45 Budget Friendly Low Carb Recipes

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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I love to talk about how the principles for eating on a budget and eating healthy are so closely aligned. Fill up on whole grains, trade in some of your meat for beans, legumes, and vegetables, and stay away from packaged convenience foods! While they do run parallel, it’s no secret that I also tend to rely on inexpensive pasta and rice to bulk up my meals. So, I often get the question, “What if I’m trying to watch my carbs?” This is a totally legit concern, so I’ve compiled this list of 45 Budget Friendly Low Carb Recipes to show that it’s not impossible and there are other, non-carb dependent ways to fill up for less.

Take note, this is a LOW carb list, not NO carb. Since the term “low” is extremely subjective, you may have to browse past a few recipes that don’t fit your own personal low-carb definition. This list contains recipes that don’t rely on flour, pasta, rice, or potatoes. Beans are a grey area and are included in many of the recipes listed here. A few of the recipes may also contain a small amount of sugar or honey in sauces or marinades, but again, this is a low carb list, not a no carb list and a small amount of sugar is often needed to balance flavors.

In general, here are a few tips for bulking up your recipes without relying heavily on carbs:

  • Add inexpensive greens like cabbage, frozen spinach, or chopped kale.
  • Swap noodles for spiralized inexpensive vegetables, like zucchini or carrots.
  • Swap out rice for “riced” cauliflower. (I’ve seen pre-grated or “riced” cauliflower for a good price at Trader Joes.)
  • Hearty soups and stews are a great way to stretch meat without adding carbs. Fill the soup with other vegetables, thick broths, beans, or legumes.

45 Budget Friendly Low Carb Recipes

Since there are a LOT of recipes on this list, I’ve divided them up into five categories: poultry, pork, beef, seafood, and vegetarian. Instead of including a full photograph for each recipe, I’ve created collages and listed the recipes below for faster browsing. I hope you enjoy!!

Low Carb Poultry Recipes

8 Low Carb Chicken Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

(Listed left to right, top to bottom)

  1. Slow Cooker Chicken Ropa Vieja – This is pictured with rice, but can be served as is or stuffed into a low-carb tortilla.
  2. Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks
  3. Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers
  4. Chicken & Lime Soup
  5. Greek Turkey Burgers
  6. Baked Chicken with Artichokes and Tomatoes
  7. Slow Cooker Taco Chicken (eat sans rice)
  8. Greek Marinated Chicken

6 Low Carb Chicken Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

(Left to right, top to bottom)

  1. Balsamic Chicken Skillet
  2. Mini Black Bean Turkey Burgers
  3. Chicken Piccatta
  4. Chicken Arrabbiata
  5. Easy Oven Fajitas (without the tortillas)
  6. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Low Carb Pork Recipes

8 Low Carb Pork Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

(Left to right, top to bottom). 

  1. 30 Minute Posole
  2. Pineapple Pork Kebabs (no grill required)
  3. Herb Roasted Pork Loin
  4. Sausage and Kale Skillet
  5. White Beans with Tomatoes and Sausage
  6. Lentil & Sausage Stew
  7. Navy Bean Soup with Sausage and Spinach

Low Carb Beef Recipes

3 Low Carb Beef Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

  1. Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry
  2. Weeknight Black Bean Chili (oops, this can be made with ground beef OR turkey)
  3. Joe’s Special (my way)

Low Carb Seafood Recipes

2 Low Carb Seafood Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

  1. Kale & Salmon Caesar Salad (sub more kale or white beans for pasta)
  2. Tuna & White Bean Salad

Low Carb Vegetarian Recipes

6 Low Carb Vegetarian Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

(Left to right, top to bottom)

  1. Smoky White Bean Shakshuka
  2. Warm Brussels Sprouts and Pear Salad
  3. Oven Roasted Ratatouille
  4. Hot & Sour Vegetable Soup with Tofu
  5. Curried Chickpeas with Spinach
  6. Chunky Lentil & Vegetable Soup

6 Low Carb Vegetarian Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

(Left to right, top to bottom)

  1. Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche
  2. Swamp Soup
  3. Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes
  4. Smoky Tomato Soup
  5. Southwest Spaghetti Squash Bowls
  6. Moroccan Lentil and Vegetable Stew

6 Low Carb Vegetarian Recipes to fit small budgets. BudgetBytes.com

(Left to right, top to bottom)

  1. African Peanut Stew
  2. Summer Vegetable Tian
  3. Garden Vegetable Quinoa Soup
  4. Mexican Lentil Stew
  5. Quinoa Tabbouleh
  6. Roasted Red Pepper Frittata
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    1. This is about the best resource we have, Renee! We’ll update it occasionally with our new recipes that happen to be low-carb, but we try not to focus too much on certain diets.

