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Mark your calendars – National Vegetarian Day is coming soon! Whether you’ve been committed to a vegetarian diet for years or you’re interested in finding out more, not eating meat is surprisingly cheap. From frozen substitutes for your favourite meat dishes to inventive recipes from celebrity chefs, vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular and has been proven to increase your metabolism and improve your carbon footprint.
For those of us on a budget, vegetarian eating can be simple and easy on your wallet. Read on to find out some of our favourite cheap eats that you can enjoy this National Vegetarian Day.
A filling and healthy meal for lunch or dinner, this dish is made entirely without meat and contains staples you can buy in bulk. Though store-bought pesto can often cost a little more than normal, this dish keeps well enough in the fridge that you can pre-make lunches for an entire week with it. Pack your dish full of your favourite vegetables, from broccoli to courgette to tomatoes – all things you can grow in your garden or buy for cheap from the local supermarket. Top tip: visit your supermarket an hour before closing to pick up discounted fresh items.
One of the cheapest and most versatile ingredients in the vegetarian diet are eggs. Whether you like them sunny side up, scrambled or fried, eggs are an excellent source of protein and can be used in almost anything. Use potatoes and peppers to bulk up a Spanish omelette, use chopped veggies to make delicious frittatas or chop up and mix into a vegetarian stir fry with noodles and tofu.
A staple of the vegetarian diet is the substitution of beans to add extra minerals and vitamins. Whether you love the traditional comfort of beans on toast or prefer to experiment with kidney, white and black beans, they make an excellent addition to stews, casseroles, soups and salads. White beans are particularly high in protein and fibre, as well as containing Vitamin A, B2, B6, C and E. Cans are usually cheap from your local supermarket and many sell heavily discounted ones that have dents or removed outer packaging, but still perfectly fine to eat.
Though the takeaway menu might be calling, ordering from local restaurants once a week can put a serious drain on a weekly budget. Not to mention, takeaway food is often high in saturated fat and unlikely to do you any good. But it doesn’t mean you have to cut out your favourite takeaway dishes. Make your own pizzas by purchasing bases and your own veggie toppings that take minutes to make and cook or whip up a pan of spicy veggie curry that’ll last more than just one meal. For meat lovers, use substitutions that use jackfruit, soy proteins or tofu – they often taste better than the original!
A budget shouldn’t stop you from enjoying these veggie dishes. Try one out this October 1st!