29 Comments | April 16, 2012

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

There are a lot of reasons to eat more plants, and a lot of misconceptions about what that means. What we’re trying to do at Plant-Based on a Budget is to show how affordable, easy, and delicious eating a plant-based diet can be, how you don’t have to shop at specialty grocery stores or restock your pantry with all kinds of unfamiliar products and substitutes, and, most of all, how you don’t have to sacrifice time, taste, or money in the pursuit of healthier, tastier eating.

Though all of our recipes are plant-based, we’re not advocating a political agenda, and we’re not making a list of Things You Shouldn’t Eat. We’re just a bunch of people who love food and cooking, and want to share some of the recipes and tips we’ve learned along the way.

More than anything, we think that everyone should be able to cook delicious, healthy food without spending a fortune. That’s the goal of this site: plant-based, on a budget.

How It All Began

Hi there! I’m Toni. Welcome to Plant-Based on a Budget! Since 2012, my friends and I have been sharing our favorite affordable plant-based recipes on this website to show how tasty, easy, accessible, and cheap this diet can be. It’s my goal to offer an inclusive resource to help people embrace more plant-based dishes into their meal planning rotation. Whether you’re brand new to cooking or a full-blown chef, there’s something here for you.

My Story

My plant-based journey started over 15 years ago. When I was in high school, I both ran track and ate terribly — which was a baaad combination. It was common for me to spend my lunch hour eating fast food, and my afternoons after practice feeling sick-to-my-stomach. I never thought about how the food I put in my body served any other purpose but to taste good, and I’m not exaggerating. Fortunately, I had a coach who advised me to quit my fast food lunches and give up red meat, and he’ll never know (because I forgot his name) how it positively impacted me forever.

I spent the next couple years slowly moving away from meat — first deciding not to eat fish, then chicken, and then finally becoming a vegetarian when I moved out of my family’s house. Embracing vegetarianism was a slow progression for me partly because of my family. Solely based on my dietary choices, they believed I was turning into a hippie, and also felt slighted that I no longer wanted to eat the food that they have brought me up on. In my cultures (I’m Japanese and Mexican), food is an expression of connection and affection. To deny your family’s offering is disrespectful, and it took me awhile to come up with ways that made it less so.

When I was about 20, I joined a veg club at my community college and it was a HUGE game-changer for me. I learned about the animal suffering that happens on factory farms, and environmental issues, and felt in my heart the strong pull to align my food choices with my values. It was then that I decided to dedicate my life to promoting a plant-based diet. I held bake sales, passed out literature, got a job at an animal sanctuary, started this blog, moved jobs to work at a vegan advocacy organization, and ultimately started working on this website full-time.

But why did I start this website? Well, the real reason is because my family was falling apart. My aunt had multiple amputations and sadly passed away because of her type 2 diabetes, my grandfather died from complications in his triple bypass surgery, my 40-year-old uncle had a heart attack — you name the diet-related health problem, my family was suffering from it. And when I suggested healthier food, I often heard that it was too expensive. I hated that answer! To me, my family is priceless. But I understand the reality of living on a small budget and the limitations it provides while food shopping. Until recently, I lived under the poverty line my whole adult life. So, I started Plant-Based on a Budget to share with them.

The site originally started out with me and my friends sharing our favorite inexpensive, plant-based recipes, but has now grown into a slew of resources! I’ve been working on it full-time since September 2016, and I’m extremely grateful for that opportunity every single day. In addition the recipes the site offers, I’ve also created meal plans that show how to eat plant-based if you only have $25 per week to spend, started the Plant-Based on a Budget Facebook support group, a slow cooker cookbook, the Plant-Based on a Budget cookbook, the 7 Days mini documentary, and the Plant-Powered People Podcast, which shares stories of how people overcame struggles associated with transitioning to a plant-based diet.

I started eating vegetarian options for health reasons, and it completely changed my life for the better! Although it wasn’t always easy and it took me awhile, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know that my decision was a forever commitment, and I am glad I set myself up for success at a pace that was long-term sustainable. And I’m so excited to help you through the process, too!

