What I eat in a day vegan sweet potato

What I Eat in a Day Plant-Based on a Budget

Plant-based on a Budget

When Benbella Books reached out to send us Toni Okamoto’s new Plant-Based on a Budget Cookbook, we were more than thrilled.  We knew a book like this would help so many people eat more plants and show how budget friendly this way of eating is.  When we received the book, we immediately picked out some recipes and added the few ingredients we needed to our shopping list.  We planned to share a What I Eat in a Day Plant-Based on a Budget video to highlight the variety of the recipes and how fast and easy they were to make.

The Ingredients

What surprised me most about the ingredients in the recipes in this cookbook was that most of them we had on hand or they were staples we bought each week.  There were not a lot of hard to find or super expensive items, and that made me ecstatic!

For our day of budget-friendly plant based eating, we opted to make The Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl (p 54), The Perfect Potluck Pasta Salad (p 64), and the Mexican Rice Bowl (p 159).  The only ingredients we had to add to our grocery list for these recipes were another sweet potato, a jar of artichokes, and a container of tomatoes.  We had everything else in the pantry or fridge.  I have to say, that makes cooking on a budget even friendlier.

The Cookbook

The cookbook is laid out in two main sections and then the recipe category subsections.  I found the Introduction section very helpful and filled with practical tips to help achieve a budget-friendly meal plan.  Tips & tricks like ‘bringing measuring cups for bulk purchases’ to ‘properly storing your herbs’ filled eight pages of excellent suggestions.  I appreciate the easy to read and list style layout to make remembering these ideas a breeze.

Moving on to the recipe sections, gorgeous pictures, easy to follow recipes, tips and add ons to enhance the recipes and a place for your notes for each recipe.  I love that.  I added a little maple syrup to our Sweet Potato Breakfast bowl, so I could jot that in to remind myself again next time.

What I Eat in a Day

The Recipes

We have permission from Benbella Books to reprint these recipes.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl (p 54)


  • 1 microwaved sweet potato, diced (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Optional Toppings:
  • 1 tablespoon coconut shreds
  • Fresh berries
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy or chunky)


  1. To microwave sweet potato: Using a fork, poke holes all over the potato for ventilation.  Put the potato on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it for 2 minutes. Flip it over and microwave for 2 more minutes.  If the potato is not soft yet, microwave again in 1-minute increments until it’s soft.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients.

Perfect Potluck Pasta Salad (p 64)


  • 1 pound bowtie pasta (or your favorite pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3⁄4 cup diced red, white, or yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 small cloves)
  • 1 (6.5-ounce) jar marinated artichoke quarters with their juices
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon minced lemon zest
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
    Cherry tomatoes halved
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Optional Additions:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, added in step 3


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, boil water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Remove from the heat and drain.
  2. While the pasta cools, begin on the veggies. In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic for 3 minutes or until the onion becomes tender and translucent.
  3. Add the artichokes and their juices, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the drained pasta and mix well.
  5. Garnish with the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with pepper.
  6. Serve warm if you’re rushed, or serve chilled if you have 30 minutes to spare.

Mexican Rice Bowl (p 159)

For the Rice (or Quinoa) Base

  • 1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 cup diced red, white, or yellow onion (about 1⁄2 medium onion)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 small cloves)
  • 1 cup medium-grain white rice or quinoa
  • 1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water

For the Bean Topping

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce or spinach
  • 1 handful chopped tomato

Optional Additions:

  • 1 handful chopped cilantro added in step 3
  • 1⁄4 cup corn kernels added in step 3
  • 1⁄4 cup frozen peas and chopped carrots added in step 3
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin added in step 3

Optional Toppings:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup Vegan Sour Cream or Cashew Cream (p 249)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until the onion becomes tender and translucent.
  2. Add the uncooked rice (or quinoa) and cook until it’s golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, salt, and water, and stir.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pan with a lid, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat. Fluff the rice (or quinoa) and serve it topped with the beans, lettuce, and tomato.

Final Thoughts

What more can I say about this Plant-based on a Budget cookbook?  It is definitely great for someone looking to make easy plant-based meals on a budget.  Vegan or not, this cookbook will help you add more plants to your breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners, or incorporate Meatless Mondays into your weekly menu rotation.

Each recipe has a beautiful photo, which makes a cookbook even better (IMHO).  Some other recipes you might enjoy from this cookbook are:

  • Five-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bites (p. 26)
  • Tropical Smoothie Bowl (p. 58)
  • Larb Salad (p. 80)
  • Tomatillo Salsa (p. 98)
  • Mexican-Inspired Soup (p. 123)
  • Zucchini Potato Casserole (p. 176)
  • Veggie Chow Mein (p. 180)
  • Totchos (p. 190)
  • Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies (p. 214)
  • Orange Creamsicles (p. 219)

I have my eyes on those protein chocolate chip cookies so you might see them pop up in my Instagram feed.

We hope you enjoyed our What I Eat in Day Vegan and Plant-based on a Budget video.  A huge shoutout and congratulations to Toni Okamoto for an excellent and helpful cookbook.  You can snag your copy here: Plant-Based on a Budget. You won’t be sorry to add this to your cookbook shelf!

Thanks for your support and be sure to tag us when you make these recipes – maybe we can cook some together.

Until next time, Eat More plants & Live VegInspired!