Here’s How I Made an Entire Dinner for a Family of 4 From Aldi With Just $20

Feed your family of four for less at Aldi.

Aldi store with meal made from Aldi
Updated July 18, 2024
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You don’t have to dip into your 401k just to feed your family. Aldi has everything you need to make a healthy meal for two, three, or four — and for less than $20.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Consumer Price Index for food rose 0.1% in May 2024. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also notes that the price of grocery store purchases jumped by 1.1% between April 2023 and April 2024.

If you’re looking for a way to save on groceries without sacrificing quality or nutrition, this under-$20 dinner is the perfect summertime meal.

Editor’s note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.

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An Italian feast for 4

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz an italian feast

The heat and humidity make standing over a stove a challenge. Instead of a heavy meal that requires hours of prep, try this light vegetarian chickpea penne pasta and tomato-basil sauce combo. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll have a multi-course dinner that is low-fat, low-sugar, and flavorful.

This meal for four packs a protein-rich punch with plant-based (chickpea) power. Along with the main pasta course, you can score everything you need for a starter, sides, and dessert at Aldi for a grand total of $18.57. And bonus, along with protein, you'll get vitamin-rich veggies, organic options, and more.

Simply Nature Chickpea Penne Pasta

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz chickpea penne pasta

Price: $2.69

This non-GMO penne isn’t your typically carb-heavy pasta. This Simply Nature store brand buy includes a whopping 19 grams of protein per serving plus iron and fiber. It’s also gluten-free, making this pasta a healthy alternative for anyone who can’t have wheat, barley, or other grains.

Don’t worry about an odd or off-taste. Even though the penne is chickpea-based, your family won’t know the difference.

Simply Nature Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz tomato and basil pasta sauce

Price: $1.99

Top the penne with this tangy basil sauce. The organic blend of ingredients has a restaurant-quality flavor — minus the price tag of takeout. At less than $2 for a 24-ounce jar, it’s a major bargain.

You’ll have enough sauce for this meal and can save the rest for tomorrow’s dinner. Use the remainder of the artificial color-, artificial flavor-, and preservative-free organic option on a homemade pizza or lasagna.

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Little Salad Bar Italian Salad

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz packed italian salad

Price: $2.49

Start your meal in a healthy, green way with this bag of ready-to-eat salad. Skip chopping, dicing, cutting, and the other prep work. The Italian-inspired blend of romaine and radicchio has a zesty taste that’s the perfect kick-off to a summer meal.

Tuscan Garden Restaraunt Style Italian Dressing

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz restaraunt style italian dressing

Price: $1.95

Does your family adore Olive Garden’s famous dressing? This Aldi dupe has a similar taste at a lower price. The Tuscan Garden brand costs $1.95 for a 16-ounce bottle, while Target sells the brand-name Olive Garden dressing for $4.29.

Seasons Choice Brussels Sprouts

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz steamed brussels sprouts

Price: $1.39

This under-$1.50 bargain is pure convenience. Steam the sprouts in the bag for an effortless side.

But if you want to add some restaurant-like flare to the meal, drizzle olive oil over the frozen sprouts, add a pinch of sea salt, and toss the mix into your air fryer. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll have perfectly golden crispy veggies. Top the air-fried Brussels sprouts with parmesan cheese for an extra savory flavor.

Emporium Selection Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz shredded parmesan cheese

Price: $2.19

What type of parm should you use to top those delicately crunchy sprouts? Aldi’s Emporium Selection shredded cheese. The five-ounce container has enough parmesan to sprinkle over veggies, pasta/sauce, and your salad.

L’Oven Fresh Garlic Knots

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz fresh garlic knots

Price: $2.79

You’ll get eight Savory Garlic flavor bread knots for under $3. That’s two of the sumptuously spaced rolls per person. In nine minutes, these bake-in-the-bag knots are ready to serve.

Sundae Shoppe Lime Frozen Fruit Bars

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz lime frozen fruit bars

Price: $2.39

End the meal with this new frozen foodie find from Aldi. The store’s Sundae Shoppe brand is known for its high quality and low prices. Each box of the summer-ready citrus treats includes four lime-flavored bars.

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Pur Aqua Key Lime Sparkling Water

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz lime sparkling water

Price: $0.69

After buying your starter, main, sides, and dessert, you’ll have just enough money left to pick up a few bottles of this refreshing sparkling water. You can drink the key lime beverage as-is, add it to juice and make mocktails, or mix it with your favorite white wine for an adults-only spritz.

Affordable alternatives

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz original meatballs

Not a fan of lime bars? Do you want to add some meat to the meal? Changing up this menu with minor substitutions is easy.

Swap out the popsicle treats for Sundae Shoppe Gelato. It’s a decadent dessert that doesn’t come with an extravagant price tag. For $3.79, you’ll get a 28.5-ounce tub of mixed berry or chocolate Italian flavor favorites.

If you’re willing to go just over the $20 mark, heat Bremer’s frozen Original Meatballs and add the $6.19 bag (for 64 individual pre-cooked meatballs) to the sauce.

L’Oven Fresh’s Parmesan and Romano Garlic Bread or Garlic Herb flavor is another value-priced alternative to try with this meal. Skip the knots and try this side for $2.99.

Bottom line

Tom Wang/Adobe asian friends celebrating at restaurant

This chickpea penne pasta meal is a healthy and affordable alternative to takeout. By shopping at Aldi's aisles, you can easily feed your family of four on a budget of $20 or less.

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Author Details

Erica Loop

With more than a decade of experience writing about everything from e-commerce to pets and parenting, Erica Loop has written for sites such as BuzzFeed, Brit+Co, Tinybeans, Family Education, and Erica has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.