10 Grain Free Dinners on a Budget

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Perhaps you are on the GAPS diet, eat low carb, or do Paleo. Personally, I just feel better when I don’t eat a lot of grains, beans, and white potatoes – even when the grains and beans are properly prepared through soaking, sprouting, or fermenting. I feel less bloated, less cranky, and even have clearer skin. Problem is, I’m on a budget, and a bowl of rice and beans, a pile of pasta, a hunk of bread, or a big side of potatoes all cost much less than a big plate of meat.  My family also eats eggs nearly every day for breakfast, so for the sake of avoiding monotony, I’m not a ‘breakfast for dinner’ kinda gal.

The solution to eating grain-free on a budget to fill your plate with lots of veggies, add a generous helping of fat (for your health and to fill you up), and include conservative amount of protein (to save $). A good frugal dish will provide leftovers for at least 1-2 meals.

So here are ten of my favorite grain free dinners…

…low-carb, comfort dishes – chocked full of nutritious fats, tummy filling veggies, and a smidge of protein –  that fit my new frugal budget:

  1. Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
  2. Braised cabbage, onions, and kale with Thai coconut curry sauce
  3. Lotsa Onion and Greens Melt (tuna optional)
  4. Slow cooked meat with a bunch of veggies (Pork and Sauerkraut is a current favorite, but I just did pork with a nearly discarded pie pumpkin from Halloween – so good.)
  5. Veggie ‘mac’ and Cheese Casserole – (I use carrots, peas, cauliflower, and onions or whatever is on hand)
  6. Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash crust (Heavy on the veg, throw in some ground liver and/or heart for delicious, hidden nutrition)
  7. Roast chicken with cauliflower mash, gravy, and greens (leftovers can make 1-2 meals)
  8. Creamy Veggie Soup with Chicken Stock (from chicken above)
  9. Veggie quiche with made with cauliflower crust and a green salad
  10. Spaghetti squash “linguini” with clam sauce (a great way to stretch this nutrient dense food)

Tonight’s dinner? A hybrid of #1 and 2 – braised cabbage in bolognese sauce topped with a bit of cheese and butter.  Delish!

- Looking for help to Go Grain Free?

I highly recommend a great new online cooking class – Go Grain Free – from Real Food Forager, an expert on grain-free, dairy-free cuisine. You can read more about the Go Grain Free class here.


What are your favorite grain-free meals that won’t break the bank?


This post is part of the following blog carnivals: The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday, I Believe in Butter’s Sunday School, Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday, Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday.

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  1. dee m says

    hmm all sound so yummy..
    have never made Bolognese..will have to give it a try..
    here are a few of our recent meals from my journal..

    We have a large veggie and small herb garden every summer, I freeze and can a huge portion of it, eating the rest through the summer fresh. We buy spaghetti squash at our local market late fall, this yr I was able to get them for 50 cents each, so bought $5 worth, washed them, cut them in half, seeded, and froze 1 whole squash per gallon bag. We winter over our kale each year in the garden, giving us kale all year. When it snows, we just lay back the snow and snap off what we want.
    My hubby packs a lunch each day, he takes what is left over each day, lucky for me he doesn’t mind repeated lunches at times.

    1) spaghetti squash with drizzled EVO and pesto made in the summer, spinach/greens salad w homemade dressing
    2) chicken breasts split into 2 or 3 pieces each, drizzled w EVO, sprinkled with paprika, sea salt, pepper baked, green beans seared w chopped garlic w dash garlic salt, roasted carrots
    3) butternut squash bisque w organic sweet corn (bought from local farm), homemade focaccia bread
    4) baked turkey sausage, garden beets drizzled w balsamic vinegar, topped w feta, kale seared w chopped garlic w dash of sea salt/garlic powder
    5) lasagna roll ups..this really stretches 1/2# ground turkey for 8 servings, greens salad w homemade dressing, w homemade focaccia bread made few days before, made into garlic bread (focaccia dough is corn based, no gluten)
    6) beanless chili w homemade cornbread (I like to add grated cheese to my batter)
    7) pasta aioli, roasted sweet potatoes
    8) pork soup, we esp. have this new years eve, we always called it good luck soup, I purchase western style ribs, sear w chopped onion, add water, 1 to 2 bags sauerkraut, med. sized bag lima beans, simmer several hrs., sprinkle salt/pepper only seasoning.
    9) hot taco dip w black bean base, served w blue corn chips, homemade salsa
    10) chicken mushroom wildrice soup (chicken from previous meal), 1 pkg of wild rice mix without seasoning is cheaper then w seasoning, goes a long way as you only use a 1/4 to 1/2 cp to a pot of soup. (great w left over turkey too)

  2. Susan Parilis says

    Roasted root vegetables and hard winter squashes are my favorite. I like carrots, turnips, parsnips, and butternut squash (BJs now sells it peeled and cubed). I coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a light dusting of fresh nutmeg, then roast on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 375 for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of the chunks. When I have this, the meat just naturally becomes the side dish because we can’t get enough of those veggies. I usually serve these with some kind of braised beef (braising makes those cheaper cuts irresistible). I also like spinach with bacon – I chop a few pieces of good bacon and render them in a large skillet. Then add some olive oil. Then cook the spinach in all the bacon drippings. Even spinach haters have trouble resisting when it’s cooked in bacon fat. :-)

  3. Mari Jo says

    I would love your recipes for some of these — the lotsa onions and greens (tuna optional) sounds amazing! Please post them if you can!

  4. Sarah says

    This is so amazing , we have struggled 4 years with our daughter and slowly eliminated foods, but if only we had known that big, bright blue vein was saying something !

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