Save on Pinterest

50 Cheap, Healthy Meals You’ll Want to Make All the Time

Yes, you can eat well on a budget without sacrificing flavor. Try out these cheap, healthy meals that are tasty, too.

1 / 50

Cool Beans Salad

This protein-filled dish is one of our favorite cheap, healthy dinner ideas. When you make it, double the recipe because it will be gone in a flash! The basmati rice add a unique flavor and the dressing gives it a bit of a tang. —Janelle Lee, Appleton, Wisconsin

Get Recipe

2 / 50
Modern Tuna Casserole Exps Thfm19 228112 B09 27 9b 9

Modern Tuna Casserole

I loved tuna casserole as a kid and found myself craving it as an adult. However, the massive amounts of fat and salt in the traditional recipe were a turnoff healthwise, and it just didn't taste as good as I remembered. I reconfigured the recipe to include more vegetables and the result was delicious. —Rebecca Blanton, St. Helena, California

Want more? Get your guide to healthy eating on a budget.

3 / 50

Apples 'n' Onion Topped Chops

Now that my husband and I are trying to lose weight, I find it a challenge to come up with cheap, healthy dinner ideas that are flavorful, quick and appealing to us and our young daughter. This one fits the bill on all counts. —Beverly McLain, Endicott, New York
4 / 50
Vegetarian Enchilada Bake Exps Ft20 41796 F 0108 1 11

Vegetarian Enchilada Bake

I’ve had this vegetarian enchilada bake recipe for years. You’ll enjoy the delicious Tex-Mex flavors so much that you won't even miss the meat. —Barbara Stelluto, Devon, Pennsylvania
5 / 50
Red Pepper Parmesan Tilapia Exps Ft20 40965 F 0116 1 5

Red Pepper & Parmesan Tilapia

My husband and I are always looking for light fish recipes because of their health benefits. This Parmesan tilapia is a hit with him, and we've served it at dinner parties, too. It's a staple! —Michelle Martin, Durham, North Carolina

Pro tip: Here’s the easiest way to portion your meals.

6 / 50
Beefy Cabbage Bean Stew Exps Ssmz20 109535 B10 25 1b 7

Beefy Cabbage Bean Stew

While on one of our small group quilting retreats, one of my friends made this wonderful recipe packed with cheap, healthy foods. We all loved it and have since passed it around for others to enjoy—now I’m passing it on to you. —Melissa Glancy, La Grange, Kentucky
7 / 50
Spinach N Broccoli Enchiladas Exps Miopbz17 36076 C10 13 2b

Spinach 'n' Broccoli Enchiladas

I like to top this wonderful meatless meal with lettuce and serve it with extra picante sauce. It's quick, easy, filled with fresh flavor and definitely satisfying! —Lesley Tragesser, Charleston, Missouri

Psst…Find ways to save money on groceries.

8 / 50
Grilled Basil Chicken And Tomatoes Exps Dsbz17 37304 B01 19 5b 2

Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes

Relax after work with a cold drink while this savory chicken marinates in an herby tomato blend for an hour, then toss it on the grill. It's one of those basil recipes that tastes just like summer. —Laura Lunardi, West Chester, Pennsylvania
9 / 50
Contest Winning Greek Pasta Bake Exps Hrca20 33152 E10 08 1b 3

Contest-Winning Greek Pasta Bake

I’ve taken this hot dish to potlucks and it’s received rave reviews. There’s never a morsel left. Best of all, it’s a simple, healthy and hearty supper made with cheap, healthy foods that are easy to find. —Anne Taglienti, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

We’re big fans of these healthy pasta sauce recipes, too. 

