Budget Friendly Dinner Ideas

I’ve said it before: my grocery budget Β in the past has been out of control. It’s so easy for me to “accidentally” overspend at the grocery store. I love trying new products and recipes, but things can really start to add up. And while I love cooking for other people, ingredients can get expensive when you’re cooking for a crowd! I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way from time to time, so here’s a little recipe round up of some of my favorite budget friendly dinner ideas!

Budget Friendly Dinner Recipes from I Heart Vegetables

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open faced quesadillas

Tostadas… also known as “Open Faced Quesadillas“. These are so easy to make, and you can easily substitute ingredients based on what you have in your fridge. All you need are tortillas, cheese, and veggies/TVP/meat or whatever your filling of choice may be!


This curried lentil soup is a budget friendly dinner recipe that is also vegan and gluten free!

Easy Curried Lentils– These easy curried lentils are budget friendly and so easy to make!

potato soup with green onions

5 Ingredient Potato Soup– You don’t have to restock you pantry to create this hearty soup. Yes, it’s literally 5 ingredients. And it’s super filling!


Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Vegetables– You already know pasta is cheap, but don’t forget that it can also be a great way to use up leftover vegetables you have in your fridge. Peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, or tomatoes all work well with whole wheat pasta. No sauce? Just add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic (and a little Parmesan cheese if you’re feeling crazy) and you’ve got dinner ready!

vegetable minestrone soup

One of my favorite rainy day meals is this vegetable minestrone soup. A perfect way to use up a few vegetables, this one-dish meal is super filling and satisfying! Sprinkled with a little cheese on top, this soup is just the right amount of fancy! (Hint: If you want to keep it vegan, leave off the cheese and you’re good to go!)


For more tips on saving money, check out my post about saving money at the grocery store HERE!

Β What’s your favorite budget friendly dinner?


  1. I love these cheap dinner ideas! Those black bean fritters sound like a tasty way to use up the all of the black beans we have in the pantry!

  2. I really need to try the black bean fritters, Liz. They are so much like the morningstar farms spicy black bean burgers, BUT I’m sure much less expensive and don’t have a lot of sodium and extras in them. Guess I really DO need to get my food processor out of the box, don’t I? πŸ˜‰ The tostadas sound good too! Have a great day, my dear!

    • Yes! They’re similar but so much cheaper! I did fry the fritters, but I also have a black bean burger recipe you might want to try!

  3. Yum these all look like great ideas! I’ve made Ratatouille before and froze it in a big batch it is all just very cheap vegetables but it turns out really tasty and freezes well πŸ™‚

  4. Great ideas here and a much needed post as it can be hard be thrifty when trying to be healthy sometimes.

  5. These look and sound amazing! LOVE the photos, as always! Great ideas!!!

  6. I’ve never made fritters! I love finding budget friendly meal ideas. I try my best to stick to $50 or under at the store each week.

  7. ooo yummm, those pictures are making me hungry! I like to do big batches of soup in the winter because it freezes well, and having frozen soup on hand is way more budget-friendly (not to mention HEALTHIER) than buying frozen entrees at the store. In the summer, I eat salads just about every meal – which is budget friendly when the farmers market is in full swing!

  8. I really like to see peoples budget saving meals. I’m certainly on a budget right now and it’s a lot harder and honestly a huge awakening. These all look good too!

  9. I agree with the tostadas! I always have a pack at home (or homemade tortillas) and they’re great for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

  10. This is great! I’m always looking for ways to save money and eat on a budget. Thanks for the ideas! I’ll be trying some of these, especially the potato soup!

  11. Awesome ideas!

  12. Every single dish here looks SO good!! One of my favorite budget-friendly meals to make is beans and rice in the slow cooker. It is SO good and I have leftovers for days!

  13. Heres the problem…this all looks SO FREAKING GOOD. To me. My hubby? Ya he wouldn’t like any of it. Well, maybe the tacos. He’s so difficult to cook for!! I guess Ill just have to make it all for myself πŸ™‚

    • Hahaha I’m pretty lucky that my boyfriend will eat basically anything, and doesn’t really eat meat!

  14. I fall into the same trap! I think some sort of mexican inspired dish is usually very budget friendly & easy. Corn, beans, tortilla, veggies, and add some cheese.

  15. great ideas! for us currently anything with plantains would be our budget meal haha they are cheap πŸ™‚

  16. Liz, we are kindred spirits. If I try to “wing it” at the grocery store without a list, I will walk out with a full shopping cart and an empty wallet. Love that your recipes are budget-conscious! Keep ’em coming.

  17. Personal fave budget friendly dish: 1 can black beans + 1 can Italian tomatoes + hot sauce or diced jalapeno cooked down until liquid absorbed. Served atop white rice cooked w/ coconut milk in place of half of the water. It’s the best sweet/spicy combo ever and so easy/cheap to make! πŸ™‚

  18. I was just commenting on another blog about how I would like to stick to a budget more often but we haven’t really set one in place yet. I know not to go crazy but sometimes I feel like I spend to much on produce (even when I’m not buying organic!)

    • I’m the same way! I actually bought a juicer this week (which I guess could potentially end up being more expensive haha) but I’m hoping to use up veggies that are going bad, by making juice! My newest budget goal is to stop wasting food!

  19. Such great ideas! Chickpea tacos are our #1 go-to budget meal. Also, tuna melts!

  20. awesome post! I have been overdoing it so bad… I haven’t meal planned and I buy food out everyday and its adding up!

  21. Actually a genius post idea! My favorite budget friendly dinner (or lunch, even) is a sweet potato, some type of green veggie, chicken or turkey, and usually coconut oil for my fat πŸ™‚ Meat/veg/starch/fat is my staple guide for lunches and dinners!

    • I love sweet potatoes! In fact, I’m posting a sweet potato enchilada recipe tomorrow! Thy’re so cheap and delicious!

  22. I love posts like this where everyone is sharing their ideas. Last night we had a variation on the pasta with veggies- whole wheat penne, with sauteed garlic scapes and spinach, mixed into the pasta with three beaten eggs and some goat cheese, all cooked together for a few minutes. Some fresh basil made it even better!

    And the black bean fritters! I remember when you first posted that recipe that I wanted to try them…thanks for the reminder πŸ™‚

  23. cereal is my budget friendly dinner πŸ™‚

  24. Stir-fries are my favorite budget dinners! Pretty much use up anything you have in the fridge or freezer, throw it together with some soy and ginger, done! Saving these ideas, btw, since I’ve got to go on (even further) budget lockdown starting SOON.

    • I do love stir fries, although I haven’t made one in awhile! I need to get back to them!

      • You do, especially if you need a quick, cheap meal! I’ve even made them with spaghetti before when I haven’t had rice or rice noodles on hand, haha. Pretty ghetto, but tastes mostly the same.

  25. The open faced quesadilla looks so good. I am a quesadilla fanatic. I usually have them 1-2 a week,

  26. It’s really a great and useful piece of information.
    I’m satisfied that you just shared this useful informatkon with us.
    Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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