People ask me often if being vegan is more expensive, when in fact it’s cheaper. When you compare a can of chickpeas to a lb of chicken, it’s about a $7 difference. Sticking to whole plant foods is the key to keeping your spending low because the packaged and processed foods are the ones that empty your pockets. They’re tasty, but probably higher in fat, salt, and oil and won’t help you reach your body goals.
I felt like making a simple meal with some veggies I’ve been craving so I decided to make a dish that might sound like a weird combination, but I thought it was unique and flavorful. I always think of the flavor profile in baba ganoush when I have a mediterranean style eggplant dish so I added smoked paprika to give it that same smoky taste. Okra was on my mind for some reason, so I added a bag of frozen okra and for extra protein I added a can of chickpeas. A large can of crushed plum tomatoes made a bright sauce for the veggie mixture and I served it over a bed of brown jasmine rice. This whole meal that could feed 6 people came in for probably less than $5. This is when I feel bad for going out to dinner and spending my weekly grocery budget on one meal when I could cook in for about $0.83 a person. Well if I cook in more like this then we can treat ourselves now and then!
Mediterranean Eggplant, Okra, and Chickpeas
1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 bag of frozen chopped okra
1 tsp minced garlic
1 28 oz can crushed plum tomatoes
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 cups cooked brown rice
- In a large saute pan, start cooking the onion, eggplant, and okra over medium high heat.
- Add in the garlic, chickpeas, and spices.
- Pour in the tomatoes, stir, and bring to a boil.
- Turn down to a simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve over brown rice. I sprinkled mine with a little extra smoked paprika.