I hope you are liking these budget-friendly weekly meal plans as much as I’m liking putting them together! Today I’m going to show you how to feed a family of 4 for a week (3 meals a day for 7 days) with an entire menu of vegan, gluten-free meals and only spend $50! Bonus for allergy families, all but one of these meals are also nut-free.
I try to plan enough in these budget menu posts to feed 2 adults and 2 kids for a week. The secret is just that we will be making several meals from scratch and using basic inexpensive ingredients. But I do try to keep it simple and the cool thing about this week is that everything here can be made in 30 minutes or less.
I’ve already given you a budget-friendly weekly meal plan using chicken recipes, and one using beef. Today’s weekly plan is plant-based (vegan), and as an added bonus many of the meals are also gluten free. Although my family eats meat, I eat a plant-based and primarily gluten free diet, so these are the recipes I make most frequently for myself at home. I stand behind them!
I do assume that you have a few basic ingredients in your pantry. This week I assumed most families would have basic spices as well as olive oil, and I assumed that if you are eating plant-based you probably already have nutritional yeast. If you don’t have these things available, that’s ok. The meals will still work. But I do suggest making some easy substitutions like buying cheaper spaghetti noodles instead of the pricey rice noodles on our list so that you can stock up on other ingredients.
Tip: You can save extra money by buying dry goods like rice and beans in bulk or using what you already own and not accidentally buying duplicates.Remember to take stock and see if you already have any of these ingredients in your pantry or freezer. If you already have several cans of beans or corn, then there’s no reason to buy more. That money can be used to purchase staples like quinoa, nuts, or seeds or add more fresh fruits to this plan.
Here we go!
$50 Vegan Meal Plan with Gluten-Free Options
Bananas, 1 bunch, $1.99
1 Green bell pepper, $1
2 lb bag of carrots, $1.49
1 bunch of celery, $1.49
1 bag of Cole Slaw mix, $1.50
1 head of garlic, $0.50
Store brand fresh baby spinach, $2
1 mango, $1.09
3 onions, $0.75 each
5 lb bag of russet potatoes, $2.99
1 yellow squash, $0.80
1 zucchini squash, $0.80
1 sweet potato, $0.99
Store brand almond or soy milk, ½ gallon, $1.99
One bag of hot dog buns OR gluten free spaghetti, $1.50
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables, $1.00
2 lb bag of rice, $1.49
1 box of rice noodles, $3.19
1 jar of store brand pasta sauce, $1.33
1 jar of store brand peanut butter, $1.99
1 bottle of Tamari* or soy sauce, $4.69
2 cans of black beans, $0.59 each
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, $1.00
2 cans of corn, $0.49 each
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, $1.00
1 jar of store brand salsa, $1.99
1 bag of tortilla chips, $2.00
1 42 oz can of rolled oats, $2.99
*Tamari has less sodium than soy sauce and is often gluten-free. If you are not concerned about those things, then go ahead and use regular soy sauce.
Click below for a printable version of the shopping list.
As always, I’m presenting you with several options. You probably will not be able to make every single choice on the breakfast list, but you WILL have 7 days worth of food. For example, if you used all the bananas to make pancakes on Monday and Tuesday, then they won’t be available for smoothies later in the week. That’s ok, use frozen mango with rolled oats and non-dairy milk to make a different smoothie instead. Just pick and choose your favorites and get creative with what you have.
Breakfasts: A container of oats goes a long way! You can make oatmeal, flourless pancakes, 3 ingredient breakfast cookies, overnight oats, or peanut butter and banana or mango smoothies with the ingredients here. Or you could use a few potatoes and some chopped onion to make hash browns or home fries. Left-over rice can also be eaten with milk as a breakfast cereal with some sliced banana.
Lunches: Because this menu contains many large pot meals, there should be plenty of left-overs! Throw some of the rice and beans mixture over spinach to make a taco salad, have some left-over chili over rice to stretch it further. Or have a baked potato or homemade fries with vegan cheese sauce and leftover roasted veggies.
Snacks and desserts: Freeze a few bananas to make nice cream or smoothies, cut up some carrots or have celery sticks with peanut butter, or make 3 ingredient cookies.
