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33 Cheap Dinner Ideas – Quick And Easy Recipes

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Everyone loves a delicious dinner, especially when it doesn’t break the bank. Whether you’re cooking for one or feeding a family, sticking to a budget doesn’t mean skimping on flavor.

33 cheap dinner ideas 1

From mouthwatering pasta dishes to hearty soups, this list offers 33 dinner ideas that are not only cheap but also quick and easy to make. Dive in and discover dishes that will satiate your taste buds without straining your wallet.

1. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

A Classic Italian Favorite

One of the simplest yet most delightful pasta dishes, spaghetti aglio e olio is made with garlic, red pepper flakes, and high-quality olive oil. It’s a meal that packs a flavorful punch with minimal ingredients, perfect for when you want something quick and satisfying.

Ideal for Busy Evenings

Whenever you’re pressed for time or just not in the mood for a complicated meal, this dish is your go-to. Within minutes, you’ll have a hearty dish that pleases the palate without draining your wallet.

Tweak to Your Taste

You can enhance this dish by adding some parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, or even some cherry tomatoes for a burst of color and flavor.

Check this recipe.

2. Bean and Rice Burritos

A Mexican-Inspired Delight

Harness the power of pantry staples with these bean and rice burritos. Combining flavorful beans with fluffy rice, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla, it’s comfort food at its best.

Budget-Friendly and Filling

Not only are these burritos easy on the wallet, but they’re also super filling. They make a fantastic option for a family meal, ensuring everyone gets their fill.

Customizable Fillings

Feel free to play around with the fillings. Add in some veggies, cheese, or your favorite salsa to elevate this simple dish further.

Check this recipe.

3. Veggie Fried Rice

A Colorful Asian Staple

Make use of leftover rice by transforming it into a flavorful veggie fried rice. It’s a beautiful medley of colorful veggies, soy sauce, and eggs, all brought together in a delicious harmony.

Quick and Nutritious

This dish not only comes together quickly but also packs a good amount of nutrition, thanks to the variety of vegetables used.

Make It Your Own

You can always toss in some chicken, beef, or tofu for added protein. And if you like a little heat, drizzle some sriracha on top.

Check this recipe.

4. Lentil Soup

A Wholesome Comfort Dish

Lentil soup is a hearty and nutritious choice that’s rich in protein and fiber. It’s perfect for those chilly evenings when you need something to warm you up.

Budget-Friendly Nutrition

Lentils are not only affordable but also a great source of many essential nutrients. This soup is a great way to enjoy their health benefits without spending much.

Personalize to Your Palate

Add some diced tomatoes, carrots, or even spinach to give this soup your personal touch.

Check this recipe.

5. Chickpea Salad Sandwich

A Refreshing Lunch Option

This chickpea salad sandwich is a refreshing and protein-rich alternative to traditional meat-based sandwiches. Mashed chickpeas combined with mayo, celery, and spices create a creamy filling.

Easy and Affordable

Using canned chickpeas, this dish is not only simple to prepare but also very budget-friendly.

Mix and Match Ingredients

You can tweak the recipe by adding diced pickles, onions, or even a dash of your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick.

Check this recipe.

6. Tomato and Basil Pasta

Tomato and Basil Pasta

A Light and Fresh Dish

Tomato and basil pasta is a simple dish that sings of summer. With fresh tomatoes, aromatic basil, and a hint of garlic, it’s a refreshing meal option.

Perfect for Quick Meals

With minimal ingredients and preparation, this dish is ideal for those nights when you’re not in the mood for elaborate cooking.

Enhance as Desired

You can boost this pasta by adding some grilled chicken or fresh mozzarella cubes.

Check this recipe.

Read also: 26 Raspberry Recipes

7. Egg Salad Sandwich

A Classic Go-To Meal

Turn hard-boiled eggs into a creamy, delightful sandwich filling. Egg salad sandwiches are perfect for a quick lunch or dinner and are sure to satiate your hunger.

Pocket-Friendly and Satisfying

Eggs are a cost-effective source of protein, making this sandwich both affordable and filling.

Add Your Twist

Include some lettuce, tomatoes, or even bacon bits to make the sandwich even more delicious.

Check this recipe.

8. Baked Potato with Toppings

Simple Yet Satisfying

A baked potato can be so much more than just a side dish. When loaded with the right toppings like cheese, sour cream, and chives, it turns into a meal in itself.

Budget-Friendly and Nutritious

Potatoes are not only affordable but are also a good source of vitamins and minerals. They’re a blank canvas waiting for your culinary creativity.

Unleash Your Creativity

Feel free to add various toppings like bacon bits, broccoli, or even chili to make it a hearty dish.

Check this recipe.

9. Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu

A Healthy, Vibrant Dish

Combining an array of colorful vegetables with protein-rich tofu, this stir fry is both pleasing to the eye and the palate.

Easy and Versatile

Stir-fries are quick to make and can be easily adapted based on the ingredients you have on hand.

Tailor to Your Taste

Switch up the veggies or protein or play around with different sauces like teriyaki or hoisin to achieve different flavors.

