Healthy Dinner Recipes Under $3

We all want the same thing: a delicious (and healthy!) inexpensive dinner. Try our recipes, each a healthy dinner idea full of nutrition without skimping on taste. Plus, at less than $3 per serving and under 500 calories, our cheap healthy meals are easy on the wallet and the waistline. These will make you feel good about feeding the family!

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  • 1 of 48

    Turmeric-Ginger Marinated Chicken

    Budget dinner price: $2.93 per serving

    The spice—and the price—is right for this Indian-inspired cheap healthy dinner recipe. Serve the turmeric- and ginger-infused grilled chicken on a bed of basmati rice (included in the price estimate) to round out the meal.

  • Mini Meat Loaves, Green Beans, and Potatoes 2 of 48

    Mini Meat Loaves, Green Beans, and Potatoes

    Budget dinner price: $2.29 per serving

    Your bank account will be as comforted as your stomach after this cheap healthy meal hits your table! Because everything for this meat-and-potatoes recipe cooks on one (foil-lined) sheet pan, cleanup takes mere seconds.

  • 3 of 48

    Chile-Lime Tilapia with Corn Saute

    Budget dinner price: $2.80 per serving

    Start with budget-friendly tilapia and end with a zesty, colorful Tex-Mex dinner that doesn’t break the bank—or your calorie budget. Little touches like jalapeno and cilantro add loads of flavor to this skillet supper.

  • 4 of 48

    Pesto-Prosciutto Flatbread

    Budget dinner price: $1.70 per serving

    You’d be hard-pressed to find a delivery pizza as inexpensive as this homemade cheap healthy dinner. Start with store-bought dough to make this Mediterranean meal totally doable, even on a weeknight.

  • 5 of 48

    Chickpea Alfredo with Spring Veggies

    Budget dinner price: $1.21 per serving

    Noodle dishes are known to be easy on the wallet, but they aren't always filling. This pasta proves that healthy vegetarian recipes can be satisfying! The secret is in the sauce: It's made with low-cost cashews for an ultra-creamy texture.

  • 6 of 48

    Cilantro-Lime Pork

    Budget dinner price: $1.70 per serving

    Low in fat (just 6 grams per portion!) yet high in protein (a strong 28 grams), this five-ingredient slow cooker pork recipe checks all the boxes. Healthy? Yes. Simple? Almost couldn't be easier. Affordable? Incredibly.

  • 7 of 48

    Baked Eggplant Parmesan

    Budget dinner price: $1.82 per serving

    Because it's breaded with whole wheat panko and baked instead of fried, this eggplant Parm is 600 calories slimmer than its classic Italian counterpart. Keep your healthy streak going by grabbing a couple zucchini at the store to spiralize, toss with the rest of the marinara, and serve under the baked eggplant.

  • 8 of 48

    Slow-Cooked Moroccan Chicken

    Budget dinner price: $2.28 per serving

    A shift in the slow cooker can make any cut of meat more succulent and flavorful. In this set-and-forget recipe, budget-friendly chicken thighs are stewed with a few sweet and spicy ingredients for a delicious gluten-free dinner.

  • 9 of 48

    Walnut-Lentil Patties

    Budget dinner price: $1.56 per serving

    Where's the beef? Not here, and you won't even miss it. A combination of mushrooms, lentils, and walnuts makes these veggie burgers meaty and protein-rich. For a few cents more, add a whole wheat bun to serve this healthy vegetarian recipe as a sandwich.

  • 10 of 48

    Zesty Skillet Turkey

    Budget dinner price: $2.57 per serving

    This cheap and healthy meal is light on the pocketbook and heavy on the satisfaction. With 49 grams of muscle-building protein, this 30-minute meal will keep you full for hours.

  • 11 of 48

    Veggie Tostadas with Cauliflower Mash

    Budget dinner price: $2.48 per serving

    Instead of refried beans, this flavorful Mexican entree calls for a tasty and creamy cauliflower puree to act as the "glue" for the steamed veggie toppings. If you're hungry and have leftovers handy, feel free to toss on some chicken or shrimp, too.

