Sunday, November 10, 2013

Plant Based on a Budget - Risotto with Kale

In September, I spent $300 on food. I live by myself. That's ridiculous. I decided to commit to reducing that bill and did so by 1/2 in October, spending $150 on food. I shopped at a different grocery store with a great bulk section and limited my purchase of specialty foods, like vegan 'meat', 'dairy', and 'cheese'.

This month, I'm being ever cognizant of the economic impact my food decisions have. It's amazing how we can be careless with our food dollars. It's the most empowering and important daily decision we make and too often, we make bad ones! Or at least I have, maybe you're perfect!

The genesis to a better sense of how much I spend on food comes from contributing to Plant Based on a Budget and working with the founder, Toni. In fact, she and other contributors are putting together weekly shopping lists and menus for singles, a two-person household, and a family of four...all for $25/person/week. You can check it out here.

I don't have disposable income, but in terms of my food decisions, I have been living as if I do. With the recipes I create or adapt, I'm really pleased that they are affordable, delicious and, more importantly, they enable people to eat more plant-based foods. This is a win-win.

Here's my most recent contribution - risotto with kale. Fancy sounding, but really affordable. I do a lot of cooking with my slow cooker, so this recipe is adapted for that.

I'm aware that not everyone will be able to find these ingredients - you can adapt this recipe to suit ingredient availability. For example, instead of arborio rice, use any other rice and make it a rice dish instead. If you don't have access to kale - look for frozen spinach or any fresh, dark leafy greens. I was only able to get organic kale so if you buy conventional kale, it will probably be cheaper.

Cost (note: I purchased these items at a northern California discount supermarket)
* Arborio rice: $0.75 (for 1.5 cups), buy it in bulk if possible otherwise price is much steeper
* Organic kale: $1.47 (for a bunch, they only had organic)
* Garlic: $0.20 cents (for 5 cloves)
* Bouillon cubes: 0.33
Total: $2.75
Cost per serving: $0.46


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