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8 Healthy Fall Dinner Ideas That Are Ridiculously Cheap

September 19, 2023
Courtesy of Spend With Pennies

When you’re putting together a meal on a budget sometimes it’s hard to think past staples like a quick pasta or even picking up some fast food. Yet it is possible to be more creative with delicious, home-cooked meals that are healthy and won’t rack up the grocery bill. This season it’s time to utilize some of the best ingredients that fall has to offer — like squash, potatoes, and apples — by making these delicious healthy fall dinner ideas that won’t break the bank.

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1. Crockpot Potato Soup

healthy potato soup

Courtesy of Well Plated

When the leaves begin to fall and a slight chill creeps into the air, that can only mean one thing — it’s soup season. Soup is a wonderfully versatile food, and making it is a great opportunity to raid your fridge for any extra ingredients you’d want to add. This recipe contains 12 ingredients, which can tend to add up in terms of cost. But thankfully, many of the items are essentials that you likely already have on hand. Plus, this recipe ditches the heavy cream and uses evaporated milk as well as Greek yogurt for an extra boost in protein.

Try the recipe from Well Plated.

2. Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

a bowl of cauliflower mac and cheese

Courtesy of Skinnytaste

Macaroni and cheese rightfully sit on the sidelines for many Thanksgiving dinners, allowing the turkey to get most of the spotlight. But this gooey, cheesy meal should be taking center stage on the dinner table throughout the rest of the season — especially given how healthy it is. This recipe cuts the carbs in a traditional macaroni and cheese dish by swapping noodles for cauliflower. It also only has eight ingredients, many of which you might already have in your pantry.

Try the recipe from Skinnytaste.

3. Roasted Vegetable and Feta Cheese Quinoa Bake

roasted vegetables with feta and quinoa in a dutch oven

Courtesy of Happy Veggie Kitchen

Some people get excited about the change in weather that fall brings, while others long for the days of laying by the beach during the warm summer. This recipe is the best of both of those worlds — with warm Mediterranean flavors that will make you think of sunny days, but all in a casserole, the quintessential cold comfort food. With only 10 ingredients, including bell peppers, an onion, and a can of beans, this is also a simple recipe that won’t break the budget.

Try the recipe from Happy Veggie Kitchen.

4. Air Fryer Hot Wings

air fryer hot wings with dip

Courtesy of A Duck’s Oven

Now that it’s fall, that can only mean one thing — football is back! Even if you’re not a big fan of the sport, nothing can beat a game day spread, and no spread is complete without hot wings — which also make a great dinner on their own. Hot wings certainly aren’t the healthiest dinner you could be making, yet this version uses the air fryer as opposed to deep frying the wings, which cuts down a ton of calories and saturated fat. Plus, there are only eight ingredients in this recipe, so it’s good for your budget as well.

Try the recipe from A Duck’s Oven.

5. Easy Pesto Chicken Pasta

pesto chicken pasta in a dutch oven

Courtesy of Eat Well 101

Fall is a tricky time to navigate for a lot of families — the kids are busy and back in school, which means there are plenty of activities that take up most of your nights. That’s why having healthy fall dinner ideas to turn to — such as this pasta dinner — is key for families on the go. With only 12 ingredients including three spices and a pre-made pesto, this recipe is simple and cost-effective. Pick up a rotisserie chicken that’s already been cooked and add it to the meal, and save any unused pieces for dinner the next day.

Try the recipe from Eat Well 101.

6. Sausage and Pepper Sheet Pan

sausage and peppers on a sheet pan

Courtesy of Well Plated

An Italian staple, this sheet pan recipe is so simple it should be in every chef’s back pocket, ready to pull out for a busy night when you need a healthy dinner but don’t have a lot of time to cook. Because of its simplicity, the recipe also requires few ingredients, mostly spices, which means that it’s not expensive to make. Stock up on some sausage and bell peppers and you’re basically set.

Try the recipe from Well Plated.

7. Vegan French Onion Soup

vegan french onion soup in mugs

Courtesy of The Simple Veganista

It’s a common misconception that vegan food is more costly than its meat and dairy counterparts, but this hearty, fall-friendly soup is just one of many recipes that prove that assumption wrong. This onion-packed soup, which is very low on fat, only consists of 10 ingredients and is a good way to get rid of any leftover white onions you might have lying around in the refrigerator.

Try the recipe from The Simple Veganista.

8. Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Chili

butternut squash soup in a slow cooker

Courtesy of Spend With Pennies

You can whip out the slow cooker any time of year, but it feels so fitting as the weather gets cooler to come home to a hot meal, especially one that’s filled with a fall staple like butternut squash. This recipe only has 12 ingredients, all of them relatively cheap items like kidney beans and bell peppers.

Try the recipe from Spend with Pennies.

Read next: 10 Hearty Slow Cooker Soup Recipes for Chilly Nights

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