avacado chickpea prepared meal in glass dish

5 Favorite Meatless Meals

Frugal & Healthy Grocery Budgeting: Meatless Meals

Last month I shared a post on how to reduce your monthly grocery bill. One of the suggestions was to consider having at least one main meal a week that is meatless. Here are a few of my family’s favorite “meatless” dishes. May your tummies be full, along with your wallets 🙂

A Few Disclaimers

  • My family is not vegan or vegetarian, nor do we plan to be. The only thing special about these recipes is that they are meatless, except for the chicken broth technically. And they are also delicious.
  • I am not even close to being a professional in the kitchen. Some of these recipes have a few fancier ingredients than what I normally have in my kitchen (i.e.-I don’t ever have broccolini in my fridge-but I do have broccoli). I am constantly ad- libbing and substituting ingredients in recipes and utilizing what we already have. Feel free to do the same!
  • I like cooking but what is most satisfying to me is when I can feed my family healthy food inexpensively. So that’s why I share!

1. Cheesy Southwestern Lentils and Brown Rice

I remember serving this meal to my brother and his wife when they came over last winter. He was shocked at how delicious a meal could be without meat. That’s a WIN in my book! This is the perfect meal to eat together when you are cozy and warm looking at all that snow outside. The recipe does align to the use of an Instapot; however, it would be fairly easy to make this on the stovetop as lentils also cook quickly that way (#5 calls for lentils being made on the stovetop too). This recipe does have a bit of a kick to it, but feel free to omit the chilis if you want to decrease the spice factor! You can also tone down the spice and boost the nutritional value by mixing in half of an avocado. Yum!

Tweaks: I skip the onion and cilantro (hubby is not a fan), and often use chicken broth as we typically don’t have veggie broth on hand. I also utilize the small can of diced tomatoes with chopped green chilis you can buy at Aldi instead of two separate cans. We also only use mozzarella cheese instead of two different kinds of cheese and it is AMAZING!

2. 20 Minute Black Bean Soup

My mom is infamous for her “taco soup” and that is a go-to for my family sometimes. However, I like this recipe because it is very similar in taste/texture/density as taco soup-but it is meatless, meaning it cuts down on our grocery bill. Plus, you can get a ton of protein from the veggies and beans already in this soup! This is a crowd-pleasing, filling, and yummy soup for the littles and bigs in your family!

Tweaks: No cilantro or onions, chicken broth instead of veggie, and a can of tomatoes with chilis in them instead of a separate can of chilis. (For this recipe, I use the additional can of fire-roasted tomatoes too). To save even more on ingredients, I buy the black beans dry and make a bunch in the Instapot, freezing extras in 1-2 cup portions for soups like this. We often eat this soup with crushed tortilla chips on top.

3. Veggie Burritos with Black Beans and Rice

These burritos are an inexpensive, healthy lunch to make ahead and freeze for later. I like to wrap them individually in a paper towel, then with tinfoil, and sealed in a freezer bag altogether to avoid freezer burn. The recipe calls for chicken or beef or even tofu (never tried this), but I make them without meat and they are still delicious! To reheat, keep in the paper-towel and microwave for 1 minute, flip, and then 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Tweaks: No meat, no onion, and I top each one with a generous pile of pepperjack cheese for a little kick. Again, I utilize saving on the black beans by making/freezing them in advance using my Instapot.

4. Sweet Potato Chickpea Power Bowl

The name of this recipe on the website intimidated me, but I’ve simplified it a bit and my family loves this one! (Except little E isn’t a fan of chickpeas…yet). I do the same thing with chickpeas as I do with beans-buy them dry, make them in the Instapot, and freeze extras for another time. Also, instead of making the tahini sauce, I bought a jar of it from Aldi in the salad dressing section that pairs wonderfully with this recipe when drizzled over the chickpeas.

Tweaks: No onion, and I had never heard of “broccolini” before so we just use good old broccoli.I also sometimes swap kale with more broccoli since kale doesn’t keep well in the fridge for leftovers. It is good with both veggies though. (Also, if you find yourself with lots of extra kale in the bag…like I ALWAYS do, throw it in the blender with a little water or milk and freeze it in ice-cube trays for baby food or smoothies). Chickpeas made in the instapot tend to be a bit dryer, so I try to leave a little moisture when I “pat dry” them and I also saute them for a shorter amount of time than what the recipe calls for.

5. Lentil Tacos

This recipe gets the award for most simple. Dry lentils is probably the only ingredient you might not already have on hand and you can buy those at most grocery stores (but not Aldi 🙁 ). It takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, but some of that time the mixture is just simmering on the stovetop and you can be doing whatever you need to do.

Tweaks: No onions for us and we use olive oil instead of canola oil. We like to eat our lentil tacos on hard shells (soft for the little guy) and top it with lots of cheese! Yum!

What About You?

Tell me your favorite meatless dishes! I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been cooking, aren’t we all always looking for a new easy and frugal recipe? Comment below 🙂

Recommended Reading

Want more frugal recipes? This is my new favorite resource! Check out The Mashup Mom’s blog for awesome meals, some with meat and some without, with ingredients you can get from Aldi! She also has FREE weekly Aldi meal plans for $60 or less for 6 meals for 4 people!

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