Vegetarian: motivating myself to use cheaper protein sources...

(22 Posts)
MinimalistMommi Mon 21-Oct-13 13:02:26

...compared to the price of dairy!
Anyone else done this?
Good quality cheese (and we buy organic) is super expensive!
Anybody else doing this/have done this in the past for frugal reasons?

quoteunquote Mon 21-Oct-13 13:43:32

Buy canned beans (all types), when on offer, bung together for bean salads to eat with meals.

MinimalistMommi Mon 21-Oct-13 13:46:43

Good idea quote

I have been looking at this 12 p per portion Indian dal dinner here which has inspired me: mortgagefreeinthree.com/2013/10/12p-indian-dal-dinner/

quoteunquote Mon 21-Oct-13 13:47:16

Bulk buy seeds and nuts, toast to bung in salads and over food.

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 13:55:32

Tempeh (if you can bear it), plain and Greek yoghurt, quinoa (grain or flour), almonds, quorn is ok (just find the ones you like and bulk buy when they have it on special), bans and lentils, nuts and seeds, tofu, chia seeds (you only need a tiny bit), avocado (not a high source but with all the other goodies in there, it's a good source)...

And as one website says in its 'super healthy vegetarian sourses of protein' "humanely raised beef". I am speechless!

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 13:56:07

Dahl Dahl Dahl. I could eat it every meal. I love it!

Thatsinteresting Mon 21-Oct-13 14:49:46

How much cheese are you getting through? We normally have 6 blocks in 4 weeks (Sainsbury's always on offer 2 organic blocks £4.50) and half a dozen eggs a week.
We eat a lot of pulses. We may have something like macaroni cheese but mostly cheese is used like a dressing ie a sprinkle on meals. We often have soup and I like to have cheese with that, particularly as dc are young and need some fat in their diet. When I decided we needed to cut down on the amount we got through I started cutting off the amount I wanted to use and putting the rest away. That sounds obvious but it was too easy to just add a little more and soon another block had gone. We also use extra mature as due to its flavour we don't need as much.

MinimalistMommi Mon 21-Oct-13 17:13:31

We get through three 300g blocks of Waitrose organic cheese a week and about 9 eggs a week (if I bake a cake during the week) 6 eggs if I don't.

We tend to have macaroni cheese once a week but the kids rely on it for sandwich fillings too each day for school. We also will have it to top pizza and to scatter over pasta etc

We'd have lentil soup each week and veggie bean burgers and lentil roast etc and butterbean stew etc but we still seem to get through three blocks of cheese a week at a cost of approx £9.00 shock the children are used to the flavour of the medium Waitrose organic cheddar too???and immediately spot if I switch to another organic cheese...

MinimalistMommi Mon 21-Oct-13 17:14:38

Should mention we are family of four.

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 17:27:13

I tend to get the Macmillan, cathedral or pilgrims mature/extra mature cheddar when they have special offers on the huge blocks (usually bogof) and freeze one. They both taste really nice and with a mature you don't use as much in say a cheese sauce.

I used to only have organic everything but now have cut back a little due to the massive costs of everything.

I make big, thick veg omelettes too. And add a tin of toms to lentil soup and it is extra yummy. Lentil soup gets thicker if it's left for a day or so - it's magic soup! I freeze it in portions and take it for my lunch at work.

Thatsinteresting Mon 21-Oct-13 17:47:59

I use about 5oz cheese for macaroni cheese. I put a tiny 3oz in the sauce with some wholegrain mustard for flavour and put the rest on top with some breadcrumbs for a cheese 'hit'.

Switch to a nut roast or very cheap steamed vegetable pudding for Sunday lunch, no cheese required. For the pizza try a folded, calzone style. I found I was putting a lot of cheese on to hold the topping on.

