Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Frugal Vegan Cookbook

When I went vegan back in 2004, my biggest concern wasn't how I'd live without cheese or how I'd manage without my favorite fried egg sandwiches. It was how much more I'd spend on groceries. At the time, I was an intern at the Memphis Flyer, and though it was a paid internship, it didn't pay much. But I ordered a zine called The Cheap Vegan, and it was filled with tips on how to save money on a vegan diet. I credit that zine with helping me make the final leap to committing to veganism for life.

Fast forward to 2017. I earn enough money now to live comfortably. But I STILL have a problem with overspending on groceries. I buy way too many convenience foods and things I don't really need. And I buy more and more food when I already have an overstocked pantry. Some people have a problem with over-spending on clothes or shoes. I have a grocery problem, and I could use some money-saving tips. And that's just what you'll find in Frugal Vegan, a new cookbook by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee.

This gorgeous, full-color book features a few practical, common-sense food budget tips in its intro. Things we all know but don't always practice — buy in bulk, buy produce in-season, batch-cook and freeze, etc. I could always use reminders like that. It's also filled with simple, delicious recipes that require very few ingredients, most of which vegans already have in our pantries.

I picked a couple recipes to cook from this book, and I'll tell ya — other than fresh produce, I didn't have to buy any special ingredients for these. I already had the rest of the ingredients because they're staples, like vegan mayo, breadcrumbs, vegan butter, etc. For this Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bowl, I only had to buy potatoes, tofu, and mushrooms because I already had everything else!

This was AMAZING by the way. The tofu is dipped in a mayo-based buffalo sauce, breaded, and fried in a skillet. The mashed potatoes are smothered in creamy mushroom gravy, and it's served with corn (I buy the $1 bags of frozen corn at Kroger). I did add some steamed kale on the side, even though the recipe didn't call for it; I'm always trying to squeeze in my greens. My omni partner Paul loved this, and he was super-excited to eat it again as leftovers tonight.

I also made the Vegan Taco Salad. This is a simple salad with taco "meat" made from lentils. Using lentils instead of vegan burger crumbles means this recipe is much less expensive to make! It also has black beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado, and the dressing is a simple squeeze of lime with a touch of olive oil.

Both of these recipes were cheap to make! And delicious! The book is loaded with other inexpensive dishes I'd like to cook. There's a whole chapter on vegan bowls, like the Backyard BBQ Bowl (with brown rice, tofu, chickpeas, corn, and kale). There's a recipe for Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce that looks to die for, and Paul has already requested that I make the Mushroom Stroganoff for dinner soon. As for desserts, the Frozen Chocolate Banana Swirl (banana soft serve) recipe features so many fun topping ideas (berries, hemp seeds, Oreos!), and the Warm Apple Crisp looks affordable and impressive.


Sarah said...

This book sounds great! I do the same thing and just buy too much and don't use things as often as I should. I will definitely have to check out this book, it sounds perfect for using up pantry items :)

Jennifer said...

I need this book in my life!