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Help! Extremely poor vegetarian in a house full of carnivores. Need cheap, simple recipes.

I just moved in with my boyfriend and his dad, who buys all the groceries. I'm currently unemployed, so I can't buy my own yummy veggie foods right now. He's a very meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, and I'm getting sick of living off eggs, spaghetti, and peanut butter sandwiches. Does anyone know any simple recipes with simple ingredients?

Tofu egg salad sandwiches
chickpea salad sandwiches
Spaghetti with olive tapenade
Spaghetti with tomato sauce - with fried red or green peppers, or mushrooms
Spaghetti with veggie parmesan
Pizza marinara (no cheese), top them with fried red or green peppers or both, mushrooms, fried onions
Veggie chili
Pasta fagioli
Lentil soup
Split pea
Stir fries served over white rice.
Fried rice
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are good.


Goodness, do I know what's you like potatoes or yams? :) those are some of the cheaper vegetables that I know at walmart sell at like, 89 cents per pound! I'd suggest going to a discount grocery store if you can ever do odd jobs and gather money. Fiesta, Aldi, and any Asian Market usually have cheap produce and since it's summer, muchhhhh of the season produce like melons and berries are quite cheap!
Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans, but just take a day of soaking
Store brand frozen veggies and fruit are also a good way to go (freezing is a good way to preserve a lot of your food and whole spices in general), especially for smoothies!

Also depending on your location you might want to see you have the store, "Big Lots" near you. I've bought toooon of good organic shelf food for super cheap, nuts, dried fruit, oats, cereal, crackers, trail mix/granola bars and even rice and soy milk!
I know it's hard but I hope these suggestions help jazz up your palette a bit :) I remember the days before I worked as a vegetarian, man,man those are some serious tough times!


*As far as cheap meals and recipes go, I forgot to add that:

-Rice and beans is a classic
-Melon and avocado salads (I forgot to mention that avocados are very cheap also!)
-Southwestern cowboy caviar (chopped cilantro) with tomatoes, onion, beans, avocado and corn. (If you can scrape up the extra cash to, mango is a great addition)
-Berry salads with avocado
-Green smoothie, with romaine lettuce and or spinach, a banana & non-dairy milk
-Corn tortillas with avocado, tomato and whole beans or canned vegetarian refried beans.
-Banana and peanut butter sandwich or apple and peanut butter sandwich
-Celery with peanut butter

Other than that all I can say is buy/cook in bulk and stock up on your coupons as much as possible,


I am sorry, it sounds like you are in a bind. You don't mention how much fruit/vegetables he buys but I am assuming it is the regular SAD amount, which is not that much at all.

Trish Ross wrote two cookbooks--Easy Beans and More Easy Beans. They have been out for a while and your library might have copies or know where you can get them. They are not vegan--or even vegetarian--cookbooks, as about 25% of the recipes use meat. However, that is what makes them so valuable here.

The idea behind the book is to promote bean cookery for nutritional and environmental reasons. So if you can get your hands on the book, you can show boyfriend's dad the recipe for Garbanzo Stew, which is vegan. In the introductory note, she recommends topping it with a pork chop, which is decidedly not vegan, So that might help latent allay concerns that you are trying to get everyone to eat veg, and they might be open to trying some new things.

Also, I think VRG has put out a number of cookbooks catering to college students, busy workinng people, etc. that are designed to have very simple recipes. I do not have them and don't know how good they are. Donna Klein has two books--Supermarket Vegan and PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Vegetarian--both of which I have, and both of which contain fairly simple recipes but might require some special purchases if boyfriend's dad keeps a very limited pantry.

Good luck!


Yow, I feel for you. I manage an very non-vegan friendly restaurant 50-60 hours a week (I'm looking for new employment) and am daily trying to make do with the limited amount of vegan ingredients available to me there. I've come to love rice bowls. Just a bowl of plain brown rice, (I bring my own) with whatever roasted or grilled vegggies I can find, along with some nuts, raisins, olives, salad greens, whatever I can find that day. Then as a dressing, I just make a mixture of chopped garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, agave or maple syrup and some water. Mix it all together... Yum! And so versatile!
I also, somtimes just sautee a bunch of veggies (Spinach, tomato, muchrooms, carrots, onions, broccoli, etc...) and mix them with homefries. (Just diced, grilled potatoes. Tasty and filling, and good with just salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.
Good luck to you sweetie! It sucks being the "lone vegan"!


Beans are very inexpensive. You can buy dry for under a dollar and just boil in water add some spices and yum. Flour tortillas are very easy to make. I would bet he has those ingredients in the house. Pair your home made tortillas up with those beans and you have burritos!

You can also make pesto. Just some olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and basil leaves. That on top of pasta is a nice change.

Good luck!


One thing you can do is figure one product into your budget each week, or 2 weeks, or month. Like spices and condiments. One per pay period won't put you away too bad, and since you only use a little each time, it will last.

Watch fruit and veg sales at your local markets. Depending on the time of year, things that are in season are cheaper. Where I live avocados are never, ever "cheap", even though we grow them here, so know your area. Lots of chain supermarkets have websites and if you visit them regularly you will see special-offer codes. Use them.


I highly recommend the book, Vegan on the Cheap.  It offers menus by price per serving, most are under $2 per person. We use them a lot in our house.




Some "staples" that can be mixed together in different ways and bought for cheap are: Beans, grains, and spices.  Try and find a store that has bulk spices so that you don't have to buy whole containers at once, which is pricier (plus then you're also paying for packaging and advertising costs!).  Beans and grains are also much cheaper in bulk bins, but I know that many places just don't do bins.  Some great combinations I have found are...
* Black Beans + Brown Rice + 1 Tomato + Cheese (if you eat it) + Cumin and chili powder OR a packet of taco seasoning. 
* Black Eyed Peas + Collards or preferred leafy green + pearled barley + salt and pepper
* White Beans + Quinoa + Lemon juice and Dill
* Kidney Beans + Brown Rice + Chili Spices
* Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) + olive oil + barley + whatever veggies you can throw in.

You can mix and match as much as you need, but beans and grains with veggies (frozen veggies are cheap or check out a farmers market IF you can) are not only cheap but also simple to put together.  Now we're not going to be winning any awards for intricate recipes, but they'll be delicious! 

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