10 / 50

Cobb Salad Wraps

A homemade dressing lightens up these refreshing tortilla wraps. The avocado, bacon, blue cheese and tomato deliver the flavors I enjoy most while keeping me on my healthy eating plan. -Lynne Van Wagenen of Salt Lake City, Utah
11 / 50
Chicken Jambalaya Exps Chbz19 17627 B10 24 4b 8

Chicken Jambalaya

This is a great easy chicken jambalaya recipe. It's great to serve at parties and it reheats well after! —Lynn Desjardins, Atkinson, New Hampshire
12 / 50
Tex Mex Pork Chops Exps Sdfm19 32993 E10 19 3b 3

Tex-Mex Pork Chops

These easy Tex-Mex pork chops won a contest for me. Salsa, cumin and green chiles give them the kick they need to earn their name. —Jo Ann Dalrymple, Claremore, Oklahoma
13 / 50
Penne With Veggies And Black Beans Exps Cf2bz19 44335 C12 18 4b 5

Penne with Veggies and Black Beans

Chock-full of zucchini, tomatoes, sweet pepper and carrots, this hearty pasta dish puts your garden harvest to good use. For variety, I sometimes add one-half cup of salsa or one-half cup of thickened teriyaki sauce. —Vickie Spoerle, Indianapolis, Indiana
14 / 50
Seasoned Tilapia Fillets Exps Sdfm18 41183 C10 10 6b

Seasoned Tilapia Fillets

If you need a healthy, keep-it-simple solution to dinner tonight, you just found it. This restaurant-quality tilapia fillet recipe relies on spices you're likely to have on hand to deliver big flavor. This is how to make tilapia. —Dana Alexander, Lebanon, Missouri
15 / 50
Lentil Tomato Soup Exps Sbz19 38567 E09 18 5b 5

Lentil-Tomato Soup

Double the recipe and share this hearty soup with neighbors and loved ones on cold winter nights. I serve it with cornbread for dunking. —Michelle Curtis, Baker City, Oregon
16 / 50
Italian Beef And Shells Exps Gbbz19 48898 B11 28 10b 3

Italian Beef and Shells

A veggie and pasta combo makes a hearty entree that comes together easily. Wine lends an extra touch of flavor to the sauce and makes this main dish a winner. —Mike Tchou, Pepper Pike, Ohio
17 / 50
Veggie Cashew Stir Fry Exps Thfm19 133126 E09 28 7b 16

Veggie-Cashew Stir-Fry

Getting my meat-loving husband and two sons, ages 5 and 7, to eat more veggies had always been a struggle until I whipped up this stir-fry. I was shocked when they cleaned their plates and asked for seconds. —Abbey Hoffman, Ashland, Ohio
18 / 50
Exps44475 Sd153322b04 07 5b 4

Cheese Tortellini with Tomatoes and Corn

Fresh corn and basil make this dish taste like summer. I think it's a good one for bringing to picnics or gatherings, but it's great along with any side dish for a weeknight dinner! —Sally Maloney, Dallas, Georgia
19 / 50
Vegetable And Barley Pilaf Exps Lsbz18 149600 D01 19 6b 3

Vegetable and Barley Pilaf

Hearty, colorful, easy and fast were the reviews we gave this good-for-you dish. Barley has a healthy amount of soluble fiber, which aids digestion. And it can help to lower cholesterol, too! You can easily substitute other fresh veggies you have on hand. —Jesse Klausmeier, Burbank, California
20 / 50
Skillet Roasted Lemon Chicken With Potatoes Exps Cimz17 98413 B07 14 5b 10

Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken with Potatoes

This is a meal I have my students make in our nutrition unit. It has a delicious lemon-herb flavor and is simple to make. —Mindy Rottmund, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
21 / 50
Tuscan Portobello Stew Exps Thfm19 129040 E09 28 4b 14

Tuscan Portobello Stew

Here’s a healthy one-skillet meal that’s quick and easy to prepare yet elegant enough for company. I often take this stew to my school’s potlucks, where it is devoured by teachers and students alike. —Jane Siemon, Viroqua, Wisconsin
22 / 50
Tomato Melon Chicken Salad Exps Fttmz19 86278 E03 15 4b Rms

Tomato-Melon Chicken Salad

Nothing says summer like picking watermelon, tomatoes and raspberries, then tossing them together in a salad. The addition of grilled chicken makes it a satisfying yet still summery meal. —Betsy Hite, Wilton, California
23 / 50
Exps49624 Sd153208b08 08 6b 2

