Holly’s Healthy Meals for under £3

Healthy meals for under £3 – Part 1

by Holly Stephenson, 3rd year nutrition student

Now the festivities are out of the way and January has once again rolled around quicker than anybody can understand, it’s time for that period where everybody feels motivated to make those positive changes and get the new year off to the right start.

BUT – how long will you keep on the motivation train? We have here a small selection of cheap and healthy recipes which you can use not just in the January period, but throughout the rest of the year too when motivation levels are perhaps lower than anticipated!

I’ve selected 6 recipes for you to have a stab at; 3 in this post and 3 more to come later on (I know what you’re thinking… something to look forward to!), and I’ve added a price comparison of recipe ingredients from different supermarkets so you have the option to select the cheapest items from what I have researched (researched in December 2019 using full price items and ignoring special offers).

Any ingredients from recipes that you don’t like you can either remove or substitute with something similar. For example, if a recipe contains parsnips but if you prefer carrots, add those in instead with the same quantity (unless you really love carrots and want to add more!)

I have determined the total prices by using the cheapest available price between supermarkets. It’s important to note that it’s likely even if a lot of different ingredients are cheaper at different shops, you’ll probably only shop at 1-2 supermarkets maximum. Although I have opted for the cheapest option available between supermarkets, I have also included a total price of all the main ingredients from the supermarket which had the most green (cheapest) items for that recipe to give you a more realistic looking price (this total is without any added extra ingredients). As you will all be different in what you have in your kitchens and where you shop, the prices listed are to be used as a rough guide for the cost of a recipe. You can use these price guides to tally up your own shopping cost for one meal by adding up the ingredient cost and dividing it by the number of people that the recipe serves to generate the cost for one meal.

It’s also important to remember that some ingredients are ‘cupboard’ ingredients which can be reused several times in different recipes (such as oil, flour, herbs and spices) which will decrease the cost of some of the recipes; so, I’ve calculated a total price, the price of optional extra ingredients, and a total price without ‘cupboard’ ingredients. Additionally, some meals may even be able to be doubled if the supermarket ingredient quantities exceed what is required on the recipe!

Below I have made tables containing the ingredients for each recipe including the required quantities and supermarket quantities of three large supermarket chains, Lidl, Tesco, and Asda, with the price comparisons between each. I have tried to stick with similar quantities for each product if they weren’t exact, and I’ve highlighted in green the cheapest price regardless of quantity, so it’s up to you to decide whether you want to opt for the cheapest option or opt for potential more value for money options. With some recipes I’ve included price comparisons with fresh vs jarred items, but in the total price I’ve opted for the cheapest out of the options and did not include both in the price calculation.

 

Spicy Root Veg Casserole with Lentils – serves 4

Price estimate: £1.12 per person

The perfect winter warmer to cure your January blues – the light spice and chunky vegetables are guaranteed to fill you right up!

Ingredients

INGREDIENT QUANTITY REQUIRED SUPERMARKET QUANTITY LIDL TESCO ASDA
Oil 1 tbsp 1L £1.09 £1.10 £1.09
Onion 1 3 pack 49p 75p 50p
Garlic

 

 

Garlic powder

2 cloves

 

 

¼ tsp

3 pack

 

 

1 glass jar

62p

 

 

65p

4 pack: 62p

3 bulbs: 48p

(1 bulb: 16p)

70p

 

 

 

59p

Potatoes 700g 4 pack (approx. 700g) 49p 70p 55p
Carrots 4 1kg 49p 58p 50p
Parsnips 2 500g 15p 59p 60p
Curry powder 2 tbsps 1 pot ALDI: 85p £1 97p
Vegetable stock 1L Lidl: x12

Tesco: x10

Asda: x12

36p 40p 39p
Red lentils 100g 500g 89p £1.15 £1
Optional additions:
Fresh coriander to serve As much as desired Lidl: 30g

