Frugal Meatless Meal Ideas

You may have heard me mention before that one way to save money on groceries is to have a meatless meal or two each week. Since meat is always one of the most expensive items on my grocery list, it stands to reason that eating less meat will help you cut your grocery bill. Now, you just have to find a few recipes for meatless meals.

Macaroni and Cheese – Although I probably wouldn’t serve this for dinner, macaroni and cheese makes a great lunch. I wait for it to be on sale before I buy it, and then I buy tons of it. It’s easy to make and the kids love it.

Grilled Cheese – This is another option that I would probably only use at lunch, but my family loves grilled cheese sandwiches. In almost no time I can make a mound of these sandwiches. Then, I cut them into quarters to make them more manageable for the kids. This is a great way to salvage bread that is starting to get a little stale, too.

Pasta and Sauce – For a light dinner, pasta is always a popular choice. Choose any shape of pasta that you like, boil it, and top it with your favorite sauce. We prefer marinara sauce, but you may prefer Alfredo sauce.

Baked Potatoes – For a fun dinner treat, we try to create our own baked potato bar in our kitchen. I bake potatoes for everyone and then set out an assortment of toppings. The kids love getting to build their own dinners and baking the potatoes is super easy.

Waffles or Pancakes – My favorite frugal breakfast has to be waffles, but when time is short, pancakes are always easier to make. Either option, though, is a warm and filling breakfast that gets our day started off on the right foot.

Salad – When I’m in the mood for a light lunch, a salad can be just the right lunch food. I tend to buy the large bags of salad mix from the grocery store (unless I have time to prep lots of different veggies). Then, I add extras like slivers of almonds or shredded cheese. Top it with your favorite dressing and lunch is ready.


  1. Ashwini says

    I could not agree more that incorporating less meat in the diet can help cut costs; plus, it will keep the heart and the environment happy! I intern with Meatless Monday, a non-profit that works with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which also encourages going meatless more often to reduce the risk of preventable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, while lowering environmental impact. And while the focus is around cutting meat, it is also around adding the protein, fibre, and vitamins that we are missing without meat. Thus, I think you’d like to visit the Meatless Monday website which has a vast array of recipes that can be both nutritious and cost-effective (get some extra protein in your pancakes with these delicious Buckwheat Apple Flapjacks, or give your salad a make-over with this Asparagus Salad: Thanks! Ashwini

  2. fern says

    These may be cheap and easy, but they’re all but one (the salad) carb-heavy and will put on the pounds faster than you can say “spaghetti.”

    Not very nutritious choices.

  3. Miss Tish says

    Thanks for this post!! DH and I were just talking about making a few meatless meals for dinners but were just stumped on ideas! We really are meat and potato folks! ha ha

    This is a great jumping off point for me to plan some meatless meals – yes, sometimes cheap is not the healthiest but it definitely gives me inspiration for ideas!

  4. Anni says

    For meatless meals, think beans! Pretty much any tex-mex style foods can be made meatless. Burritos, enchiladas, tacos, taco salad, etc. Also I have found frozen rolls of ground turkey can be had very cheap! I use half the amount called for in most ground meat recipes and save a lot of money! You can also stretch any kind of meat. I once fed 4 teen-aged boys, a little one and myself with two chicken breasts. I cut them up small and stir-fried with lots of veggies and a rich, thick sauce made from soy sauce, chicken stock, garlic, sesame oil and cornstarch and served it over a big mound of rice. The best way to save money on food is to learn to cook!