Katy Beskow provides ideas for budget vegan meals
I’m often asked whether a vegan lifestyle is expensive – there are a lot of misconceptions of vegans eating unpronounceable grains and an excess of avocados, shopping in exclusive food stores, and having high energy bills due to boiling all those pulses. But the honest, surprising-to-some answer is: no. My own journey into veganism had humble beginnings when I moved to London as a student in 2006. With just enough money to cover rent and bills, I started shopping at a local fruit and vegetable market to make savings. The market was intoxicating, with vibrant and exotic produce, as well as cheap and fast-cooking rice, canned beans and lentils. Buying seasonal, vegan produce gave me a way to get creative in the kitchen, as well as inspiring what would become an unexpected career in food writing.
You don’t need specialist ingredients to cook great vegan meals. Everything you need is available at the supermarket – from fresh vegetables and a variety of non-dairy milks, to an array of herbs and a selection of beans and pulses. This is great for those of us on a budget, as it includes supermarket own-brands delivering great quality at affordable prices. There’s no need to even set foot in a pricey health-food shop (and your wallet will be relieved to see that there’s no avocado, quinoa or tofu in sight!).
People are choosing a vegan lifestyle for various reasons, including animal ethics, sustainability, health improvement, and a desire to understand where their food is really from and how it’s processed. It is also now common for people to choose a vegan diet to save money. Plant proteins are considerably cheaper than meat, fish or dairy products. If you feel daunted by the idea of vegan cooking, let the following recipe show you how easy it really is – from shopping to preparation.
THREE-INGREDIENT BANANA PANCAKES
These fluffy pancakes are my favourite way to start the day. The riper the banana, the sweeter the pancakes, so use up that banana you’re ready to throw away. Serve with toasted pecan nuts, vegan yoghurt, and maple syrup if you happen to have some. Maple syrup can be expensive, but you can buy premium-grade maple syrup from low-price supermarkets. It lasts for ages. If maple syrup is out of your price range, drizzle the pancakes with golden syrup, or substitute puréed seasonal soft fruits. These pancakes work well with any type of non-dairy milk you have available. For a nuttier flavour, try almond milk.
Makes about 9 small pancakes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium ripe banana, peeled
100g rolled oats
300ml sweetened soya milk
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low–medium heat while you prepare the pancake batter. Throw the banana, oats and soya milk into a jug blender, or add the ingredients to a bowl and use a hand blender to blitz to a semi-smooth batter. Add tablespoon-sized amounts of the batter to the hot pan, cook for 2 minutes until golden, and then flip and cook the other side for a further 2 minutes. Serve hot.
Edited extract from 15 Minute Vegan: On a Budget – Fast Modern Vegan Food that Costs Less by Katy Beskow, photography by Dan Jones, published by Quadrille.
This recipe was originally published in JUNO Early Spring 2019, issue 59.