I’ve been sharing more of the simple meals that I make at home on Instagram lately. Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in highly styled and edited food photos in my newsfeed. Fruits and vegetables cut into impossibly cute flowers, brilliantly colored foods achieved through the wonder of algae and super-fruit powders are sitting just so on a rustic wooden table that’s blurred to perfection. Every photo is pure vegan food nirvana.
I’m not snarky, either. These photos are art. They’re spectacular- gorgeous. I have nothing but love for vegan food artists; they’re brilliant.
But these images could play into the whole stereotype that veganism is expensive, couldn’t they? Spirulina powder can turn a smoothie bowl a beautiful shade of blue, but it’s not cheap. A six-ounce bag of spirulina can cost $13 to $22. The same goes for other healthy foods like raw nuts, berries, and exotic fruits, and even things as seemingly simple like canned coconut milk.
For people on a low or fixed income, or within a food desert, these types of foods aren’t available. And if they are, these foods can be beyond their budget.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
As someone who runs an animal sanctuary, I’m always on a tight budget. I’m not saying I don’t splurge every now and again, but most of my money goes to the animals. My dedication to their livelihood means my meals are full of staple vegan foods that are incredibly budget-friendly. I am regularly trying to find new ways to turn average foods into delicious meals.
I love to scroll through a newsfeed that is a bounty of gorgeous, perfectly-styled food, tapping that little heart to let people know I dig it. But I also like to see meals made with ingredients that are widely available and budget-friendly.
I want to make veganism easy and accessible for everyone, whether you live somewhere that has an all-vegan grocery store or whether you live in a small town like mine, without one entirely vegan anything.
I’m sure I’m not alone.
Take this recipe for smoky chili lime sunflower seeds, for example.
I’m using sunflower seeds because they’re healthy, can be found in nearly any store—even gas stations carry them—and they’re incredibly cheap. If you can buy them in bulk, it’s even less expensive.
Speaking of buying things in bulk, buy all of your spices in bulk. It’s inexpensive, you’ll only buy what you need so they’ll stay fresh longer, and the extra savings means you’ll be able to purchase a wider variety of spices to keep your food flavorful and exciting.
These sunflower seeds are smoky and tangy with just the right amount of heat. Use them as a topping for salads, baked potatoes, pizzas, inside a trail mix, or grab a handful or so just for snacking. I’ve been sneaking a scoop or two of these ever since I made them. Use them however you want. The tasty possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Are you a vegan on a budget like me? Would you like to see more vegan food made with every day, easy-to-find, cheap ingredients? Did you make a batch of these sunflower seeds? Let’s talk about it.