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Budget Friendly Whole Food Plant Based Meals: all the goodness on a smaller budget!

Budget Whole Food Plant based meals

A common worry when thinking about going plant-based is that the food will be too expensive or not suitable for the whole family. That’s why I thought I would challenge myself to show you that a lot of healthful staple plant-based foods can be bought relatively cheaply to make delicious and nutritious meals for a family of 4 (or can be batch cooked for 1-2 people and frozen).

Last week I shopped at a budget supermarket- Aldi in the UK and came up with 4 dishes for just over £25. However, a few of the staples were left over such as the red lentils, brown rice, peanut butter, apple sauce and porridge oats which would mean that you can make several meals in reality and also they will keep for a long time.

Obviously, prices may vary depending on where you shop from and which part of the world you live in and whether any of the ingredients are on offer, but still these are all ingredients that can be bought relatively cheaply or substituted out for others. In each recipe I’ve tried to include a complex carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat source and have tried and tested the recipes on my kids. The quantities are enough to feed a family of 4 and possibly have some leftover to freeze depending on appetites.

Now as it’s a budget supermarket, they don’t have the same variety as bigger supermarkets so not all the ingredients are perfectly whole food plant based. For example, the apple sauce does contain some sugar in it, but let’s not perfection be the enemy of good! You can always sub out for “cleaner” ingredients if you have them such as no sugar added apple sauce. Also, I know some of the produce is covered in plastic but in some instances that is only what is available in certain shops. I ty to re-use the plastic as much as I can.

I have not included the cost of seasonings that people would add to taste as I regard them as something you probably have in your store cupboard which includes oil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, sugar or any other sweetener and bottled lemon juice (if you so wish to add them).

If you have much younger kids then you may wish to swap the brown rice for white rice and wholemeal wraps for white wraps for a quicker energy source as well as adding healthier fats alongside their meals like adding more cashews than the recipe calls for or avocado. I do not use oil in my cooking but you could use olive or rapeseed oil which could provide another source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

So, let’s get shopping and cooking! This is the shopping list in its entirety:

1 pack of wholewheat spaghetti

1 pack of chestnut mushrooms (250 grams)

1 jar of applesauce

Garlic (I couldn’t find loose and bought a pack, but one bulb will do)

1 pack of rolled oats.

1 pack of red lentils

1 pack of ginger

1 carton of unsweetened soya milk (this is from the longlife section and if you have a soya allergy and other plant milk of your choice will be fine)

3 cartons of tomato passata (3 x500 gram packs)

2 loose red peppers

1kg bag of red onions

1 jar of peanut butter

Curry powder

Cajun Seasoning

Dried oregano

Smoked paprika

Garlic powder

1 tin of sweetcorn 340g

1 tin of black beans 390 grams

2 tins of green lentils (2 x 390 grams)

1 medium head of cauliflower

1 pack of cashews or 100 grams of cashews (the pack has 200 grams)

1 medium sized potato

1kg bag of brown rice

1 pack of coriander (optional)

1 pack of large wholewheat wraps (there were 8 large wraps in this pack)

1 pack of vegetable stock cubes

100 grams pack of dark chocolate chips (check they don’t contain dairy)


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