Vegan on a Budget: Recipes From A Girl Called Jack

Posted by 4 years ago | Permalink | Comments (20)

We’ve all seen the headlines – with rising bills, increasing food costs and widespread austerity cuts across Britain, people are feeling the pinch. So for single mum and frugal food blogger Jack Monroe (aka “A Girl Called Jack”), finding inexpensive ways to feed her family is a top priority. Since pledging to go vegan for Lent, however, Jack has discovered that there’s no reason why you can’t adopt a diet that saves animals while still counting the pennies – her collection of tempting vegan recipes works out to as little as 23p per portion!

As the thrifty cook proves, you can find pretty much everything you need for a healthy, balanced plant-based diet in your local supermarket. So what’s the secret to Jack’s bargain veganism? Plenty of vegetables, protein-filled beans and pulses, and homegrown herbs for freshness and flavour.

So, without further ado, here are a couple of her tried-and-true vegan recipes – dishes that will fill you up without breaking the bank or harming a single animal.

Posh Mushroom, Spinach and Walnut Pasta (34p per portion) Posh Spinach and Walnut Pasta80 g spaghetti
1 onion
1 clove garlic
Splash oil
Splash lemon juice
100 g mushrooms
Fresh thyme and parsley, chopped
Handful spinach
2 walnut halves

  • Break the spaghetti in half and add to a saucepan of water. Bring to a boil.
  • Finely peel and chop the onion and garlic. Add to a separate saucepan or small sauté pan with the oil and lemon juice, and cook gently over low heat until translucent. Break the mushrooms by hand and add to the pan with the parsley and thyme.
  • Check the spaghetti – when it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer.
  • Finely chop the herbs and spinach together – I put mine in a bowl and go at it all with scissors to save my poor worktop and also because it’s therapeutic at the end of a working day. I like my cooking physical and de-stressing as well as cheap and simple and nutritious.
  • Drain the pasta and toss through the spinach, herbs, mushrooms, onion and garlic with any juices from the mushroom pan. Serve in two bowls, scatter the walnuts on top and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings

Carrot and Coriander Falafels (23p per portion) 1 onionCarrot and OCriander Falafels
1 carrot
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
400 g chickpeas
Pinch cumin
1 Tbsp flour for dusting your hands

  • Peel and finely chop the onion, and grate the carrot. (I grate the onion, too, so it’s finer, but it’s a pain to do!) Fry together in a tablespoon of oil over low heat for a few minutes until softened.
  • Tip into a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas, and add the chopped parsley and coriander, and a shake of cumin.
  • Mash it all together with a potato masher (or a fork) until the chickpeas have broken down into a mush. The oil from the carrots and onion will help combine the chickpeas together, but you may need to add a tiny bit more.
  • Flour your hands, and mould into golfball shapes. Heat a little more oil in the sauté pan and fry until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.
  • Serve with couscous made with vegetable stock, lemon juice and coriander, as well as with green beans or other green vegetable of your choice.

Makes 4 servings


As you can see, it’s easy to stick to your principles without breaking the bank. By going vegan, you’ll be avoiding processed food made from undisclosed animal parts, you’ll be healthier, and you’ll be doing the right thing for animals, too! Take our 30-day pledge and give it a go. Images: Jack Monroe / A Girl Called Jack


  • susan anne booth commented on March 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    How anyone can eat this sort of food as a reagular thing I realy dont knowe, I also think its bad enough to try and live on this food if you are an adult, but, to bring up a child on this deprived diet is irrisponcible to say the least. A child should have lots of protien and calcium vit D ect. To force a child to live on this kind of diet is unthinking and harmful. I bred dogs for many years, I saw what the affects of incorect feeding can have on them, when reared by certain types of people. the affects on a child are much worse. you only have to look at certain parts of Africa, to see this.

