17 Delicious Meatless Meals for Families on a Budget

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meatless mealsLooking for some meatless meals that fit your budget? Here are some amazingly tasty recipes that the entire family (including the kids) will love.

Cutting out meat or reducing its consumption is not only healthier is also cost-efficient. That’s because chicken, beef, pork, and even fish cost about 30% to 40% more than their non-meat alternatives.

This makes it a good idea to go meatless a few days a week if you’re looking to save more on food.

The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor or worry about feeling hungry doing so. Here are some awesome recipes you can easily make that will make you forget that you’re not eating any meat.

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Spanish Beans With Tomatoes

This recipe is a hearty white bean tomato stew that’s delicious and easy to make. Plus, it takes just 20 minutes to prepare.

All you need are 7 ingredients and you’ll be able to enjoy this light (125 calories) meal. It is perfect as a main or side dish. And, you can even make it as one of your tapas dishes.


Grilled Veggie Quesadilla With Black Beans

Often, most vegetarians and vegans use substitutes for eggs and dairy products. But, that’s not the only solution nowadays. That’s because there are many vegan versions of eggs, cheeses, and other dairy products.

One example is this grilled vegan quesadilla which uses vegan shredded cheese. Daiya, Follow Your Heart, and Field Roast Chaio all have great options that work well with this recipe.


Make-Ahead Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole

This is not only a low-cost meal but also one you can make ahead of time. And, when it comes time to eat, all you need to do is warm it up in the oven and you’re ready to do.

Casseroles are great because you can reheat them fairly quickly. Plus, you get to use all sorts of ingredients depending on what your dietary needs are. I still remember my mom making casseroles from leftovers when we were kids. That was definitely a great way to save extra cash.

This one is another budget-friendly meal as you’re swapping out the meat for beans, making it a lot more cost-effective. Of course, like most casseroles, there’s the gooey cheese that crusts up on when baked in the oven.


Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Who says you can’t eat healthy and cheap? This delicious Mediterranean salad is a perfect example that you can. Plus, it takes just 20 minutes to make.

Oh, and did I mention that it only contains 214 calories?

So, if you’re short on time and want to get a nice light meal that’s full of flavor (and healthy), try this one out for size.


Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos

Burritos are amazing because they’re filling and cheap. Plus, they take 10-20 minutes to make and you can take them with you even when you’re on the go.

My kids really love this Mexican treat because it’s got all sorts of flavor. You’ve got the sweetness of the corn and onion. Plus, there’s the gooey cheese and the herb flavors.

Like pizza, burritos are one of the few foods where my kids don’t seem to care what kind of veggies they eat. This is always a good thing as a parent.


Three-Ingredient Tomato Sandwich

This simple 3-ingredient recipe is perfect for days or afternoons where you find yourself hungry. It’s simple to make. All you need is bread, a few different kinds of tomatoes, and mayo.

Of course, you can swap out the mayo for something healthier if you want to keep the calories down. One tablespoon contains nearly 100 calories. So, you can swap that out for something lighter if you’re on a diet.

Either way, the 3 ingredients are as cheap as you’ll get for a tasty sandwich.


Cilantro-Pepita Pesto with Squash Ribbons and Fettuccine

if you’re looking for something that won’t leave you feeling hungry after an hour or so, this delicious pasta recipe is the way to go. It uses cilantro and pumpkin seeds for its pesto. And, you’ve got a combination of whole-grain fettuccine (or linguine) mixed with zucchini and squash for the pasta.

This combination of “pastas” makes it lighter than just your regular white spaghetti or fettuccine while the pesto is definitely a much better option to white or red sauces without sacrificing flavor.


Chocolate Depression Cake

This recipe is for when you want to reward yourself or days when you just want something comforting. While it’s not the healthiest thing on a list, it’s definitely one of the most satisfying, not to mention cheap!

The entire cake recipe costs just $2.41 to make. And, each serving costs about $0.27. That beats having to drive to the pastry or bakeshop and picking up a similar chocolate cake.


Hummus And Avocado Toast

Tomatoes and avocado on toast is a well-known healthy combination that many dieters use for their sandwiches. But did you know that smearing the toast with hummus puts it over the top?

Hummus is not only a creamy and delicious, it’s also a much healthier option to mayo, cream, or other condiments people often use to layer bread with.


Sweet And Sour Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap because it is bland. So, the trick to creating delicious recipes with this protein-packed ingredient is to combine it with something flavorful.

Here’s where the sweet and sour comes in.

Sweet and sour is one of the best known and love Chinese flavors. And, it’s got bold flavors that make it perfect with the mild taste of tofu.


Healthy Chocolate & Banana Quesadilla

Okay, the last chocolate recipe may not have been light on the calories. But, this one is much healthier. And, it’s quicker and easier to make.

In just 9 minutes, you can enjoy this chocolate and banana quesadilla. All you need are 3 ingredients which makes it convenient to put together as well.

Let’s not forget that this simple dish contains 8 grams of protein and another whopping 8 grams of fiber.


Vegetarian Fried Rice

I have a soft spot for fried rice because it was something my mom made from leftovers from the night before. Old, leftover rice that was cooked in the wok was likewise better than freshly steamed rice because it soaked up all the flavors and sauces.

This recipe is vegetarian fried rice that makes use of whatever vegetables you have. It also includes eggs and a little maple syrup to complement the soy sauce.


Spicy Rice And Bean Wraps

This is a lighter, healthier version of a burrito. It makes use of whole wheat tortillas, black beans, and rice which also makes it cheap. Best of all, all you need is 10 minutes and you’ve got something deliciously filling.

I love the addition of the Greek Yogurt not only because it’s a healthy addition to the dish, but also because it cuts through the beans, rice, and tortilla.


Tomato Avocado Melt

This tomato avocado melt is perfect when you’re craving something delicious and a bit filling during the middle of the day. It takes just 6 minutes to put together making it convenient even when you’re in a hurry.

I won’t lie, the combination of the toasted bread and bubbly, oozing broiled cheese are the best part of this dish. And, also the reason why your kids will ask you to make more for them.


Creamy Havarti and Sliced Apple Sandwiches

In case you want something sweeter and crunchy, you can swap out the tomatoes from the previous recipe for some Granny Smith apples.

The apples, along with the raisin bread make this a completely different sandwich from what you normally would have. The cheese actually plays a supporting role, which doesn’t happen often.

In any case, this is an amazingly low-cost sandwich that you can quickly make when you want something different.


Pesto Caprese Grilled Cheese

Here’s an oldie but goodie with a twist. We all grew up loving grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re delicious, comforting, and filling, not to mention cheap.

If you enjoy your regular grilled cheese sandwich, here’s one with a little bit of a twist. In addition to the common ingredients, you’ll be adding basil pesto and garden tomatoes.

This not only adds healthier ingredients to the dish but also more flavor and crunch as well.


Ten Minute Oven Baked Tostadas

This is another recipe the kids will love, be it for snacks or dinner. Plus, they get to choose their own toppings as well.

Tostadas are wonderfully fun to eat because they’re tasty and crunchy. All you need is a good hot oven and you’ll be ready to eat In 10 minutes.



Meatless meals are a great way to lose weight while cutting down o food expenses. However, many people avoid trying it because a lot of vegan and vegetarian dishes are bland or don’t taste good.

If you give the recipes above a try, you’ll quickly realize that’s not true at all.

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