Bulking up on rolled oats, “nootch,” cashews, and sesame seeds.
One of the most common misconceptions about eating a plant-based diet is that it is more expensive than eating a “standard” diet. Our experience with plant-based eating has been quite the opposite. Our monthly grocery bill is lower now than ever, and buying in bulk is a huge help. We may buy things that are uncommon and some might consider costly, like miso paste or nutritional yeast, but when you spread the price across the number of meals you can prepare with this one ingredient, you are still getting a bargain.
When we first became plant-based, we had to learn to navigate the bulk aisles of our local grocery stores and co-ops. We had never really spent any time shopping in this section and had no idea what was available to us. Now, there are days when we come home with nothing but twist-tied baggies and reusable containers! Here are a few things you should know about buying in bulk:
One side of the abundant bulk aisle at Lakewinds Co-op.
- The bulk aisle is the best for buying spices, grains, legumes, oats, and other dry goods. We avoid things like trail mixes and candy. Even pasta and rice can usually be found cheaper prepackaged.
- You can sometimes find organic ingredients for cheaper than the conventional versions. We have found this to be true for things like rolled oats and lentils, so be sure to compare prices.
- Shopping the bulk aisle is great for trying new ingredients for the first time. You can buy as much or as little as you would like.
- Don’t forget storage! We hate to waste things, so we save our spice jars and bring them to the co-op when we are ready for a refill. We even save things like rubber bands and plastic bread bag closures so we can cinch our bulk bags up! If you bring your own container, make sure to tare if before filling. This will save you some time at the checkout.
Locally, there are a lot of choices for your bulk food shopping. We like Lakewinds and Seward Co-op for the best variety and prices.
This Buddha Bowl features steamed beets, sweet potatoes, sugar snap peas, carrots, summer squash, corn, and fresh basil.
One of our favorite dishes to make any time of year is a Buddha Bowl. It’s a quick, easy dish that can be made in an endless variety of combinations. We have found a formula to build Buddha Bowls that works every time. All you need to do is pick one or more ingredients from each of the following categories:
|Grains||Protein||Root Veggies||“Wild Card” Veggies||Toppings
|quinoa||kidney beans||carrots||mushrooms||green onion
|brown rice||black beans||beets||zucchini||seaweed/nori
|barley||chickpeas||sweet potatoes||corn||toasted sesame seeds
|couscous||tempeh||sugar snap peas||Braggs Liquid Aminos
|millet||green peas||summer squash||balsamic vinegar
|farro||green beans||hot sauce/sriracha sauce
Your choice of vegetables will need to be steamed anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes depending on the density (root vegetables will take the longest). Prepare your choice of grains according to the package instructions. We like to make extra rice/quinoa/etc. and have it on hand for just such an occasion.
When all the ingredients are ready, fill a bowl with your grains, veg, and your choice of toppings. This is a great recipe to play around and experiment with– no two Buddha Bowls are alike!
This is also something that you could eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Yes, even breakfast– it’s very common in many parts of Asia to eat grains and vegetables in the morning.
We were first introduced to the Buddha Bowl through Martha Stewart’s Meatless cookbook. You can watch her prepare one in this video along with a few other simple dishes.
Have you tried a Buddha Bowl before? What’s your favorite combination? Tell us in the comments!