Tesco: 30g

Asda: 20g

35p 70p 50p
Natural yoghurt to serve As much as desired 500g 45p 45p 45p
Total price for 1 meal: £1.12 (£4.48 for 4)
Total of the extras: 80p (20p extra per 1 meal)
Total without cupboard ingredients or extras: £2.67 (67p per 1 meal)

Cupboard ingredients listed: oil, curry powder, vegetable stock

MONEY SAVING TIP: buying 2 bags of potatoes for 98p will allow you to double your recipe and create 8 meals! (62p per meal based on the total price without extras)

Most in green total price for one meal (Lidl): £1.36 (£5.43 for 4)

Recipe origin: BBC Good Food (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/spicy-root-lentil-casserole)

 

Equipment:

  • Saucepan and lid

Prep:

  • Chop onions
  • Crush garlic
  • Peel potatoes and chop into chunks
  • Peel and thickly slice carrots and parsnips

Recipe:

  1. Pour the oil in a large pan and heat it up for a minute or so. Add some chopped onion and 2 crushed garlic cloves to the pan over a medium heat to cook for 3-4 minutes until they have softened, and stir them around the pan occasionally to prevent burning. Add in the potatoes, carrots, and parsnips to the pan and turn up the heat to cook for 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are golden. Keep on stirring them occasionally.
  2. Make up 1L of vegetable stock. Stir in the curry paste or powder into the large pan and when the stock cube has dissolved in the boiling water, pour it in the pan and then wait until the mixture begins to boil, stirring gently if needed. Reduce the heat once the mixture has boiled, and add the lentils. Cover the pan with a lid and leave it simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened.
  3. Stir in most of the coriander if you have any and season with salt and pepper if you wish to add them. Heat for a minute or so. If you have these added extras, top with yogurt and the rest of the coriander.

 

Deluxe Tomato Risotto – serves 4

Price estimate: £1.24 per person

A simple rice dish turned into a creamy flavour feast, seasoned with potent herbs!

INGREDIENT QUANTITY REQUIRED SUPERMARKET QUANTITY LIDL TESCO ASDA
Oil 1 tbsp 1L £1.09 £1.10 £1.09
Onion 1 3 pack 49p 75p 50p
Garlic

 

 

Garlic powder

2 cloves

 

 

¼ tsp

3 pack

 

 

1 glass jar

62p

 

 

65p

4 pack: 62p

3 bulbs: 48p

(1 bulb: 16p)

70p

 

 

 

59p

Butter/spread 1 knob (25g) 500g £1.89 85p 84p
Tomatoes 300g Lidl: 350g

Tesco: 330g

Asda: 325g

76p 85p 90p
Rice

Risotto rice

250g 1kg

500g

49p 45p

£1.25

45p

£1.30

Chopped tomatoes 1 tin (400g) 400g 35p 28p 28p
Vegetable stock 1L Lidl: x12

Tesco: x10

Asda: x12

36p 40p 39p
Rosemary 1 sprig 20g fresh / 70p 50p
Optional additions:
Basil Small pack Lidl: 30g

Tesco: 30g

Asda: 20g

35p 70p 50p
Cheese 4 tbsps grated 400g £1.79 £1.79 (different brand called creamfields)

Own 460g = £2.30

£1.79
Total price for 1 meal: £1.24 (£4.93 for 4)
Total of the extras: £2.14 (54p extra per 1 meal)
Total without cupboard ingredients or extras: £2.19 (55p per 1 meal)

Cupboard ingredients: oil, butter, rice, vegetable stock

MONEY SAVING TIP: buying another pack of tomatoes and another tin of chopped tomatoes for £1.04 will allow you to double your recipe and create 8 meals! (75p per meal based on the total price)

Most in green total price for one meal (Lidl): £1.51 (£6.05 for 4)

Recipe origin: BBC Good Food (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/creamy-tomato-risotto)

 

Equipment:

  • Saucepan x2
  • Lid x1
  • Food processor

Prep:

  • Halve the tomatoes
  • Finely chop the garlic and rosemary
  • Finely chop the onion
  • Measure the butter out

Recipe:

