When it comes to cooking budget-friendly food, it’s easy to resort to making pasta every night, but just because you’re trying to avoid spending your whole paycheck at the grocery store doesn’t mean you’re stuck eating spaghetti every night. There are plenty of foods you can make that won’t break the bank — you just need to be prepared and know what you want to buy at the grocery store.
If you’re looking to switch up your meals, try one of these eight budget-friendly meals that aren’t made with pasta.
1. Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Chicken Parmesan seems like a fancy meal, but if you make a simple version in bulk, you’ll save money and still get the essence of the dish. Just layer some chicken with tomato sauce, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and bake!
Recipe: Thriving Home Blog
2. Turkey Taco Lettuce Wrap
For a low-carb, inexpensive meal, make some turkey tacos in iceberg lettuce instead of taco shells. Load ’em up with ground turkey meat, taco spices, some cheddar cheese and sour cream, and you can enjoy a guilt-free Mexican meal that’s sure to beat Taco Bell.
Recipe: Skinny Taste
3. Tuscan Vegetable Lentil Soup
Making a hearty soup is always an easy way to make filling food on a budget, and using lentils instead of meat helps bring down the cost. The dish is also loaded with greens and tomatoes, which makes it a nutritious choice for lunch or dinner.
Recipe: Yummy Mummy Kitchen
4. Pesto Spaghetti Squash
Instead of eating pasta, load up on a vegetable that mimics it instead. This version of spaghetti squash is tossed in a kale walnut pesto, and using just one spaghetti squash can serve up to four people, making it a great, inexpensive dish.
Recipe: Veggie Inspired Journey
5. Tuna Cakes With Jalapeño And Cilantro
Canned tuna doesn’t have to be just used in tuna salad or in a sandwich. Make your tuna gourmet by adding in cilantro and lemon, and making a burger-like patty. Serve the patties over greens or even experiment by putting them on a bun.
Recipe: Taste And See
6. Crockpot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
Make use of your crockpot by throwing together a batch of chicken with flavors from the classic salad. Like the traditional dish, the sandwich is filled with romaine, Parmesan cheese and a lightened-up dressing made with Greek yogurt.
Recipe: Two Healthy Kitchens
7. Chana Aloo Masala
Chana Aloo Masala, also known as Chickpea Potato Masala, is a vegetarian Indian dish that’s easy to make — and easy on the wallet. All you need is some rice, chickpeas, potato, and some spices, and you’ve got a filling dish that costs less than $2 per serving.
Recipe: Budget Bytes
8. Southwestern Frittata
When it comes to budget-friendly foods that are filling and nutritious, eggs take the cake. This frittata can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it’s filled with sausages and veggies, making it a dish fit for everyone.
Recipe: 5 Dollar Dinners