Cheap & tasty vegan food.

gbsk

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I have been a vegetarian since 1973 so and have worked in vegetarian restaurants. I might become vegan except for 2 reasons - taste and cost. Vegan ice cream is usually pretty good but I find the cost is expensive. Vegan cheese is usually bad tasting with the major exception of Miyoko's cheese. That was just as good as cow cheese. The "cheese" made with nutritional yeast is laughable and not a cheese taste at all. The cheeses made with nuts are not bad tasting but they taste like a sauce or dip and not at all like a cheese. I go to local vegan potlucks because they are very nice people and often have the same values. However, most of the food is not very good. The local vegans are against using any kind of oil in cooking or baking. In cooking you can omit is usually without bad effects but making pastries without oil usually makes things semi edible. I do not want to complain but want to know if people have good recipes for making dairy substitutes that are tasty and as cheap as dairy? Thanks.
 

silva

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I happen to love Daiya block cheeses, Chao original, Follow your Heart parm shreds, and smoked gouda and provolone slices (all that I tried). It takes much less vegan cheese to satisfy my cravings. I would eat half a block of dairy cheese!
I find olives, mushrooms, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts to be good subs where I liked the salty, fattiness of cheese.
As for ice cream, it was more just quitting it, although I did love Pierres dark chocolate sorbet, and a local discount store sold it at a lower price than others
There are so many vegan desserts I made baking a hobby and gained all the weight I'd lost as a vegetarian, when I had minimal dairy and ate healthier whole foods
In general eating vegan, sticking to whole plant foods, much cheaper
 
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Lou

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I don't mind spending a little extra on Vegan Ice Cream. But the main thing is not to eat it very often anyway -- it still isn't that healthy being mostly fat and sugar.

But a really good alternative to ice cream is to blend a frozen banana with a little salt and water. Bananas are 19¢ at Trader Joes. And Bananas are good for you
 

PTree15

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I second making your own ice cream. I make a banana-nut butter version. It's a recipe I found online, but I can't remember where. Anyway, it's 3 frozen bananas, half a cup of nut butter (almond or cashew works really well, which is pricy, but peanut butter is fine, too), a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of maple syrup, a pinch of salt. In a food processor, pulse the bananas a few times to get them chunky. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. It comes out like a Wendy's Frosty, but when you freeze it, it gets solid. It's really tasty.
 

Mischief

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You have experience cooking and baking, so you know how to make food taste good. Just because the local vegans don't use oil or sufficient spices and seasonings doesn't mean you can't.

I'm veg*n for ethical reasons, not health reasons. I like good food; I always have.

I don't buy PB cheese - too expensive and not interesting enough, IMO. When I want something rich and creamy, I make pesto to eat with pasta. Pesto is also a great sub for cheese on pizza and in lasagna - much tastier than cheese ever was.

I make my pesto with fresh baby spinach instead of basil, or a combination of spinach and basil, because I can make it thicker and creamier without getting overwhelmed by too much basil. I don't always use pine nuts - sometimes I use cashews, or walnuts, etc.

I make pates with flavors reminiscent of some of the German sausages I used to eat, using Great Northern beans, which I cook with various spices, as a base. And yes, I use plenty of good quality oils in the pates.

As for baking - I've never baked better stuff than after eschewing dairy and eggs. It's just a matter of figuring out which leavening and binding agents work best for various applications.

I'm a sucker for cakes and pastries, and generally much prefer them to ice cream. I don't eat ice cream often, so the higher cost of nondairy ice cream isn't an issue for me.

If you have specific questions, or specific types of recipes you're looking for (for example, chocolate pudding, or a specific type of cake, etc.), we can be more specific in our answers.
 

PTree15

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You have experience cooking and baking, so you know how to make food taste good. Just because the local vegans don't use oil or sufficient spices and seasonings doesn't mean you can't.

I'm veg*n for ethical reasons, not health reasons. I like good food; I always have.

I don't buy PB cheese - too expensive and not interesting enough, IMO. When I want something rich and creamy, I make pesto to eat with pasta. Pesto is also a great sub for cheese on pizza and in lasagna - much tastier than cheese ever was.

I make my pesto with fresh baby spinach instead of basil, or a combination of spinach and basil, because I can make it thicker and creamier without getting overwhelmed by too much basil. I don't always use pine nuts - sometimes I use cashews, or walnuts, etc.

