One Pot Pasta and Vegan Parmesan Cheese, $0.83 for dinner

Being vegan doesn’t have to be expensive- but it also doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. In my previous entries, in attempts to be super frugal, I’ve made every part of the meal. From cooking bulk beans from scratch to making fresh rolls. But let’s be honest, most people don’t have the time or the energy to make fresh bread every single night (I certainly don’t). Further, as someone who doesn’t own a dishwasher, I know well that cooking a big meal is not nearly as tiring as cleaning up after a big meal.

So here’s a quick, vegan meal that will only dirty a cutting board, a knife, a pot, a spoon, and some bowls and forks. It’s based on a recipe from the Minimalist Baker. I found their recipe because I happened to have an eggplant and mushrooms in the fridge, but the veggies in this recipe could really be replaced with anything (zucchini, mushroom, broccoli would be pretty great, for instance).

To make one pot veggie pasta, pick whatever veggies are cheap that day, saute them up, remove them from the pot (put them in your future dinner bowl to make one less dish!), boil the pasta in the pasta sauce and water until al dente, stir back in veggies, serve and eat. Simple!

Enjoy this pasta dish with some vegan parmesan cheese and a nice glass of chianti (or seltzer in a wine glass…)


1 Bowl of Pasta: $0.71
1 Tablespoon Vegan Parmesan Cheese: $0.12
Total: $0.83

Leaves $9.17 per person for wine 🙂

1 16oz box of pasta, $1.00
1 24oz jar of pasta sauce, $1.00
~32oz of water, $0.00
1 small eggplant, $0.75
~10 mushrooms, $1.00
1 jalapeno, $0.06
5 cloves garlic, $0.10
salt and pepper to taste, $0.03
3 tbsp olive oil: $0.27
Total: $3.94
Per bowl (makes 6): $0.71


  1. Chop up eggplant into bite size pieces, put the pieces into a pot with the oil, and cover with some salt. Saute until they start to soften.
  2. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pot. While the mushrooms start to soften, add some minced garlic and jalapeno.
  3. Remove the veggies from the pot. Don’t bother rinsing out the pot (you’re adding those veggies back in there, anyway!)
  4. Add one jar of pasta sauce to the pot. Then fill the jar up with water, shake, and add that. Finally add about a third of a jar more of water.
  5. Add a bunch more garlic, salt, and pepper.
  6. Add the pasta and bring to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring very often (it will stick to the bottom if you don’t!)
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, add back in the veggies. Stir everything together and let cook for another minute or so to get the veggies warmed up again.
  8. Serve with vegan parmesan cheese.

parmesantitle Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews, $1.89
¼ cup nutritional yeast, $0.64
1 tablespoon salt, $0.02
Total: $2.55
Per Tablespoon: $0.12


  1. Blend everything together until it makes a fine powder.