlic and mushroom rice recipe is sure to please. You can use it as a side dish, but it’s also hearty enough to serve on its own.
39. Carrot Ginger Soup
Sweet, spicy, and easy, carrot ginger soup is quick and inexpensive. Its bright color, warm aroma, and zesty flavor are also sure to please all of your senses.
40. Mexican Shell Soup
The heartiness of pasta and the flavors of Mexican foods combine in this quick-yet-satisfying soup. Toast the pasta before adding it to the soup for a nutty flavor.
41. Cajun Pasta
Just as tasty as it looks, this colorful pasta dish uses Cajun seasonings for a surprising and delightful kick. You can use any pasta you like, and it’s easy to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.
Cheap Vegan Ingredients
1. potatoes: super versatile root vegetable that is tasty and filling
- our favorite recipe: vegan scalloped potatoes
2. rice: healthy grain
- our favorite recipe: Mexican Rice Salad
3. pasta: easy to make and satisfying
- our favorite recipe: Italian pasta salad
4. beans/lentils: super filling and very nutritious
- our favorite recipe: Vegan Lunch Wrap
5. tofu: high in protein and healthy
- our favorite recipe: Green Bean Curry
6. oats: the perfect breakfast and snack ingredient
- our favorite recipe: blueberry oatmeal
7. apples: dip them in peanut butter for a healthy and quick snack
- our favorite recipe: apple oat pancakes
8. bananas: sweet and versatile
- our favorite recipe: PBJ Banana bites
How to eat vegan on a budget?
1. Buy seasonal and local produce.
Produce that was grown locally in season costs a lot less to grow and transport, therefore being more affordable.
2. Buy in bulk.
Usually the bigger amount you buy from a certain ingredient of product, the more discounted the price is.
3. Meal prep! Preparing your lunch will stop you from ordering expensive take out.
Cooking a big batch of vegan chili on Sunday will save you a good $30-50 by next Sunday. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?
4. Use filling ingredients (like beans, oats…etc.)
By eating filling meals, you will spend much less money on snacks, junk food and other impulse purchases.
5. Eat more protein.
6. Don’t ever go shopping while hungry!
Need I say more?
More budget vegan recipes:
What are your favorite inexpensive vegan recipes?
Let me know in the comments!
40+ Cheap Vegan Meals on a Budget (under $1.5 /serving)
Smoky Lentil Soup Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups green lentils dry
- 7-8 cups water
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1 parsnip sliced
- 1 potato chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 tsp smoked paprika powder unsalted
- 1 tsp ground black pepper ground
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 tsp lemon juice (or white vinegar)
- Rinse the dry lentils, then soak them for about 2 hours.
- When the lentils are done soaking, heat oil in a soup pot and caramelize the chopped onions. Add the smoked paprika and stir it around in the oil for around 10-15 seconds (on middle heat).
- Add the lentils, sliced carrots, parsnips, chopped potatoes, minced garlic, water, bay leaves, salt, pepper and cook the soup for about 30-35 minutes.
- At the end of the cooking, add the lemon juice/white vinegar.
- Serve with fresh bread. (optional)
2 thoughts on “40+ Cheap Vegan Meals on a Budget (under $1.5 /serving)”
great college meal list!
very college student-friendly, thank you!