Watch my video above to see what I ate a LOT of when I was “broke” and useless in the kitchen! Scroll down for the written “recipes”.
Once upon a time, I moved from my humble home in Calgary, Canada to London, UK, one of the biggest and most expensive cities in the world. I went to live in London for 2 years starting from 2014 to 2016 on a Working Holiday Visa, which allowed me all the rights to live and work in the UK for those two years.
Living in London was the best of times, it was the worst of times, as they say. It really taught me so much about life and gave me lots of opportunities. It was also when I went VEGAN! I made the complete switch when I moved to London. Then soon after, I started my Instagram account and a year later (in 2015), I started my YouTube Channel. And the rest was history.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, don’t you wanna get to know me?! Haha, in all seriousness, I’m telling you this because it’s relevant to this post! Even though I had a great time in London, it was probably one of the few times I felt like I was under “real” financial stress.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been SO privileged in my life and lucky enough so that I never really had to worry about money. Even though I come from a humble background (my parents and I were immigrants to Canada), I was lucky to live in a situation and a country where it was possible to live comfortably and not have to stress financially. The standard of living in Canada is pretty high so even if you’re not rollin in the dough, there is a pretty strong middle class (compared to some other nations) and you are able to live a pretty good life on a modest salary (at least this was my experience growing up).
So moving to London was a big eye opener. Not only did I take a pretty giant pay cut, I went from living in my parents house (paying 0 rent- thank you, mom & dad) to paying £700+ a month on shared housing. So my cost of living shot up but my income decreased! Hah, the costs of living in a big metropolitan city, eh?!
Since I wanted to spend lots of money on experiences and I don’t really care about eating “luxury” meals, I made a lot of CHEAP meals. Also, I was busy working, didn’t know too much about cooking so I was making super simple and easy and LAZY meals. This is how I came up with “Cheap Lazy Vegan”.
In this post, I want to share with you some ridiculously easy and affordable meal ideas that I used to eat often when I was “BROKE” and USELESS in the kitchen!
If you watch the video linked above, I go through the recipe ideas in my detail but you can scroll down and get the written recipes here.
Vegan Chili Recipe
I made chili SO many times when I was living in the UK and I still do from time to time – not as often because of the nature of what I do for a living (I have to cook lots of different recipes). Chili is amazing not only because it’s budget friendly & easy to make but also it is nutritious! Below is a simple chili recipe but you can always tweak it to meet our needs and taste buds. I like to enjoy my chili with pasta, quinoa or with a piece of toast.
Ingredients (4-6 servings):
- 1 tsp oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 small potatoes
- 2 cans beans OR 4 cups of cooked beans
- 2 large cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup dry red split lentils, rinsed
- 1-2 cups water (depending on how thick you like your chili)
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base or 2 blocks of vegetable stock cube
- Heat oil in a large pot on medium-high heat and add garlic and onion. Cook for
about 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften. Cook with oil if you want to keep
this oil free.
- Add potatoes, beans, diced tomatoes, lentils and water. Allow the mixture to
come to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and add all seasonings.
- Cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pasta with Store-bought Pasta Sauce & Beans
This is another one of those meals I had time and time again. Who can say no to a £1 jar of ready-made tomato pasta sauce? This is one of those “convenient” packaged food items that I am ALL FOR. Especially when you’re not a master in the kitchen, I would suggest buying a delicious (and affordable) pasta sauce from the store.
The “recipe” below is for one serving, but I always made extra so I could have leftovers for more meals.
Ingredients (1 serving):
- 1 serving pasta of your choice
- 1 serving store-bought pasta sauce
- 3/4 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- handful of baby spinach or a cup of vegetables of choice, such as broccoli
- Cook pasta according to instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare other ingredients.
- Drain pasta once cooked, and in the same pot, add pasta sauce, chickpeas and vegetables and mix well.
- Enjoy your lazy AF meal!
Bean & Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
Who doesn’t love a good stir fry? Whether you are broke or not, stir fries are a MUST because you can really pack in some vegetables and also it’s SO versatile. There are endless types of sauces you could make so no stir fry ever has to look the same. Try this super easy one that uses peanut butter as a sauce base – if you’re allergic to peanut butter, use a different kind of nut butter or just make a simple soy sauce & sweetener kind of sauce.
Ingredients (3-4 servings, eaten with rice):
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 2-3 cups frozen or fresh mixed vegetables
- peanut sauce:
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- hot sauce – optional
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a large wok or pan (or use water if you want to keep it oil free) and throw in the onion and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes.
- Mix in beans and vegetables and allow to cook while prepping the sauce.
