Today, recipes for virtually anything you want to make can be found online. As a result, the internet provides endless opportunities for people who love to cook new things. But when you go shopping for the needed ingredients and get to the checkout line, they can end up costing more than a good recipe needs to.

You don’t need expensive or exotic ingredients to make mouth-watering meals. Instead, we’ve dug up some amazing dishes to satisfy your taste buds and save you money at the supermarket this week. Many of the ingredients listed may already be in your cupboard and refrigerator. However, if you don’t already have them, these budget-friendly ingredients should be fairly inexpensive to purchase. 

Here are five delicious recipes to save money and provide a tasty meal. They are fun to prepare too!

Lentil Soup

This recipe is a great way to use up pantry staples, such as dried lentils and canned tomatoes. Plus, it’s a healthy and filling meal that can be made for a fraction of the cost of eating out or ordering in. 


  • 1 cup of dried lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil


  • Rinse and drain lentils. Set them aside.
  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium.
  • Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent in color.
  • Add carrots and celery. Sauté for approximately five to seven minutes until they are tender to the touch.
  • Add lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring the soup to boiling, reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes until lentils are tender to the touch.
  • Serve the soup hot with some crusty bread or crackers.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

This recipe is customizable and can be adapted to include whatever vegetables you have on hand. It’s also a great way to use up leftover vegetables in the fridge. This budget-friendly recipe gives you a delicious and easy-to-make vegetable stir-fry:


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (e.g., broccoli, carrots, snow peas, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice or noodles (optional)


  • In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high.
  • Add onion and garlic. Sauté for approximately two to three minutes until fragrant smelling.
  • Add bell pepper and mixed vegetables to the skillet. Sauté for approximately five to seven minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through but still slightly crispy.
  • Whisk together soy sauce, cornstarch, water, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Pour the soy sauce mixture over the vegetables, and stir well to combine. 
  • Cook for another two to three minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Serve the vegetable stir-fry hot overcooked rice or noodles, if desired.

Black Bean and Rice Bowl

This simple and delicious black bean and rice bowl is a satisfying and affordable meal that can be easily customized to suit your taste preferences. 


  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, hot sauce


  • Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
  • While the rice is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans and set aside.
  • Dice the red bell pepper and onion into small pieces.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
  • Add diced onion and cook for two to three minutes until translucent in color.
  • Add minced garlic and diced red bell pepper. Cook for an additional two to three minutes.
  • Add the black beans to the skillet and stir to combine with the onion and bell pepper.
  • Add the ground cumin, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for an additional two to three minutes.
  • To serve, divide the cooked rice between two or three bowls.
  • Top the rice with the black bean and vegetable mixture.
  • Garnish with optional toppings, such as chopped cilantro, diced avocado, or hot sauce.

Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Excellent and inexpensive spaghetti sauce doesn’t have to come from a jar. You can make pasta sauce from scratch without breaking the bank. Depending on your taste and budget, this recipe is easy to customize by adding other ingredients, such as vegetables or meat.


  • 1 pound of pasta (spaghetti or penne)
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  • Boil pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • Add chopped onion and garlic to the skillet. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent in color.
  • Add crushed tomatoes to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot.
  • Pour the tomato sauce over the pasta and toss until the pasta is well coated.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Chili Con Carne

Great for lunch or dinner, this recipe can be easily customized by adding more vegetables or adjusting the spice level to your liking. It’s also easy to prep and can be frozen for future meals.


  • 1 pound of ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions


  • Add ground beef or turkey to a large pot and heat over medium. Cook until browned, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add diced onion and minced garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent in color.
  • Add diced tomatoes, drained kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir together in the pot.
  • Bring mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes. It is done when the chili has thickened and the flavors have melded together.
  • Serve the chili with your choice of toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, and chopped green onions.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these recipes give you some great ideas and ways to cook on a budget. Before we close, here are a few tips to help you save even more money when cooking:

  • Meal planning – plan your meals in advance and make a grocery list before going to the store. It can help you to avoid impulse buying. Meal planning also ensures that you have all the ingredients you need to make your meals ahead of time. No running out for ingredients and spending extra cash on gas. 
  • Leftovers – don’t be afraid to get creative with your leftovers. You can use them to make new meals or re-purpose them as ingredients in other dishes. This can help stretch your budget further and reduce food waste.