Frugal Lunch and Dinner Ideas

I apologize for not have a giveaway for you all today.  I have several in the line up, but either haven’t finished sampling them or have not heard back from the company with final giveaway details.

Instead, I’m giving you a list of frugal lunch and dinner ideas that come from some of you.  A couple of weeks ago, someone posted this question on my Facebook page:

“I have a question to ask other gluten free moms out there….what is the cheapest gluten free lunch or dinner idea you have? As a mother of 5 and family of 7 all gluten free (4 celiacs, one gluten intolerant) it gets pretty tight money wise at the end of the month. Ideas?”

There were a number of responses and I thought I would list the ideas here to share with all of you.  I will break them down by dinner and lunch, but some could go both ways.

plate with tomato

Frugal Gluten-Free Dinner and Lunch Ideas

(suggested by others on my Facebook page)

Always check your ingredients to make sure they are gluten free. In the ideas below, it is assumed that gluten-free ingredients (such as pasta, taco seasoning, rotisserie chicken, etc.) would be used.


  • Hamburger Hash – Potatoes and hamburger.
  • Tacos – Hamburger can go a long way.
  • Taco salad
  • Nachos
  • Chef Salad
  • Taco Soup with lots of beans
  • Beef Stew – Thick with corn starch or a pumpkin & white bean puree.
  • Anything with eggs – fried rice
  • Scrambled eggs with any meat in a tortilla with cheese.
  • Breakfast for dinner.
  • Plain meat, veggie, and a fruit.
  • Quesadillas made with corn tortillas in the microwave.
  • Veggie Chili – cans of tomatoes, beans, cubes of sweet potato, onion, celery…Serve with a big salad and homemade corn bread.
  • Lentil Soup – lentils, celery, onions, carrots, canned tomato, oregano, thyme.  Serve over rice to make it go further.
  • Lentil Stew or Red beans and rice.
  • Meatballs made with potato flakes instead of bread crumbs.  Serve with pasta, rice, carrots..
  • Beans and cornbread
  • Beans and rice (change the flavors with different spices).
  • Spaghetti with pasta
  • Grilled chicken and a veggie
  • Soup (corn chowder, clam or tuna chowder, chili, lentils, split pea, taco)
  • Frittata or quiche served with salad (tomato salad, quinoa salad)
  • Shepherd’s Pie – ground beef, mashed potatoes, frozen vegetables, and gf bouillon
  • Fajitas
  • Baked chicken with rice and corn.
  • Chicken nuggets – make a large batch and freeze them.
  • Rotisserie Chickens stretched to several meals – chicken with salad and veggies, chicken tacos, chicken and vegetable soup.
  • Rice paper wrappers filled with lettuce, carrots, shredded chicken, mint, etc. to make your own spring rolls.  Dip them in 1/2 gf soy sauce, 1/2 rice vinegar with tsp. of peanut butter mixed in.
  • Hamburger and rice – cook both separately than mix together.
  • Chipotle style rice bowls with beans and/or meat
  • Egg and hash brown casserole
  • Mexican Enchilada Lasagna – corn tortillas, refried beans, and cheese.
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Grilled Hamburgers
  • Spaghetti (use pasta or spaghetti squash) with ground beef or turkey spaghetti sauce.
  • Chili
  • Pizza or lasagna casserole


  • Cheese Quesadillas – corn tortillas filled with cheese
  • Corn tortillas wrapped around a hot dog.  Bake or fry like an enchilada.
  • Tortilla chips and bean dip with cut veggies on the side.
  • Salad
  • Yogurt (with gf granola)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Veggies and fruit
  • Leftovers packed in thermos bottles
  • Homemade hummus or bean dip with veggies or chips
  • Beans (cooked fry dry beans, not canner), rice, and veggies salad with Italian dressing or homemade vinaigrette.  Make lots of brown rice for dinner and use leftovers to make salads.
  • Peanut Butter Roll Ups – gluten free tortillas with honey, peanut butter, and maybe chopped bananas, rolled up.
  • Rice cakes with melted cheese
  • Celery with peanut butter
  • Cut up ham and cheese served with gf crackers and fruit
  • Peanut butter on rice cakes with yogurt.
    Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas.  How about the rest of you?  Do you have a frugal lunch or dinner idea to add?  Let us know in the comments.

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  1. says

    This is a really great post for reference any time, Linda! It shows how many possibilities there are not just for frugal, gluten-free meals, but for gf meals in general. Folks get stuck in a rut and need these ideas. BTW, I make many of these meals on an ongoing basis, because they are our favorites, not just because they are frugal. Wonderful to “pick the brains” of your Facebook fans! They did well! :-) Thanks for the listing, dear.


  2. says

    I like the list, but wanted to add a few comments. Basically, don’t forget the vegetables! I love eating dried bean-based dishes, and often do, but jazz up the beans and rice with carrots and broccoli, or cabbage and sweet potatoes. And, be sure to check out prices for frozen and canned vegetables as in the winter (up north) they tend to be less expensive and sometimes of higher quality.

    Personally, I vote for gardening to help stretch the budget in a healthful way!

    For anyone looking for more resources, Nourishing Gourmet does a “pennywise platter” post on Thursdays where readers contribute frugal recipes.


  3. Maria says

    My 11yr.old daughter was diagnosed 2years ago with Celiac Disease. I am always trying to figure out how to shop for gluten free products without spending too much money. She knows what she’s missing so it’s very hard to find or bake something for her that she will like. I spend a lot of my time and money trying to figure it out, but for her, it’s totally worth it!

  4. Sarah Shapiro says

    My mom has always made turkey burgers and artichokes, or fish and broccoli, or cous cous and ground turkey. Also, homemade french fries are good too (sliced potatoes sizzled in oil).

  5. says

    What a refreshing list of meal ideas! Thank you for compiling them. would like to share them at our new member and possibly in our newsletter. See sample circ 300 celiacs. We would of course provide credit to you + link to May we have your permission to do so? Thank you very much!

    Warm regards,

    Ellen Bayens

    The Celiac Scene™

  6. Christine Drover says

    Thnx for these ideas will have to write them all down to remember…. I was surprised at the things that were suggested thinking some of them were gluten free…I have been diagnosed with IBS by my family doctor but now is sending me in for an ultrasound bcuz I need to find out if maybe its something else so only other thing it may be would be celiac disease so these could be some good ideas for the time being…

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