Monday, January 19, 2009

Vegan Lunch Makeover

I got sick of spending $8-$10 every day on the same three vegan lunch options in downtown Hanover, so I decided to start bringing my own lunch. With a little planning, I eat a much healthier, tastier lunch that amounts to $5 per day.

I use my evenings to do the "Home Preparation" steps, then I bring all of the ingredients into my office the next morning and store them in the Graduate Lounge fridge. At lunch time, I just have to do the "Assembly" steps, which take about 5 minutes.

Easy Vegan Lunch Ideas:

1) Pretentious Sandwich

Serve with:
Terra chips (the red beet and sweet potato variety is cheapest and very tasty) and a bottle of Pom (I like the pomegranate lychee green tea)

Grocery List:
Zesty lemon hummus, arugula, red peppers, and Tofutti soy cheese. If you have a bread machine, buy bread flour and yeast (I buy bulk yeast from the fridge section of my grocery store; 1 large container has enough yeast for about 15-20 loaves of bread and costs $1.17). Otherwise, buy a loaf of French bread.

Home Preparation:
Set aside one or two nights each week to roast the red peppers and bake a loaf of bread (if you have a bread machine). Roasting takes about 30 minutes and the roasted peppers will keep for up to 5 days in a Ziplock bag (see instructions for roasting in my "Tapas" entry).

At-Work Assembly:
Place 1-2 slices of soy cheese on bread and toast both sides. Add roasted red peppers, arugula, and zesty lemon hummus.

Cost Per Lunch: $3.00 for Pom + $0.70 for 1/5 of a large bag of Terra chips + $0.35 per Tofutti "cheese" slice + $0.50 for 1/6 of a tub of hummus + $0.40 for 1/3 of a red pepper + $0.50 for 1/3 of a baguette = $5.45

2) Taco Salad

Serve with: Simply Limeade (juice)

Grocery List: Gimme Lean ground "beef," iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion, Tofutti soy sour cream, Vegan Gourmet cheddar, Trader Joe's corn salsa, vegetarian refried beans, Old El Paso taco seasoning

Home Preparation: Fry the Gimme Lean in a small amount of vegetable oil, then add water and Old El Paso taco seasoning. Use a wooden fork to break the faux meat into small pieces. Store in tupperware. Grate the Vegan Gourmet cheddar and place in a Ziplock bag. Chop tomatoes and onions, shred lettuce and also place in Zip Lock bags.

At-Work Assembly: Layer lettuce with chopped veggies, refried beans, faux meat, soy sour cream, grated "cheese," and corn salsa.

Cost Per Lunch : $0.50 for 1/3 can of refried beans + $0.50 for 1/4 tube of Gimme Lean + $0.25 for 1/4 of taco seasoning + $0.50 for 1/6 tub of soy sour cream + $0.75 for 1/6 block of Vegan Gourmet + $0.50 for 1/6 jar of corn salsa + $1.00 for veggies + $1.00 for 1/4 bottle of Limeade = $5.00

1 comment:

Zucchini Breath said...

What a great way to save money. When I worked I brought my lunch every day, usually leftovers from dinner the night before and fruit to round it out.

Now I pack lunches for the boy and the man.

It's also a way to get "closer" to your food. I think it's very important to prepare your own food or to know that the person who prepared it did so with love and healthy intentions