Budget Crunching and Munching

No longer a fringe movement seen as extreme, veganism has reached mainstream acceptance, if not full understanding. Misconceptions still plague the movement, like the lingering, misplaced concern about getting enough protein, iron, or whatever the trending nutrient is of the moment. Topping the list of these persistent fallacies is that it’s expensive to eat plant-based. Taking a glance at the fancy prepared meals, processed meat alternatives, and gourmet dairy-free cheeses, it’s easy to understand the concern, but it really misses the bigger picture; no healthy, happy herbivore really eats like that.

Busting myths while boosting your bottom line, Vegan on a Budget: 125 Healthy, Wallet-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes by Nava Atlas goes well beyond the predictable PB + J sandwiches or bland rice and beans. In fact, Ms. Atlas doesn’t just stick to plain recipes, offering indispensable advice for maximizing your grocery dollars via couponing, bulk buying, scratch-made staples, and more.

Speaking from experience, Nava knows her way around the kitchen AND supermarket. I’ve had the great fortune of working with her regularly for the better part of my career, though she got started in the cookbook industry before I could even reach the stove. Author of well over a dozen published works, prolific artist, and loving mother, her diverse passions coalesce into an invaluable resource for anyone seeking a more affordable, flavorful way to eat vegan.

Secretly thrifty, overtly delicious, everything from breakfast to dessert tastes downright luxurious. We’re talking Yellow Curry Rice Noodles better than takeout, for pennies on the dollar. By employing common pantry staples and simple fresh vegetables, this dish comes together faster than you can dial in an order; a huge savings when you consider that time is money, too.

Don’t overlook the humble sandwich, which is much more than a bread-based gut bomb in Nava’s capable hands. Portobello & Seitan Cheesesteak Sandwiches bring an authentic tasty of Philly to the table, no matter where you live. Seven simple ingredients are all it takes to make this meaty, umami meal come to life. Hearty slabs of seitan join forces with tender mushroom slices and crisp bell peppers, smothered by gooey melted cheese in a satisfying handheld package.

One of my personal favorites has been the Barbeque Tempeh Salad, lavished with creamy ranch dressing, ideally. The protein itself is so well-seasoned and flavorful though, it hardly even needs additional embellishment. I made the mistake of only preparing a half-batch when I first photographed the recipe for Ms. Atlas, which I immediately remedied with a double the next day. This is a recipe you’ll want to eat on repeat, too, which is why I’m thrilled to share it after the jump.

Before you run off to the kitchen, tempeh at hand, I have an even more tempting offer for you! To save you the already low price of this cookbook, which will pay for itself after a single meal, I’m thrilled to give away a brand new copy to one lucky reader! To enter, hit the comment section below and tell me about your favorite budget-friendly foods. What are the staples you go to again and again, that have withstood the test of time? Don’t forget to go back and register that in the giveaway widget, along with additional opportunities to win.

The whole concept of Vegan on a Budget is a solid victory across the board; your wallet, stomach, and taste buds will all be glad you cracked open a copy.

Vegan on a Budget: 125 Healthy, Wallet-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes by Nava Atlas

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

Barbecue Tempeh Salad

Barbecue Tempeh Salad

As a light meal, this delectable salad can stand on its own, especially for lunch. If you want to add something yummy on the side. Easy Oven Fries (page 66) are a great accompaniment. Or, simply serve with baked or microwaved sweet potatoes, just as they are- it's all good. For a nice midsummer meal, serve this salad with fresh corn on the cob instead of potatoes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1(8-ounce) package tempeh (any variety)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Super-Quick No-Cook Barbecue Sauce (page 202) or bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, coarsely shredded
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced, or 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • Your favorite dressing, as needed (see Note)


    1. Make the tempeh croutons. Cut the block of tempeh into 1/2-inch dice. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the tempeh over medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often until starting to turn golden.
    2. Add about 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce to the tempeh and sauté until absorbed and the tempeh starts to brown. Add just a bit more sauce to coat remove from the heat and cover.
    3. Combine the avocado, lettuce, baby spinach tomatoes and carrots in a salad bowl Toss with your favorite dressing (or pass it around).
    4. Divide the salad among 4 serving bowls om plates and top each with the warm tempeh croutons. Serve at once.


This salad is great with almost any kind of dressing so use whatever you've got on hand. If you'd like to use homemade dressing, the Basic Vinaigrette Dressing (page 197) works well or, for a creamy effect, try Tartar Dressing or Dip (page 199) Even plain vegan mayo, mixed with a little lemon juice, works well.

This salad can be made with 8 ounces of baked tofu or seitan in place of tempeh. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch dice and the seitan into small chunks and make croutons as directed in the first two steps.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 848mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 9gSugar: 33gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

11 thoughts on “Budget Crunching and Munching

  1. my budget staples are homemade bread which is go with for so many other things. or just smeared with a good old nut butter.

  2. Beans are by far my favorite wallet friendly staple…from chickpea salad sandwiches, hummus, crunchy roasted chickpea, creamy black bean soup, chili, lentil loaf … and when you pair it with rice (and assorted other veggies) … the possibilities are endless … oh, did I mention black bean brownies!?!

  3. My go-tos are always grain bowls (whatever grains and beans I have in the pantry, roast whatever veggie is in the fridge, I always have a jar of tahini handy to make a dressing, then top it off with either furikake or za’atar) or a roasted red pepper pasta with fresh basil, which is always growing somewhere!

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