- In a small bowl, mix together sauce ingredients.
- Once veggies are cooked, throw in the sauce ingredients, stir well and serve with rice.
Peanut Butter & Banana on Toast
Yes, I went there, I’m talking about PB & Banana on toast (or in a sandwich. I prefer on toast). I know – everyone and their monkey knows how to make peanut butter and banana on toast! But I had to mention it as an idea because this is a legitimate meal which I ate often.
Some people actually wonder: is peanut butter vegan?! Let me say it nice and loudly: YES, PEANUT BUTTER IS VEGAN!
Peanut butter is simply peanuts blended up to create a smooth paste (if you get the natural kind, it’s literally just peanuts and salt!). So rest assured – peanut butter is vegan (so are things like almond butter, cashew butter, etc).
So here is my never before done, peanut butter and banana on toast recipe in great detail….
Ingredients (1 serving):
- 2 pieces of bread, toasted
- However much peanut butter as your heart desires
- 1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
- Using a toaster of your choice, toast two slices of bread.
- Then with one hand holding one piece of toast and the other hand holding a butter knife, spread desired amount of peanut butter on each piece of toast.
- Peel a ripe banana and slice with same butter knife.
- Place banana slices on top of the pieces of toast.
I can never make overnight oats look pretty… EVER! Can someone teach me how?
This is something I often ate for breakfast when I worked in an office. I would go to the gym in the morning and have this for breakfast at my desk when I got to work. It’s convenient, filling, easy, healthy and of course, cheap!
Feel free to jazz it up if you’re feeling fancy, by adding in things like chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, etc.
Ingredients (1 serving):
- 1/2 rolled oats
- 3/4 non-dairy milk
- 1/2 ripe banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup berries (optional)
- 1 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds (optional)
- The night before, add in all ingredients into a fancy looking mason jar (or whatever cheap jar you can find).
- Mix well and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning when ready to eat, mix well and enjoy.
- You can also heat it up first if you don’t like to eat it cold.
Banana Oat (2 Ingredient) Cookies
Yes, you read it right… TWO ingredients! This is as easy as it gets, folks. Bananas and oats – a match made in Cheap Lazy Vegan heaven!
Sometimes I like to go all out and add in some chocolate chips which makes this much more exciting. Feel free to also add in nuts, nut butters, etc. to make this more filling and delicious -whatever your little heart desires.
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup oats
- 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash banana with a fork.
- Add in oats and mix together until well-combined.
- Mix in chocolate chips and other add ins if preferred, such as peanut butter.
- Spoon onto lined baking sheet and flatten with a damp fork into cookie shapes
- Bake for 10 minutes.
Beans on Toast
Did I say I lived in the UK? Yes, for some reason, beans on toast is very popular in the UK. I never really ate too many baked beans before I went to the UK but this is a fantastic cheap & lazy meal idea – especially for a quick breakfast.
Requires literally no skill in the kitchen, because baked beans come in all kinds of different cans! You can also easily make your own baked beans but that requires a little more effort.
Ingredients (1 serving):
- two pieces of toast or english muffin, toasted
- 1 small can of baked beans (you might even have some left over to heat up later!)
- yup that’s it.
- Toast your bread using the toaster of your choice.
- Prepare your baked beans by following the instructions on the can.
- Pour the baked beans over your pieces of toast and enjoy with a fork and knife so you feel fancy.
- You’ll want to eat this immediately cause it will get soggy quick.
Poor Man’s Sangria (Nasty Wine Hack)
This may seem like a joke, but I swear I did this ALL THE TIME. This is a little trick if you ever get a bottle of cheap wine that is nasty and you think it’s almost undrinkable – turn that sh*t into SANGRIA! Poor Man’s Sangria, that is.
Of course, you probably want to actually make proper sangria, but when you’re cheap & lazy, all you need is a can or a bottle of sprite.
Mix that in with your nasty wine, and there you have my choice beverage for most of 2014 – Poor Man’s Sangria. You’re welcome, college students.
Ingredients (1-4 servings depending on how many friends you have):
- 1 bottle of Nasty Red Wine
- Necessary amount of Sprite (the amount depends on the level of nastiness of the above ingredient)
- Few cubes of ice
- Fancy wine glass to make things look fancy
- In your fancy wine glass, pour in desired amount of red wine. Start with a smaller amount so you can easily adjust the level of nastiness with the Sprite.
- Pour in desired amount of Sprite and mix with a small spoon.
- Add in few cubes of ice and give this a taste. Add in more wine or Sprite as desired.
- Share with friends!