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20 Healthy Budget Dinners ($8-$25 for 4 Servings!)

Jan 21, 2022 | Roundups | 0 comments

Healthy Budget Dinners

These healthy budget dinners don't compromise nutrition or flavor. The roundup includes gluten free, paleo and low carb options!

Do you ever feel like you have to choose to either eat healthily or keep your grocery budget reasonable?

With rising food costs, it can definitely seem that way.

With a bit of strategic meal planning though, you can find budget-friendly dinners that actually support your nutritional goals as well. The below 20 recipes are gluten free and full of vitamins and nutrients. Many are paleo as well!

You can find more of my tips on saving money at the grocery store here!

How was the cost for these budget dinner recipes calculated?

Each recipe below includes the approximate cost. Here are the details on what the costs include:

  • The below costs depict prices from a Kroger in Texas, calculated using Instacart.
  • The cost includes all items other than salt, pepper and olive oil so your costs will likely be lower. You probably have garlic powder, oregano, etc. but they are included just in case.
  • Grocery prices include the price for an entire package (e.g., a whole package of butter, a whole jar of cumin), not just the price for the amounts you'll actually use.
  • Most of our Prep Dish recipes provide 4 servings but you will sometimes have leftovers, making your grocery money stretch further.
  • Most of the recipes below include the whole meal but a couple, like the frittata, necessitate a side. Roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, a simple salad, or crusty bread make budget friendly side dishes for these meals.

20 Budget Dinner Recipes

$8-$15 Healthy Dinner Recipes

Red Pepper Soup

1. Red Pepper Sweet Potato Soup ($7.46)

This vegetarian soup recipe is both gluten free and paleo. The hint of chili powder adds a nice depth of flavor. Serve with crusty bread or a simple salad!

2. Sweet Potato Frittata ($8.73)

It's easy to overlook eggs when you're thinking of dinner recipes but I urge you to think outside the box on this one. Eggs are perfect for healthy budget dinners. They're an incredibly budget-friendly protein that's just as good for dinner as for breakfast! My Asparagus, Bacon & Feta frittata makes a good dinner too.

3 Bean Kale and Ancho Vegetarian Chili

3. 3 Bean Kale & Ancho Chili ($12.44)

Beans are another excellent choice for budget-friendly protein. They're filling, inexpensive and can be quite tasty when cooked with plenty of spices like in this chili!

Keto Parsley Chicken

4. Parsley Chicken w/ Kale & Goat Cheese ($12.47)

If you're looking for a low carb budget-friendly dinner option, you can't go wrong with this parsley chicken. My simple parsley marinade gives so much flavor!

Low Cost Dinners - Vegetable Bean Soup

5. Vegetable Bean Soup ($13.15)

Requiring only freezer and pantry ingredients, this is a good one to keep in your back pocket for those nights when the fridge is bare and you're thinking of resorting to takeout.

Healthy Family Meals on a Budget Gluten Free Pizza Soup

6. Pizza Soup (&13.65)

I've got another soup recipe for you! What can I say, soup makes a perfect low cost dinner. Pizza soup is always a favorite with both our Prep Dish subscribers and their kids!

Baked Polenta Casserole

7. Baked Polenta Casserole ($13.85)

Similar to soups, casseroles tend to be budget-friendly dinner options. My baked polenta casserole has similar flavors to lasagna but with polenta in place of the noodles.

Sheet Pan Meals

8. Lemony Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs ($14.23)

Chicken thighs are often less expensive than chicken breast and they also tend to have more flavor. Root vegetables round out this low cost sheet pan meal.

$15-$20 Budget Dinner Recipes

Gluten Free Chili Mac

9. Black Bean Chili Mac ($15.16)

Beans star again here but the flavor comes from smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Much of the cost of this recipe comes from the spices so if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, this one will cost even less.

Chicken Verde Recipe

10. Chicken Verde ($15.79)

My slow cooker chicken verde makes quite a lot. This is good news because the leftover chicken is great atop a salad or in a wrap for lunch!

Turmeric Pork Paleo Slow Cooker Recipe

11. Turmeric Pork ($16.14)

This pork is versatile so serve it with whatever veggies you have on hand. This would also be quite satisfying over a baked potato, which is of course a budget-friendly choice.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

12. Chicken Vegetable Soup ($16.56)

A perennial Prep Dish favorite, my chicken vegetable soup has simple ingredients but is elevated by fresh parsley and lemon. Just one or two special ingredients can go far in making healthy budget dinners flavorful.

Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower

13. Shepherd's Pie ($17.83)

You can make this shepherd's pie with either ground beef or ground lamb. The cost listed above is for the version with beef. Any time you're looking to cut your grocery bill, be flexible with the proteins for your recipes. Many recipes are flexible so use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts or ground beef instead of lamb if the prices are better.

BLT Pasta Salad

14. BLT Pasta Salad ($19.01)

You can make this with either gluten free pasta or zucchini noodles. Either way is delicious!

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup Paleo

15. Chicken Pot Pie Soup ($19.93)

Like many of my paleo soups, this one uses cashew cream for creaminess. A hearty soup like this one is a good way to stretch meat to last further. This recipe calls for just 1/2 pound of chicken but is quite filling.

$20-$25 Healthy Budget Dinners

Moroccan Chicken

16. Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken ($20.43)

The spices account for much of the cost in this one so it may cost considerably less for you. Its subtle sweetness makes this Moroccan chicken a hit with the kiddos!

17. Spaghetti Squash w/ Grass-Fed Beef & Mushroom Marinara ($21.58)

With just 7 ingredients, this simple paleo dinner is easy, budget-friendly, approachable and delicious.

Healthy Budget Dinners - Turkey Taco Soup

18. Turkey Taco Soup ($22.67)

One of our most popular recipes, my turkey taco soup has all of the irresistible flavor of tacos, but in a healthy soup.

Budget Dinners Grilled Curry Chicken Skewers

19. Grilled Curry Chicken Skewers ($23.52)

The yogurt mint sauce that accompanies this chicken is so good! You'll want to dip veggies on it, spread it on a wrap and pretty much eat with everything.

Paleo Lasagna (Budget Dinner Recipes)

20. Paleo Turkey Zucchini Lasagna ($24.84)

Cashew cream comes into play again here, although there's also an option to sub Greek yogurt if you eat dairy. While it has all of the classic flavor associated with lasagna, my version is lighter and far more nutritious.

Need more healthy budget dinners? Check out 5 Healthy Dinners in 1 Hour for Under $100!

Beginner Menu Guide


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Allison Schaaf Chef, Prep Dish

Prep Dish is a gluten-free, paleo, and keto meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes. Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Learn more…

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