Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money

| April 2, 2012 | 3 Comments

Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money

You don’t have to blow your budget to eat great meatless and dairy-free meals every day.With Vegan on the Cheap, you can enjoy delicious vegan meals every day of the week. Veteran food writer and vegan authority Robin Robertson provides 150 mouth-watering, exciting recipes that cost just 50 cents to per serving-hefty savings to go with hearty vegan meals.This book presents great options for savory soups and stews, satisfying salads, hearty noodle dishes, first-class casseroles, favorites for

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  1. Reader "piratebean" says:
    225 of 226 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Great cookbook, with one caveat, May 23, 2010
    By 
    Reader “piratebean” (Newport, RI USA) –

    This review is from: Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money (Paperback)

    The recipes in this book really are inexpensive to make. The book starts with about 28 pages of advice on ways to save money on food, and the rest of the book is devoted to recipes. I have tried the following so far, and thought they were great:

    Cheezee sauce (excellent!)
    Comfort loaf (Best vegan ‘meatloaf’ I’ve ever had)
    Baked ziti (Delicious; I was amazed at how well the tofu worked in this dish)
    Mexican rice and bean bake (Today’s dinner – also outstanding)

    The one caveat I have about the book is that some of the directions appear to be incomplete. This is okay for experienced cooks that can just figure out how to make it work. But someone with less experience and know-how could possibly end up wasting money by trying recipes that won’t work.

    For example, the Cheezee sauce recipe tells you to combine some ingredients in a saucepan. Then it says, “Turn the heat on medium and whisk in the soy milk. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.” This makes it sound like you are supposed to just turn on the heat and have the pot on the stove for 1 minute. What you have to do is bring the mixture to boiling and then cook it for about 1 minute longer. So, the author forgot to mention the part about bringing the mixture to boiling. If you’ve never made a sauce this way before, you might throw it out if you follow the directions, because it’s not useful in that watery state.

    In the Mexican rice and bean bake, the recipe involves partially cooking some rice on the stovetop, and then putting it in the oven to cook the rest of the way. I think that there is something missing from the directions there as well, because I cooked and baked as directed, and had to double my baking time to cook the rice completely. (And, no, there is nothing wrong with my oven.) I presume that it was supposed to be cooked a little longer on the stovetop first, but again, the directions just indicated that you were to return the stovetop mixture to boiling, and then dump it in the pan to go into the oven. I suspect you were supposed to boil it for a little while on the stovetop first.

    The food tastes great. She really does a lot with inexpensive ingredients. (One of the things I liked about this cookbook was that she only asks you to have a few non-standard ingredients on hand, unlike most vegan cookbooks, which expect that you are secretly running an international grocery store in your kitchen.) But considering I tried 4 recipes so far, and 2 of them had inaccurate directions, I’m a little concerned about the rest of the book. I’ll just have to remember to be more vigilant when making these recipes.

    I think this is particularly important for this book, because I am sure that this book was geared, in part, to the ‘starving students’ and other new vegans who want to eat vegan on a budget. In general, younger people have less cooking experience and therefore will be less likely to know how to ‘fix’ these recipes. Also, I have a few of Robertson’s other cookbooks, and haven’t ever come across this problem so far. So, I’m disappointed for that reason, too.

    But, man, that Mexican rice and bean bake is REALLY good.

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  2. A. Pennington says:
    64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent, easy, healthy recipes that I can make for myself or dinner guests, May 2, 2010
    By 
    A. Pennington (Washington, DC) –

    This review is from: Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money (Paperback)

    I love this book. I’m not great in the kitchen but this book helps me hide that fact from guests I have over for dinner. Not only are the recipes interesting and delicious (ex: Easy Peanut Sauce, how could I have presented Thai curry without this before?), but the book also has unique elements that I’ve never seen before. For example, each recipe comes with an estimated cost per serving. Wow.

    There is a “Cheap Trick” section that explains how to have vegan versions of staples like Parmesan and bread crumbs, which can be pricey if you buy them prepackaged. The vegan Parmesan “cheese” recipe uses nuts and nutritional yeast that makes a rich topping that helps me turn my old vegan standards into restaurant-style dishes. The book also has a helpful section on where to find high quality ingredients at low cost. It also gives a suggested shopping list! this is really exciting to me as I’m hopeless with figuring out what I need to buy and end up just buying whatever catches my eye at the store. I also like the suggested menu for a week.

    I highly recommend this excellent cookbook for people who are vegan or for omnivores who just want to eat more healthy, vegan food. It has a nice cover and the inside style is clean and sleek, so I’d also recommend giving it as a gift either to someone who is vegan or just trying have a healthier diet without sacrificing taste, time or money.

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  3. Tamasin says:
    55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Eat great for less!, May 1, 2010
    By 
    Tamasin

    This review is from: Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies that Save You Time and Money (Paperback)

    I was a tester for this book and can’t rave about it enough. As a rule, I’m not as budget conscious as I should be when cooking. But this books make it so easy and doesn’t scrimp on the flavor. The recipes are very diverse and include dishes from several nationalities. Besides the American style dishes, some of the Asian and Mexican recipes were our favorites. The Tortilla Strata is one of the best I’ve ever had and doesn’t take many ingredients. The Korean Cabbage Salad, Asian Noodle Soup, Quick Lo Mein,andCajun Spiced Seitan Po’Boys are just a few of our favorites. The recipe for Corned Seitan with Cabbage makes the best reubens!

    Besides the wonderful recipes, the cookbook includes strategies for saving money and making your time in the kitchen more efficient. There’s even a slow cooker chapter for make-ahead meals. Another cool thing about the book are the “Splurge a little” notes that offer suggestions to dress up a dish if you’re so inclined.

    With 150 recipes that cost 50 cents to $2 a serving, this book is money well spent.

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