20 Frugal Holiday Dishes for When You’re Broke

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20 Frugal Side Dishes - Inexpensive, seasonal, real-food based dishes to feed a crowd, bring a side dish to share, or use up leftovers. From CheapskateCook.com

 

We don’t ever plan on being broke for the holidays. We don’t plan on emergency medical bills, cars breaking down, or bankruptcy. But for some reason, those things love to happen in mid-autumn. You’re just gearing up for the holidays, and then life punches you in the face.

We were broke for a number of years, and while we never had to host family – 20 people unanimously voted to NOT cram into our 750 square-foot space – we did take on multiple family meals.

Maybe you’re hosting friends and family this holiday season. If you’re on a tight budget, you know how stressful that can be. Feeding everyone is expensive, especially if you want to feed them somewhat healthy.

So I compiled a list of Frugal Holiday Dishes. They’re all real-food based and some are allergy-friendly. I split them into 3 categories – Dinner for a Crowd (for when the family arrives but it’s not THE holiday meal), Frugal Side Dishes, and Rescue the Leftovers (because you know how I feel about food waste).

This season, may we be filled with gratitude and able to recognize our abundance even when we’re on a tight budget. And may we share that abundance with everyone around us.

 

Dinner for a Crowd

For when the family arrives but it’s not THE holiday meal.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Grandma's Baked Ziti

 

Grandma’s Baked Ziti

Vegetarian, (Gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta)

Kelly says: Only 5 ingredients for this much-loved casserole. My go-to recipe for feeding lots of people or for comfort food!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Paleo

This looks fancy, but the instructions are so easy. If you find beef on sale, I recommend giving it a shot!

Gabriel says: A very easy to make and delicious, slow cooker beef bourguignon recipe made with the healthiest ingredients. This recipe is both gluten-free and Paleo. It is essentially made with Beef cubes, potatoes, white mushroom, and carrots, which are all inexpensive ingredients. As for the red wine, any cheap red wine will do the trick.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - 5-minute crockpot or slow cooker taco lentils and rice

 

Crockpot Lentil & Rice Tacos

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free

This 5-minute, slow cooker, meatless recipe is the foundation for Burritos, Tacos, Nachos, Dip, Burritos, Taquitos, Chimichangas, and more. You can add meat if you like – see recipe for more.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Picadillo (Mexican Beef & Potato Stew)

 

Picadillo (Mexican Beef & Potato Stew) 

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free

An authentic, hearty, ground beef staple that uses a few ingredients and costs pennies per serving. Picadillo is also gluten-free and dairy-free.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

 

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Egg-free, Paleo

Kushi says: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna is a super easy and flavorful pasta dish that will be your favorite recipe for dinner this holiday season.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Simple, inexpensive tomato soup ready in 10 minutes and full of real food ingredients you can find at any store. Dairy-free version too! From CheapskateCook.com

 

10-Minute Homemade Tomato Soup

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Paleo

Simple, inexpensive tomato soup ready in 10 minutes and full of real food ingredients you can find at any store. Dairy-free version too!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Creamy, Homemade Macaroni & Cheese only 25 cents a serving, made in 20 minutes, and full of ingredients you likely already have on hand. Works great with gluten-free pasta too! From CheapskateCook.com

 

The Cheapest One-Pot Macaroni & Cheese

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta, Egg-free

Creamy, Homemade Macaroni & Cheese only 33 cents a serving, made in 20 minutes, and full of ingredients you likely already have on hand.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Cheesy Lentil Pie from CheapskateCook.com

 

Cheesy Lentil Pie

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Egg-free

A cheesy, tomato-y vegetarian main dish. Simple to make, extremely frugal (thank you, lentils), and completely delicious.

 

Frugal Side Dishes

Inexpensive, seasonal dishes for the holiday meal (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.)

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Browned Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sage

 

Browned Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Sage

Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Egg-free

If you’re not one for marshmallows and crushed pecans, this is the perfect alternative. Easy to make and full of real ingredients!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

 

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Kathy says: Just 4 ingredients is all it takes to make this amazing cranberry sauce. Making your own is so much cheaper than buying a can of prepared sauce.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Cheesy Cauliflower

 

Easy Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Recipe

Gluten-free, Egg-free, Paleo

Loaded cauliflower is an easy, delicious side dish that everyone will love. It’s made with easy-to-find, affordable ingredients! 

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Balsamic Roasted Green Beans

 

Balsamic Roasted Green Beans

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Paleo

Elaina says: Fresh green beans quick-roasted in the oven until tender, slightly caramelized and crispy around the edges. This inexpensive side dish is elegant enough to serve at a holiday gathering and easy enough for a weeknight supper.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Vegan Potato Dauphinoise Gratin

 

Vegan Potato Dauphinoise Gratin

Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free

Rhian says: This gratin is super comforting, easy to make, and uses inexpensive ingredients. It’s also great for anyone following a special diet!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

 

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Egg-free, (Dairy-free if you use oil instead of butter)

Tiffany says: These delicious and crispy Hasselback Sweet Potatoes are a perfect easy side dish. Just 3 ingredients. Yummy!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Roasted Rainbow Veggies

 

Rainbow Vegetables Recipe – Easy Healthy Oven Roasted Veggies!

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Paleo

Melanie says: Feast your eyes and your stomach on these amazing rainbow-roasted vegetables! So colorful, easy, healthy, and delicious!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Apple & Oat Bars

 

Apple & Oat Mix-in-the-Pan Bars

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free

Apple Crisp grew up and got classy. Still quick to make, full of real food, and makes the perfect Fall dessert. Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.

 

Rescue the Leftovers

Because you know how I feel about food waste.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Pumpkin & White Bean Hummus

 

Pumpkin Sage White Bean Hummus

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free

Rhian says: This pumpkin sage and white bean hummus is super easy to make, uses cheap ingredients, and makes a great appetizer for sharing!

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Sweet Potato Bread with Sweet Potatoes in the Background. From CheapskateCook.com

 

Easy, One-Bowl Sweet Potato Bread

Vegetarian, Vegan (options), Dairy-free (options), Egg-free (options)

Or how to use leftover sweet potato, pumpkin, or squash. An easy quick bread that takes 5-10 minutes to get into the oven.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Turkey & Quinoa Soup

 

Turkey Quinoa Pumpkin Soup (With a Bone Broth Base) 

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, (Paleo if you omit quinoa)

Stretch your leftover turkey into a delicious soup! This turkey pumpkin soup uses bone broth made from the turkey carcass (no waste!). It’s loaded with simple, real food.

 

Frugal Holiday Dish - Ranch Potato Pancakes

 

Ranch Potato Pancakes

Vegetarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

The perfect way to repurpose leftover potatoes. This recipe only uses 1 egg for a batch of delicious, crispy ranch-style potato pancakes seasoned with ranch.

 

20 Frugal Side Dishes - Inexpensive, seasonal, real-food based dishes to feed a crowd, bring a side dish to share, or use up leftovers. Many of them are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, egg-free, and paleo. From CheapskateCook.com



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