Spicy Tomato Pork Chops

Simmered in tomato sauce, these pork chops are big at our house. I add garlic powder and Creole or Cajun seasoning before browning the chops to give them extra punch. —Holly Neuharth, Mesa, Arizona
24 / 50
Hummus Veggie Wrap Up Exps Cwas18 106657 B04 05  4b 3

Hummus & Veggie Wrap-Up

I had a vegan wrap that was similar to this once when I stopped at a diner while on a long and arduous walk. I enjoyed it so much that I modified it to my own taste and now have it for lunch on a regular basis. Everyone at work wants to know how to make it. —Michael Steffens, Indianapolis, Indiana
25 / 50
Strawberry Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing Exps Sdam17 43225 D12 07 5b 9

Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

My family is always happy to see this fruit and veggie salad on the table. If strawberries aren’t available, substitute mandarin oranges and dried cranberries. —Irene Keller, Kalamazoo, Michigan
26 / 50
Meatless Chili Mac Exps Cimz19 23257 E09 06 6b 2

Meatless Chili Mac

I came across this recipe in a newspaper years ago and it’s been a hit at our house ever since. It’s fast and flavorful, and it appeals to all ages. — Cindy Ragan, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
27 / 50
Exps44898 Sd163324b08 06 1b 4

Cashew Turkey Salad Sandwiches

One bite and you'll be hooked on this slightly sweet turkey salad sandwich. It's protein-packed so you can feel good while you munch! —Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin
28 / 50
Satisfying Beef Stew Exps Hrbz18 41034 D09 01 5b 7

Satisfying Beef Stew

This beef stew is so hearty and tastes even better the next day—if there are leftovers! It goes great with cornbread or any crusty loaf. —Abbey Mueller, Enid, Oklahoma
29 / 50
Roasted Butternut Linguine Exps109086 Th1999637a03 30 4bc Rms 2

Roasted Butternut Linguine

Squash is one of our favorite vegetables, and this is my husband's favorite fall dish. He looks forward to it all year. —Kim Caputo, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
30 / 50
Roast Pork With Apples Onions Exps Sdas17 41727 B04 07 3b

Roast Pork with Apples & Onions

The sweetness of the apples and onions nicely complements the roast pork. With its crisp skin and melt-in-your-mouth flavor, this is my family's favorite weekend dinner. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
31 / 50
Exps38234 Th163620b11 10 4b 2

Mandarin Pork Stir-Fry

When my husband and I were dating, he told me he liked Asian food. I got a wok and discovered the joy of dishes like this pork stir-fry. —Laurie Martignon, Niagara, Wisconsin
32 / 50
Black Bean N Pumpkin Chili Exps41384 Th132767c05 10 1bc Rms

Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili

My family is crazy about this slow cooker chili because it uses ingredients you don't usually find in chili. Believe it or not, I discovered that pumpkin is what makes the dish so special. Cook up a big batch and freeze some for later; it tastes even better reheated. —Deborah Vliet, Holland, Michigan
33 / 50
Exps191775 Sd163614b12 03 8b 16

Egg Roll Noodle Bowl

We love Asian egg rolls, but they can be challenging to make. Simplify everything with this deconstructed egg roll made on the stovetop and served in a bowl. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
34 / 50
Slow Cooked Caribbean Pot Roast Exps Scmbz17 46354 C01 18 4b 7

Slow-Cooked Caribbean Pot Roast

This dish is definitely a year-round recipe. Sweet potatoes, orange zest and baking cocoa are my surprise ingredients. —Jenn Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California
35 / 50
Exps39902 Sd163575b10 07 2b 6

Asian Pork Medallions

When I became serious about losing weight and getting healthy, my kids missed the Chinese delivery that I used to order so frequently. I combined a few recipes to come up with this tasty winner. —Dianne James, Edmond, Oklahoma

Serve with one of these 8 healthy alternatives to plain white rice.

