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[Some disclaimers]

I went vegan for ethical reasons. I bring this up because while I do care about my health as well, I do not beat myself up about using oil, salt, sugar, etc.

We are not really people who eat breakfast. For this challenge, we ate oatmeal every day except one for breakfast. It was filling, but to be honest … boring.

Most of these recipes are made to have left overs or to feed my boyfriend who eats more than most humans. I did not take this into account when originally making my list, so I do have quite a few recipes you could omit if you just eat leftovers, and in return, saving you more money.

We also had my sister visiting, and so most of the dinners and the lunches on the weekend were split with her.

If you’re looking for additional resources to help you with a plant-based diet: Check out this support group on Facebook where you can share tips and low-cost plant-based recipes. The New York Times bestseller called How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger is a fantastic resource to learn about plant-based nutrition. He also has a great website, Nutrition Facts, that has a ton of free resources. If you’re interested in stopping your consumption of dairy, The Dairy Detox can help you out with an entire online detox guide for only $10!

Items I’m hoping you already have:

Vegetable shortening
Basic condiments
Non-dairy milk
Non-dairy butter

Shopping List:

1 lb green/brown lentils: .83
1 cup white rice: .28
.5 lb pearled barley: .31
1 cup cornmeal: .30
.5 lb quinoa: 2.50
2 tomatoes: 1.23
About 6 onions (I bought a 5 lb bag as it was on sale, and at a different store saw a bag of onions for just a little more money): 1.98
1 bunch celery: 1.48
2 lbs of oats: 2.42
2 packages extra firm tofu: 2.96
1 sm lemon juice bottle: 1.00
2 sweet potatoes: 3.78
1 large butternut squash: 1.56
2 lb bags of whole carrots: .98
(2) 28oz can whole tomatoes: 1.16
2 packages bouillon cubes: 2.00
(2) cans tomato paste: .84
2 garlic heads: .96
(3) 15oz can diced tomatoes: 1.74
(1) 8 oz can tomato sauce: .18
(2) 15 oz can red kidney bean:  1.78
(1) 15 oz can cannellini (white) bean: .89
(5) 15 oz can chickpeas: 3.56
(2) 15 oz can black beans: 1.78
1 jar of marina sauce: 1.79
1 lb ziti or penne: .99
1 bag frozen fruit: 2.99
1 sm bag frozen spinach: 1.19
1 bag of 3 head romaine: 1.99
1 bag of sliced sourdough: 2.99
Total:  $48.14
Friday, November 1st, 2013
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Chickpea tacos
Dinner: Lentil soup
Breakfast: We ate very simple, but healthy oatmeal! There are 16 grams of protein in just one cup of oats. Cook according to directions and add 1.5 tbsp of brown sugarphoto 1(8)

Lunch: I used this recipe for chickpea tacos, and this recipe for tortillas.
To make this a recipe for two, I used a whole 15 oz can of chickpeas. I also added onion for a topping and a few more spices while cooking the chickpeas. This made about 4 small tacos each.


Recipe above. My modifications:
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1/5 tsp cumin
1/5 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/5 tsp salt
1/3 cup diced onion (as topping)
1 15 oz can of chickpeas

Dinner: Lentils are magical. They pack 3.1 grams of protein in just 1 Tbsp!  They are very high in fiber which helps lower cholesterol and helps the body to maintain blood sugar. These legumes help reduce the risk of heart disease and even prostate cancer.  In addition, they are a great source of iron, potassium, and are packed with vitamins.

Bowl full of veggie lentil soup.

Delicious Lentil Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced
2-3 peeled carrots, chopped
1 14-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
2 Bouillon cubes
1 cup dry lentils
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, adding the onions, garlic and celery once hot. Stirring often, cook until the onion is fragrant and tender, about 4-6 minutes. Add the carrots, crushed tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lentils are soft but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot!
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and frozen fruit
Lunch: Chickpea salad sandwiches with two small bowls of leftover lentil soup
Dinner: Creamy-without the cream-tomato soup
Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and frozen fruit, cook according to directions

Chickpea salad sandwich on a plate.

