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13 Meals for £2 or Less Per Head

What are you go-to meals when you’re short on cash? Beans on toast; noodles; noodles on toast; just toast? Maybe a few frozen meals from Iceland? They were ours, until we found out how easy and cheap it is to actually buy individual ingredients and cook everything from scratch.

By following these basic recipes you can eat very well indeed, without paying over £2 per head for a meal. There are 13 here, all of which feature easily accessible ingredients and are really simple to copy.

Have a browse through and give a few a go – you’ll love them!

Potato Rosti, Red Cabbage & Eggs 

Slow cooked cabbage paired with a traditional Scandinavian rosti and eggs however you like ‘em, makes for a wonderful breakfast, dinner or lunch. The ingredients for this easy-to-make recipe cost just £3.30 – a very frugal £1.65 per head. 

Pasta, Peas & Cheese 

You know those days when you get home from a long shift at work and you can’t really be bothered to cook? Penny’s Recipes’ pasta, peas and cheese recipe was made for those days. Just pop the pasta into a pan for 15 minutes, throw in the peas for the last five minutes, plate it up and sprinkle on your preferred cheese. Couldn’t be simpler!

Image: Penny's Recipes

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Chicken Katsu Curry 

Chicken curry for 55p a portion? We’ll take three portions please! Using chicken thighs and supermarket’s own brand ingredients helps keep the cost down for this British favourite.

Image: Flickr

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Chilli Con Carne with Garlic Bread 

Chilli con carne is a quick and simple dish that you can make in bulk and store away for the next day’s lunch. Rory from the Money Aware team managed to gather all of the ingredients for this recipe for just 93p per person. While you’re on the Money Aware site, have a scroll down the page – you’ll find a few great recipes there, including butternut squash risotto, cottage pie and spaghetti bolognese.

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Fiorentina Pizza

If you’re a food fan with an account on Instagram, you might already be familiar with Miguel Barclay. His One Pound Meals account has over 134k followers and a whole host of meal ideas, all of which – as the name suggests – can be made for a quid or less. This from-scratch Fiorentina pizza recipe is one of them.

🍴72p FIORENTINA PIZZA 🍴 --------------- recipe --------------- Mix 2g of dried yeast with 125ml of water and add to 180g of "00" flour in a bowl. Stir until a dough starts to form, add 5g of salt and then kneed for 10 minutes. Allow the dough to rise for 2h in a warm place (or overnight in a cold place for a more authentic Italian crust). Shape the dough into a circle and cover the base of a frying pan. Cook on full heat while you add the tomato, mozzarella, spinach and the egg. Once the base is cooked, transfer under the grill. Serve with a grating of parmesan cheese. ------------- ingredients -------------- - 180g "00" flour: 20p (1kg/£1.10 Sainsbury's) - 2g dried yeast: 2p (100g/£1 Sainsbury's) - 5g salt: 1p (750g/25p Sainsbury's) - 125ml water - passata: 4p (1kg/35p Lidl) - 1/2 mozzarella ball: 22p (1/43p Lidl) - 1 free range egg: 13p (6/79p Lidl) - spinach: 5p (250g/89p Lidl) - parmesan: 5p (200g/£2.29Lidl) ----------------------------------------- #onepoundmeals #fiorentina #pizza #recipe #onepoundmealsbook

A video posted by One Pound Meals (@onepoundmeals) on

Tuna Sweet Potato Jackets 

The mere mention of tuna and sweet potato is enough to sell any dish. BBC GoodFood gets a little more fanciful than just plonking drained tuna onto a jacket spud, though, by adding onion, chilli and yoghurt to the mix. Delicious, healthy and cheap – just how we like it!

Image: BBC GoodFood

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Meatballs and Tagliatelle 

Skint Dad’s meatballs and tagliatelle recipe is ideal for a midweek dinner when you need to you need to put something together in a hurry. From gathering the ingredients to plating it up, this recipe takes just 30 minutes at a cost of 91p per portion. Also, as you’re making everything from scratch you know exactly what’s going into the meal – i.e. none of that bad stuff that turns up in processed food.

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The 9p Burger 

The 9p burger recipe was a viral success when it was originally published in 2015, as any 9p burger should be. Jack Monroe’s vegetarian recipe contains carrot, cumin and kidney beans, making it a great sauce of protein and fibre. More important than the healthiness of the burger, though, is the fact that it tastes incredible!

Image: Great British Chefs

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Cinnamon Oat Pancakes 

Devouring a plate full of pancakes is a great way to start any day. If those pancakes happen to be healthy and cheap, then it’s even better. This oat based recipe came about as part of Natural Kitchen Adventures’  ‘live below the line’ challenge and takes no more than a few minutes to put together.

Image: Natural Kitchen Adventures / livebelowtheline.co.uk

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Chicken Crumble 

Thrifty Lesley has a whole website filled with great budget recipes that you should definitely check out. This creamy, flavoursome chicken crumble is one of our favourites, and it costs just 47p per portion. Enjoy it for lunch or dinner with a side salad.

Image: Thrifty Lesley

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Stuffed Pepper

Time to revisit the One Pound Meals archive for a couscous, cheese and spring onion stuffed pepper that’s cheaper than a chocolate bar.  Ideal for lunch or a light dinner. 

Brie, Tomato and Tarragon Tart 

This savoury tart recipe from Good to Know cheats a little by using readymade puff pastry, but it’s done for the right reason as it saves a lot of time and effort, meaning you get that tart on your plate quicker. Packed with tomatoes, brie and red onion, this recipe makes for a wonderful al fresco dish at just £1.39 per serving.

Image: Good to Know

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Chickpea and Egg Curry 

You can’t beat a good curry, especially when it costs less than £2 per head! There’s a common assumption that cooking on a budget means something has to give, usually in the flavour department. We like to think that our chickpea and egg curry is proof that the theory is nonsense.

What is your favourite budget recipe? Let us know in the comments. 

What are you go-to meals when you’re short on cash? Beans on toast; noodles; noodles on toast; just toast? Maybe a few frozen meals from Iceland? They were ours, until we found out how easy and cheap it is to actually buy individual ingredients and cook everything from scratch.