Top 20 Budget-Friendly Recipes

With rising food prices, is it possible to maintain a nutritious diet?

Yes, it is. So put down the ramen noodles. In fact, we’d argue that food is one of the most important expense to prioritize – if you’re not fueled with good nutrition, you won’t be able to work, live or play in the way you want to.

Still, everyone can use some budget-friendly recipe tips and inspiration. If you’d like to save money on food, consider:

  • Eating more plants. Plant-based foods are less expensive than animal products, so incorporate plenty of vegetables into your menu plans, along with beans, legumes and gluten-free grains. If you’re going to eat animals, buy high-quality products and use them sparingly – make veggies the star of the plate, with meat as the side dish.
  • Buying locally and seasonally. Food costs less when it’s in season, because it’s plentiful in nature. Plus, when you purchase from local farmers food doesn’t travel as far to get to you, cutting down on travel costs.
  • Cooking from scratch. You knew this one was coming. If you want to save some cash, cooking from scratch is the way to go. Think about how much you spend on buying food and drinks – if you eat out regularly, it’s probably a lot. Cooking at home using fresh ingredients is not only better for our health, but will help you pad your wallet too.

And so, if you’re looking for some budget-friendly meal inspiration, check out our favourite budget-friendly recipes.

3-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes

3-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes

3-Ingredient Vegan Pancakes by Green Evi

All you need are oats, a banana and nut or seed milk to make these pancakes a reality. Doesn’t get much easier, or inexpensive, than this!

Creamy Red Lentil and Kale Soup

Creamy Red Lentil and Kale Soup

Creamy Red Lentil and Kale Soup by The Healthy Family and Home

A beautiful vegan meal packed with protein and fibre – and as a bonus, it’s ready in 30 minutes!

Mexican Fried Brown Rice

Mexican Fried Brown Rice

Mexican Fried Brown Rice by Eat Healthy Eat Happy

A cheap and cheerful gluten-free meal that includes ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Easy!

Yellow Mung Bean Soup

Yellow Mung Bean Soup

Yellow Mung Bean Soup by Cooking Sutra

A flexible, no-fuss budget-friendly recipe that you can customize with the vegetables you love.

Avocado Tuna Cakes

budget-friendly recipes

Avocado Tuna Cakes by Well Plated

Protein-packed tuna cakes that you can enjoy on a burger bun, or pair with a salad or roasted veggies.

Fridge Bits Fettucini

Fridge Bits Fettucini

Fridge Bits Fettucini by Meghan Telpner (ACN Founder and Director)

We throw a lot of money away – literally – when we toss spoiled food in the trash. Use up the last of the veggies in your fridge for this tasty vegan and gluten-free fettucini recipe.

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs by Life Tastes Good

Everyone always heads for the chicken breasts first, but the thighs and legs are much more affordable and ultra delicious, too. This a 5-ingredient recipe pairs perfectly with your favourite gluten-free grains, roasted veggies, or a simple salad.

Charred Romaine Salad with Tahini Dressing

Charred Romaine Salad

Charred Romaine Salad with Tahini Dressing  by The Pancake Princess

Ever grilled a romaine heart? It’s life-changing! This recipe doesn’t need a BBQ – just a hot pan – and is topped with a simple and quick tahini dressing.

Vegan Chili Con Carne


Vegetarian Chili Con Carne by Dancing Through Sunday

Nothing says budget cooking quite like a vegan chili! Beans, rice, tomatoes, a bit of veg and spices – chili is an easy, cheap and no-fuss meal.

5-Ingredient Pea and Mint Soup

Pea and Mint Soup

5-Ingredient Pea and Mint Soup by Lauren Caris Cooks

With only five inexpensive ingredients, this vegan soup is a bowl of bright green goodness.

Chana Aloo Masala


Chana Aloo Masala by Budget Bytes

This recipe clocks in at less than $2 per serving, making a protein-rich and delicious meal. All of the recipes on this site offer an ingredient cost breakdown, so it’s a good resource to use if you’re working with a tight budget.

Hummus Without Tahini

Hummus Without Tahini

Hummus Without Tahini by Munaty Cooking

Chickpea hummus is already budget-friendly, but make it even cheaper with this recipe that eliminates the tahini – but doesn’t compromise the flavour.

Easy Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Southwest Sweet Potatoes

Easy Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Meme Inge

This 4-ingredient recipe transforms leftover chicken into a fibre-packed, satiating and easy meal. Yum!

Pumpkin Seed Zucchini Crackers

Zucchini Crackers

Pumpkin Seed Zucchini Crackers by Sondi Bruner (ACN Head Program Coach)

Making your own gluten-free and grain-free crackers is much less expensive! This recipe is packed with budget-friendly seeds and zucchini, and is the perfect complement to salsa or dips.

Almond Butter and Jelly Green Smoothie

Almond Butter and Jelly Smoothie

Almond Butter and Jelly Green Smoothie by Simple Green Smoothies

This antioxidant-rich dairy-free smoothie will remind you of your favourite peanut butter and jelly sandwich, minus the peanuts. It’s appealing to the kiddos, too, so give it a try!

Hungarian Goulash


Hungarian Goulash by Jan’s Sushi Bar

When using budget-friendly cuts of meat, hearty stews (or slow cooking) can yield a tender and flavourful result. Try this Hungarian goulash recipe stuffed with plenty of extra vegetables.

Super Iron Supper

Super Iron Supper

Super Iron Supper by Stone Soup

This quick and easy iron-rich meal will give you plateful of energy-boosting power. For the vegans and vegetarians, there is also a meat-free version.

Lazy Man Paleo Apple Pie

Paleo Apple Pie

Lazy Man Paleo Apple Pie by Paleo on a Budget

Got apples in the fridge? Then you basically have what you need to make this gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free and Paleo faux ‘apple pie’.

Gluten-Free Fudge

Gluten-Free Fudge

Gluten-Free Fudge from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

A Paleo-friendly gluten-free fudge recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the bank.

Simple Black Bean Burgers

Smoky Black Bean Burgers

Simple Black Bean Burgers by Edible Perspective

If you have a hankering for a simple veggie burger, this gluten-free and vegan recipe doesn’t even need a food processor to make the mixture! Flourish with your favourite toppings and you’ve got yourself a meal.

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