As for lunch, I know you're an organic fan but I sometimes buy quorn slices, but only when yellow stickered as it's too expensive otherwise. I lay it out on on baking tray and freeze in 2 slice portions. Once frozen I box it and use straight from the freezer. My dd also has pizza. I make a rectangular one,use very little cheese and then roll it and slice it to make pinwheels. Homemade hummus is really cheap and freezes well. I also do a bean spread. Occasionally I'll give her peanut butter but she likes to have an egg on the side confused. Pasta with pesto and flaked almonds goes down well. Pasta with mixed beans, cucumber, sweetcorn and tomato. As a very rare option she has a homemade sausage roll. I've recently started making various pasties for dh and dd has asked if I could make her some. I make them with pizza dough to lower the fat content.

As for flavour, it's a faff but a very old trick, start mixing your current cheese with a cheaper alternative, slowly increasing the new one until the swap is complete.

Thatsinteresting Mon 21-Oct-13 17:49:23

We're a family of 4 too. So 5oz of cheese between us isn't a lot.

quoteunquote Mon 21-Oct-13 18:41:20

http://www.kamalascorner.com/

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/article/party-menu-south-indian-supper/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Tastes-India-Vegetarian-Southern/dp/0747271488

start doing your own sprouting a few handfuls of a mix bunch and alphalpha, roast nuts and seeds, and it's a great bace for any meal.

souperb Mon 21-Oct-13 22:51:18

If you're using cheese in your cooking, try swapping one of your blocks for a maturer one and using less in the recipe? Then it's 2.5 blocks of cheese per week. Or buying cheaper/on offer cheese for when it will be less noticeable and only the preferred brand when in sandwiches or on crackers etc.

I find dried beans and pulses are cheaper than tinned. I cook the whole pack up in one go (in pressure cooker to save gas and time), then freeze in portions. HM hummous is good in sandwiches and I pretty much grew up on peanut butter and banana sandwiches in my skint vegan childhood.

If you have room to stock up on offers or large ethinic-shop-sized sacks, then that will also help drive down cost-per-meal.

danebury Thu 24-Oct-13 07:15:01

I am a convert to gluten powder which I use to make vegan-type high protein things like kidney bean balls and chickpea 'cutlets'. I also make seitan which is brilliant in stir fries etc. I hate fake meat - quorn makes my tummy ache something rotten - but I love seitan. You can make it taste how you want - versatile, cheap and yummy!

nicename Thu 24-Oct-13 15:30:58

I haven't heard of gluten powder or seitan. I'm going to have to keep a look out for them. What section are they in?

SolomanDaisy Thu 24-Oct-13 15:39:37

Tempeh, gram flour, red lentils are the cheapest ones I can think of.

nicename Thu 24-Oct-13 16:01:36

What do you do with tempeh? I used to use is years ago and remembered it was ok but bought it recently and eurchhhhhhh!

SolomanDaisy Thu 24-Oct-13 17:33:32

I dice it up and have it in stir fry. It's a pretty strong flavour though, lots of people don't like it. Tofu isn't much more expensive, I think temper has a nicer texture though.

nicename Fri 25-Oct-13 10:08:21

I got the stuff with seaweed in it - increadibly healthy but ooohhh the taste!

gretagrape Fri 25-Oct-13 16:00:39

I use parmesan in cooking instead of cheddar as it's much stronger so you use a lot less.

Some grains are really high in protein - pearl barley, millet and amaranth (only know because I bought them for weaning!).

BrownSauceSandwich Sun 27-Oct-13 07:34:30

I've had delicious seitan satay, and tandoori, in veggie restaurants, but I've never cooked it myself... Maybe it's time I tried.

If you eat soups, throw a handful of red lentils into every one, or use them as thickening agent instead of potatoes. Toast sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds and sprinkle on pasta for extra flavour instead of cheese (I sometimes have a bit of cheese as well, but you use much less). Invest in a jar of tahini and make your own hummous: one tin of chickpeas, zest and juice of a lemon, tbsp each of olive oil and tahini, salt and pepper, whizz in blender; use it for sandwiches, as a dip for snacks, or on baked potatoes with roast veg and a blob of Harissa. The cheese you do use, make it go further by grating it and mixing it with cheaper ingredients... With finely diced tomatoes (skinned and deseeded first) for sandwiches; with breadcrumbs for lasagne toppings; or mixed into a veggie casserole for a hit of cheesy flavour.

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