Guest post from Koren of
Ever feel like all your hard-earned cash is being eaten up by your family … literally?
You try your hardest to keep your grocery bill down but feeding your brood’s insatiable appetite is an expensive operation. You know there must be a cheaper way but you’re just too busy to explore and experiment. The last thing you want is to spend precious free time holed up in the kitchen testing the latest gastronomic masterpiece.
The good news is that creating cheaper meals quick is as simple as occasionally skipping meat.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried a meal without meat before. If you’re worried about your grocery bill, now is the time to try adding the occasional meatless recipe to your meal rotation. Let this guide be your new start.
Why veggies can be more than a match for meat.
Eating like a vegetarian every so often can save you time in the kitchen and cash on your grocery bill. Plus, there are enormous health benefits to cutting down on meat, including a lowered risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Grains and legumes such as chickpeas and rice are an excellent alternative source of protein to expensive cuts of meat. They’re also extremely versatile, exceptionally cheap and can be bought in bulk to further reduce the price.
You can save even more by stocking up on commonly used herbs and spices such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin and curry powder when they’re on special. Even go a step further and grow your own herbs, which is much cheaper than buying fresh bunches and far less goes to waste.
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to get cooking. To help you out, I’ve trawled my favorite meatless websites to come up with 52 vegetarian recipes that can be whipped up for under $10 each!
Hearty meals for a hungry family.
1. – use up leftover vegetable odds and ends with this hugely flexible throw-everything-in meal.
2. – give traditional pumpkin soup a filling protein punch by adding creamy white cannellini beans.
3. – these basic ingredients are packed full of protein for a meat-free burger patty that cooks up quick.
4. – throw everything into the oven and come back half an hour later for a satisfying low-calorie meal.
5. – turn lentils into something truly tasty with just a few spices and some cheap veggies such as potatoes and carrots.
6. – a good one to throw together and leave to simmer while you get the kids organised.
7. – turn a simple bake into a meal by adding a protein-rich cup of lentils.
8. – ideal for using up vegetables and half-used packets of pasta, this meal can also be frozen for later.
9. – this strudel filling is a cinch to make and can even be served up as a curry if you’re out of frozen pastry.
10. – a hearty, spicy dish that will be ready in under 30 minutes.
Lighter dishes for easy eating.
11. – makes enough sauce to freeze for round two.
12. – far cheaper than store-bought options but just as tasty.
13. – the perfect way to use up a giant zucchini with healthy pancakes packed full of fresh goodness.
14. – a thick and creamy soup, without the need for cream.
15. – a wonderfully green pasta using stinging nettles. Yes, stinging nettles! Spinach can also be used as a substitute.
16. – all the nutritional benefits of spinach wrapped in a deliciously flaky pastry.
17. – the perfect winter comfort food, this recipe makes a big pot for sharing or to enjoy over several days.
18. – a healthy and colourful salad that can be partly made ahead for quicker assembly at mealtime.
19. – make your pumpkin soup go further by serving it over rice.
20. – an incredibly cheap recipe that looks a lot more expensive than it is.
Super quick bites for time-poor moms.
21. – expect to have dinner on the table within 15 minutes using this easy recipe.
22. – take a breakfast-becomes-dinner approach for quick and nutritious results.
23. – save time by using pre-cooked canned lentils in this deliciously lemony soup.
24. – use frozen vegetables to get this meal on the table even quicker.
25. – throw a few ingredients in a pan, stir for a moment and your meal is ready.
26. – tired and don’t feel like cooking? This is the recipe for you.
27. – this quick and versatile meal can also be enjoyed cold as a salad or puréed into soup.
28. – just a few minutes over the stove and this protein-packed meal is ready to eat.
29. – mushrooms give a “meaty” texture to this quick stir-fry.
30. – load up on mushrooms with this hearty but quick soup.
Out-of-the-pantry meals for when the fridge is bare.
31. – an easy “throw everything in and simmer” recipe.
32. – harness the health benefits of mung beans and give your family a protein, vitamin and fiber boost.
33. – add a little zing to your soup with a few spices then serve over rice to make it stretch even further.
34. – just onion, chickpeas, canned tomatoes and some common spices you’ll almost certainly have in the pantry.
35. – this family favorite has a ton of flavor but far less cheese and milk for a healthier alternative.
36. – save time and money with this easy 15-minute meal.
37. – pop everything in the oven and come back when it’s done.
38. – a nutritious way to use up whatever dry beans you have lying around.
39. – a quick and protein-rich soup that’s sure to fill up the family.
40. – this recipe calls for roasted garlic but save time by sautéing instead.
Bargain basement bites for a truly frugal feed.
41. – this chucky-licious super sandwich can be made for as little as $1.95 per serving.
42. – make a gourmet-style meal with little more than carrots, onions, beans and flour.
43. – a basic dhal that can be further simplified to just three main ingredients in tough times.
44. – traditional rice is substituted for far-cheaper pearl barley in this easy recipe.
45. – only four ingredients are needed to whip up this hearty soup.
46. – chunky patties simply based around canned beans and zucchini.
47. – turn a traditional sweet into a comforting savory meal that’s perfect for using up stale bread and vegetable odds and ends.
48. – a filling curry based around two very cheap ingredients: potatoes and onions.
49. – a simple but satisfying meal that’s especially perfect if you have leftover boiled potatoes lying around.
50. — an amazingly satisfying meal whenever you’re ready to clean out your vegetable drawer.
51. – a 5-ingredient curry that can also be served over rice to stretch further.
And finally, my secret ingredient for transforming even the simplest of meals.
52. – beautiful fresh herbs and a dash of lemon and garlic combine in this versatile homemade gem that can be splashed over everything from scrambled eggs and salads to soups and baked potatoes. It can even help turn a bowl of soba noodles into a meal if you’re desperate. It’ll keep well in the fridge so you can always have a batch on hand.
Guess what? You now have enough quick and affordable recipes to make one meatless meal every week for an entire year. So no more excuses. Put away the meat for one night a week and watch your savings grow!
Koren is an Australian who likes to eat well without spending the earth. She and her sister, Alana, create simple and cheap vegetarian recipes for everyday people at , offers tips on how to live a kind and ethical lifestyle.