The Topic: Making leftovers last longer than this past winter with VegNews Editorial Assistant Anna Peraino
The Dish: When you're a savvy vegan, your main expenditures are shelter and food (unless you live under a bridge, in which case, pull yourself together, man!). Since I don't know how to save money on rent (I live in San Francisco, after all), here are five helpful tips for making your grub last.
1. Cook big. Want to save time and money? Look to your Pyrex dish, my friend. Casseroles, soups, and pasta dishes can be made in bulk for cheap and can last a week if rationed responsibly. Check out our recipe roundup and make a pot of chili tonight (cans of beans + cans of tomatoes + spices = delicious money saver).
2. Bring back leftovers. Wasting food = money down the drain. Am I right? This goes for all food scenarios: groceries, potlucks, food festivals, and most importantly, restaurants. If you're going to shell out your hard-earned dough, you better make the most of it. How? It's simple. First, if you have enough self-control to save half of your meal for tomorrow's lunch, do it (and by the way, kudos to you). It's like having your dinner at half off! Second, get creative. Don't want the baguette that comes with your salad? Take it home and turn it into tomorrow's PB&J.
3. Ask for more. You want to know what's expensive? Salad dressing. But guess what? You can get it for free (legally)! Next time you order a salad, ask for extra dressing on the side, then take it to-go. It'll save you serious dough and you'll get to eat something that tastes like it came from a resturant (because it did). This method works for sauces as well. And bread baskets. And those little packets of jelly you get at diners. Just try to keep it classy, OK?
4. Grains all day. A bulk bag of brown rice will save your bank account, for serious. Cook a huge batch of the stuff Sunday night (four cups, plus. Dream big, people.), and use it throughout the week. Lunches and dinners can consist of stir-fries, casseroles, and rice salad, and breakfasts? Throw cooked brown rice in a pot on low-medium heat with non-dairy milk, cinnamon, sweetener, and raisins for 15 miniutes and Bam! Delicious porridge! Don't forget rice pudding for dessert.
5. Plan ahead. I don't know about you, but I usually walk into the grocery store with five items in mind and walk out with a $50 receipt. The easiest way to avoid the grocery-store money suck? Make a list. That way, you'll be less likely to splurge on that bag of Oreos (though I wouldn't blame you).
The Final Word: With a little creativity, you can make your grocery bill stretch farther than the line at the grand opening of a new Baby Gap. Just kidding. Baby Gaps are so 2002.