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Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals (for £1 / $1.60 or less!)

Updated on June 27, 2012

Ten quick and easy vegetarian meals - from Indonesia and India to Italy, France and the UK.

Beans on toast with a twist (balti dish optional)
Beans on toast with a twist (balti dish optional)

1. Beans on toast with a twist – estimated cost: 50p / $0.80

OK – we all know the great beans on toast meal. Easy, cheap and quick. Warm the beans in a pan on high heat and stir constantly. Pop the bread in the toaster. Butter the toast. Pour the beans on the toast and grate cheese. Presto – done in 90 seconds!

If you want to add a bit of a twist, add chopped apples, a handful of sultanas and some curry powder to the beans.

If you are cooking for one; need a quick but nourishing meal; and want something that’s cheap this ticks all the boxes.

TOTAL COST: £0.50p / $0.80

TOTAL TIME: 1.5 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#1: Beans on toast with a twist].




2. Quinoa rice (or savoury rice pudding) – estimated cost: 70p / $1.10

Pronounced “keenwaa”, Quinoa is probably the most perfectly-balanced nutritional ingredient on the planet. It contains nine essential amino acids and provides more protein, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients than most other grains. So it’s good stuff. Mixed with a soft rice like basmati, it’s a knock-out quick dish.

TOTAL COST: £0.70p / $1.10

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#2: Quinoa rice].


Quinoa (or "Keen-wah") - Grains and Cooked (with tails)
Quinoa (or "Keen-wah") - Grains and Cooked (with tails) | Source
Veggie Shepherd's Pie (with lentils)
Veggie Shepherd's Pie (with lentils) | Source

3. Veggie shepherd’s pie – estimated cost: 80p / $1.30

When is a shepherd’s pie not a shepherd’s pie? When it’s cottage pie. OK – no idea why we call it different things (anyone know?), but essentially the photo is roughly what we are talking about. Yes, we are using a cheap, vegetarian option for the “mince” but it does the trick and is high in protein.

TOTAL COST: £0.80p / $1.30

TOTAL TIME: 7-10 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#3: Veggie shepherd’s pie].


Chickpea Moloshyam with basmati rice
Chickpea Moloshyam with basmati rice

4. Chickpea Moloshyam - estimated cost: £1.00 / $1.60

A classic vegetarian Kerala [south-west India] dish made with dal lentils and chickpeas. This is a wonderful dish served on its own, or as part of a bigger curry feast. The optional creamed coconut may add to the cost, but it definitely gilds the lily.

TOTAL COST: £1.00 / $1.60

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#4: Chickpea Moloshyam].


Kerala - home to Moloshyam

A markerKerala -
Kerala, India
get directions

5. Mushroom risotto - estimated cost: 80p / $1.30

This is a wonderful, rich autumn or winter dish – with melt-in-the-mouth quality. It is a real favourite in our home. The risotto works well with all mushroom types. The classic is to include porcini mushrooms and white wine. However as we are talking money-saving and cheap, tasty dishes – we can use standard button or chestnut mushrooms and stock here.

TOTAL COST: £1.00 / $1.60

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#5: Mushroom risotto].

6. Cheese Omelette - estimated cost: 50p / $0.80

If you want super-quick, tasty and pretty, darn cheap – give this a go. Omelettes are easy once you know how. The trick is to get the oil very hot before you start and not to over whisk the eggs. I like to serve this on a couple of rounds of bread topped with baby spinach and sliced tomato.

TOTAL COST: £0.50 / $0.80

TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#6: Cheese Omelette].

Veggie Nasi Goreng topped with fried eggs (I've added quinoa to nasi here)
Veggie Nasi Goreng topped with fried eggs (I've added quinoa to nasi here)

7. Veggie Nasi Goreng - estimated cost: £1.00 / $1.60

Traditional Nasi Goreng – which originates from Indonesia and literally means “fried rice” – contains some meat and fish (prawn). This is the vegetarian option and personally I think is just as good. As a treat you can (optionally) add either bean curd or Quorn pieces.

TOTAL COST: £1.00 / $1.60

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#7: Veggie Nasi Goreng].


8. Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese - estimated cost: 90p / $1.40

Here we are using our trusted low-cost vegetarian alternative to mince – red lentils. Very tasty; high in protein and looks almost like the “real” thing.

TOTAL COST: £0.90p / $1.40

TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#8: Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese].

Making your own spaghetti pasta (this is not quick!)

9. Macaroni cheese – estimated cost: 70p / $1.10

Another family favourite. This is a really quick and easy recipe. The key to getting this right is the sauce. If you can make a roux, then this meal can be made as quickly as it takes to cook the pasta. Add peas and carrots or a salad for added goodness.

TOTAL COST: £0.70p / $1.10

TOTAL TIME: 12 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#9: Macaroni cheese].

10. Curried eggs – estimated cost: £1.00 / $1.60

This will quickly become a favorite. Alter the number of eggs depending on your appetite. Normally two eggs per person is sufficient. The fruit in this recipe gives the curry a sweet side (which is great for children) but if you want to counter that, just add extra curry powder. Finely chopped vegetables keeps the chopping skills honed.

TOTAL COST: £1.00 / $1.60

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

For full step-by-step recipe – see Top 10 quick and cheap veggie meals [#10: Curried eggs].

Summary of Recipes

Recipe
Ingredients
Cook time
Approx cost
1. Beans on toast with a twist
baked beans, bread, cheese, apple, sultanas, curry powder
1.5 mins
£0.50p/ $0.80
2. Quinoa rice – or savoury rice pudding
quinoa, basmati rice, stock, chilli flakes, cheese
15 mins
£0.70p/ $1.10
3. Veggie shepherd’s pie
potatoes, red lentils, oil, onion, carrot, tomatoes, mixed herbs, milk, butter
7-10 min
80p / $1.30
4. Chickpea Moloshyam
basmati rice, red lentils, oil, onion, carrot, curry powder, chickpeas, creamed coconut
10 mins
£1.00 / $1.60
5. Mushroom risotto
oil, onion, arborio rice, stock, mushrooms, chilli flakes
10 mins
£1.00 / $1.60
6. Cheese Omelette
oil, bread, tomato, baby spinach, eggs, cheese
5 mins
£0.50 / $0.80
7. Veggie Nasi Goreng
basmati rice, oil, onion, carrot, garlic, cashew nuts, chilli flakes, soy sauce, eggs
10 mins
£1.00 / $1.60
8. Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese
spaghetti, red lentils, oil, onion, carrot, tomatoes, mixed herbs
10 mins
£0.90p / $1.40
9. Macaroni cheese
macaroni, butter, flour, milk, mustard, cheese
12 mins
£0.70p / $1.10
10. Curried eggs
basmati rice, oil, onion, carrot, apple, curry powder, plain flour, milk, stock, eggs
15 mins
£1.00 / $1.60

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