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$20 Vegan Meal Prep (7 full days!)

Last time I did the $20 meal prep challenge, I made five days worth of food for $20 Canadian. So many people were amazed at how much food you could actually make with only $20. I’ve been requested so many times to do another $20 meal prep challenge, so HERE I AM! This time, there are a few different rules (you can watch the video for more context).

RULES (that I designed for myself…*ahem*):

  1. I will only spend the equivalent of $20 US to buy food for one week (at the time this was filmed, this would equal a little over $27 Canadian, so I decided to make that my budget).
  2. One week = 7 days, therefore I will make 7 days worth of food (not just 5)
  3. I’m not allowed to use any other spices or condiments other than a small amount of oil & salt.
  4. I must be able to freeze some of the meals so that you can actually eat these over a span of 7 days (and the food doesn’t spoil).

Essentially, I just wanted to see just HOW MUCH FOOD I could make with only $20 and to see if there really would be enough food for 7 full days. What do you think? Do you think $20 would be enough to feed you for 7 days?

Vegan Meal Prep for $20 (7 days):

What I bought (in Canadian $):

  • Soy sauce $1.28

  • Black turtle beans $2.48

  • Green lentils $2.48

  • Oats $2.28

  • Peanut butter $2.97

  • Tomato sauce $1.08

  • Brown rice $2.24

  • Frozen veggies $2.47

  • Spaghetti $1.99

  • Soy milk $2.07

  • Bananas $1.65

  • Kale $1.77

  • Sweet potato $1.83

Total money spent = $26.59 (CAD)

My strategy was to buy plenty of starches (such as rice, pasta, sweet potato) and pulses (lentils and beans) in order to make sure that the meals would be satiating enough. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I run out of food or I’m short on calories! This led me to buy TONS of starches and pulses and one of the regrets I had was not buying enough vegetables/fruit.

Honestly though, on a very tight budget, that is the best that you could do at that point. If you’re on a tight budget, you really can’t be worried about every single micronutrient that goes in your body and eating a bunch of raw foods all the time. Starches and pulses are super healthy foods and you should be eating those as a big bulk of your diet, in my humble opinion. These are some of the cheapest foods out there so EAT TONS OF STARCHES/PULSES.

The “recipes” for everything I made are down below. But before we get started, please read the following for some of my tips and recommendations!

TIPS and other notes…

  1. I usually make the foods that take the longest amount of “passive” time FIRST. For instance, I put the rice in the rice cooker and let that cook while doing other things. Same thing with cooking up lentils, beans, sweet potatoes and other stuff. While those things are cooking, you can chop vegetables or figure out what you want to make.
  2. I didn’t use any spices that I already had because I didn’t want to use too many things outside of my $20 limit, but PLEASE feel free to add whatever spices and condiments necessary to make your food taste DELICIOUS (ie. garlic on EVERYTHING).
  3. FREEZE YOUR FOOD. You really shouldn’t be storing your food in the fridge for a full 7 days – by day 5 or so, your food might be getting bad. So I made sure that I took that into consideration when I was making the meals so I could freeze most of them and microwave later.
  4. Remember that buying in bulk is usually cheaper per volume of food, so for things like dry beans, rice, pasta – feel free to buy these in bulk (since you’re not the one doing a $20 challenge)…
  5. GET CREATIVE! This is not about following exactly what I did but just giving you an overview of how affordable the vegan diet can be and some ideas. Tweak the recipes and get creative.

 

Recipes (?) and stuff….

Breakfast and/or Snacks

Sweet Potato Oat Cakes 

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1.5 cups cooked sweet potato, mashed
  • 1.5 cup oats, ground up into oat flour
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 banana, mashed

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blend oats in a food processor or a blender to grind up into oat flour (or just use oats).
  3. Mash up sweet potato and banana in a bowl.
  4. Add soy milk and oat flour and mix well.
  5. Make into round flat shapes (like a big cookie) and place them on a baking sheet covered with non-stick parchment paper.
  6. Bake for around 12-15 minutes, flipping half way.

 

PB Banana Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups oats
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add everything into a mixing bowl and mix until well-combined.
  3. Shape into cookies and place onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for around 12-15 minutes, flipping half way.

 

Basic Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3-1/2 banana, sliced into small pieces

Instructions:

  1. In small jars, add soy milk and peanut butter and mix (doesn’t have to be perfect).
  2. Add oats and mix again.
  3. Top with sliced bananas.

*Note: I only made 3 of these because I didn’t want this to be sitting in the fridge for too many days. I recommend only making a maximum of 3 at a time, otherwise, it will probably go bad after a few days and/or become super soggy. With overnight oats, you could always put the dry ingredients into jars first and then just add wet ingredients the night before so if you want to make them in advance, that’s what I would recommend.

 

Main Meals (lunch/dinner)

Please watch the video for more context as I did a lot of mixing and matching of sorts… I also made some random things not listed here…

Spaghetti with Bean & Lentil Balls 

Bean and lentil balls:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked green/brown lentils
  • 1 cup beans
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cooked
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine rice, lentils and beans in a food processor (or mash well together).
  3. Add the mixture into a large mixing bowl and mash in some sweet potato.
  4. Add soy sauce and tomato sauce and combine well.
  5. Shape into small balls and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for one hour (flipping half way through) – you could probably also bake this at a higher temp for a shorter period of time. I was just experimenting!

Peanut Tomato Sauce (as pasta sauce) 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce (canned)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce

Instructions:

  1. Blend everything in a blender or food processor.
  2. Use as pasta sauce with your spaghetti! Yummy!

 

Peanut Butter Stir-fry 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cups frozen mixed veggies (I used frozen but yeah feel free to use fresh!)
  • 1-2 handfuls kale
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup beans

Instructions:

  1. Mix or blend peanut butter and soy sauce together to create the stirfry sauce.
  2. Add mixed veggies, kale, lentils and beans in a frying pan on medium-high heat and mix well.
  3. Add sauce and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Serve with rice or pasta or WHATEVER YOU WISH!

 

Bean & Lentil Patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked beans
  • 1.5 cups cooked lentils
  • around 1/2 cup oat flour (I like to add a little at a time as I go…)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce

Instructions:

  1. Add beans and 1 cup of lentils in a food processor and combine.
  2. Add the mixture in a large mixing bowl and add in the rest of the lentils, and all other ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Form into patties (whatever size you wish…).
  4. You can bake these, but I just cooked them on the frying pan until slightly browned on each side.
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6 thoughts on “$20 Vegan Meal Prep (7 full days!)”

  1. How wonderful. You’ve got my hubby running out to the store to start cooking. Your channel is life changing. Keep up the good work.

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