Lunch: A great source of protein, potassium, and fiber- chickpeas are easily my favorite bean. Or legume. Whichever they are.

For lunch, I made a version of this chickpea salad for a sandwich. We both also ate a small bowl of lentil soup leftover from the night before. I used only 1 can of chickpeas, did without the red pepper, added diced onion, and a small amount of diced tomato that I had left over from yesterday’s chickpea tacos, and used only 1 celery stick. The recipe calls for 1 dill pickle which I did not have, so I added a half tsp of dill.

I toasted 4 pieces of sliced sourdough, piled on the salad, and added a small amount of lettuce that I also had left over from yesterday’s fixin’s.

Dairy free creamy tomato soup in a bowl.

Dinner: Bread in the base of soup?!  I know, it’s weird. And delicious. It’s the best tomato soup I’ve made, and it literally takes all of 15 minutes to make!
Creamy-without the cream-Tomato Soup
2 large cans (28-ounce) whole tomatoes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 small to medium yellow onion
1.5 tsp dried oregano (optional)
2 slices white bread (I use a sliced sourdough) crusts removed as well as you can manage, torn or cut into small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat about 2 table spoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat until hot.
  2. Add garlic, onions, and (optional) oregano. Stir frequently until onions are translucent.
  3. Add ripped bread and tomatoes. Roughly mash tomatoes with a potato masher if you have one.
  4. Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

For a handheld immersion blender: Begin to blend the soup taking the rest of the ½ cup of olive oil and slowly pouring it directly in the flow of the blender.

For a regular blender: Transfer half of soup to the blender. Blend soup, starting at low speed and gradually increasing to high. With blender running on high, slowly trickle in half of remaining olive oil. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining half of soup and olive oil.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Breakfast:  Pancakes with mixed berry syrup
Lunch: Sweet Potato and black bean tacos with Mexican rice
Dinner: Ziti marinara with tofu ricotta

photo 5(4)
Breakfast: I used this recipe without banana because I had all of these ingredients and consider them to be staples one would have stocked!
For the fruit syrup, I used just over a half a cup of frozen mixed berries mixed with a tablespoon of brown sugar heated in a pan on low.

photo 3(10)
Lunch: I used this recipe for sweet potato burritos, and this recipe for tortillas.
I used one sweet potato which made just over two cups shredded, which was plenty.  I added (1) 15 oz can of black beans (rinsed and drained) to the pan with the sweet potatoes in the last few minutes of cooking. As a side, I made mexican rice.

photo 4(4)
Dinner: I usually do a version of this to stuff large shells or manicotti, but it is much cheaper to use ziti. Outside of the weekly challenge, I will also sometimes add  sautéed minced mushrooms, and/or cooked soy crumbles to the tofu mixture.
Ziti Marinara with Tofu Ricotta
1 lb ziti/penne
1 jar marinara
¼ cup oil for ricotta plus 1 tbsp for sauteing
1 tsp lemon juice
1 package extra firm tofu
1.5 tbsp oregano
½ tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, mined
1 cup frozen spinach

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook pasta according to directions.
  3. Crumble tofu in a large bowl with your hands to resemble feta. Mix in ¼ cup oil and lemon juice and stir to distribute evenly. Add garlic, salt, and oregano- one by one, mixing after each is incorporated.  Set aside.
  4. Heat tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add onion, spincah, and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add onions and garlic to tofu mixture. Mix well.
  6. Pour enough marinara sauce to cover bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. Add cooked pasta, and remaining sauce on top.
  7. Top pasta with tofu mixture, spreading evenly.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes

Monday, November 4, 2013
Breakfast: Oatmeal with brown sugar and frozen mixed berries
Lunch: Leftover pasta
Dinner: Ginger-y Butternut Squash Soup

Breakfast: See above

Lunch: See above

A black bowl of ginger butternut squash soup.