    • Natasha commented on March 21, 2013 at 7:31 am

      Wow – the post by Susan Anne Booth manages to get every type of ignorance in there! We all know the benefits of a good vegan diet. Susan – other things than meat and dairy have protein and calcium in. Really!
      “I bred dogs for many years”. Says it all really – she should have had a look at what Peta has to say about that! Wonder how many of those are in rescue now? Probably rescued by those ‘certain types of people’. Who all seem to live in ‘certain parts of Africa’. Do you mean starving people in Africa Susan? Not everyone in Africa is starving by a long shot, not even just in ‘certain parts’ – but those who are, are not starving because of their ethical choice of diet against factory farming, but because they live in a difficult natural environment for agriculture and often are suffering due to violence and political upheaval. NOT BECAUSE THEY CHOSE TO BE VEGAN. The education and intelligence of some people astounds me – but it does not astound me that these ill-educated ‘certain people’ are dog breeders.

    • heather commented on April 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      I don’t think the issue in Africa is that they are vegan……

    • Hollie commented on October 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Vitamin D comes from the sun. You may eat Vitamin D3 from meat but we eat Vitamin D2 from non-animal sources. Interesting you say it is forced on children to be Vegan, when you force your own to eat dead flesh and tendons because you don’t know any better. It breaks my heart that you haven’t received a proper education and I feel sorry for you.

  • Caroline commented on March 21, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Wow Susan, you are obviously so well educated on the nutritional needs of the human body -.-
    With some research on alternatives to meat and meat products such as dairy, a vegan diet can be far more diverse and nutritious than the average meat eaters. As for ‘forcing’ children to eat a vegan diet, how does that compare to ‘forcing’ a child to eat dairy or meat? And as for comparing a child with rearing a puppy, that is just laughable.
    My children have all decided for themselves to be vegetarian, and I am vegan. All of us are well grown, and rarely ill. We eat a hugely varied diet rich in vitamins and minerals, with plenty of natural fibre. If you look at the research linking meat and dairy consumers to high levels of coronary heart disease, cancers and respiratory and skin problems you may want to do the same.

  • Jack commented on March 21, 2013 at 8:00 am


    I can assure you that we both get lots of protein and calcium.

    Protein from beans, and quinoa, and vegetables, and calcium from soy milk, broccoli, spinach etc.

  • Anna commented on March 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I think it’s great that Jack is trying out being vegan. I’m sure it’ll help her son develop a healthy lifestyle as well as a caring attitude towards animals. After all, one of the biggest health issues facing British children right now is obesity, caused largely by eating too much fast-food, high-fat processed meats etc. Home-cooked vegan meals are a much better option!

  • Marilyn commented on March 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Hello hello lovely people,

    Just for your information Susan, Tofu, mature green beans, soymilk and nuts and seeds are in the top 10 list of protein rich foods. In fact, gram for gram, nuts and seeds have almost the same amount of protein as a beef steak…without the heart disease, cholesterol and staying in your colon for up to 9 years. Not to mention the environmental impacts of producing one steak. They say the production of one steak is like having 50 baths with regard to your carbon footprint.

    If you check out the top 10 calcium list, you’ll find that the top 9 on the list are vegetarian, with only one meat product making it in the list (fish) at number 10. This list also tells you that 7 of the most calcium rich foods are vegan. The richest in calcium being dried herbs, followed closely by nuts, seeds and tofu:

    Vitamin D has Tofu, soymilk, cereals and mushrroms in the top 10 rich list. These are the top 10 lists…that doesn’t even include the 100’s of foods that are also rich in these vitamins and minerals but just haven’t made it in to the top 10!

    I also want to reiterate Caroline’s point. As parents, I think we’re all a bit guilty of the so called ‘forcing’ things on our kids. Religion, food habits, habits in general…even Eastenders for goodness sake. What is the difference between ‘forcing’ your child to be vegetarian or vegan or ‘forcing’ then to eat meat and dairy? If being vegan has no health implications, as I’ve talked about above, what is wrong with that? Susan, do you force your children to eat meat? Would you be angry if they wanted to not eat it? Is this not the same thing?

    With regard to your reference to world hunger. I think you’ll find the production of meat and dairy (including the mass production of soya to feed the cattle) for the western world is the cause of most environmental issues. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone. However, it is used to feed the massive amount of animals for meat and dairy production for the western world. The best thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and eliminate hunger is to become vegan.