  • 12 of 48

    Chicken with Parmesan Noodles

    Budget dinner price: $2.10 per serving

    Just 20 minutes is all you need to pull off our all-in-one chicken and pasta dinner. The combination of veggies, angel hair pasta, and high-protein chicken covers all the bases at dinnertime.

  • 13 of 48

    Fajita-Style Quesadillas

    Budget dinner price: 43 cents per serving

    It's fiesta time! Dive into our cheesy quesadillas for your next Mexican night. They're filled with good-for-you veggies, plus cilantro and lime to heighten the fresh Mexican flavor without adding excess calories. Make it an entree by adding your favorite protein.

  • 14 of 48

    Ham and Sweet Potato Mini Flatbreads

    Budget dinner price: $1.78 per serving

    With this cheap healthy recipe, we grant you permission to eat cranberry sauce year-round! You're welcome.

  • 15 of 48

    White Bean Tuna Salad

    Budget dinner price: $1.36 per serving

    Perfect to pack for lunch or as a light, summery dinner recipe, this main-dish salad explodes with fresh flavor. Heart-healthy tuna and fiber-rich beans join with peppery greens, fresh herbs, and a citrusy dressing for a healthy salad recipe that's a cheap easy meal.

  • 16 of 48

    Fish Tostadas with Chili-Lime Cream

    Budget dinner price: $2.82 per serving

    Whitefish is a lean source of protein that's mild in flavor, and it easily complements stronger flavors like the chili powder, garlic, and lime in these tostadas. Even with our homemade chili-lime cream, this dinner recipe rings in at just 278 calories for two tostadas!

  • 17 of 48

    Triple-Veggie Pasta

    Budget dinner price: $2.95 per serving

    Noodles made of nutritious zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots combine with silky Alfredo and savory basil pesto sauces for a "pasta" dinner that's actually healthy! Chicken and more veggies keep calories low and protein high with 26 grams per serving.

  • 18 of 48

    Bacon-and-Egg Rice Bowls

    Budget dinner price: $1.49 per serving

    Is it breakfast? Is it dinner? That's up to you. No matter when you eat this healthy meal in a bowl, it's a cheap and easy recipe under 400 calories.

  • 19 of 48

    Beef and Black Bean Chili

    Budget dinner price: $1.36 per serving

    Start planning your next chili night! This slow cooker chili recipe can be prepped in just 25 minutes. Add everything to the slow cooker, and come home to a healthy dinner loaded with veggies and 8 grams of fiber.

  • 20 of 48

    Peanut Fettuccine with Roasted Cauliflower

    Budget dinner price: $1.81 per serving

    Sticking to healthy meals on a budget often means skipping restaurant fare. With this restaurant remake, you can enjoy dining-out flavor while saving money and calories.

  • 21 of 48

    Chili-Pasta Skillet

    Budget dinner price: $1.61 per serving

    Not only does our healthy pasta recipe ring in at under 300 calories per serving, but it also requires just 20 minutes of prep. Make it a family dinner recipe by adding more or less chili powder to suit your kids' tastes.

  • 22 of 48

    Fall Vegetable Fajitas

    Budget dinner price: $1.25 per serving

    Spiced and seasoned veggies—grilled to bring out their natural sweetness—star in our fajita dinner recipe. You can find the produce year-round, so enjoy the healthy recipe anytime you seek a cheap dinner.

  • 23 of 48

    Falafel and Vegetable Pitas

    Budget dinner price: $1.53 per serving

    Here it is! A meatless sandwich that's also a cheap and easy meal. Ready in less than 30 minutes and under $2 per serving, it's a no-brainer! Oh yeah, it's also loaded with fiber and protein thanks to garbanzo beans.

