By Natalee Goodman

 It’s all over the news: grocery prices are on the rise. It should be comforting to know that this doesn’t have to stop you from making delicious and nutritious meals for yourself, your family, or your friends.

At Alternative Food Network, we believe it doesn’t take expensive ingredients to make amazing meals that everyone will enjoy, and we want to share versatile and delicious meal ideas with you. No matter what your budget is, and even if you’re on a tight schedule, Alternative Food Network has the content you need to make healthy happen.

Oven Roasted Broccoli and Peppers
Our first recipe is oven-roasted broccoli and peppers. This dish can be whipped up in minutes and paired with your favourite rice or grain as well as an inexpensive protein like chickpeas.

Ingredients:
●      1 Broccoli crown
●      2 Bell peppers
●      Asian spice blend
●      Olive oil
●      Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut your broccoli into florets and add to parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Core and slice bell peppers into one inch strips and add to lined baking sheet.
4. To the broccoli and pepper add a drizzle of olive oil, Asian spice blend, and salt & pepper to taste. Toss well.
5. Add to preheated oven for 10 minutes.
6. After 10 minutes, remove from oven and toss again. Before adding back to the oven for another 10 minutes, increase the temperature to 425 degrees.
7. Remove and serve immediately.
Watch us make it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhsStRqOmc0

Vegan Chicken Salad with Chickpeas
Our vegan “chicken” salad is packed with protein! This salad is made with inexpensive chickpeas and can be served with crackers, on bread, or with your favourite veggies.

Ingredients:
●      1 can of chickpeas
●      2 tbsp vegan mayo
●      1 tbsp mustard
●      1/4 cup of diced red onion
●      Salt and pepper to taste
Optional:
●      1/2 avocado (this will make a creamier mock chicken salad!)
●      1/4 cup of celery
●      1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes
●      2 tbsp diced olives

Directions:
1. Mash your chickpeas with a fork.
2. Add mashed chickpeas, mayo, mustard, diced onions and any optional ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix again.
4. Serve!

Watch us make it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtOP_mABBmw

Falafel with Chickpea Salad
Falafel can be found in the frozen section of almost any grocery store and can be easily baked in the oven and added to a chopped salad. It’s also great for cost-conscious food lovers who also need a protein kick!

Ingredients:
●      1 unit frozen Falafel, cooked
●      1 can chickpeas, drained
●      1 avocado
●      1/2 cucumber, chopped
●      1/3 cup cabbage, shredded
●      1/4 cup green onion
●      1/3 cup diced tomatoes
●      1 tbsp olive oil
●      Salt, pepper & your favourite spices to taste
Optional:
●      low-sodium tomato sauce
●      ketchup
●      cilantro

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except for falafel. Mix well.
2. On a plate, add your salad and top with falafel and topping. Enjoy immediately.

Asian Cucumber Salad with Kimchi
Our Asian Cucumber Salad with Kimchi is fantastic with rice and your favourite protein. We love this recipe because there tends to be leftover kimchi that can be kept in your fridge for months, allowing for this recipe to be made again and again!

Ingredients:
●      200 grams/1 cup carrots, sliced
●      133 grams/1/2 cup kimchi
●      1/2 an English cucumber
●      1 tbsp rice vinegar
●      2 tbsp olive oil
●      salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Peel and thinly slice carrots into rounds. Halve cucumbers lengthwise and slice.
2. In kimchi container, cut kimchi with kitchen scissors until finely diced.
3. Combine carrots, kimchi, and cucumbers in a large bowl. Add rice vinegar and olive oil to bowl along with salt & pepper to taste.
4. For a more flavourful dish, allow to sit at room temp for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve.
Watch us make it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWLxXyEWjTU

Catch-All Veggie Stir-Fry
Lastly, we are showcasing our favourite Friday meal: a delicious and nutritious veggie stir-fry.
A stir-fry is a great way to use up all of the leftover veggies and protein in your fridge from the past week. Have some broccoli, tomatoes, bell pepper, or chickpeas leftover from one of our other recipes this week? Add it to this recipe! Toss your veggies and grain of your choice with soy sauce, a tablespoon of whatever oil you have on hand as well as some optional hot sauce like sriracha, and mix well with a wooden spoon until everything is combined and heated through. Serve Immediately.

You don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to get a great meal on the table. Another way to enhance your meals is with spices! These commonly last more than just one use and are extremely versatile – they can transform and elevate any dish! To learn more about spices, be sure to check out podcast Episode 18 of Doctors+, The Health Benefits of Spices here: https://alternativefoodnetwork.com/doctors-plus/.

All content provided or opinions expressed are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.