Economical, sustainable meals from storecupboard ingredients
I was so pleased to be given the chance to update this book, six years after it was first published. So much has happened during this time, but one of the most marked changes has been the number of people making the transition to being vegetarian and vegan, or cutting down on the amount of meat they eat.
We have all become much more aware of the cost of food, not only on our pockets but also in terms of the environmental impact of what and how we eat. Additionally, most of us are time poor, so it really can pay to plan ahead with our shopping and cooking whenever possible, rather than grab a pricey takeaway or ready-meal. My hope is that The Thrifty Veggie will help you be more efficient in the kitchen (making the most of ingredients is crucial when you’re on a budget), with advice on shopping, stocking the store cupboard, making the most of your fridge and freezer, using up leftovers and cutting waste.
Enjoying what we eat, whether it is a meal we’ve made ourselves or one that has been made for us, is one of life’s true pleasures and is at the heart of this book. Here, you’ll find a collection of recipes that make use of readily available and budget-friendly store cupboard staples, such as beans, pulses, pasta, rice, noodles, grains and nuts.
Then there are dairy, and non-dairy alternatives, super-versatile eggs and, of course, a meal wouldn’t be a meal without fresh vegetables. All the recipes have been created to be easy to make, use easy-to-find ingredients, are nutritious and, importantly, won’t burn a hole in your pocket. I’ve taken a back-to-basics approach, with recipes for making your own stock, spice mix, soft cheese, yogurt, preserves and pickles, as well as sprouting your own beans. These aren’t just fun and easy to do, they can also make economic sense. Geared to our busy lives and varying culinary demands, each chapter in the book includes recipes and suggestions for snacks, lunches and dinners.
There are also suggestions for matching recipes if you are looking for a suitable side dish. Where a recipe uses a slightly more unusual ingredient, an alternative is given in case you can’t find it. I also like to use the same ingredient in a few recipes, so you aren’t left with a bottle of something languishing at the back of the cupboard.
Figures suggest that, shockingly, in the West we throw away as much as a third of the food we buy so I’ve included lots of simple thrifty, waste-reducing tips, from using up cheese rinds and slightly stale bread, to freezing herbs and making the most of leftovers. It’s all about balancing the books, eating the best ingredients you can afford to buy, and cutting waste whenever possible. Every little helps.