30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living: Gluten-Free on a Budget

30 Days to Easy Gluten Free Living

This post is part of the 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living event. Check out all the other great posts here.

There is a misconception that maintaining a gluten-free diet is really expensive. If you buy all of the fancy baked goods and gluten-free bread that costs $8.00 per loaf, yeah–living gluten-free is going to be really expensive for you. But there are so many healthy, whole, and naturally gluten-free foods that are wonderfully budget friendly–in fact, you might be surprised just how many!

Fruits & Veggies: Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Everything from apples to eggplant to parsnips. Fresh herbs too! So don’t worry about what might be in that instant mashed potatoes box, boil and mash up some on your own.

Grains: Some of my favorites are rice, quinoa, and millet. Invest in a rice cooker for your grains if you are worried about leaving your microwaveable rice behind–it cooks itself.

Proteins: Fresh proteins like fish, poultry, meat, and tofu are all naturally gluten-free. They’re also versatile–you can do so much with them! Grill, bake, roast…the possibilities are endless!

Here’s a cheap and easy recipe for baked Mahi Mahi. You can eat it over a grain of your choice with a side of steamed veggies, and cut up that extra piece into cubes and toss it into a salad for lunch the next day! The smokiness of the paprika adds and extra bit of richness (it’s also a spice worth investing in). This recipe would also be great with tilapia or any other fish of your choice.

Baked Tomato & Garlic Mahi Mahi


1 lb mahi cut into 4 oz. portions
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tsp olive oil
1 lemon
2 cups cooked rice
steamed broccoli


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of fish with seasoning and place on baking sheet.
  3. Lay 2-3 tomato slices on each piece of fish. Drizzle oil over tomatoes.
  4. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes until fish is cooked through. Finish each piece with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli.

The cost:
Mahi: 6.99
tomatoes: .29
pantry items: <1.00
rice: .50 (2 cups cooked)
broccoli: 1.99

Grand total for the full meal: $10.77; $2.69 per serving (4 servings)

18 Responses to 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living: Gluten-Free on a Budget
  1. Ricki
    May 30, 2011 | 9:06 am

    Good advice for anyone on a budget, GF or not! :)

  2. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty
    May 30, 2011 | 9:31 am

    I keep thinking I should try GF… as I still don’t feel good all the time, but it’s scary!

  3. Rella
    May 30, 2011 | 10:50 am

    Jessica–it is scary to start out with, but I couldn’t imagine how much better I would feel being gluten-free! Such a difference.

  4. Chana
    May 30, 2011 | 11:02 am

    Have you tried making this with the frozen mahi from Trader Joes? Do you think it will work?

  5. Rella
    May 30, 2011 | 11:19 am

    In fact, that is exactly the mahi I used, just defrost it completely and rinse before using.

  6. Alta
    May 30, 2011 | 6:21 pm

    I am ALL about gluten-free living on a budget! And this recipe looks fresh and delicious.

  7. Linda
    May 30, 2011 | 8:39 pm

    You are so right. There are many naturally gluten free foods. It’s when you get into specialty processed foods that it becomes more expensive. I do like to bake so I spend a little more on gluten free flours, but I also save money by milling some whole grains myself. Your mahi mahi looks delicious!

  8. […] Rella of Penny Pinching Epicure shared Gluten-Free on a Budget […]

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  10. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free
    June 1, 2011 | 10:07 pm

    The second most asked question I get (right after What do you Eat?!?) is “Isn’t a gf diet so expensive?” Thanks for this post and that fish sounds amazing!

  11. Shirley @ gfe
    June 2, 2011 | 1:58 pm

    Beautiful fish dish, Rella! I couldn’t agree more on eating gluten-free not having to be expensive. We can eat less expensively, healthier, and life can be much easier with real food versus all the expensive, unhealthy packaged gf foods. Love your listing … real food is gluten free. Nobody ever goes out and plucks wheat, rye, and barley (or oats) out of the field to eat, but the food you CAN pluck out and eat “as is” or cooked is real and naturally gluten free. It’s less expensive food because it hasn’t been processed with added ingredients. And real food goes much further as your recipe indicates, too.


  12. Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty
    June 12, 2011 | 8:43 am

    Hey Rella!
    I mentioned you on my blog today!!! :)

  13. Kelly B
    June 15, 2011 | 6:59 pm

    Trying this recipe tonight! It sounds really good.

  14. karie
    August 8, 2012 | 9:52 am

    Ok, I know the bread is expensive, but seriously so is mahi, mahi, salmon and quinoa!!! a loaf of gf bread might cost $7 bucks but that and a couple cans of tuna last the WEEK for lunches!! $2.69 might be a good price for dinner, but I don’t think it is for lunch. and frankly fruits and veggies can be costly! i’ve been working with a gf diet for months and still, even with the occassional coupon i can find, lots of fruits and veggies, and rice, it’s still much more expensive than what i was spending before. it may be healthier, but if you want to indulge your gonna pay out of your pocket!!! i think you have to be a super hero, to on a a gf budget!!

  15. Rella
    October 22, 2012 | 1:33 pm

    Thanks for your comment! You are absolutely right that fish and quinoa can be expensive, that’s why I wholly advocate buying in bulk. For example, 4 lbs of quinoa at Costco is the same price as 1 lb at a traditional grocery store. Same with fish–buying in bulk and freezing in portions dramatically reduces the cost per serving.

  16. Eusebio Bahlmann
    November 23, 2012 | 3:00 pm

    Awesome article post.Much thanks again. Great.

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