Check this recipe.

10. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A Timeless Classic

There’s something deeply comforting about the golden crust of a grilled cheese sandwich, with its melty center and crispy edges.

Quick and Economical

With just bread and cheese as the primary ingredients, this sandwich won’t break the bank and is perfect for a quick meal.

Elevate the Basic

You can add tomatoes, ham, or even some pickles to give the classic grilled cheese a little twist.

Check this recipe.

11. Tomato Soup

A Warm Bowl of Comfort

This creamy tomato soup is the perfect dish to warm you up on a cold day. It’s rich, flavorful, and pairs perfectly with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Affordable and Filling

Using basic pantry ingredients, this soup is easy on the wallet and is sure to fill you up.

Add Your Touch

Sprinkle some croutons, fresh herbs, or a drizzle of cream for that extra richness.

Check this recipe.

12. Tuna Salad

A Protein-Packed Delight

Using canned tuna, this salad is a delightful mix of textures and flavors. It’s a great option for a light lunch or dinner.

Budget-Friendly and Nutritious

Tuna is a cost-effective way to incorporate protein and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.

Customize to Your Liking

Add diced celery, onions, or even some boiled eggs to make it even more hearty.

Check this recipe.

13. One-Pot Pasta

A Convenient, Tasty Meal

With everything cooked in a single pot, this pasta dish is not only flavorful but also reduces clean-up time.

Economical and Wholesome

Using simple ingredients, this dish is both budget-friendly and filling, making it perfect for families.

Mix It Up

Feel free to play around with different pasta types, sauces, and add-ins to create a new dish every time.

Check this recipe.

14. Veggie Omelette

A Fluffy Breakfast Treat

Packed with vegetables and cheese, this omelette is a delightful way to start your day or even enjoy as a light dinner.

Cost-Effective and Nutritious

Eggs are an affordable protein source, and with the added veggies, you get a dose of essential nutrients too.

Add What You Love

Mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, or even some ham – add whatever you fancy to this versatile dish.

Check this recipe.

15. Vegetable Quesadilla

A Cheesy, Crispy Delight

Layered with cheese and an assortment of veggies, these quesadillas are crispy on the outside and melt-in-mouth on the inside.

Quick and Economical

With tortillas and a few veggies, you can whip up this dish in no time without spending much.

Experiment with Fillings

Be it different cheeses, meats, or even some beans, there are endless possibilities to what you can stuff inside a quesadilla.

Check this recipe.

16. Lentil and Rice Pilaf

A Wholesome, One-Pot Meal

Combining the nutrition of lentils with the heartiness of rice, this pilaf is a complete meal in itself.

Budget-Friendly and Filling

Both lentils and rice are affordable pantry staples, making this dish economical and satisfying.

Personalize Your Pilaf

Add in some roasted vegetables, nuts, or even some grilled chicken to elevate this simple dish.

Check this recipe.

17. Sausage and Bean Soup

A Hearty, Flavorful Bowl

This soup combines the rich flavors of sausages with the heartiness of beans to give you a comforting meal.

Economical and Satisfying

Beans and sausages are both affordable ingredients that provide a lot of flavor and satiety.

Tweak to Your Liking

Feel free to switch up the type of beans or sausages or add in some greens like kale or spinach for extra nutrition.

Check this recipe.

18. Frittata with Leftover Veggies

A Clever Way to Reduce Waste

This dish is perfect for using up those leftover veggies. Combined with whisked eggs, it turns into a delightful frittata.

Cost-Effective and Nutrient-Packed

Make the most of your leftover veggies and eggs to whip up a dish that’s both economical and nutritious.

Make It Your Own

Add cheese, herbs, or even some meats to create a frittata that suits your taste buds.

Check this recipe.

19. Bean and Cheese Tostadas

A Crunchy, Flavorful Meal

Layered with beans, cheese, and a spread of your choice, these tostadas are a delightful, crunchy meal option.

Easy on the Pocket

Beans and tortillas are both economical ingredients, making this dish perfect for when you’re on a tight budget.

Top It Your Way

From lettuce, salsa, to sour cream – the topping options are endless. Play around to find your favorite combination.

Check this recipe.

20. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

A Sweet and Salty Delight

The combination of creamy peanut butter with the natural sweetness of bananas makes for a delicious sandwich.

Affordable and Energizing

Both peanut butter and bananas are cost-effective ingredients that provide a good energy boost.

Upgrade Your Sandwich

Add a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of chia seeds, or even a few chocolate chips for an indulgent treat.

Check this recipe.

21. Tomato and Egg Stir Fry

A Simple Asian Dish

This Chinese-inspired dish combines tomatoes and scrambled eggs in a slightly tangy sauce. It’s a unique combination that’s sure to please your palate.

Budget-Friendly and Quick

Using minimal ingredients, this dish is quick to prepare and won’t strain your wallet.

Serve Your Way

Enjoy it with rice or noodles or even as a filling for a sandwich or wrap.

Check this recipe.

22. Couscous Salad

A Refreshing Mediterranean Dish

This salad combines fluffy couscous with a mix of fresh vegetables and a zesty dressing. It’s a light and refreshing meal option.

