1,000 Cheap Plant-Based Meals You Can Make in 15 Minutes

veggie wrap 1I’m about to tell you exactly how I eat. Simply, inexpensively, and with endless variety.

Except for salad dressings, I use few recipes. (And even those, I take liberties with!) The first few years in your journey to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, you follow a lot of recipes. (Longtime raw foodies call this “transitional eating.”) It’s normal. In fact, it’s an important phase. It’s instructive, as you experiment with whole foods and ingredients.

You spend a lot of time. Then eating starts to get much easier and simpler. You have many tricks up your sleeve. You are resourceful. Missing an ingredient or two is no problem.

The key to my method is, don’t stress about it. You can’t mess this up! Eating this way is cheap, and it’s also a great way to use a hodgepodge of random plant foods or leftovers in your fridge.

Be inventive and never get stuck in a rut–anything in the produce section fits in this way of eating. I virtually never add salt (even sea salt) to my food. Many of these fillings and sauces have so much flavor, you won’t miss added salt.

Start with a base, add one or more toppings or fillings, and play with sauces or spices. I hope this helps you enjoy the magical world of eating greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds–the nutrient-dense plant kingdom of food!



Bowl: brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet, lentils, split peas

Salad: romaine, spring greens, bean sprouts, or other sprouts

Wrap: sprouted grain tortilla, collard leaf, organic corn tortillas, nori (seaweed for sushi)

Noodles: spiralized yellow squash or zucchini, gluten-free whole-grain pasta, kelp noodles


Brown rice peas freeeFILLINGS / TOPPINGS:

Choose one or more of the following that you have on hand:

Lentils (with taco seasoning), any beans (seasoned however you like), or split peas (thick, day-old split pea soup is good!)

Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa (seasoned however you like

Hummus or baba ganoush (eggplant) spread

Sautéed vegetables (with fajita seasoning): think peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips

Raw vegetables: think jicama, tomatoes, any sprouts, matchstick carrots or other root vegetables, scallions

Olives of any kind, or olive tapenade

Tahini (sesame seed paste)

Avocados, sliced or mashed

Pumpkin, sunflower, or sesame seeds

Walnuts, pine nuts, sliced almonds, or chopped walnuts or pecans



Any salad dressing at all from Ch. 3 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods! They all work! Mix and match, at will!

Salsa of any kind

Pesto sauce (see 12 Steps recipe)

Mustard or Vegannaise

Sauces for Chinese, Thai, Mexican foods (avoid MSG, corn syrup, and other chemical ingredients–these are very inferior to all Ch. 3 dressings)

Have Indian, Italian, Thai, and Mexican organic spice blends on hand.

Always have ginger, turmeric, chili pepper, cayenne, dried parsley, and garlic powder, too. (I avoid pepper, as it is a gastrointestinal irritant.)A few dashes of whatever you feel like, to any of the above, and you’ve completely changed the flavor of the meal, plus added some nutrition!

You can toss into your fillings raw apple cider vinegar or miso (non-GMO) for flavoring.

10 thoughts on “1,000 Cheap Plant-Based Meals You Can Make in 15 Minutes

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  1. This is brilliant!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I always have one of these bases on hand and tossing in additional ingredients mirrors the likes of Chipotle type restaurants at a fraction of the price!

  2. Thank you for your faithful helps! I can just tell by the exciting way that you express yourself that you are just bursting with energy from eating right! Tell me, what do you do when you find yourself at opulent banquet type Christmas gatherings where it is HARD to resist the sugary goodies overflowing the tables?? I find there’s a limit to my willpower and would appreciate some of your thoughts on this matter. other than this type of situation, I am doing FINE and you’d be proud of my eating habits

  3. Love your ideas! Sometimes I just go brain dead and can’t think of anything healthy to eat. Your list is perfect for this and with a little planning, a lot of these items can be on hand ready to go. Thank you!

  4. You mentioned that you avoid pepper because it is a gastrointestinal irritant. In 12 Steps there is pepper added to many of the dressings/vinaigrettes. Do you use it in small amounts? I have a tomato soup recipe that uses lots of black pepper. Do you know of any good alternatives to pepper? Do all peppers irritate?

    1. Colette, I think for people with a healthy GI system, it’s not a big deal in occasional small quantities—but if you do have GI problems, maybe skip it. All peppers don’t irritate (cayenne doesn’t). Just black pepper.

  5. I am THRILLED to see this in writing!! Being disabled and finding it difficult to physically use my arms & hands for extended periods of food prep in the kitchen, I finally discovered that if I always kept cooked and in the frig some wild rice mix (a fave of mine) or quinoa or whatever else – you call it a base; then process several veggies in separate containers; then keep various sauces and/or spices around — I could easily “throw” something together quickly without relying on opening a can of SAD (standard american diet) food or fix some SAD processed boxes garbage “food”. I more recently found out about spirilizing veggies and am THRILLED at THAT new addition!! Spirilized carrots are absolutely HEAVENLY with spaghetti sauce – made with lots of onions, garlic, shredded carrots, bell peppers, chopped celery – just ANYTHING I have on hand!! I also like to saute crumbled tofu and add whatever seasonings strike my fancy to make chorizo, scrambled eggs, sloppy joes, italian, Thai, you name it!! I would have LOVED to have seen this article about 3 years ago, but I’m glad you’ve put it out there NOW! Perhaps it will help MANY people get going sooner than I did! I also add cooked quinoa to my smoothies for added protein and fiber ;-D Sherry

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