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Need meatless meal recipe ideas? Here’s how to convince your family to try a once a week meatless meal (and save on your grocery bill)!

With 3 teenage sons, another son that eats like a teenager, and a husband who is a bona fide carnivore, going meatless was, for me, a monumental task.

Totally worth it, though.  Because those boys have 2 sisters, and that makes for a lot of mouths to feed.

I knew I could convince this family to embrace a meatless meal just one night per week.  And after years of compromises, we’ve found some meatless meals that save money without compromising on taste.

Here is a whole list of meatless recipes that your family is sure to love.

Convincing the Family to Try Meatless Meals

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How to Convince the Family

Here are my tried and true methods for convincing your family to try meatless meals.

Start Easy

Start by simply finding ways to cut down on the amount of meat you use.

(Sometimes meatless can just be less meat!)


  • casseroles
  • soups
  • making a gravy to top a bigger portion of noodles, potatoes, or breads
  • use meat as a topping over a hearty salad

Crock Pot Ham & BeansExpand Your Concept of “Meatless”

If visions of endless vegetables or tofu comes to mind when you think of meatless meals, I promise you that it’s so much more than that!

Serving meatless meals doesn’t mean skipping hearty, filling foods.

Rice and beans can be delicious if you learn to cook them properly.

Eggs, potatoes, pastas are just some affordable things to feed your family.

Be Convincing

When you are ready to take the plunge, be sure that your first meatless meals are winners!  What foods does your family enjoy?

  • Pancakes are nearly always a hit with kids.  Top them with whatever fruit is in season (and on sale).
  • BreakfastScrubs fans (it’s a sitcom) like us call this Brinner (breakfast for dinner).  Serve up eggs, hash browns, muffins or biscuits, toast, milk, produce (or whatever you like to scoop up at a breakfast bar), everyone will have full plates, full bellies, and smiles on their faces.
  • Mexican.  Our family loves tacos!  There’s such a big variety of toppings, so no one will even notice that you’re using beans rather than meat at the bottom.  Plus it’s easy to use your typical taco seasonings in the beans to make it taste more like your usual meat.
  • Soups.  A hearty potato soup (this is our favorite recipe) is great comfort food!  Or use a 3 bean chili rather than your regular meaty chili.

Show Them The Evidence

Leave a jar on the counter and drop in the amount of money you would have spent on meat for your meal each week.

Your family can literally watch the savings add up.

Maybe you can do something fun with the money you save!

The Best Meatless Meal Ideas

Here are some of our very favorite meatless meal ideas.

Note: If you want to try using dried beans for some extra savings, it’s not as tough as it seems!  I described my method in my Ham & Beans post.

And while those ham & beans aren’t exactly meatless, it is less meat.  I usually just use a ham bone that would otherwise have gone to waste for another super frugal meal!

(People gift me the ham bone at meals with family and friends because they won’t use it.  So woohoo for freebies like that!)

Some recipes to try:

Plus, I’m always pinning great recipes!  So if you follow my Meatless Meals Pinterest board, you’ll be sure to find plenty of delicious, frugal recipes to keep the family interested.

Follow Medium Sized Family’s board Meatless Meals on Pinterest.

Take These Steps:

  1. Find a great meatless recipe you know your family will enjoy.
  2. Serve it and see how they react.
  3. If you get complaints about the lack of meat, start talking about the savings you’ll have!
  4. Save the money in your account.

These tips will have your family chowing down on meatless meals in no time!

These days, my family is just as excited about bean burritos as they are about taco night.  Can we call that a success?

Do you already have meatless nights in your home?  What are your favorite recipes?