Economical and Versatile

Couscous is an affordable ingredient that can be paired with various veggies, cheeses, or meats to create different flavor profiles.

Adapt to Your Preference

Add some feta cheese, olives, or even some grilled chicken to make the salad even more hearty.

Check this recipe.

23. Chickpea Curry

A Flavorful Indian Dish

Made with aromatic spices, tomatoes, and chickpeas, this curry is a flavorful and satisfying meal option.

Cost-Effective and Nutrient-Rich

Chickpeas are not only affordable but also packed with protein and fiber, making this dish both economical and nutritious.

Serve with Accompaniments

Enjoy this curry with rice, bread, or even quinoa for a complete meal.

Check this recipe.

24. Spinach and Feta Wrap

A Tasty, Wholesome Snack

Combining the goodness of spinach with the tanginess of feta, this wrap is a delightful snack or light meal.

Economical and Quick

With just a few ingredients, this dish is quick to whip up and won’t break the bank.

Customize to Your Liking

Add some grilled chicken, tomatoes, or even some hummus for added flavor.

Check this recipe.

25. Mashed Bean and Cheese Quesadilla

A Cheesy, Comforting Meal

Mashing beans and combining them with cheese creates a creamy, delightful quesadilla filling.

Affordable and Satisfying

Beans are a budget-friendly source of protein, making this dish both economical and filling.

Add Your Twist

Include some jalapeños, corn, or even some sautéed mushrooms for an added layer of flavor.

Check this recipe.

26. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

A Vegetarian Delight

Combining the earthiness of sweet potatoes with the heartiness of black beans, these tacos offer a satisfying meatless option.

Economical and Nutritious

Both sweet potatoes and black beans are cost-effective and nutrient-rich, ensuring a wholesome meal.

Tweak As You Please

Include avocado slices, salsa, or a sprinkle of feta to customize your taco.

Check this recipe.

27. Creamy Broccoli Soup

Creamy Broccoli Soup

A Green Bowl of Goodness

This soup, made with broccoli and a touch of cream or milk, is a comforting and healthy choice.

Affordable and Wholesome

Broccoli is both budget-friendly and packed with vitamins, making this a wise meal option.

Enhance It Your Way

Add in some cheddar cheese, roasted garlic, or croutons for an extra touch.

Check this recipe.

28. Zucchini and Corn Fritters

A Crispy Snack or Side

These fritters, combining fresh zucchini and sweet corn, are perfectly crispy on the outside and tender inside.

Economical and Versatile

Using seasonal vegetables makes this dish affordable and you can switch up the veggies based on what you have on hand.

Serve with Dips

Pair these fritters with sour cream, salsa, or a tangy yogurt dip for added flavor.

Check this recipe.

29. Oatmeal with Fresh Fruits

A Nutritious Breakfast Option

Oats simmered in milk or water, topped with fresh fruits and a drizzle of honey, make for a filling and healthy start to the day.

Cost-Effective and Adaptable

Oats are an economical choice, and the toppings can vary based on seasonal availability and personal preference.

Mix and Match

Add in nuts, seeds, or even a spoonful of peanut butter for varied taste and texture.

Check this recipe.

Read also: 23 Mug Cake Recipes

30. Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

A Creamy Italian Classic

This risotto, with earthy mushrooms and vibrant spinach, is a creamy and satisfying dish.

Affordable Gourmet

With rice as the primary ingredient, this gourmet dish remains budget-friendly.

Add Your Personal Touch

Incorporate different types of mushrooms, cheese, or herbs to make it uniquely yours.

Check this recipe.

31. Chickpea and Spinach Stew

A Hearty Vegetarian Option

This stew, combining chickpeas and spinach in a flavorful broth, is a warm and comforting meal.

Economical and Nutritious

Packed with protein and vitamins, this dish is both cost-effective and wholesome.

Spice It Up

Add in some smoked paprika, cumin, or even coconut milk for varied flavors.

Check this recipe.

32. Eggplant Parmesan

A Tasty Italian Treat

Layers of thinly sliced eggplant, marinara sauce, and cheese come together in this delightful dish.

Affordable Indulgence

Eggplant is a budget-friendly vegetable, making this indulgent dish surprisingly economical.

Variations to Try

Switch out the eggplant for zucchini or add in ground meat for a different version.

Check this recipe.

33. Potato and Pea Curry

An Indian Comfort Food

This flavorful curry, made with potatoes and peas in a spicy gravy, is a staple in many Indian homes.

Cost-Effective and Wholesome

Using pantry staples, this dish is economical while still being rich in flavor and nutrition.

Serve with Sides

Enjoy this curry with rice, flatbreads, or even as a filling for wraps.

Check this recipe.


No matter your culinary skills or how tight your budget is, there’s always a way to enjoy a tasty, affordable meal. These 33 dinner ideas prove that with a little creativity and some basic ingredients, you can whip up dishes that both delight the palate and go easy on the pocket. So, the next time you’re pondering what to cook, turn to this list and treat yourself to a delicious, cost-effective feast.

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