36 / 50
Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Exps Hhrds18 167918 C03 30  1b 8

Italian Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

I've always had to be creative when getting my family to eat vegetables, so I decided to make stuffed zucchini using the pizza flavors that everyone loves. It worked! We like to include sausage for a main dish but it could be a meatless side dish, too. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts
37 / 50
Exps49396 Mc163887b03 15 5b 5

Golden Summer Peach Gazpacho

Because peaches and tomatoes are in season at the same time, I like to blend them into a cool, delicious soup. Leftovers keep well in the fridge—but they rarely last long enough to get there. —Julie Hession, Las Vegas, Nevada
38 / 50
Chicken Florentine Meatballs Exps Thcsf16 47913 A06 01 2b

Chicken Florentine Meatballs

Served over squash and a chunky, mushroom-tomato sauce, these tender meatballs are tops when it comes to great flavor. —Diane Nemitz, Ludington, Michigan
39 / 50
Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup Exps Diyd19 41101 E04 30 6b 12

Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup

This is my favorite tortellini soup recipe. It's one of those
40 / 50
Asparagus Ham Dinner Exps Tham17 14208 B11 08 5b 5

Asparagus Ham Dinner

I've been making this low-fat ham dinner for my family for years, and we always look forward to it. With asparagus, tomato, pasta and chunks of ham, it's a tempting blend of tastes and textures. —Rhonda Zavodny, David City, Nebraska
41 / 50
Chicken Thighs With Shallots Spinach Exps Sdam19 45682 C12 12 4b 21

Chicken Thighs with Shallots & Spinach

This moist and tender chicken comes complete with its own creamy spinach side dish! It makes a pretty presentation and comes together in no time flat for a nutritious weeknight meal. —Genna Johannes, Wrightstown, Wisconsin
42 / 50

Buttery Grilled Shrimp

This is easy and delicious! These shrimp are great with steak, but for a special occasion, brush the sauce on lobster tails and grill. —Sheryl Shenberger, Albuquerque, New Mexico
43 / 50
Exps39905 Sd143207d05 30 5b 10

Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops

When I found these pork chops and apples recipe online years ago, it quickly became a favorite. The ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and the one-pan cleanup is a bonus. —Christina Price, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
44 / 50
Slow Cooked Lemon Chicken Exps11719 Lsc143267a10 02 3b Rms 3

Slow-Cooked Lemon Chicken

Garlic, oregano and lemon juice give spark to this memorable main dish. It's easy to fix—just brown the chicken in a skillet, then let the slow cooker do the work. I like to serve this dish to company. —Walter Powell, Wilmington, Delaware
45 / 50
Exps186029 Mc163887d03 24 6b 2

Spicy Lemon Chicken Kabobs

When I see Meyer lemons in the store, it must be spring. I like using them for these easy chicken kabobs, but regular grilled lemons still add the signature smoky tang. —Terri Crandall, Gardnerville, Nevada
46 / 50
Spinach Quesadillas Exps Sdon16 39915 A06 02 11b 4

Spinach Quesadillas

My family gave these cheesy quesadillas oohs and aahs. Remove the spinach from the heat as soon as it wilts so it keeps a little bit of crunch. —Pam Kaiser, Mansfield, Missouri
47 / 50

Tortellini Caesar Salad

This salad was served at a dear friend's baby shower by a health-conscious friend, who suggested the dressing be prepared with low-fat or fat-free ingredients. Either way, the creamy dressing has plenty of garlic flavor and coats the pasta, romaine and croutons nicely. —Tammy Steenbock, Sembach Air Base, Germany
48 / 50
Herbed Lemon Pork Chops Exps Sdfm17 16850 B10 07 7b 3

Herbed Lemon Pork Chops

Expect to get plenty of compliments on these fast, flavor-packed chops. They're tender and juicy. —Billi Jo Sylvester, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
49 / 50
Exps155169 Sd153321b01 30 7b 10

Zucchini & Sausage Stovetop Casserole

Gather zucchini from your garden or farmers market and start cooking. My family goes wild for this wholesome casserole. You can grate the zucchini if you'd like. —LeAnn Gray, Taylorsville, Utah
50 / 50

Parmesan Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

I've liked the chicken and artichoke combo for a long time. Here's my own lemony twist. With all the praise it gets, this dinner is so much fun to serve. —Carly Giles, Hoquiam, Washington

Jennifer Shaffer
Jennifer has always had a passion for home design, the arts and travel. She is a graduate from Eastern Florida State College. Her motto: "If you never step forward, you'll always be in the same place."
cover
Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 80%!