With the rise of grocery prices, we’re all on the watch to save a little money where we can, even if it means swapping out some of our usual staple ingredients. If you’ve been keeping up with the increasing grocery prices, you might have noticed that meat, bacon, chicken…and even egg prices are rising with no signs of dropping any time soon. 

In times like this, it’s good to mix things up to save some cash. Now, we’re not saying cut meat out of your diet completely, but perhaps scale back during these times to make sure you get more from your grocery budget. One simple way to do this is by including some vegetarian meals in your weekly rotation. Here are four sources of protein that will nourish your cravings, leave you feeling full, and most importantly help you stay on budget.


A versatile soy-based ingredient that can be used in so many ways to recreate your favorite recipes into a plant-based alternative. Tofu is a great egg and meat alternative. It can be used to make tofu scramble, omelets, and chicken nuggets. Here’s a recipe by Liv B for vegan chicken nuggets that taste better than the real thing. It’s an easy swap in most recipes, like taking out the chicken in your soup for some diced tofu instead. You can even use it to make dessert! Cooking with tofu is a whole new world of endless recipes with something for everyone to enjoy. 

Beans and Chickpeas

Beans…all kinds of beans…black beans, white beans, and even chickpeas are very cost-effective and can be bought in bulk. They’re easy to use and cook very quickly. Black beans can be used as a protein source in a hearty vegetable chili, as a substitute for taco meat, and for one of our favorites; black bean burgers. Here’s a black bean burger recipe by The Spruce Eats that will keep you full and satisfied. Once you top it off with all of your favorite fixings, it’ll leave you wondering why you waited this long to try it out! Cooking with chickpeas is a great way to help you venture into trying new cuisines like Middle Eastern falafel and Pakistani channa. Did you know you can even swap the chicken for chickpeas in butter chicken, leaving you with a delicious vegetarian dish packed with flavor?! Trust us, it’s ridiculously good.  


There are so many kinds of lentils and just as many ways to cook them. It’s a great ingredient to add to your soups and salads for some extra nutrition, or if you want to try something new, check out this Indian Masoor Dal Tadka from The Curious Chickpea. When it comes to simple swaps, you can even switch the ground beef in your lasagna for a cup of cooked lentils that provides you with even more protein than the meat itself. 


This veggie has one of the highest amounts of protein and a great texture for frying. And if you’re a fan of fried chicken, give oyster mushrooms a try. They are a great substitute ingredient and can be made into a meatless version of fried chicken that still packs the same meaty texture and flavor. Here is an easy recipe to make by Live Eat Learn to get you started. 

There are so many ways to get in your protein intake while saving yourself money from rising meat prices. Trying new ingredients and recipes will allow you to not only discover new favorites but consume more nutrients at the same time. Happy cooking!

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