5 meals for £10

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 21 Apr, 2022

We're all feeling the squeeze on our household budgets after recent price hikes. So I've put together five healthy dinners perfect for weekday meals that cost less than £10 per person per week – or just £2 a meal.

A good way to keep costs down is to go veggie, as meat and fish are often the priciest part of a meal – so these five dinners are all vegetarian (save money and the planet!).

Each recipe serves two and the ingredients list is based on shopping for two people. Cooking for one? All the meals can be refrigerated to make a healthy lunch the next day. Or, if you're cooking for four, simply double up on the ingredients.

Shopping list

Fresh produce

Fridge items

Freezer section

Store cupboard

Bakery

Store cupboard essentials

Total = £19.89

(Based on averages from 3 major supermarkets)

Bunny banana pancakes

Spicy aubergine pasta

Serves 2 – 484 kcals per serving

Kcals 484
Fat 16.5g
Sat fat 6.5g
Carbs 60.6g
Sugar 13.3g
Fibre 12.2g
Protein 21.2g
Salt 0.6g

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 medium aubergine (300g)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 150g wholewheat penne
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Small handful fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 50g Italian-style hard cheese, grated

Method

  1. Place a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 tsp olive oil.
  2. Trim the aubergine and chop into 1-inch chunks. Add to the pan and mix well to ensure all pieces are coated in a little oil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, scatter over the dried oregano and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning frequently.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  5. Once the aubergine is softened and golden around the edges, set aside.
  6. Add the fresh chilli and garlic to the pan, cook for 1 minute, and then add the chopped tomatoes and basil. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes.
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the tomato sauce along with the aubergine.
  8. Mix together well and keep on the heat for 2 minutes to warm everything through.
  9. Serve topped with a little grated Italian-style hard cheese and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Bunny banana pancakes

Bean chilli

Serves 2 – 493 kcals per serving

Kcals 493
Fat 9g
Sat fat 1.4g
Carbs 84.6g
Sugar 29.8g
Fibre 18.2g
Protein 23.2g
Salt 1.3g

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ medium red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 20g chilli con carne seasoning mix
  • 2x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin kidney beans in water, drained
  • 200g tin sweetcorn in water, drained
  • 100g crusty white baguette

Method

  1. Place a medium saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion has started to soften.
  3. Add the red pepper and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the seasoning to the vegetables and mix well. Cook for 1 minute to allow the vegetables to become coated in the seasoning.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, then half fill one can with water and add this in too. Give everything a cook mix, then turn up the heat a little and bring to the boil.
  6. Let the chilli cook on a high-heat for 10-15 minutes to reduce it down a little – stirring regularly.
  7. Add the kidney beans and sweetcorn to the pan and mix well. Reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for a further 5 minutes to warm everything through.
  8. Serve the chilli with warm crusty bread to dip in.
Bunny banana pancakes

Veggie toad-in-the-hole

Serves 2 – 506 kcals per serving

Kcals 506
Fat 22.9g
Sat fat 4.4g
Carbs 54.3g
Sugar 10.5g
Fibre 12.2g
Protein 22.9g
Salt 2g

Ingredients

  • 20ml olive oil (or sunflower oil if you have some)
  • 4 frozen Quorn sausages
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • 85ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 200ml instant vegetarian gravy

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas mark 7.
  2. Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add 1 tsp of the oil. Once hot, add the sausages and cook for 10 minutes, turning frequently.
  3. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil into a small roasting tin and place in the oven to heat the oil.
  4. Meanwhile, make the batter. Put the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre of the flour and crack the eggs into the well.
  5. Mix together until smooth, then add the milk a little at a time, whisking it until smooth before adding more milk. Set aside.
  6. Once the sausages are done, take the roasting tin out of the oven, ensuring the oil is piping hot, and add the sausages to the pan.
  7. Pour in the batter all around the sausages, then put it back into the oven for 25-30 minutes until risen and turning golden.
  8. Serve with some steamed green peas and 100ml of instant gravy per portion.
Bunny banana pancakes

Vegetable biryani

Serves 2 – 415 kcals per serving

Kcals 415
Fat 8.6g
Sat fat 1.6g
Carbs 75.8g
Sugar 11.3g
Fibre 8.9g
Protein 13.3g
Salt 0.6g

Ingredients

  • 150g brown rice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • Salt to season
  • ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 100g frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 heaped tbsp low-fat natural yogurt

Method

  1. Cook rice according to packet instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium frying pan, tip in the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for 1 minute, before adding the pepper and carrot. Stir in the spices with a splash of water and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring well to coat in the spices.
  4. Ensure the rice is well drained after cooking. Add this to the pan along with the peas and stir well to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Cover and cook over a high heat for 3 minutes (it's nice if a bit of rice catches on the base to give a bit of texture to the dish).
  6. Serve with a dollop of low-fat yogurt.
Bunny banana pancakes

Cheese and tomato frittata

Serves 2 – 450 kcals per serving

Kcals 450
Fat 32g
Sat fat 11.9g
Carbs 4.3g
Sugar 3.5g
Fibre 1.3g
Protein 36.2g
Salt 1.5g

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 30ml semi-skimmed milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small handful fresh basil, shredded
  • 60g Italian hard cheese, grated

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas mark 6.
  2. Place a deep-based frying pan or skillet over a medium heat and add the oil.
  3. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk and half of the cheese, whisk together until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the egg mix into the pan and scatter over the fresh basil. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Scatter over the remaining cheese and place the pan in the oven. Bake the frittata for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and there is no runny egg left.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.