Day 1: Easy Vegan Stovetop Chili (gluten free)
Chop one onion and one bell pepper. Shred one carrot. Cook onion, pepper, and carrot in half a cup of water in a medium-sized pot until the veggies are tender. Add 2 tablespoons of chili powder and a teaspoon of cumin. Then add the can of crushed tomatoes. Drain and rinse one can of corn and one can of black beans and add those as well. Add a cup of water. Cook down until the liquid evaporates and the chili starts to thicken, about 20 minutes.
Serve over rice or thick potato wedges to stretch the pot of chili over several meals. Leftovers can be made into yummy chili cheese fries for a lunch this week.
*Make sure to save and freeze your vegetable peels and scraps to make stock later this week.
Day 2: Noodles in Peanut Sauce (gluten free)
This is one of my favorite dinners! It’s so yummy and it seriously only takes about 15 minutes to throw together. You can use whatever veggies you have on hand, so it’s a great way to use up whatever you’ve got lying around. I love adding sesame seeds to mine, so if you can find room in the budget that would be a great addition! This is how I suggest you make it this week with the ingredients we bought:
Cook and drain one box of rice noodles.
While the rice noodles are cooking, in a separate large frying pan cook some chopped onion and one clove of chopped garlic for about two minutes or until fragrant. Then add the bag of shredded cole slaw mix. Fry for a few minutes until veggies are tender and cabbage cooks down a bit. Add a cup of water, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a teaspoon of Tamari. Reduce heat and add 1/4 cup of almond milk. Optional: Add red pepper flakes to taste.
Add noodles to veggie/peanut sauce mixture and stir to combine.
Day 3: Creamy Sweet Potato Soup (gluten free)
Use the veggie scraps you’ve been collecting this week to make your own veggie broth. (Ok, this takes longer than 30 minutes, but you can cheat and do it overnight in a slow cooker or while you’re at work. Or just buy some if you have room in your budget.) Then use that broth along with the sweet potato, onion, garlic, and some spices from your pantry to make an easy and creamy vegan sweet potato soup, like this one. You can bulk it up with one of the russet potatoes.
Day 4: Pan Roasted Veggies Over Rice (gluten free)
Just cut up the zucchini, yellow squash, and some carrots and onion. Toss them in olive oil and add salt and pepper. Then bake in a 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until they reach your desired consistency. Serve over rice or with mashed potatoes.
Day 5: Chickpea Meatball Sandwiches (meatballs are gluten free*)
Use the can of garbanzo beans to make your favorite recipe for chickpea meatballs (I like this one), but substitute oats for breadcrumbs and use the liquid from the chickpea can as an egg replacer instead of flax.
Top with jarred pasta sauce and serve in toasted hotdog buns. Optional: Add some spinach leaves to each sandwich to get in some greens.
*To make this meal entirely gluten-free and stay on budget, replace the hotdog buns with gluten-free pasta on your shopping list and have spaghetti with chickpea meatballs instead.
Day 6: Loaded Nachos (gluten free)
Start by using a carrot and a potato to make this amazing vegan cheese sauce that will change your life.
Rinse and drain the remaining can of corn and the remaining can of black beans. If you have a little bit of leftover rice, you can use that too. Mix the black beans, corn, and rice with a tablespoon of salsa.
On a cookie sheet, spread a layer of tortilla chips, then sprinkle on half of the bean/corn mix and use a spoon to drizzle on some of the cheese sauce. Top with another layer of chips, more beans, and more cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes just until heated through and bubbly. Top with more salsa and dig in.
Day 7: Fried Rice (gluten free)
Because my veggie fried rice recipe is so simple and you can use whatever veggies you have, it’s perfect for this week. Use the bag of frozen mixed vegetables and the rest of your rice to throw this dinner together in just a few minutes.
There are several ingredients on our list we haven’t used in dinners, like the mango and most of the russet potatoes. I figured you could use those extra ingredients in your breakfasts and lunches. Use the cheese sauce to make yummy baked potatoes or chili cheese fries. Use the mango in smoothie bowls or to make a yummy frozen dessert. Use the spinach to make a delicious taco salad or burrito bowls with leftovers from nacho night (as if there are going to be any leftovers on nacho night, hahaha). You get the idea.
I hope this post was helpful to you. If you liked it, please remember to pin and share!
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