Anyone who has set foot in a grocery story lately has seen some pretty significant inflation in food prices.
Would you like a simple idea that will help you cut your weekly food bill by 20-30% or more, and better still, will increase the health and nutritional content of your diet?
Here it is:
Switch three of your weekly meals to vegetarian.
Close readers of Casual Kitchen know about our predilection for part-time vegetarianism. And vegetarian recipes are typically healthier, higher in fiber and nutrients, and lower in fat.
But the truly underappreciated advantage of vegetarian cuisine is that it’s typically much, much easier on the wallet than meat-based meals.
For example, when we make a huge batch of Groundnut Stew in our kitchen (cost: around $10), we can feed ourselves for at least four large meals. If you're responsible for feeding a family of three or four, you can serve this soup for a couple of dinners as well as a lunch or two with little problem. Thus a meaningful portion of your week’s meals can be taken care of by dropping just one Hamilton!
It gets better. Some vegetarian dishes are not just laughably cheap, they are preposterously cheap--like my Lentil Soup, which can be made for a mere 60c per serving.
Note that this strategy does not require you to give up meat. I'm only suggesting that you change a few of your weekly meals to vegetarian. You can still gain the immense costs savings and health benefits of vegetarian cuisine without having to switch permanently to a vegetarian diet.
But let's face it: the average American's diet, which typically includes a large amount of meat at every meal, contains far more protein (and unfortunately, far more saturated fats) than necessary for good health. Why pay extra for something that your body doesn't even need, especially when the cost of that something has gone up 15-20% in the past few months?
If you would like some ideas for inexpensive vegetarian dishes that you can cook for your family, feel free to search this blog under the label "vegetarianism." You'll find a selection of great recipes, including Spicy Eggplant Ratatouille, Wintry Tomato Vegetable Soup, Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup, as well as plenty of others.
I've also listed four of my absolute favorite vegetarian cookbooks below to help introduce you to this surprisingly diverse and creative cuisine. I recommend each of them highly. These four cookbooks will give you a lifetime of ideas for combating rising food prices.
Try adding more vegetarian meals to your weekly menu. You too can defeat food price inflation!
Eight Tips to Make Cooking At Home Laughably Cheap
Two Useful Cooking Lessons From Another Cheap and Easy Side Dish
Garden Gumbo Recipe
How to Live Forever in Ten Easy Steps
Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant by the Moosewood Collective
Vegetarian Soup Cuisine: 125 Soups and Stews from Around the World by Jay Solomon
The New Laurel's Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition
The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
* Full disclosure: if you enter Amazon via a link on my blog and buy something, I'll get a small commission on that purchase. Please think of it as my "tip jar"--and thanks so much to those readers out there who support me!