3 Easy and Frugal Recipe Ideas

Amelia’s frugal life
by Amelia’s frugal life

Here are three simple and frugal vegetarian recipes (and can be made vegan) that I cook nearly every week.

All recipes cost under £1 (under about $1.25 USD) per portion. I can make easy, cheap recipes since I shop at Aldi and Tesco.

Making budget recipes is one of the many ways we save money and are able to live off one income as a home schooling family of four in the UK.

Chorizo pasta bake ingredients

Recipe 1: Chorizo pasta bake £0.65 per serving


  • Pasta 300g (10 ounces) :- £0.25
  • 1 pepper :- £0.45
  • 1 red onion :-£0.12
  • Half a bulb of garlic (adjust to taste) :- £0.10
  • 135g (4 and ½ ounces) chorizo :- £0.75 (we will only use 3 in the recipe, but if you’d like more stuffing, use more chorizo)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes :- £0.32
  • Cheese (shredded, of choice) 130g (4 and ½ ounces) :- £0.69
  • Oil (of choice)
  • Chilli (optional), smoked paprika (optional) & oregano :- £0.7
Dicing ingredients

1. Dice ingredients

Dice up the pepper, red onion, and the chorizo. Dice the sausage into small cubes. While dicing and frying, make the pasta in boiling water.

Frying ingredients

2. Fry ingredients

Put oil into a hot frying pan. Saute onion for a few minutes until soft. Then add in garlic and chili powder and saute.

Once the onion and garlic is sauteed, add the chorizo into the pan. If you are using vegetarian chorizo, you may need to add a splash of water here and there.

Traditional chorizo will naturally release oil into the pan.

Adding pepper and tomato

3. Add pepper and tomato

After the chorizo cooks a bit, add in the red pepper.

After a few minutes, add in the can of chopped tomatoes.

Add a half a can of water into the pan and mix.

Adding pasta

4. Add pasta

Drain pasta and add it to the frying pan with the rest of the ingredients.

Keep a ¼ cup of the pasta water aside. Add it into the pasta and sauce once it’s mixed.

Adding cheese

Adding cheese

5. Add cheese and bake

Top the pasta bake in the frying pan with shredded cheese. The pan is ready to be baked in the oven for 20 minutes until the cheese bubbles. The recipe serves five to six people.

Recipe 2: Indian curry and rice £0.81 per serving

Ingredients for Indian curry and rice


  • 1 cauliflower :- £0.95
  • Tofu or 1 can of chickpeas :- £0.99/£0.55
  • 2 onions :- £0.25
  • 1 pepper :- £0.45
  • Half a bulb of garlic :- £0.10
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes :- £0.32
  • 1 can coconut milk :- £0.79
  • 1 tube of tomato pure :- £0.49
  • 1 stock cube :- £0.21
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, turmeric, & coriander :- £0.05
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (or curry powder) :- £0.05
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Rice (According to packet instructions) :- £0.24
Chopping cauliflower and tofu

1. Chop cauliflower and tofu

Once you chop the cauliflower and tofu, you will need to roast the pieces. Add some oil to a roasting pan and put pieces on the pan.

Roast for about 20 minutes. Turn them as you roast them to keep them from burning. While the cauliflower and tofu roast, prep the other ingredients.

Prepping peppers and onions

3. Prep peppers and onions

Dice the peppers and onions into large chunks. Saute to soften. Then add garlic and the rest of the spices.

Cook this mixture for two to three minutes to release the flavors.

Adding tomato

4. Add tomato

Add in the can of chopped tomatoes into the mixture. Also add in the whole tube of tomato puree.

Add in the can of coconut milk. Mix everything and let it cook for a few minutes.

Adding cauliflower and tofu

5. Add cauliflower and tofu

Add the roasted cauliflower and tofu to the pot with the sauce. Simmer to enhance the flavors.


6. Serve

Serve over a bed of rice. The recipe serves five to six people.

Recipe 3: Gardener’s (or Shepard’s) pie £0.79 per serving

Gardener’s (or Shepard’s) pie ingredients


  • 2 cans lentils (can cook and use dried lentils or use mince):- £1.20
  • 1 onion :-£0.12
  • Half a bag or frozen mixed veg:- £0.50
  • 2 large parsnips :- £0.20
  • 1 box of stuffing :- £0.46 (this layer goes before the mashed potatoes)
  • 1 stock cube :- £0.21
  • Gravy :- £0.05
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Garlic
  • Sage
  • Shredded cheese (of your choice, optional)

For the mashed potatoes :

  • 5-6 large potatoes :- £0.65
  • 1 large spoon of butter :- £0.40
  • A dash of milk :- £0.10
Prepping the potatoes

1. Prep the potatoes

Peel the potatoes and dice them. Put them in cold water and bring them to a boil. Let them boil while making the rest of the pie.

Frying onions, parsnips, garlic

2. Fry onions, parsnips, garlic

Soften diced onions in oil in a pan. Add some diced parsnips and a bit of garlic. Add in the bay leaf and the sage.

Adding lentils

3. Add lentil

Drain and rinse the two cans of lentils. Add them to the pan. (Pre-cook dried lentils before this step.)

Let the mix cook a bit, then add in some gravy granules and stock. You can make the gravy separately, but I prefer this method.

Adding vegetables

4. Add vegetables

Add in the frozen vegetables and a cup or two of water. Add salt. Simmer to defrost the vegetables.

Making stuffing

5. Make the stuffing and mashed potatoes

While the mix is cooking, make the stuffing. I will also make mashed potatoes by adding milk and butter, then mashing them.

The pie mixture should be boiling in the pan as the flavors are mingling.

Take it off the stove to cool down a bit before assembling the pie. Cooling it down will harden the mixture to make it easier to add the toppings.

Adding stuffing

6. Layer the stuffing

Layer the stuffing onto the pie mixture. Spread evenly.

Layering potato

7. Layer the potato

Add the last top layer of mashed potatoes. Make it even and as nice as possible. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top (optional).

Gardener’s (or Shepard’s) pie ingredients

8. Bake

Pop it into the oven and cook until it is browned and crispy on top. This recipe serves five to six people.

3 frugal recipes

Of course if you make these recipes with meat, the cost will go up a bit and you probably don’t want as large of a serving since the meat will be more filling.

I hope these frugal recipes prove you can eat well and cheap on a budget.

Let me know what you think of these recipes in the comments below!

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