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Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

If you’re accustomed to cooking with animal products, plant-based dishes might seem too complicated. Cooking without meat, eggs, and dairy likely calls for unfamiliar vegetables and obscure new culinary methods, right?

And then there’s the added cost to consider. Buying plant-based burgers, vegan nut cheeses, and coconut-milk ice cream might strain your grocery budget, especially compared with their conventional counterparts.

At its core, though, a plant-based diet is about eating more produce and whole foods. From that perspective, it can be simple, economical, and tasty — you just need some practical recipes at your disposal.

That’s why we’re sharing these dishes from Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee’s Frugal Vegan cookbook, which offers a vibrant mix of accessible, affordable veggie-centered recipes. It’s full of clever tips and tricks to help you save money while you’re eating well.

Can’t imagine giving up chicken wings for good? Plant-based doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing lifestyle. Even choosing to go meat- and dairy-free one or two days a week can substantially affect the environment, while helping you eat more veggies and trim your grocery budget. These recipes offer a place to start.

— Kaelyn Riley

Vegan Recipes

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

Makes six servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes


  • 3 red or yellow bell peppers
  • 1 tsp. plus 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cooked couscous, quinoa, or rice
  • Half of a 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup soft tofu
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the bell peppers in half vertically and remove the seeds. Lightly coat the peppers with 1 teaspoon olive oil and roast in a glass baking dish for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow them to cool while you prepare the filling.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to a pan and heat over medium-low. When hot, add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about three minutes. Then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute or two. Stir in the couscous (or quinoa or rice), spinach, beans, tomatoes, oregano, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
  3. Carefully spoon the filling into each bell-pepper half. Bake the peppers for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re cooked through.
  4. In the meantime, make the sauce: Press the tofu with paper towels to remove as much water as possible. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. When the peppers are cooked through, remove them from the oven. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with fresh parsley just before serving.

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Crunchy Thai Salad

Makes four servings
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time


  • 3/4 cup millet or other grain
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2  cup roasted and salted peanuts, crushed

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tbs. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs. agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Pinch red-pepper flakes


  1. Cook the millet according to package directions. When the millet is done, fluff it with a fork and set it aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Mix the peanut butter and tamari (or soy sauce) in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until the peanut butter is soft and easy to stir, about 30 seconds. Add the ginger, agave syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, and red-pepper flakes. Whisk together to fully incorporate the flavors.
  3. Add the purple cabbage, carrots, sugar snap peas, cilantro, and green onion to a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled millet and toss to combine. Pour the sauce over the millet-vegetable mixture and stir to thoroughly coat. Sprinkle the peanuts on top of the salad and chill until ready to serve.

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Roasted-Carrot Curry Soup

Makes six servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes


  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-in. pieces
  • 2 medium yellow onions, quartered and sliced into 1-in. pieces
  • 1 15-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the curry powder, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the carrots and onions. Toss to coat, then pour onto the lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to caramelize, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer them to a large pot set over medium heat. Add the coconut milk and water (or broth). Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for just a few minutes. Working in batches, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Return the soup to the pot until warmed through, then turn off the heat, add lemon juice, and serve.

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Sweet-Potato Breakfast Boats

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes


  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a fork to poke holes all around the sweet potato. Place it on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on size.
  2. Alternatively, microwave the sweet potato for eight to 10 minutes, until cooked through.
    Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise. With the fleshy parts facing up, cut a slit lengthwise down the middle of each half. Use two forks to split open the sweet potato halves so you’re left with little pockets.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the cumin and cayenne. Fill each sweet-potato boat with the avocado, followed by the black beans, corn, and salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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This originally appeared as “Plant-Based on a Budget” in the March 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

Excerpted from Frugal Vegan. Copyright June 2017 by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee. Published June 20, 2017 by Page Street Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission.

Photography by: Allie Lehman

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