But I can’t do it all alone. I’m backed by an extremely motivated, dedicated, compassionate, and talented team. Let me introduce you …

The Team


Bea is the backbone of Plant-Based on a Budget. She helps implement all of my wild ideas, makes sure our projects run smoothly, and manages all the content of PlantBasedonaBudget.com. She’s a big lover of animals, a good Netflix show, and danceable music. Although she is originally from Chile, she currently lives in London with her husband and three children.

Find her on IG at instagram.com/londontakesfive/


Alfonso is the photographer, graphic designer, and the voice behind many of the social media posts. He studied Communication and Social Media Marketing at University of Maryland, is a professional photographer, and wants to spend his life doing good in the world. He’s originally from Peru, but now lives in Washington D.C. with his girlfriend Sara.

Find him at http://alfonsorevilla.com/


Deanne is in charge of our sponsored collaborations. She works hard to find like-minded companies who want to put effort into making vegan products easily accessible. She finds her faith to be of utmost importance, is a foster mom to kitties, and spends her days in sunny Venice, CA.

Find her on IG at instagram.com/deannethomsen/



Andrea helps run the Plant-Based on a Budget Support Group on Facebook. She encourages and supports people to push through their struggles in plant-based eating, and gives them advice and confidence to make it a lifestyle change that’s sustainable long term. She has a doctorate in physical therapy, a B.S. in kinesiology and exercise science and a minor in nutrition. She lives in Houston, TX with her sweet Lab/Pit, Jade.

You can follow Andrea on IG instagram.com/ndreawhite/


Janaye helps run the Plant-Based on a Budget Support Group on Facebook. She assists people in overcoming obstacles they face while transitioning to a plant-based diet. As a full-time employee in the corporate field, an entrepreneur, a wife, a mom of two children and a cutie pie pitbull, she provides people with a real life example of how plant-based eating can be done with a busy schedule. She’s originally from Jamaica but now lives in Florida.

Follow Janaye on IG at instagram.com/janayestanleyfray/


For years, Justin has been the man behind the scenes making sure the hackers stay out of the way, the site stays up-to-date, and is also in charge of beautifying our home page. He’s a writer, enjoys cooking up tasty veg meals, and resides in Rhode Island with his partner, Keri.

You can find Justin at www.summerchilde.com and www.instagram.com/justinsummerchilde

Comments (29)

  1. posted by Comrade Black on June 20, 2012

    I just recently posted a call out seeking submissions for a zine about being both poor and vegan. any chance you might be interested in reposting that on your site?

    • posted by chefkaties on December 3, 2015

      Hi there — I just saw your post. I’m a plant-based chef in Chicago and I’m looking for opportunities to submit recipes. My site is http://www.plants-rule.com I’d love to hear more about you and what you’re looking for: chefkatiesimmons@outlook.com

      • posted by kam on February 4, 2016

        Hi Katies would love to have advise from you regarding cooking meals as can only cook with coconut oil – no eggs meat fish wheat yoghurt pure plant based food only.

        look forward to hearing from you

        kam x

  2. posted by Deen on April 29, 2013

    I would like to get email notifications when new posts are up. Thanks.

    • posted by Jake on May 1, 2013

      Hello! Thanks for your interest. You will find a subscribe form in the sidebar on our contact page ( ) or you can follow us on Facebook:

  3. posted by Doyle on June 4, 2013

    I love this sit. I’ve been looking for just this information. granddaughter has been using it and say It’s site and had me try it.

  4. posted by Janelle Marshall on October 7, 2013

    Love the site. I’ve already pinned a few recipes. Have you thought about creating menu plans based on the recipes you have on the site? I would be interested and willing to help. 🙂

  5. posted by Gina on November 2, 2013

    THANK YOU! What a great site and recipes. Sometimes the prices
    of produce are discouraging. Please keep reminding everyone that this
    doesn’t have to be the case.