    All of these reasons to be veggie or vegan and I haven’t even touched on the fact that you killing a living creature just because it tastes nice. Hmm. Also, I work at an animal home and see 100’s of unwanted animals every year. Neutering not breeding! I really don’t mean to preach Susan and I hope this information helps? You may find it really interesting as I was surprised about the top 10 lists when I first became vegan. Please don’t take my word for it though, do your own research.

    Be happy!

  • RUTH commented on March 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    It`s encouraging to read the replys on this subject of veganism all positive apart from one ignorant person, its really quite sad the amount of people who are brain washed into thinking that meat is good and healthy when its the complete opposite,people dont want to change or be dictated to that`s what they object to the most i think,that and because the majority of people say they like the tase of meat,i mean,they really dont get it do they,they really couldnt give a f**k about animals they just take it for granted that they are here on earth for their own benefits and it doesnt matter who or what has to suffer as long as they have a good life and enjoy it at the cost of another,im glad i am not part of the human race who thinks like that,happy and proud to be be vegan!

  • Tracy commented on March 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm


    I became a vegetarian about 3 months ago. It was for me the best decision both morally and health wise. Up until then ill admit I was very ignorant about the whole industry of supplying meat products for food. After some research, harrowing n very thought provoking I decided to give it a go. I haven’t looked back. There is so much choice in foods both tasty and healthy. I’m now doing my research into becoming vegan. I am an animal lover and its not just the right decision but for me the only one. 🙂

  • Vegan Sue commented on March 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    susan anne booth is really showing her ignorance in her message. Can i suggest that she does a bit more research into veganism if she feels the need to comment in that way.
    Shame on you susan for adding to the dog population when so many dogs are put down each day and the rescues are full to bursting.

  • madison commented on April 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    the most hilarious assumption of being a vegan or a veggie is that you are healthy. its quite possible to eat rubbish vegan food just as much as it is to eat HEALTHY vegan food. vegan does not equal healthy as my chips clearly dictate!! joke-how do you find a diet expert in a room full of crowded people?? tell them you are vegan-suddenly EVERYONE knows exactly what vitamins etc everyone should have . .. . .i have no idea. i just dont like eating dead things. or the associated products. i am not here to set an example. its not my mission to show the world how to eat healthy!! i always say-you do what you feel comfortable with in this world. and then you never question yourself as you are content in your beliefs. i have had far more sensible conversations with people who manage the land than people who think its ok to eat fish but not a cow . . . . . . . .

  • Lautner commented on April 8, 2013 at 12:16 am

    i can agree using the write-up

  • Gen commented on April 30, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I would just like to point out to Susan Anne Booth, that perhaps people are starving in Africa because they are selling their grain to other countires to feed animals for the Western people to eat? Surely everyone knows how much water and grain is used to produce 1kg of meat and how many people that meat feeds as compared to how many more people would have benefitted from the grain and water USED to feed the cattle.
    I have personally never known anyone to have died from eating a veggie diet but I know of countless who die from diet related diseases from eating a meat diet.

  • Ruth M commented on April 18, 2014 at 9:11 am

    What lovely recipes these are – made my mouth water reading them even though I have just enjoyed my green breakfast juice.

    The question of whether families should be vegan always seems to provoke strong reactions. I couldn’t persuade any of my 4 youngsters to become vegetarian, never mind vegan but in the end what mattered to me more was that they grew up to be caring and responsible, healthy adults. I have always tried to encourage them to think about where their food was coming from and not to just ‘shop with the crowd’. I don’t know how successful I have been – they are all independent adults with their own decisions to make now, but I am sure that it is not right to either insist that they should be vegetarians/vegans or sit in judgement upon them if they are not.

  • Anne commented on June 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Slightly off topic, sorry. I was looking for vegan cooking on a budget and found that U.S sites are saying ‘hey, just go to the supermarket and get frozen burgers or sausages cheap… or burger mix’. Not here! Supermarkets ratrely do vegan frozen stuff… and the health shops are charging £4.50 for burgers…. eeeek. Im out of work and cant afford that! So thankful for a British website….. US is such a different kettle of fish

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