Dinner: This is one of my favorite things to eat in the fall. It is spicy enough to clear your sinuses, but not overwhelming in the slightest.

Ginger-y Butternut Squash Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp dry ginger
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4-6 cups of water with 1-2 bouillon cubes(depending on how thick you like your soup)
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
Dash of cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper to taste


  1.  In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, until onions have started to cook.
  2. Add the squash and ginger, stir, and cover for three to five minutes.
  3. Add water with bouillon, herbs, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Blend soup until smooth, salt and pepper to taste and stir in a dash of cayenne (optional).


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Smoked Tofu

Dinner: Minestrone Soup with leftover salad


Breakfast: See above

Dinner plate filled with caesar salad with croutons and tofu.

Lunch: This is a recipe I adapted from Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen. It’s a huge favorite in my household!

Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Smoked Tofu

In addition to the following ingredients if I have them,  I add sliced cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber.

For dressing:

¼ cup tofu (I bought extra firm)
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tbs white vinegar
½ tblsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1-2 head romaine (depending on how hungry you are!)

For croutons:

2-3 slices sourdough, sliced into cubes
2 tblsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For tofu:

Rest of block of tofu
1 tbsp oil for cooking
3 tbsp soy sauce
1.5   tsp liquid smoke

To make the sourdough croutons:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with oil and salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes in just one layer onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or so, checking on them periodically and turning at least once. They should be lightly golden.

To make the dressing:

In a blender add tofu, oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

To make the smoked tofu:

Mix 3 tbsp soy sauce and 1.5 tsp liquid smoke in small bowl and set aside.

I sometimes cut the tofu into strips and other times into bite-size pieces. Either way you decided to do it, slice tofu about a little more than a 1/4 inch thick.

Heat tbsp oil on medium heat. Add single layer of tofu, and browning one side for about 3 minutes. Pour on soy sauce/smoke mixture and toss tofu to make sure all are coated. Continue to cook until all liquid has been absorbed and tofu is a dark brown.

Toss lettuce with dressing, add croutons and smoked tofu on top.

 Dinner:  If you haven’t noticed by now. We love soup.

Minestrone Soup

2 Tbs oil
1 can red beans, rinsed  and drained
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 peeled carrots, chopped,
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, mined
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced or crushed or diced tomatos
6 cups water
2 bouillon cubes
1/3 cup barley
1 tsp oregano (optional)
Salt and pepper to tast


Heat 2 table spoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat until hot.

Add garlic, onions, and (optional) oregano.

Stir frequently until onions are translucent.

Add carrots and celery and stir for another  2-3 minutes.

Add water, bouillon cubes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and bring to a boil.

Add grain of choice , cover, and reduce heat to low. Set timer for 10 minutes, adding beans and  cover.  Depending on the type of grain used, it can range from another 15 minutes to an additional 30. Check periodically and season with salt and pepper!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

Dinner: Lentil Tacos


Dinner: See above

Lunch: I made this delicious recipe! I omitted the cilantro because I didn’t have it, and used just 1 large sweet potato. Quinoa is a little on the pricey side when trying to stay with in a fixed budget, so if I made this again I would probably use millet or cous cous.

Dinner: These are one of our favorite things to eat! The only change I made was that I omitted the pepper because I didn’t have it. I made these tortillas.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner:4 Bean Chilli


Breakfast: See above

Lunch: See above

Dinner: This chili is very easy to make and will warm you right up on a cold night! It freezes well too, so you could always double the batch and save some for later!

4 Bean Chilli

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2-3  celery stalks, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed nd drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
1 1/2 tblsp cumin
2 tblsp chile powder
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1.5 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes.  Add carrots and celery Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.

2. Stir in diced tomatoes, beans, and water. Season chili with cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder salt, and pepper. Stir and let chili simmer for 30 minutes. Stir chili frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve hot.

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