  1. This has helped me meal prep for my first budget friendly, low carb week of the 2024 new year. Thank you! The recipes have all been a hit with us so far.

  2. Would love more low carb dinner recipe ideas. I’ve tried a number of these which were delicious. Thank you

  3. This is great! Thanks especially for the low carb vegetarian options!

  4. Personally, I am so thankful you included a wide variety of carb amounts for this list! I’m trying to cut down on the meals that have far, far too many carbs that are difficult to bolus for with insulin, but I have absolutely no desire to cut out carbs altogether. I’m always looking for recipes that stay around 50 or below, and if the super low carb recipes happen to taste great, that’s good too. But usually the recipes I find are either 70-100g or the author says that they’re “sorry it’s so high in carbs” at 12g. I can’t wait to make my way through these recipes!

  5. Yeah, no. I’m going to have to echo the first poster’s sentiment. These are not low carb recipes. You can’t just brush these things off as “well, that’s subjective”. At least half of these recipes wouldn’t fit into a single low carb diet on this planet. You have made a poor list and should revamp it. These recipes don’t even all contain healthy, non-refined whole carbs. You have white rice in these recipes for crap’s sake!!! You made a clickbaity title and should feel bad about maintaining this in the state it’s in. People are trying to improve their health, and those who are just starting out might do themselves a very bad disservice by not paying close attention, but just clicking the stuff on your list. Are you trying to kill a diabetic? Geez. You straight up suck.

    1. As a diabetic, I can tell you that we tend to pay extra attention to what we eat. If someone doesn’t like some of these recipes, they won’t make them. Please don’t use us as an excuse to say you don’t like this list.

    2. I think you might need to step back and take a breath. If you don’t like the free content, look somewhere else.

      1. EXACTLY!!!!! i’ve seen the rice on the recipes but i can substitute it for quinoa. some people just don’t have anything else to do but complain. SMH

      2. It’s a valid complaint though… the title says low carb meals, but these are not low carb. Yes, you can make substitutions, but it’s not titled “low carb if you make substitutions” now is it? You can’t tell people how they can feel, especially when they are not wrong. It’s not an opinion, it’s a stated fact.

    3. WOOF. I would encourage you to take a few deep breaths and consider why you are so angry. Life is too short to berate others and try to bring them down to your miserable level. I pray you find the peace and joy you so desperately need.

      Much love,
      -Someone that appreciates Beth’s recipes

    4. I think Zee you owe Beth an apology. At first I was going to agree with you, but after I read her introduction she made it very plain about these recipes. In fact, even the ADA recommends lentils and beans and for some odd reason they even recommend brown rice which is only 2 grams less carbs than white rice. The recipes are made in a way that you can adapt them to your liking. None of us like having diabetes, but we can’t blame innocent people for our problems.

  6. How are some of these recipes considered low carb? Rice, pasta and beans are all high carb foods – and I see they’re featured in a lot of the recipes on this list.

  7. This site is by far my favorite of the many, many, many (did I say “many”?), food sites I visit on a regular basis. I tell everyone I know to check out Budget Byte$ for very tasty, very satisfying, inexpensive, spicy, dishes chock full of umami. Thank you, Beth!! I hope to someday give you a run for your money. :o) From one foodie to all the rest….a beautifully photographed food documentary series on Netflix called “Chef’s Table” is a must see.

  8. This was incredibly thoughtful and well done. I appreciate the editing you did to speed up the browsing as well. I just found your site today and have been looking thru it for over an hour! Hubby is on his way to the store to round out my ingredients for bibimbap and the creamy garlic chicken! So looking forward to what you share in the future.

  9. I’d like to put a plug in for the chicken and lime soup. It is spicy and citrusey and the chicken is so tender and adds some protein to the bowl. And it’s ridiculously easy to make. Very little prep. Give it a try!