  • 24 of 48

    Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Shrimp

    Budget dinner price: $2.58 per serving

    Whole wheat noodles, no-salt-added canned tomatoes, and shrimp make this delicious meal surprisingly low-cal. Use frozen shrimp instead of fresh to cut the cost of seafood.

  • 25 of 48

    Vegetarian Gumbo

    Budget dinner price: $1.50 per serving

    When it comes to cheap easy dinners, it's hard to beat this protein-packed vegetarian soup recipe. A hint of Cajun seasoning gives the healthy dinner its bold flavor.

  • 26 of 48

    Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps

    Budget dinner price: $2.05 per serving

    Enjoy a light supper with this simple meal that's loaded with protein and veggies—you'll feel satisfied even with smaller portions. Plus, you'll definitely save money dining in rather than out at a Mexican hot spot.

  • 27 of 48

    Mexican White Bean Soup

    Budget dinner price: 99 cents per serving

    A high-fiber, high-flavor soup recipe is the perfect fuel on a chilly night. The addition of salsa verde and a good dose of cumin give this budget meal unique Mexican flavor.

  • 28 of 48

    Chicken, Tomato, and Cucumber Dinner Salad

    Budget dinner price: $2.57 per serving

    Whip up a delicious Mediterranean salad in 20 minutes with a few simple ingredients, including chicken, feta cheese, olives, and tomatoes. It's the epitome of easy, healthy dinner recipes.

  • 29 of 48

    Gnocchi, Sweet Corn, and Arugula in Cream Sauce

    Budget dinner price: $2.24 per serving

    Gnocchi, a traditional Italian dumpling, joins sweet corn, arugula, and a plethora of savory seasonings to make one delicious dinner that you'd never guess is budget-friendly. The addition of veggies to the dish adds extra nutrients to this healthy vegetarian recipe.

  • 30 of 48

    Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper

    Budget dinner price: $1.90 per serving

    Make expensive meats go further with some help from additional protein-rich ingredients, such as tender French lentils. Spice up this savory soup with a smoky blend of cumin and cayenne for a flavorful and inexpensive healthy meal.

  • 31 of 48

    Farfalle with Mushrooms and Spinach

    Budget dinner price: $1.48 per serving

    Two pans and 20 minutes later, a serving of this tasty low-sodium dish fulfills 20 percent of your daily iron requirement. Bonus: You likely have most of the ingredients on hand, saving you gas money from a grocery trip.

    Tip: Grab prewashed packaged spinach to make meal prep even faster. Even though the package says it's washed, be sure to rinse the spinach in a colander before using.

  • 32 of 48

    Grilled Pork and Pineapple

    Budget dinner price: $2.67 per serving

    Turn a classic pork chop into a tangy, tropical meal. Orange marmalade creates a mouthwatering (and easy!) glaze and a refreshing topping when mixed with yogurt. Grilled pineapple slices on the side lend their bold sweetness to this new grill-season favorite.

  • 33 of 48

    Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff

    Budget dinner price: $1.90 per serving

    Try our healthy vegetarian version of your favorite stroganoff for a new low-cal take on the classic. Our light cream sauce goes well with flat, long pastas, so try swapping fettuccine or tagliatelle for the pappardelle. Just choose whatever's on sale to stick with the cheap-meal theme.

  • 34 of 48

    Vegetable Lasagna

    Budget dinner price: $1.73 per serving

    Just as rich—and twice as nutritious—as traditional lasagna, this veggie-packed version has only 322 calories per serving. We swapped veggies for red meat but kept all the cheeses you love for a healthy meal idea.

  • 35 of 48

    Sweet Potato, Chicken, and Spinach in Browned Butter

    Budget dinner price: $2.08 per serving

    Make healthy veggies delicious with the addition of butter, herbs, and cheese. There's also lean chicken and heart-healthy walnuts for a hearty and healthy budget meal.

  • 36 of 48

    Fast Shrimp Bisque

    Budget dinner price: $2.03 per serving

    Soups often make cheap meal ideas! Preparing a delicious and healthy meal is a breeze with our quick shrimp bisque recipe. In just 25 minutes, you can create a savory seafood dinner full of warm, succulent shrimp.

  • 37 of 48

    Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry

    Budget dinner price: $2 per serving

    When you need a cheap quick meal, it's time for a stir-fry. The prechopped packaged frozen vegetables save time in the kitchen and keep you on budget without losing any of the nutrition. Lighten the meal even more by opting for low-cal bottled plum sauce and low-sodium soy sauce.

  • 38 of 48

    Chicken Noodle Casserole

    Budget dinner price: 98 cents per serving

    Win over your dinner crowd with this scrumptious chicken noodle casserole. For a crispy topper, simply combine pieces of fresh bread, chopped onion, and celery instead of the usual high-cal fried onion mix. All the cozy, bubbly comfort makes for one of our favorite healthy recipes for dinner.

  • 39 of 48

    Sunday Dinner Stew

    Budget dinner price: $2.14 per serving

    With just four ingredients and minimal prep, you'll be able to quickly pull together a hearty, beefy Sunday stew. Bonus: It's low in fat and has only 300 calories per serving.

  • 40 of 48

    Lemon-Dill Shrimp and Pasta

    Budget dinner price: $2.45 per serving

    Enjoy a dine-out experience at home with our favorite Italian pasta dish, complete with succulent shrimp and spinach tossed in a zesty lemon-garlic sauce. The easy-to-find ingredients help keep this a healthy cheap meal.

  • 41 of 48

    Italian-Style French Dips

    Budget dinner price: $1.26 per serving

    Yes, you can enjoy meat while making inexpensive healthy dinners. Give classic French dip sandwiches a makeover with green peppers, onions, and lean meat. For a healthy boost, we recommend using reduced-sodium beef broth instead of the original.

  • 42 of 48

    Veggie Mac and Cheese

    Budget dinner price: $1.29 per serving

    Mac and cheese probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of healthy dinner ideas, but when you use whole grain pasta, broccoli, carrots, and reduced-fat cheese, it becomes a nutritious and cheap recipe.

  • 43 of 48

    Herbed Salmon

    Budget dinner price: $2.49 per serving

    Sprinkled with zesty lemon juice and coated in fresh herbs and savory seasonings, our sophisticated salmon dinner is a real catch. Plus, salmon is low in fat, high in protein, and full of great flavor.

  • 44 of 48

    Turkey-Vegetable Casserole

    Budget dinner price: $2.89 per serving

    You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to get your fix of holiday turkey. The inviting aroma of this healthy casserole pulls you in, while the hint of sweet apple flavor keeps you coming back for more.

  • 45 of 48

    Five-Spice Pork Kabobs

    Budget dinner price: $1.96 per serving

    The surprise ingredient in this healthy recipe? Ketchup! Mix it with soy sauce and brown sugar for a hoisin-style sauce perfect for grilled kabobs.

  • 46 of 48

    Fast Chicken Fettuccine

    Budget dinner price: $2.02 per serving

    Don't deny yourself a bowl of pasta once in a while—just combine the noodles with other healthy ingredients. We love tangy sun-dried tomatoes and sauteed zucchini. Add protein with wallet-friendly chicken breast.

  • 47 of 48

    Tuna and Fruit Salsa

    Budget dinner price: $2.23 per serving

    Fruit salsa is a tasty and healthy way to dress up lean seared tuna steaks. We used warm apricot preserves and vinegar for the liquid and mixed in fresh raspberries and roasted peaches.

  • Next Slideshow Fresh and Light Dinner Recipes

    Fresh and Light Dinner Recipes

    From salads to pasta dishes, we've compiled a list of our favorite easy and light dinner recipes. These fresh recipes all make for a delicious dinner that the whole family will love.
    Begin Slideshow »
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