I make pates with flavors reminiscent of some of the German sausages I used to eat, using Great Northern beans, which I cook with various spices, as a base. And yes, I use plenty of good quality oils in the pates.

As for baking - I've never baked better stuff than after eschewing dairy and eggs. It's just a matter of figuring out which leavening and binding agents work best for various applications.

I'm a sucker for cakes and pastries, and generally much prefer them to ice cream. I don't eat ice cream often, so the higher cost of nondairy ice cream isn't an issue for me.

If you have specific questions, or specific types of recipes you're looking for (for example, chocolate pudding, or a specific type of cake, etc.), we can be more specific in our answers.
I couldn't agree more on the pesto. I could eat that stuff with a spoon. :D I make my mine with all basil. I've never tried the spinach version, but I might just for something different. I do love basil, though. Pesto is also great on sandwiches instead of cheese. It gives a sandwich a nice pop of tang and flavor, and you don't even need a lot of it. I have 10 batches of homemade pesto in the freezer. It keeps amazingly well for months in the freezer and tastes quite fresh when it thaws.
 

silva

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I happen to love Daiya block cheeses, Chao original, Follow your Heart parm shreds, and smoked gouda and provolone slices (all that I tried). It takes much less vegan cheese to satisfy my cravings. I would eat half a block of dairy cheese!
I find olives, mushrooms, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts to be good subs where I liked the salty, fattiness of cheese.
As for ice cream, it was more just quitting it, although I did love Pierres dark chocolate sorbet, and a local discount store sold it at a lower price than others
There are so many vegan desserts I made baking a hobby and gained all the weight I'd lost as a vegetarian, when I had minimal dairy and ate healthier whole foods
In general eating vegan, sticking to whole plant foods, much cheaper
SInce I can't edit now I had to bring this up to change it--I had heard so many wonderful reviews on Chao when I first tasted it I must have been swayed. The second tastes were horrible to me! Kinda like vomit, or spoiled coconut oil, but it was fresh

Anyway, I just had Violife cheddar shreds and they're very very good, both cold and melty

For nutritional yeast though, try non fortified, much better, and I prefer Anthonys non fortified (they have both)
 

Emma JC

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SInce I can't edit now I had to bring this up to change it--I had heard so many wonderful reviews on Chao when I first tasted it I must have been swayed. The second tastes were horrible to me! Kinda like vomit, or spoiled coconut oil, but it was fresh

Anyway, I just had Violife cheddar shreds and they're very very good, both cold and melty

For nutritional yeast though, try non fortified, much better, and I prefer Anthonys non fortified (they have both)

Funny you should mention Violife - my grocery store is carrying them now and I picked up a package yesterday and will test against the one I normally use - the real test for me is how long it lasts in the fridge after opening - I used to have a mold issue until the company changed some ingredients and now it lasts well, so we will see what the results are.

I also prefer the non-fortified nutritional yeast and am thankful that I can buy it in bulk, which is so much cheaper and I can buy as little or as much as I like. $8 per pound as the bulk store, and buying in containers is usually around $24 per pound or more.

Another item that I was able to buy cheaply yesterday is wakame (seaweed). It has been hard to come by, since the pandemic started, and very expensive when I could find any type of seaweed. Back in March I stopped into one of the local japanese/korean (Bento Box) restaurants and they sold me a half a bag (270 grams) of it for $30 and it has lasted until now and I likely have another month or so left of that. I called yesterday and asked how much for a full bag (454 grams) and they said $20.... I was there right quick. A 60 gram bag online cost $19. We put it in our smoothies and occasionally in our soups and it is a great source of iodine, iron, calcium, omega 3s, and lots of other vitamins and minerals.

Emma JC
Find your vegan soulmate or just a friend. www.spiritualmatchmaking.com
 

NYC Gardener

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I highly recommend giving up dairy. I’ve felt a lot healthier since I did.

I don’t think vegan ice cream needs to cut into your budget more than dairy ice cream. Just eat less of it. Or try smaller portions but as a sundae - with chocolate sauce and nuts or whatever you like.

My appetite has decreased (in a healthy way) since I gave up dairy. You might experience the same thing and be satisfied with smaller amounts of ice cream.

I’m not into vegan cheese, so I can’t recommend anything there. But I can say that cheese is addictive and if you kick the habit, you’ll stop craving it. What worked for me was snacking on grape leaves when I craved cheese. The flavor is similar.
 
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