There’s a misconception that eating vegetarian (or healthy in general) is really expensive. Wrong! You can *totally* find budget-friendly ingredients like lentils at any grocery store. The fiber-rich pulses, beans that are part of the legume family, are full of protein and make a great meat substitute in a host of filling dinner recipes. We’ve made the searching easy for you with these 15 cheap lentil recipes that’ll change the way you make dinner for your family.


1. Cheesy Lentil, Mushroom, and Rice Bake: You won’t find any cream of mushroom soup in this modern-day casserole. It’s full of protein-rich lentils, Pecorino-Romano cheese, cremini mushrooms, and brown rice to satisfy your tastebuds and keep you full. (via The Kitchn)


2. Lentil Stuffed Zucchini Boats: Really, is there anything zucchini can’t do? When it comes to being a vehicle for saucy lentils, the answer is no. (via Little Spice Jar)


3. Vegan Sloppy Joes: Sloppy joes are comfort food at its finest. To make them meatless, use lentils in place of beef and no one will object. (via Minimalist Baker)


4. Baked Eggplant With Lentils, Tomatoes, and Herby Topping: Who would have thought that a dish as elegant as this one could be so cheap? Serve up this vegan course at your next dinner party and the portions will be pennies on the dollar. (via Quite Good Food)

grilled jerked chicken with peaches on a skewer

5. Beet Braised Lentils: There’s something about the deep violet color of this dish that’s so inviting. The earthiness of the beets pair perfectly with the lentils and are lovely topped with pungent crumbled blue cheese to finish. (via Feasting at Home)


6. Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry: When the takeout menu doesn’t have what you want, you just have to make it yourself! This lentil curry is a worthy substitute, and you’ll likely have leftovers for work the next day. (via The Endless Meal)


7. Easy Lentil Meatballs: These versatile meatballs will be a staple on your dinner menu from here on out. Whether you toss them with marinara, BBQ, or a sauce of your own creation, you’ll get a finger-licking result every time. (via Minimalist Baker)


8. Mushroom Lentil Loaf: This definitely isn’t your mother’s meatloaf. The fillers may be the same, but at the core are dozens of healthful lentils that keep this classic dish vegan and gluten-free. (via Pumpkin and Peanut Butter)


9. Italian Vegetable Lentil Soup: There’s nothing like a warm bowl of vegetable soup that nourishes you from the inside out. Tear off a chunk of crusty bread to sop up all of the juices and experience all of the hygge vibes. (via Cooking Classy)


10. Lentil Chili: If you love meatless chili but are tired of relying on beans to beef it up, this lentil version will get you back in the game. Top with shredded cheddar, croutons, and hot sauce for an added bite. (via Little Broken)


11. Lentil Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie: This filling Shepherd’s pie has a hearty lentil base with tons of fresh herbs and spices to keep the flavor popping. (via Le Petit Eats)


12. Easy Lentil Quesadillas: Maybe you’ve dabbled in a roasted veggie or plain cheese quesadilla for meatless Monday, but this lentil and pepper jack variation is a great way to switch it up. Use canned lentils to make the process super quick and easy. (via Pinch of Yum)


13. One-Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils, Black Beans, and Rice: Go ahead and treat yourself to a margarita for only dirtying one pan for dinner — score! Serve this simple skillet with a dollop of guac and sour cream on top to finish the Mexican feast. (via Recipe Runner)


14. Quinoa and Lentil Bolognese With Spaghetti Squash: Holy moly, this faux spaghetti bolognese is brimming with vital nutrients that your body craves. You can feel so good about this one, dessert is definitely in order. (via Simply Quinoa)


15. Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos With Creamy Chipotle Sauce: Before you question the unusual lentil and cauliflower taco filling, here us out. The lentils soak up all of the spices you cook them in, and the cauliflower adds a wonderful crunchy texture. Drizzle them heavily with chipotle sauce and you’ll soon be obsessed. (via Cookie and Kate)

Follow us on Pinterest for more cheap and delicious recipe ideas.