Thursday, December 11, 2008

Vegan on the Cheap: How I Do It in College

Another wonderful guest blog post to share with with you while I am away. This one comes from Benjamin at College Vegan. Check out his blog, I think it's fun to read even if you aren't vegan. Thanks, Benjamin!

Thus far, my entire vegan career has been spent at college, which means I have had to do two things, learn to cook quickly and on the cheap. So, I'd like to talk a bit about my experience with that. The two things don't always overlap, but a few tricks have made my vegan life a whole lot easier as of late:

  • Get a rice cooker: Rice has a fairly dense calorie per dollar ratio, goes with tons of dishes, and is incredibly tasty. Rice cookers can be a bit pricey, but for the convenience and the quality of the rice, it was definitely worth it for me. For more on my rice cooker, you can check out this post .

  • Make lots of curries: Curries can be a pain in the butt to make sometimes since it takes so long, but when you think about it, it's one of the easiest things to cook. It's really easy to make, easy to make vegan, goes well with rice, and naturally full of vegetables. What's more, and what makes it a really good meal for a lazy vegan like myself, is that a big pot of curry will give you delicious leftovers for days.

  • Make even more soup: Soups are great for a lot of the same reasons curries are, but they also feel a little bit more fun to eat. Because soups aren't quite as dense, you can slurp them, drink them, or soak them up with delicious chunks of bread. And, like a good curry, a good soup (or chili) will taste better every time you reheat it.

  • Throw dinner parties: I definitely eat out, but some times when I want to save money and still have great food I just throw a potluck. If you don't know a bunch of vegans it can be a little tricky, but a successful potluck with always lead to great food (and great leftovers), and is generally a bit more exciting than wandering down to that same old restaurant on Friday night.

  • Shop the sales: It took me a while to get used to the fact that vegan food goes on sale just like food for normal people does. If you're trying to save money (which in turn means you can afford more interesting stuff), it's good to wait for sales and then stock up. I fell into the habit of shopping for 2-3 days at a time, but I've realized how annoying that can be. Shopping for food is great, but it also takes up time when I could be cooking!

  • Don't make things vegan: This is probably my best kept secret, and the thing that makes it really easy for me to be vegan in an omnivorous world - I don't spend time trying to make my old favourite foods vegan. I haven’t even bothered with a piece of vegan cheesecake since I made the switch two and a half years ago. Instead, I focus on things that always have been vegan or are easily incidentally so, like curries, soups, breads, or lots of Japanese/Indian/Mediterrenean foods.
Hopefully this has made some sense, but these are really my guiding principles for sustaining a cheap, lazy, satisfying vegan lifestyle. Please share your ideas! :)


Danyell said...

I'm vegan and I've been doing the project "$10 a Day." I currently live entirely on $10 a day in San Francisco...which means I'm doing a lot of vegan cooking. I have to say I entirely agree - rice dishes, soups...all awesome. Homemade pizza is suprisingly cheap, too, and just takes the mastering of yeast.

I posted some recipes if you get bored of yer old stuff :)

Danyell said...

BTW, that link didn't display.


& my personal: