Cheap Vegetarian Meals

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Eating more vegetarian dinners is a great way to save money at the grocery store. These cheap vegetarian meals are an easy, healthy addition to your meal plan. Each recipe costs less than $1 per serving!

Cheap vegetarian meals

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to limit the amount of meat you consume. High quality meat is expensive compared to other sources of protein. Including more beans, legumes, eggs, grains, and vegetables instead of meat in your meals will help your grocery bills to come down. In my house, when we do eat meat it tends to be a small portion compared to the other food on our plates.

There are so many different types of cheap vegetarian meals that your family can enjoy. Here are some of my favorite hearty vegan and vegetarian dinners. They all cost less than a dollar per serving, and they’re all very satisfying meals full of flavor. Many of these recipes are gluten-free and vegan. When veggies are the centerpiece of a meal, you can often substitute different vegetables and spices according to your family’s tastes, so there’s a lot of flexibility here.

Vegetarian Dinners that Aren’t Pasta

I’m always looking for budget-friendly vegetarian recipes that aren’t pasta to keep up the variety in our meals. There are many casseroles, soups, chilis, tacos, and bowls that fit the bill. Tortillas and rice noodles are other types of carbs that I like to mix into our rotation. Vegetables are the star ingredients in these healthy meals.

Peanut Ramen Noodle Salad
This peanut ramen noodle salad is a healthy, delicious recipe for lunch or dinner.
$.92 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Peanut ramen noodle salad in a bowl
Cauliflower Chickpea Curry
This cauliflower chickpea curry is such a delicious, healthy recipe for lunch or dinner.
$.86 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Cauliflower curry in a bowl
Vegetarian Cassoulet
This Vegetarian Cassoulet is such a hearty meatless dinner recipe!
$.88 per serving
Click here for the recipe
This vegan cassoulet is such a cozy meal!
Healthy Crockpot Chili
This healthy Crockpot chili is such an easy vegan dinner recipe for a busy night. ($.69 per serving) 
Click here for the recipe
Healthy vegan slow cooker chili
Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce
These rice noodles with peanut sauce are perfect for a light vegan meal.
$.96 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
This vegetarian enchilada casserole is an easy, flavorful recipe for a busy night.
$.99 per serving
Click here for the recipe
This vegetarian enchilada casserole is such an easy dinner recipe!
Instant Pot Detox Vegetable Soup
This Instant Pot Detox Vegetable Soup is an easy, healthy recipe for a light lunch or dinner. ($.86 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Instant Pot Detox Vegetable Soup Recipe
Homemade Vegetarian Chili
This homemade vegetarian chili recipe is a healthy dinner full of vegetables.
$.93 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Broccoli Crunch Salad
This raw broccoli crunch salad is a light, healthy side dish.
$.29 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Broccoli salad in a bowl
Instant Pot Pinto Beans and Rice
This Instant Pot pinto beans and rice recipe is such an easy one to make for a quick meal. ($.80 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Lentil Sweet Potato Casserole
This lentil sweet potato casserole is such a flavorful vegan dinner!
$.75 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Vegan Butternut Squash Chili
This vegan butternut squash chili is one of the best cozy dinner recipes for fall and winter. ($.58 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Smoky Red Lentil Stew
This smoky red lentil stew is delicious vegan comfort food.
$.62 per serving
Click here for the recipe

Cheap Vegetarian Meals with Pasta

Some nights when we’re looking for comfort food, we turn to these easy vegetarian dinners that have a pasta base. Some have a quick homemade sauce, and others are baked in the oven. Sometimes I even substitute zucchini or butternut squash for the pasta. Vegetables take center stage in these vegetarian pasta dinners.

Baked Pasta Casserole
This baked pasta casserole is a delicious, flavorful, frugal dinner recipe. ($.74 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
This pumpkin macaroni and cheese is a healthy, kid-friendly meal that will add extra vegetables to your dinner table or lunch box.
$.68 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Pumpkin mac and cheese is a delicious, healthy fall dinner.
Pesto Pasta Salad
This pesto pasta salad is a light side dish full of fresh summer flavors.
$.96 per serving
Click here for the recipe

Frequently Asked Questions about Cheap Vegetarian Recipes

How do vegetarians eat on a budget?

Meal planning is essential if you want to save money on food while eating a vegetarian diet. It’s also a good idea to center your meals around vegetables that are on sale at your grocery store. Beans, lentils, and pasta are all affordable bases for vegetarian dishes.

What should I eat for dinner as a vegetarian?

It’s a good idea to eat a wide variety of foods. Bean-based dishes like chili and cassoulet are great to have some nights, and noodle bowls, hearty salads, or pasta can headline the menu on other nights. There’s such a wide variety of cheap vegetarian meals, so there’s no need to eat the same thing over and over. Consult your doctor or registered dietician to address your specific health needs.

Is vegetarian food cheap?

Vegetarian proteins tend to be cheaper than meat. Fresh produce can get expensive, but if you shop the sales and stock your freezer, healthy vegetarian food can be very affordable. All the recipes in this post cost less than $1 per serving.

Are Farmers Markets Cheaper?

Produce can sometimes be expensive at a farmers market, but at many markets, the pricing tends to be similar to the grocery store. You can definitely find some good bargains, especially if you go to the market at the end of the day. I like to stock up on things like fresh spinach, garlic, onion, and bell peppers when I see them at my farmers market. Check out my farmers market shopping tips for more tips on how to optimize your experience.

Visit this collection of cheap vegan meals for more great ideas about how to save money on a vegetarian diet.

Note: This post was originally published in 2013, and it was updated in 2022.

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