Most plant foods in their simple unprocessed (or minimally processed) states are much cheaper than animal foods.
Nuts however do tend to be a bit more expensive than grains and pulses but can still be sourced pretty inexpensively if you look in the ‘snack’ section of supermarkets. Seek out supermarket own brand peanuts and cashews in particular.
These nut cutlets are made using supermarket ‘basics’ snacking peanuts. I got mine from ASDA for under 50p here: ASDA Smartprice Salted Peanuts. Rinse and dry them before use if you don’t want the added salt.
I like to add some curry powder for flavour, but feel free to use any herbs or spices you prefer.
Serve on a bed of salad greens alongside a baked potato or potato wedges.
- 1 Cup peanuts
- 2 Cups cooked short grain rice (about half a cup uncooked)
- 1 tbsp curry powder (I use hot)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, grated
- Vegetable oil (I use rapeseed)
- Brown rice flour for coating (or wholemeal)
- Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large non-stick pan and add the carrot, onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes then add the curry powder and saute for a further minute or two. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
- Put the nuts in a food processor and process them until they are chopped to the consistency of rough breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl
- Process the cooked rice until it begins to get sticky. Tip into the bowl with the nuts.
- Once the curried carrot mixture is cooled, add to the bowl and mix everything together well.
- Work the mixture with your hands and form into a dough.
- Divide the mixture into six equal sized balls and with floured hands, shape these into patties.
- Pan fry for a couple of minutes per side. Serve.
This is a light Summery soup ideal for warm afternoons or evenings.
Celery, Basmati & Lemon Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 head of celery, finely sliced
- 1/2 Cup brown Basmati rice
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock
- 1/2 a lemon
- Heat oil in a large pan.
- Add vegetables and sweat for a few minutes until garlic releases its fragrance
- Stir in the brown rice.
- Add the stock, thyme, pepper and lemon.
- Bring to the boil, reduce heat add lid and simmer until rice is tender (about 20-25 mins)
- Salt to taste and serve.
This is a lovely flavoursome soda bread, based on the American upgraded version of the much plainer traditional Irish soda bread.
American ‘Irish Soda Bread’ contains numerous rich ingredients that wouldn’t have been available to poorer Irish ancestors; including eggs, butter, sugar, dried fruit and spice.
This vegan version cuts out the eggs and uses curdled soya milk instead of buttermilk. Instead of butter, I use hard vegetable fat in baking, which is available cheaply in every supermarket.
- 1+1/2 US cups soya milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 US cups plain wholemeal flour
- 1/2 US cup raw cane dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tbsp hard vegetable fat
- 1+1/2 tbsp caraway seeds
- 1+1/2 US cup dried fruit (eg: currants or raisins)
- Grease a baking sheet and pre-heat oven to 180C.
- Place soya milk in a jug. Add lemon juice and leave to curdle.
- In a large bowl, sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Toss in the bran.
- Stir in the sugar and rub in the vegetable fat.
- Stir in caraway seeds and dried fruit.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour.
- Fold liquid into flour with a spatula, and gently form into a soft dough. It may be sticky so douse the surface of the dough with a bit of extra flour in order to handle it if needed.
- Shape dough into a round 2″ thick and place on greased baking sheet.
- Cut a cross into the dough.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve still warm, sliced with vegetable spread and jam if liked.
This is a simple chilled pudding that is fast and easy.
I like carob, not as an alternative to chocolate, but as a flavour in its own right. It’s rather like a mixture of coffee and chocolate and worth trying.
Some brands are more expensive than others and some are actually quite pricey; I get Cotswold Carob Powder, which is currently £1.50 for 250g from Goodness Direct.
Chilled Carob and Banana Pots
- 1 pint / 568ml non-dairy milk
- 1/3 US Cup cornflour
- 1 tbsp carob flour
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds (or chopped mixed nuts)
- Slice the banana and place into the bottom of four dishes.
- Measure out your pint of milk in a heatproof jug then pour most of the milk into a saucepan, leaving a small amount left in the jug.
- Start to heat the milk in the saucepan, keep an eye on it.
- Add the carob and cornflour to the remaining milk in the jug, and mix well to form a thin paste.
- Once the milk is nearly boiling, pour back into the jug, whisking well to blend.
- Mix in the maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
- Pour the milk and carob mixture back into the saucepan and heat again, stirring continuously until it thickens and becomes glossy.
- Pour the mixture over the bananas in the dishes then sprinkle over the chopped nuts.
- Chill until cold and set.
When I was in my early teens I started learning about vegetarian food and healthy eating and I started making myself fresh banana milkshakes for breakfast each morning from a recipe found in a teen magazine (I think it may have been Mizz or Seventeen).
That recipe included honey for sweetness, an egg (presumably for protein), and obviously diary milk, plus bran for fibre. A number of years later I discovered that in the US this sort of thing was called a smoothie and they could contain loads of goodies. Of course smoothies are a staple of vegan food blogs now, especially smoothies full of highly nutrient dense foods like berries and greens.
Meanwhile I still regularly revert to my old breakfast of fresh banana milkshake, it now contains flax instead of egg, plant milk instead of skimmed cows milk and oat bran instead of wheat bran.
Needless to say, bananas in the UK, are incredibly cheap to buy and make a great easy start to the day. Most supermarkets stock their own low cost brand version of UHT soya milk, and although not always initially inexpensive to buy, a bag of flax seed kept in the fridge goes a long way; in fact depending on the brand, it can work out cheaper to use than the eggs it’s often used as a substitute for in various recipes.
Breakfast Banana Milkshake
- 1 x banana
- 350ml plain unsweetened soya milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp oat bran
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Chop banana.
- Put all ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth.