10 Budget Friendly Main Meal Recipes

10 budget friendly dinners

Eating healthily during a cost of living crisis:

In the midst of a relentless cost of living crisis, it comes as no surprise that many individuals and families in the UK are seeking ways to stretch their budgets without compromising on their health and well-being. Rising prices of essential goods, stagnating wages, and economic uncertainties have left a significant portion of the population grappling with financial strain. As a result, people are increasingly turning to affordable meal options that provide vital nutrients, fuel their bodies, and prove that eating healthily doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many budget friendly main meal recipes.

Budget friendly food options:

In the face of the cost of living crisis, budget supermarket product lines like Asda’s “Just Essentials” and Tesco’s budget brands such as “Stockwell and Co” have become invaluable for individuals seeking affordable options without compromising quality. These budget-friendly alternatives often prove to be just as good as big-branded products, offering excellent quality, nutritional value, and taste at a fraction of the cost. By embracing these wallet-friendly options, individuals can shop smarter, stretch their grocery budget further, and discover the hidden gems that make healthy and cost-effective meals a reality.

10 budget friendly recipes:

In this blog post, we’ll explore a collection of 10 wholesome and nourishing meals, each costing £1.50 or less per serving. By focusing on affordable, wholefood ingredients and simple yet delicious recipes, we aim to empower individuals and families with practical solutions to meet their dietary needs while being mindful of their limited budgets. These low cost meals showcase the creative potential of low-cost ingredients and demonstrate that even in times of economic challenges, it is still possible to prioritize health and nutrition without sacrificing taste or quality.

Join us on this culinary journey where we’ll delve into a diverse range of wallet-friendly recipes that prove that healthy eating is accessible to all, regardless of financial constraints. Let’s navigate the current cost of living crisis together and discover how simple and affordable meals can nourish both our bodies and our wallets.

There are a few important notes that you need to be aware of before following these budget recipes:

  • All of these recipes are priced with ASDA ingredients. Due to the ASDA Just Essentials products being a cheaper option than other supermarket budget brands, all recipes include them but you should be able to find similar products in all supermarket budget ranges.
  • All recipes and ingredients were last price checked on 17/6/23 but are subject to regular changes.
  • Some budget-friendly versions of recipes differ to the original linked however any changes will be listed below, don’t forget these when following the recipe!
  • All herbs and spices have been estimated at 7p per teaspoon however this may not be accurate.
  • Some ingredients, such as mustard powder and apple cider vinegar can be omitted. Whilst they are great flavour enhancers, if you do not already have them to hand they may not be worth your while purchasing, unless you intend to make many recipes that include them of course! Both these ingredients will go a very long way so even though they are not cheap ingredients, if you can afford to, they’re a great addition.

1. Mushroom Risotto

healthy mushroom risotto recipe budget friendly main meal

This budget-friendly mushroom risotto recipe combines nutritious ingredients like mushrooms and brown rice to create a wholesome, affordable meal. With a per-portion cost of just 96p, it’s not only easy on the wallet but also a delicious and healthy choice for those looking to save money while eating well.

Extra budgeting tip:

  • This recipe calls for apple cider vinegar, whilst 2 tbsp costs just 16p, if you do not use this ingredient regularly it may not be worth purchasing, it can be omitted or substituted with apple juice or white wine.
  • To further decrease the cost of this recipe, substitute arborio rice, worth 68p in this recipe for Asda’s just essentials long grain rice, costing just 7p however you will lose the creaminess typically associated with risotto

2. Cheese And Potato Bake

cheese spinach and potato bake budget friendly main meal

Indulge in an economical culinary delight with this cheap meal. This cheese, spinach, and potato bake recipe is packed with wholesome ingredients and priced at just 56p per portion, this dish not only nourishes your taste buds but also keeps your budget in check, making it an ideal addition to your roster of budget-friendly, healthy meals.

Extra budgeting tips:

  • This recipe uses Asda’s low fat soft cheese and 30% reduced fat cheddar. There are slightly cheaper options in the just essentials range but this will alter calories and fat content.
  • Swap out the new potatoes used in this recipe for just essentials potatoes, they will work just as well!

3. 3 Bean Chilli

three bean chilli budget friendly main meal

Delight in the savoury richness of this 3-bean chili, a robust blend of nutritious legumes and spices. With an enticing price tag of just £1 per portion, this wholesome dish not only satisfies your taste buds but also ensures your purse stays happy, making it a stellar addition to your repertoire of cost-effective, healthful main meal options.

Extra budgeting tips:

  • This recipe uses tinned beans, costing 60p each however if you use beans regularly, you would benefit more from buying dried beans in larger quantities.

4. Healthy Quesadillas

quesadilla recipe

Enjoy the flavourful and low-calorie spinach, feta, and onion quesadilla for just 91p per portion. This budget-friendly dish combines wholesome ingredients, making it an excellent choice for those who want to maintain both their health and their wallet. It’s a delicious addition to your collection of affordable, nutritious main meals.

Extra budgeting tip:

  • Use just essentials Greek style salad cheese to reduce the cost of each quesadilla to 64p
  • For a larger, more filling meal, add a colourful side salad to this recipe for around 50p per portion. This would include lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and red pepper from the just essentials range.

5. Bubble And Squeak

bubble and squeak budget friendly main meal

Savour the nostalgia of a classic bubble and squeak, a comforting dish that comes at an incredibly affordable 24p per portion. Traditionally crafted from Christmas dinner leftovers, it’s a budget-friendly meal that can be enjoyed year-round.

Extra budgeting tip:

  • Plan meals that involve potatoes and vegetables in the days before this dish to avoid buying extra ingredients, half an onion here, some unwanted carrots there, before you know it, you have a meal made entirely from leftovers.

6. Chicken & Mushroom Hot Pot

chicken and mushroom hot pot

Indulge in the wholesome flavors of our healthy chicken and mushroom hot pot, priced at just £1.25 per portion. This budget-friendly yet nutritious dish combines tender chicken and earthy mushrooms, providing a hearty meal that won’t break the bank. It’s a perfect choice for those looking to maintain a balanced diet while being mindful of their budget, making it a fantastic addition to your selection of cost-effective, main meals.

Extra budgeting tip:

  • Check online for deals on meat and fish before purchasing to make sure you are getting the best price. Meat, fish and their vegan alternatives are generally the most expensive items on grocery lists.

7. Vegetable Frittata

vegetable frittata

Embrace the delicious simplicity of a healthy vegetable frittata, a budget-friendly delight at only 80p per portion. Paired with a side salad for an additional 50p, this nutritious and affordable meal offers a wholesome dining experience without breaking the bank. Whether enjoyed on its own or as part of a more substantial meal, the vegetable frittata is a versatile and cost-effective addition to your collection of healthy main courses.

8. Cheese And Onion Potato Cakes

potato cakes

Savour the deliciousness of our cheese and onion potato cakes at just 59p per portion, creating a satisfying meal when paired with a side salad for a total of £1.09. This budget-friendly dish, complete with a fresh salad, strikes the perfect balance between taste and affordability, making it a valuable addition to your collection of economical and delectable main meals.

extra budgeting tip:

  • Use Just Essentials greek cheese for an even cheaper meal!
  • Swap salad for just essentials mixed veg for 9p per 100g

9. Shakshuka

shakshuka recipe

Explore the delectable world of budget-friendly main meals with our shakshuka, made with 2 eggs for an affordable 52p per portion. For an extra touch, you can pair it with toasted bread for just an additional 24p, or add a small roasted potato chunk for approximately 10p. This wallet-conscious dish not only satisfies your taste buds but also aligns perfectly with your quest for budget-friendly and hearty main meals

10. Hash Brown Bake

hash brown bake recipe

Delight in the affordability of our vegetable-filled hash brown bake, generously topped with cheese for just 69p per portion. For a heartier meal, complement it with a fresh salad for an additional 50p. This budget-conscious dish, paired with a salad, offers a satisfying and wallet-friendly main meal option, making it a superb addition to your collection of cost-effective and delicious recipes.

Extra budgeting tip:

  • Plan this meal at the end of the week to utilise any leftover vegetables in this dish.

In conclusion, our journey through these 10 budget-friendly healthy main meals has demonstrated that eating well doesn’t have to come at a high cost. From hearty classics like bubble and squeak to flavorful favorites like shakshuka, each dish balances nutritional value and affordability, proving that you can nourish both your body and your wallet simultaneously. With options for pairing with sides or making the most of leftovers, these recipes empower you to savor delicious, healthful meals without breaking the bank. So, whether you’re on a tight budget or simply appreciate a good deal, these dishes are sure to satisfy your taste buds while keeping your financial goals on track. Happy cooking!

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