Let's be honest; being vegan can take a serious toll on your budget. A lot of the time, us vegans have to cook most of our meals from scratch. When going for sushi isn't an option, these 5 easy vegan dinners won't break the bank. It doesn't have to be impossible to eat a socially conscious diet and not go into serious debt.

1) Easy Vegan Fried Rice

rice, vegetable, meat, fried rice, pepper, pork, chicken, risotto, onion
Yi Xie

Minimalist Baker is a gold mine for easy vegan dinners, specializing in recipes that are ten ingredients or that take less than thirty minutes to make. This easy fried rice recipe is packed with all the flavour of your favourite takeout, but none of the expensive delivery charges. Packed with brown rice, tofu, and whatever vegetables you have left in your fridge, this is the perfect recipe for after a night class. 10/10 for anyone who loves eating in restaurants but hates paying in restaurants.

2) One Pan Mexican Quinoa

wheat, cereal, porridge, buckwheat, corn, millet, groats, quinoa, couscous
Christin Urso

This dish is a personal favourite of mine because of its versatility and its ability to make leftovers for the whole week. Packed with beans, corn, tomatoes, and avocado, the Mexican quinoa reheats super well and costs approximately $2 per serving, making it both easy and affordable! Quinoa is packed with plant-based protein, which will give you a great energy boost to get through mid-afternoon study sessions. Plus, the grain is a source of, fibre, iron, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6.

#SpoonTip: Top with your favourite hot sauce for a spicy kick!

3) Vegan Minestrone Soup

soup, tomato
Adeena Zeldin

Minestrone means "Big Soup" in Italian and is full of pasta, beans and vegetables. It's a gem for those cold winter days when winds reach -25 degrees Celcius in chilly Canada. An easy vegan replica of an Italian classic, it's packed with veggies, fusilli noodles, and nutritional yeast ("nooch"), a flavourful vegan product for that rich cheesy taste. Nooch is actually packed with protein and is delicious on pretty much everything. 

4) Vegan Caesar Salad

cabbage, salad, vegetable, lettuce, lettuce head, basket
Caroline Ingalls

This salad is great for introducing your vegan-skeptical friends to how yummy vegan food can really be. It's a great way to get your greens in, and you can throw on whatever other veggies you have left to beef it up (no pun intended). Shoutout to Mean Girls for the endlessly quotable line, "We should totally just stab Caesar!"

#SpoonTip: throw on vegan tempeh for some added protein!

5) Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese

pasta, macaroni, spaghetti, scrambled, cheese, vegetable
Jocelyn Hsu

Even the greatest food to ever exist on planet Earth and a childhood classic can be easily veganized. Made with carrots, potatoes, and a whole lot of nooch, this vegan spin on a favourite hits all those dairy cravings you may be having. Nutritional yeast is also a complete protein: it contains B vitamins, is free of sugar and gluten, contains iron, and is low in fat and sodium. 

Being vegan can be easy and affordable, and there are a whole plethora of blogs, YouTube channels, and Spoon University articles to help. With these recipes, you can be a friend to the animals and a friend to your bank account.