How to Quit Takeout and Cook More Vegan Meals at Home
Raise your hand if you prob order more takeout than you should. 🙋♀️ No shame here: Juggling school, work, relationships, and other responsibilities can make us busy af. It totally makes sense to want fast, delicious vegan food with the least amount of hassle possible. Problem is, ordering too much takeout can quickly break the bank. 💸
Here’s a simple solution: Cook more at home! Making first-rate vegan recipes is really easy and will save you a ton of money. Plus, cooking is just plain fun. Who else agrees that it’s a mindful experience? 🧘 If you want to save money, eat healthily, and pick up an awesome new hobby, follow these five steps to cook more vegan meals at home.
1. Find Your Recipes
First thing’s first: Decide what you want to make. Have you eaten tasty vegan meals in the past that you want to recreate? Maybe you’ve been hoping to try some amazing recipes from vegan cookbooks or food blogs. If you’re looking for inspo, check out the Recipes section of our website—it’s full of mouthwatering meals and snacks that are super-easy to make. 😋
When you find recipes that sound yummy, jot down all the ingredients you’ll need and make a shopping list of items to buy. (More about that soon.) Be sure to choose recipes that fit your needs. If you have a hectic schedule this semester, try dishes that take under an hour to make. You’d be surprised how many meals you can whip up while listening to an episode of your fave podcast.
2. Plan Ahead
Once you’ve chosen your recipes, it’s time to prep. Start by deciding when you’ll have a chunk of free time to make your food. Are there weeknights when you don’t have plans that you can set aside for cooking? Or do you want to save this activity for the weekends? There’s no wrong answer here—if it works with your schedule, it’s a W in our book.
Then, organize all the ingredients you’ve written down by food category (e.g., produce and pantry items). That way, you can zip through the grocery store knowing exactly what you’ll need in each department. Before you head to the store, check whether you’ll need to buy any cooking equipment, like cutting boards, knives, or blenders. One-time purchases of these types of items can set you up for years of cooking. 👩🍳
3. Stock Up on Staples
We’re not talking about the staples that hold your five-page report together. 😅 Cooking staples are foods that are used in a ton of different recipes, like the following:
- Pasta and rice
- Oils and vinegars
- Herbs and spices
Stocking up on these items is a no-brainer. When you’re scrolling through recipes in the future, these staples will keep popping up, and by buying in bulk now, you’ll save yourself extra shopping trips later. To make things even better, most vegan staples stay fresh for a looong time. Pasta, rice, and dried beans can sit in your cupboards for months and still be perfectly safe to eat. Let’s see dairy do that. 💁
4. Experiment With Dishes
Your kitchen is your (animal-friendly) laboratory, and with the right mixtures, you can come up with something spectacular. You could try new twists on classics, like making a vegan grilled cheese sandwich that’s more colorful, or invent a brand-new dish. As long as no ingredients are derived from animals—like meat, eggs, dairy, honey, bone broth, gelatin, or whey—feel free to play around.
Plus, those staples we mentioned before? You can mix and match them with veggies and other ingredients for literally endless combos. Pasta with broccoli and baguette? ✔️ Rice with tofu and pea pods? ✔️ Add some basil, cilantro, pepper, cumin, garlic, or other seasonings to bring out dozens of unique flavors. All this experimenting will help you find blends that work beautifully—and just as importantly, ones that don’t. 😬
5. Make Now, Save for Later
At the end of a chaotic day, all you want to do is relax and refuel with a delicious vegan dinner, but you don’t have the time or energy to make it yourself. You start to open your takeout app, and then you remember: You put food you made on Sunday in the freezer to prepare for this exact situation. 😇 Tbh, this is one of the best feelings ever, so we strongly recommend making big batches of food and freezing most of it for leftovers.
Just pop your food in the microwave or oven to reheat it, and you’ll have a home-cooked meal ready in minutes. If you’re in sports, band, or other extracurricular activities, this is the perfect way to fit healthy food into your packed schedule. Think of everyone you could inspire to ditch animal-derived foods by showing them how cheap, easy to make, and professional-looking a vegan meal can be. 😏
Now, you’re ready to cut way back on takeout expenses and cook amazing meals for yourself. We can already hear someone asking, “But where will you get your protein?” No need to worry—you can get all the protein you need without ever harming animals. 😊