5 Healthy, Organic Dinners That Cost Less Than $4 a Serving and Feature Ingredients from Costco
The truth is, organic foods are demonstrably better for you than conventionally raised and grown foods. Studies show that there are more omega-3s in organic dairy, more antioxidants in organic produce, and fewer heavy metals found in organic foods than in their conventional counterparts.
However, as anyone who has compared the prices between organic and conventional ingredients can attest to, organic items can be really expensive — which makes eating organic seemingly out-of-reach for most people. But there are a surprising number of ways to enjoy organic foods on a budget. We’ve found five healthy, filling dishes that use 100% organic ingredients and still manage to cost less than $4 a serving. For each recipe, we included one critical ingredient from fan-favorite Costco, while the remaining ingredients’ prices were pulled from a variety of sources, including Amazon, Thrive Market, Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods.
Fortunately for the budget-minded among us, if you’re interested in incorporating more organic foods into your life, you don’t have to swap over to organic foods entirely. In order to get the most bang for your organic produce buck, check out EWG’s great guide to the “Dirty Dozen,” the top produce items that contain the highest concentration of pesticides. For these foods, it’s a better bet to choose the organic option. There’s also the “Clean Fifteen,” which are the produce items that have very low concentrations of pesticides, so if you’re trying to make an organically-minded budget stretch, you can save some money by choosing conventional when eating these.
This story was written based on current availability and pricing, and is subject to change.
These healthy burger bowls are just super fun. For the sake of our health — as well as our wallets — we omitted the optional bacon here, but included the sweet potato wedges because they’re both delicious (who doesn’t love a crispy sweet potato fry) and seriously good for you (they’re packed with vitamin A).
Estimated Cost: Organic ground beef costs $5.96/pound at Costco, and this recipe recommends serving ¼ pound of ground beef per person, so you end up spending $1.49/person for the beef itself. The total cost is going to vary based on the toppings you choose, but if you serve it with all the fixins — baby greens, pickles, shredded cheddar, sweet potato wedges, and special sauce, all made with organic ingredients — this dish costs $15.88 for four people, or $3.97 a person.
2. Oil-Free Chickpea Salad Featuring S&W Organic Garbanzo Beans
This oil-free chickpea salad recipe is so bright and fresh, and it’s incredibly versatile, too — as recipe author Toni Okamoto notes, you can add in a little fresh lemon juice, pickle juice, parsley, or scallions to boost the flavor profile even further, too. And if you have a leftover avocado half in the fridge, consider throwing that in there as well.
Estimated Cost: Organic chickpeas currently cost $8.79 for a pack of eight cans at Costco, which means you’re paying just 36 cents per half-cup serving of chickpeas. The whole recipe, which uses up the entire can of chickpeas, costs $5.04, but we’re bumping that up to include a head of organic romaine lettuce, which we think is the perfect base for this salad. Served with the romaine lettuce, this recipe costs $7.29 total to make and makes three servings at $2.43 each.
We love how protein-packed and phenomenally easy this Grilled Avocado Chicken recipe is — and how it gets even easier when you substitute making your own avocado salsa with just opening a container of totally good-for-you guac made with simple ingredients, like this option from Wholly Guacamole. For four people, one container gives you a seriously generous serving of guac per person — so you could absolutely leave about ⅓ of the bowl for dipping, or for a later use, too.
Estimated Cost: Organic guacamole costs $16 for a pack of three 15 ounce bowls at Costco, and one bowl is really enough for six servings. For a little extra cost and effort, you could mix in a chopped tomato and a jalapeño, but if you want to leave the dish deliciously simple, this meal will run you $15.71 for four servings, or $3.93 per person.
This Mediterranean salad is an absolute flavor bomb packed with big handfuls of fresh herbs; tangy, salty feta cheese; a variety of colorful vegetables; and a few pickled jalapeños for a little added kick. We love that it’s a complete, light vegetarian meal unto itself — thanks to the addition of black beans and all the great plant-based protein they provide — but if you wanted to add some more bulk, you could always add a half-cup of quinoa for a complete protein and some more healthy carbs and still not go over budget.
Estimated Cost: At Costco, organic black beans cost $1.22 for a 15 ounce can, and there are 1.5 cups per can, so you’ll end up using 41 cents’ worth in this recipe. This dish makes two servings for a total of $7.33, or $3.67 per person. For a pescatarian twist, you could add half a can of wild-caught sardines — they’d be delicious in this, and offer tons of omega-3 fatty acids — and still be under $5 a person.
This curried cauliflower quinoa salad is a great option for folks who like to meal prep, since all the ingredients are easily made and assembled in advance — just dress before serving. While this is hardly a traditional Indian recipe (quinoa hales from the Andes, after all), we think it’s a delicious, weeknight-friendly play on Indian flavors, and it’s full of healthy fats, proteins, fresh vegetables, and fiber.
Estimated Cost: Even with reasonably pricey ingredients like organic cauliflower, Greek yogurt, Persian cucumbers, and golden raisins, this dish still comes out to $15.98 for four people, or $3.99/serving — if you’re willing to cut the golden raisins in half. Honestly, that might seem like a cheat, but we’ve made this salad, and it tastes better with less sugar in it anyway. Organic quinoa costs $11.49 for a 4½ pound bag at Costco, and you only need ⅔ of a cup of quinoa to get two cups of cooked quinoa — so that protein-packed ingredient will set you back just 66 cents. For more protein and bulk, you could also add a poached egg on top of each dish, or for a plant-based option, you could add a big handful of crispy roasted organic chickpeas to each salad — and still not go too far over the goal.
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