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31 Vegan Recipes for $3 so You Don’t Have to Starve Until Payday

Written by PETA | April 15, 2015


If done intelligently, you can cook a healthy vegan meal for less money than you would normally blow on a soy latte. To make your meal even more affordable, use cheap ingredients like lentils and beans, buy ingredients in bulk, look for sales and coupons, buy store-brand items, and bike or walk to the store to save on gas money. Happy cooking!

Note: The following recipes are $3 or less per serving. Costs per serving were calculated using Sense to Save.

1. Vegan Meatball Subs (approximately $3 per serving)

Vegan Meatball Sub

Who doesn’t love a “meatball” sub? Whoever invented this dish is pure genius.

2. Avocado Cream Pasta (approximately $2.80 per serving)


Pasta is the classic cheap-yet-filling food, and nowadays, it’s not just made from flour. You can choose from pasta made from wheat, quinoa, soy, and even zucchini.

3. Back-to-School ‘Chicken’ Salad (approximately $1.88 per serving)

Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwich

This seven-ingredient recipe will probably take less than seven minutes to make!

4. Macaroni-and-‘Cheese’ Casserole (approximately $2.75 per serving)


The key ingredient in this mouthwatering dish is the nutritional yeast. Try Bragg brand.

5. Vegan Breakfast Sandwich, Courtesy of I Love Vegan (approximately $2.56 per serving)

In this exquisite post, I Love Vegan breaks down this recipe, giving us various options for each ingredient along the way.

6. Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl, Courtesy of Minimalist Baker (approximately $3 per serving)

This bowl is full of powerful foods such as kale, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas.

7. Mexican Noodle Soup (approximately $0.68 per serving)


Peppers, cilantro, and a touch of cumin, along with a few other ingredients, make for a complex, flavorful dish.

8. Easy Vegan Naan Pizza (approximately $3 per serving)


Naan is a delicious bread used in Indian cuisine, and it happens to make a wonderful pizza crust, too.

9. Vegan Mushroom Rosemary Stroganoff, Courtesy of One Ingredient Chef (approximately $3 per serving)

This famous Russian dish deserves a little more attention from us vegans. The mushroom version is heavenly, and thanks to the One Ingredient Chef, we can make a simple, affordable version.

10. Southwest Lime Corn Salad, Courtesy of The Vegan 8 (approximately $3 per serving)

You won’t have to tighten your purse strings when your taste buds take a trip to Texas with this hearty salad.

11. Strawberry-Almond-Kale Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette (approximately $2.15 per serving)

Strawberry Almond Salad

The mix of sweet strawberries and bitter kale is truly a taste to relish.

12. Smoky Black Bean Beet Burger, Courtesy of Minimalist Baker (approximately $1.50 per serving)

This burger is so delicious that you won’t believe it’s also the healthiest thing ever.

13. Tofu Scramble (approximately $1.67 per serving)


You’ve got to love a tofu scramble—you get so much bang for your buck and a walloping punch of protein, too.

14. Stuffed Crust Tomato Basil Pizza with Vegan Mozzarella (approximately $2.66 per serving)

Pizza with Follow Your Heart

This pizza is even more divine with homemade crust, although the Trader Joe’s variety does just fine.

15. Spaghetti with White Bean Alfredo Sauce (approximately $1.73 per serving)

White  Bean Alfredo

Keep in mind that this Alfredo sauce is vegan and made of white beans, so it’s creamy and delicious but not high in calories like the Alfredo sauce of yesteryear.

16. Lentil-Quinoa Salad (approximately $0.83 per serving)


Lentils are a staple for any vegan. They’re versatile, nutritious, and extremely affordable. Oh, and they’re scrumptious. Yum.

17. Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad Sandwich (approximately $1.43 per serving)


Chickpeas, avocado, lime, and cilantro—what’s not to like?

18. Hearty Vegan Chili (approximately $0.89 per serving)


I love making a pot of chili and not worrying about cooking for the rest of the week, and you can’t go wrong with this recipe.

19. Easy Vegan Pad Thai (approximately $3 per serving)

Vegan Pad Thai

I thought pad Thai was difficult to cook until this recipe proved otherwise!

20. ‘Bacon’ Wedge Salad with Vegan Bleu Cheese Dressing (approximately $3 per serving)

Vegan Wedge Salad

There’s something simple yet hearty about this salad that we just love.

21. Cruelty-Free Chick-fil-A Copy-Cat Burger (approximately $2.25 per serving)

Chik-fil-a Fried 'Chicken' Burger Copy Cat Recipe

Copycat recipes are fun, and this Chick-fil-A burger is everything! Extra pickles, please!

22. Avocado Reuben (approximately $2.15 per serving)

Avocado Reuben

Pumpernickel bread is the best. And avocados. End of story.

23. Mini Zucchini Pizzas (approximately $1 per serving)


With this simple and surprisingly filling recipe, you get all the goodness of pizza without the carbs.

24. Faux-Turkey and ‘Cheese’ Roll-Up (approximately $3 per serving)

Faux Turkey Roll-Up

This lunch treat is easy to make and packs a lot of protein, too.

25. Power Punch Kale Caesar Salad (approximately $1.60 per serving)

Kale Caeser Salad

We’re not kidding when we say “power punch,” because this salad is a real whopping helping of protein power.

26. Curried Rice and Lentils (approximately $0.75 per serving)

Curry Lentil

The most affordable dish on this list, this is a curry lover’s dream.

27. ‘Beef’- and Orzo-Stuffed Peppers (approximately $2.25 per serving)


This recipe is worth the hefty price tag of $2.25. (Joke. It’s not expensive!) Equal parts vegetable and protein, it’s a well-rounded meal.

28. Lentil-Vegetable Soup (approximately $0.50 per serving)

Veggie Lentil Soup PETA2

29. Sumptuous Spinach Salad with Orange-Sesame Dressing (approximately 1.38 per serving)

The name says it all with this sumptuous salad. It’s one of the most affordable recipes on this list, adapted from

30. Spinach Orzo Salad (approximately $1.40 per serving)

Spinach and Orzo

Hello, orzo, you rice-shaped pasta! The tomatoes and basil are the clincher for me with this recipe.

31. Rainbow Zucchini Rolls (approximately $2.75 per serving)

Zucchini Rolls

These pretty rolls feature the tasty trio of zucchini, cilantro, and hummus.


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