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Two of the big concerns with moving to a vegan diet seem to be taste and money.  No one that has viewed the data really argues that a meat-based diet is healthier.  A quick look at the leading causes of death in America shows that more people die from cholesterol-related heart problems than from all types of dis-eases.  Similarly, we are so far removed from where our food comes from that the ethical issues with using animals for food just don’t matter to a lot of people. So for a lot of people, it’s just the wallet and the tongue that need to be satisfied.  And isn’t a vegan diet boring and expensive?

Maybe I can help with those concerns. As a vegan, I choose not to eat animal products. As a foodie, I don’t let myself get bored with what I eat. And as a college student, I only have a couple dollars to spend on the average meal. Living at the center of this Venn Diagram has helped me find quite a few meals that are cheap, delicious, and vegan.  I want to share with you what I eat, where to buy the ingredients, and how much the meal costs when everything is done.  I do my best to keep my meals inexpensive, varied, packed with taste, and easy.

For my first entry, I think I’ll share one of my favorites: Udon with Stir-Fried Vegetables.

You’re gonna need:

* Udon noodles (~$2.79 for a package of 3 servings)
* Sauces (Choose one, mix, or add your own: Hoisin sauce, black bean garlic sauce, sweet chili sauce, etc.) (~$3.00 for a jar of about 6-8 servings)
* Vegetables (~$0.80 per serving)
* Olive oil
* Soy sauce
* Tempeh (~$1.00 per serving) [Optional]

Where to get it:

I get my tempeh from Trader Joe’s, but the rest of the ingredients are available at Ranch 99 Market (a Chinese market chain) or check out your local health food store.  The tempeh is kind of an extra thing anyways, and I usually make it without because it’s just too much food.

How to do it:

1. Start boiling a small pot of water for the udon noodles to begin.

2. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables for stir-frying. I like broccoli, carrots, and green beans, so I break off the florets of the broccoli, cut the carrots into circles, and break the green beans into smaller pieces. If I’m really hungry and want to toss in some tempeh, I cut it into small rectangles.

3. Put them all in a pan, throw some oil on there, and start up the heat (About medium).

4. Add sauce to taste.

5. Stir around until they are tender enough for you (10 minutes or so).

6. Empty the stir-fry veggies onto a plate.

7. Udon noodles –  As soon as your water boils, throw the udon in there. Set a timer for four minutes. When the timer goes off,  drain the noodles and then put them in the pan your vegetables used to be in. Throw some oil in there! Then add soy sauce until the noodles are golden brown. Now just fry the noodles until they are the right flavor and consistency for you.

8. Put the noodles on the plate with your vegetables, and enjoy enjoy enjoy!

What it’ll cost you:

Depending on if you use tempeh or not, and how many vegetables used in general, it’ll run you about $2.00 – $3.25, or about the cost of a single small order of orange chicken at Panda. Which one would you rather have?