What to CookOn the CheapMake-Ahead MealsDinner, Faster

40 Inexpensive Meals That'll Keep You (And Your Wallet) Full

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I know cooking at home is supposed to be less expensive than eating out, but sometimes when I get my total at the checkout line, a three-figure cost makes my eyes bulge a little. But not every meal needs Parmigiano-Reggiano, $15 almond butter, or Madagascar vanilla beans you’ll use once a blue moon. In fact, some of the most delicious meals I’ve made feature humble pantry staples like chickpeas, peanut butter, or eggs.

Maybe you’ve spent the summer adventuring in mountains and funds are low. Or perhaps you’re trying to squeeze one more beach trip in before Labor Day. You could simply just want to save a few bucks. Whatever your reason, here are 40 budget-friendly meals, sides, and desserts that just make sense.

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High Flavor, Low Cost Mains

Zucchini, Almond, and Mint Soup with Lemony Lentils
Zucchini, Almond, and Mint Soup with Lemony Lentils
Breakfast Tacos for Dinner (With Eggs & Chorizo)

Breakfast Tacos for Dinner (With Eggs & Chorizo) by Leanne Brown

Weeknight Soy Sauce-y, Peanut-y Tofu

Weeknight Soy Sauce-y, Peanut-y Tofu by Nicholas Day

Risi e Bisi
Risi e Bisi
Greens-Stuffed, Cheese-Stuffed Quesadilla
Greens-Stuffed, Cheese-Stuffed Quesadilla
Mom's Meatballs

Mom's Meatballs by Barbara Lynch

Fan Qie Chao Dan (Tomato and Eggs over Rice)

Fan Qie Chao Dan (Tomato and Eggs over Rice) by Joy Huang | The Cooking of Joy

Grace Young's Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork

Grace Young's Stir-Fried Garlic Eggplant with Pork by Genius Recipes

Caroline Choe's Kimchi Mac & Cheese

Caroline Choe's Kimchi Mac & Cheese by Caroline Choe

The 1-Pan, 3-Step Route to Baked Ziti
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The 1-Pan, 3-Step Route to Baked Ziti
Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes with Chipotle Mayo

Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes with Chipotle Mayo by CheapBeets

Spicy, Creamy Chickpeas & Spinach (Chana Saag-ish)

Spicy, Creamy Chickpeas & Spinach (Chana Saag-ish) by Sarah Jampel

Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci
Victoria Granof’s Pasta con Ceci
Homemade Celery Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes

Homemade Celery Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes by Amee

Creamy Polenta with Tempeh Sausage and Tomatoes

Creamy Polenta with Tempeh Sausage and Tomatoes by Gena Hamshaw

Crostini alla Romana

Crostini alla Romana by Kyoko Ide

Andrew Feinberg's Slow-Baked Broccoli Frittata

Andrew Feinberg's Slow-Baked Broccoli Frittata by Genius Recipes

Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower "Shawarma"

Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower "Shawarma" by Alexandra Stafford

Simple Fish and Corn

Simple Fish and Corn by Amanda Hesser

Thrifty Side Hustles

Summer Cold Noodle Salad
Summer Cold Noodle Salad
Tahini Roasted Broccoli
Tahini Roasted Broccoli
Chickpea Vegetable Bowl with Peanut Dressing
Chickpea Vegetable Bowl with Peanut Dressing
White Bean Salad with Tarragon

White Bean Salad with Tarragon by Marian Bull

Dill Pickle Potato Salad

Dill Pickle Potato Salad by Marian Bull

Chow-chow

Chow-chow by Elizabeth Stark

Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice

Classic Nigerian Jollof Rice by Kitchen Butterfly

Green Garden Herby Basmati Rice with Basil, Mint, Chives & Rosemary

Green Garden Herby Basmati Rice with Basil, Mint, Chives ... by Basil and Roses

Joy the Baker's Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas (More or Less)

Joy the Baker's Olive Oil-Braised Chickpeas (More or Less) by Sarah Jampel

Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad
Sriracha-Lime Corn Salad
Deborah Madison's Lentil Salad with Mint, Roasted Peppers, and Feta Cheese

Deborah Madison's Lentil Salad with Mint, Roasted Peppers... by Genius Recipes

Chimichurri Chickpeas

Chimichurri Chickpeas by Sarah Jampel

Sweet Savings

Throw a Fruit Crumble Dessert Party for Just $40
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Throw a Fruit Crumble Dessert Party for Just $40
Brown Butter Raspberries

Brown Butter Raspberries by Amanda Hesser

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Margaret Fox's Amazon Chocolate Cake

Margaret Fox's Amazon Chocolate Cake by Kristen Miglore

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Maialino's Olive Oil Cake
Maialino's Olive Oil Cake
Nutella Popcorn Puppy Chow
Nutella Popcorn Puppy Chow
The Kitchn's One-Ingredient Ice Cream

The Kitchn's One-Ingredient Ice Cream by Genius Recipes

Dark Chocolate & Coconut Bites.

Dark Chocolate & Coconut Bites. by we eat. happy.

Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches

Grilled Chocolate Sandwiches by Alice Medrich

Blueberry Schlumpf

Blueberry Schlumpf by Marian Bull


Tags: cheap, inexpensive, low-cost, thrifty, filling