  1. Make up 1L of vegetable stock. Tip the can of chopped tomatoes and half the made up stock into a food processor and blend until it becomes smooth. Pour this mixture into a saucepan and add the other half of the vegetable stock. Turn the heat on low to bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and keep it over this low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, place the butter and oil in the base of another large saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Add the chopped onion and gently cook for 6-8 minutes until it has softened. Stir in the chopped garlic and rosemary, and then cook for 1 minute more. Add whatever rice you are using to this saucepan and cook, stirring for 1 minute (you can use any rice to make risotto, but risotto rice makes the texture more creamy).
  3. Start adding the hot stock and tomato mixture you prepared earlier about a quarter at a time. Let the risotto cook, stirring often, adding more stock mixture as it is absorbed. After you have added half the stock mixture, add the halved cherry tomatoes. After 20-25 mins, the rice should be creamy and tender, the cherry tomatoes softened and all of the stock should be used up.
  4. Cover and leave for 1 min, then stir in the basil. Serve sprinkled with cheese and some black pepper if desired.

 

Healthier Veg-loaded Lasagne – serves 4

Price estimate: £1.74 per person

This vegetable lasagne boasts tastiness, is lower in fat in comparison to typical lasagne recipes, and is packed with goodness to replenish your system after the Christmas period!

INGREDIENT QUANTITY REQUIRED SUPERMARKET QUANTITY LIDL TESCO ASDA
Oil 2 tbsp 1L £1.09 £1.10 £1.09
Onion 1 3 pack 49p 75p 50p
Garlic

 

 

Garlic powder

1 clove

 

 

1/8 tsp

3 pack

 

 

1 glass jar

62p

 

 

65p

4 pack: 62p

3 bulbs: 48p

(1 bulb: 16p)

70p

 

 

 

59p

Aubergine 1 1 loose 49p 70p 80p
Pepper 1 1 loose 42p 45p 55p
Tomatoes 8 Lidl: 350g

Tesco: 330g

Asda: 325g

76p 85p 90p
Passata 350ml 500ml 32p 32p 32p
Crème fraiche (lower fat version) 6 tbsps 300ml ALDI: 95p £1.10 £1.10
Cheese Sprinkling of grated 400g £1.79 £1.79

(different brand called creamfields)

Own 460g = £2.30

£1.79
Lasagne sheets 200g 500g 49p 55p 75p
Total price for 1 meal: £1.74 (£6.96 for 4)
Total without cupboard ingredients: £5.38 (£1.35 per 1 meal)

Cupboard ingredients: oil, lasagne sheets

MONEY SAVING TIP: buying another pack of passata, another loose pepper and another aubergine for £1.23 will allow you to double your recipe and create 8 meals! (£1.02 per meal based on the total price)

Most in green total price for one meal (Lidl): £1.86 (£7.42 for 4)

Recipe origin: BBC Good Food (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1570/veggie-lasagne)

 

Equipment:

  • Large, shallow oven tin
  • Medium baking dish
  • Oven

Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5
  • Slice the onion
  • Slice the garlic
  • Chop the aubergine into chunks
  • Chop the red pepper (whatever size chunks you wish)
  • Halve the tomatoes

Recipe:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Add all the chopped vegetables to the oven tin and coat them in the oil, mixing the vegetables so they are all evenly coated. Cook them in the oven for 35 mins until they are lightly charred.
  2. Spoon a layer of the lightly charred roasted veg over the bottom of a medium-size baking dish. Pour over some of the passata to lightly cover the vegetable layer, then cover the passata with a layer of uncooked lasagne sheets (they will cook in the oven). Repeat again making these layers to use up all the roasted veg and passata, finishing with a layer of vegetables and passata on the top.
  3. Use a spoon to dollop over the crème fraîche, then sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven for 25 mins until the lasagne is heated through and the top is golden and bubbling.

Any unwanted extra portions of these meals can be bagged up and frozen for future use, so no wastage is required!

Finally, here are some common reference values which may be of use to you during cooking:

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the 27th January for part 2 of the New Year recipes!