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Ask The Readers: Meatless or inexpensive meal suggestions that guys would love?

Today’s question is from Alicia:

My family consists of three boys, my husband, and myself. With the cost of food rising, I have let my meat stockpile diminish. I was wondering if your readers have any budget-friendly recipes for meatless or inexpensive recipes that will satisfy and fill the bellies of a house full of meat-eating males!? -Alicia

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  • says:

    Seven layer bean dip is always good. My family also makes what we call mount Olympus. It is frito chips topped with canned chili, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, olives, tomatoes, and salsa. You can really add whatever toppings you and your family prefer. Simple and when chili is on sale and the store relatively cheap.

  • Jill says:

    When I’m not in the mood to serve meat, I make ‘fassulia’ which is a middle eastern bean dish. It’s made with great northern beans, tomato paste, water,, salt pepper and allspice. I let it simmer on a low flame for an hour or so. It’s really tasty and is best served over rice. I sometimes add meat to make it a more rounded meal, but I still great meatless!

  • says:

    My hubby is a meat-lover, but luckily he likes pasta too! Pasta happens to be cheap, so we fill up on pasta (with lots of veggies). You can always through a little ground beef in there too, which makes it feel like there’s meat, but it doesn’t have to be a lot. Mushrooms are another great way to add bulk. And my mom-in-law always tells moms to have bacon bits on hand. A little bacon in a dish makes it feel more meaty, but it doesn’t have to be a lot or cost a lot.

  • Jen says:

    We really like a roasted red pepper linguine.

    You can easily roast your own peppers in your broiler. Aldi has been having sales of the stop-light variety in my area for $1.49.

    Roast the peppers on a cookie sheet (8 minutes to a side) on broil. When all sides are charred, I put them in a brown paper bag and fold closed. Let cool and they’ll be easy to peel, seed and slice.

    Use one red pepper in your sauce with a little red pepper flakes and some chicken broth. Puree.

    Use 8 oz. of cream cheese (the recipe I use calls for chive cream cheese but I usually just use regular with some Mrs Dash garlic seasoning). Add puree and let heat. Add the other two peppers you roasted. Serve over whole grain linguine with some parmesan cheese on top. It’s quite good. Sadly, I don’t remember the website I used to find it so I can’t give exact measurements (I’m at work).

  • Allie says:

    Two words: Biscuits and Gravy 😉

  • says:

    My cousin recently turned me on to the great recipes at . I think all or most of their recipes are meatless and healthy.

    Also, my husband has always been a meat and potatoes guy, but we’ve slowly been able to incorporate some healthier changes. For example, I started incorporating whole grains by mixing 1/2 white rice with 1/2 brown rice, or 1/2 regular spaghetti with 1/2 whole wheat spaghetti. As I slowly decreased the amount of “white” product, nobody has complained at all. Your taste buds get used to it 🙂

  • Christina H. says:

    My husband is a big meat eater and usually scrunches his nose up at “meatless.” He does, however, LOVE these black bean quesadillas from budget bytes. They are super freezer friendly too!

  • Lisa S says:

    Don’t give up on the meat entirely, it doesn’t have to be as spendy as it sounds. I have a limit of $2/lb on my meat outside special occasions. I usually get cheese at best at $3/lb. And my cheapest milk not marked down is $3.59. Now I hear about you girls in Cali getting it for $2.59 (whoo hoo) so all this will vary by region.

    We usually buy ham (.99/lb easter, 1.29/lb thx/xmas), turkey (free-.99/lb thx/xmas), boneless chicken ($2/lb sams), sausage, and huge bags of real bacon bits–my favorite ($9 = 5lbs uncooked). I add these bacon bits to omelets, breakfast quesadillas, baked potato bar, salads, pizza, alfredo sauce, etc. A little goes a long way in the flavor department, and the men folk consider it a meal with meat.

    The hams and turkey we saved money and buy several at the holidays. I buy the shank in ham, have the butcher chop off the bone in and cut it in half. Then I have two chunks for ham and beans, the bone in the ham we are going to eat as steaks for a third. That’s four meals, we always have a fair amount of extra meat that gets cubed and frozen for use in pizzas, omelets, quiche, breakfast burritos, chicken cordon bleu casserole, etc. I do the same with the turkeys, except I get way more cubed meat and broth/stock rather than bones for beans. Actually really economical. Where I’m at, dairy and fresh veggies are way more. You just have to plan ahead and buy it all when it is cheap.

    We also half recipes for what the meat calls for. example: I use one lb of sausage for the whole red sauce #10 can (makes 6 jars).

    We also glean. We know a taxidermist and butcher who always seems to find himself acquiring more meat than his family can eat. Rather than waste it, he cleans and processes it and gives it away to friends. Or trades it for services he needs. Think outside the box on ways to get meat cheap or free.

  • says:

    My family LOVES 13 bean soup. I buy the 13 bean soup mix in the bulk section of my local Winco. It is ridiculously inexpensive, I think $1.28 per pound. Put the bean mix and an onion in the crockpot for 4 hours. Top with crushed tortilla chips and enjoy!

  • says:

    I’m in the same boat as Alicia, and I really haven’t had much success with meatless meals but there is one that we love: cottage cheese patties! Sounds weird, I know, but I recently posted the recipe here: and quite a few people tried it and liked it! 🙂 Very filling and very cheap.

  • says:

    One of my favorite inspirations for inexpensive meals is . Some are meatless, some are not, but they all appear to be fairly healthy and any of her recipes I have made my family has enjoyed.

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