  6. posted by Mariana on November 8, 2013

    Hello I see no pricing or prices how to start basics or anything. I’m not sure what kind of budget people are working with but I just look at most of these meals and I see us spending at least $20 on one meal. Is there somewhere on the site that I can find a starting guide or anything. We’re strict vegan, and I’m pregnant so we’re really trying to cut back.

    • posted by nancy horyza on November 19, 2013

      Mariana- check out their fb site. On going right now is a $25/ per week per person project.

  7. posted by S.E.A. on December 2, 2013

    I love your site! I am very grateful for your hard work. The information you have posted has improved my life. I wake up craving kale smoothies instead of soda.

  8. posted by jane on February 13, 2014

    Is there anyone here who has gone plant based due to an autoimmune disease? I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on how it has impacted your pain level, energy, etc.

  9. posted by kam on February 4, 2016

    Hi this is a fab site… my sister has re- occurance ovarian cancer and has had chemo twice as well as radio therapy one – she was advised to go on a plants based food diet and cut out egg fish flour meat. her quality of life is 80% better due to the plant based diet. would love to hear of more recipes as I can cook for her according to her diet.

    this is a fab site. xx

  10. posted by chefkaties on February 5, 2016

    That is fabulous for your sister, Kam. I’m so happy to hear. You should also check out plants-rule for more healthy plant-based recipes.

  11. posted by brenda on June 29, 2017

    I am switching from vegetarian to vegan but I am struggling with ideas on what to cook daily. Breakfasts, Lunch and dinner – Any advice and guidance would be helpful.

  12. posted by Tim Calvert on July 7, 2017

    Wow! I’m a 56yo, plant-based infant (four weeks)…where do I start?! A month ago I was grilling steaks, now I’m living on sweet potatoes and black beans…lol. Just found your website via What the Health and am digging in…

  13. posted by schnutschi on July 8, 2017

    Sorry, but where can I actually find the “budget” part? Where can I read how to not spend a lot of money?


  14. posted by Barry on July 9, 2017


    Downloaded your 2 week meal plan last night and I’m starting my journey today. Looking very much forward to it. This doesn’t give me any excuses anymore. (:

    Can I make one small request please. This being the Internet means your reach goes far beyond you home country, which I guess is the USA. It would be great if you could add metric measurements to you recipes. Converting is a bit of a pain.

    1 cup of flour is completely different from 1 cup of oats in grams. I was ready to put 340g of oats in my porridge before I realised it couldn’t be right.

    Thanks guys

  15. posted by Joe on July 29, 2017

    Are the plants that we eat exposed to pollution, pesticides, or contamination? Regardless, if it is “organic” does not make these plants invincible from these exposures.

  16. posted by Virginia Stultz on August 3, 2017

    Love this site!!

  17. posted by Beverly on August 23, 2017

    I have a gallbladder problem. I want to eat healthy. To restore my eating habit to a healthier diet. To live longer. To have a stronger body.

  18. posted by KAYTHEGARDENER on August 23, 2017

    Do you have a NON-Facebook budget blog??

  19. posted by Phyllis on September 4, 2017

    Looking forward to the resources.

  20. posted by Pav on September 7, 2017

    First off…
    (Yay for Kay!… push to-> NON-FB Control System BS!)

    The BIGGEST CHALLENGE which you should obviously have addressed and failed to do so, is when switching to a plant based diet….
    there needs to be the FAST-FOOD solution….
    for such a diet to be easy to implement.

    Your main meal section is poor at best… and what? Chocolate cake W as entree…?
    Please take the time to get your site more efficient and plentiful.

    Or don’t bother having a website at all !

  21. posted by Jo-Ann Sowa on September 11, 2017

    I love this site and all the great information provided, very helpful
    I am wondering if anyone has information on Kombucha incorporated
    into this diet, as it is grown with white sugar. I am currently watering
    down the Kombucha with water before consuming
    Any tips will be greatly appreciated

  22. posted by lily kelly on October 31, 2017

    are the recipes featured on the website compiled into a book? If so, what is the name?
    thank you.
    lily kelly

  23. posted by Diane Brunson on December 2, 2017

    looking forward to trying this book!