3 Simple recipes for under £5

As the cost of living crisis pushes food prices up, feeding a family on a budget can be hard. Yasmin Rufo shares three wallet-friendly recipes that cost under a fiver and feeds a family of four

The impact of the cost of living crisis is being felt across many areas of daily life, but none more acutely than during a trip to the supermarket. Inflation data last month showed food and drink prices up by 12.6 per cent year-on-year—the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

As feeding a family without breaking the bank becomes more challenging, here are three perfect dinner recipes that cost under £5 and will feed several hungry mouths and leave you with leftovers.

These thrifty meals maximise store cupboard ingredients, take just 30 minutes to cook and will be loved by the whole family.

A vegetarian chilli is a simple and delicious way of consuming almost all of your five-a-day. It’s warming, filling and requires relatively little time to whip up as all the ingredients are added to one pan and left to simmer.

We recommend serving it on rice, over a baked potato with some cheese or as a protein-rich nacho topping for when it’s Mexican night.

“It’s warming, filling and requires relatively little time to whip up”

Any leftovers make a great burrito filling for a quick lunch the next day. Add the chilli (heated or cold) to a wrap with your choice of fillings—salad, cheese and sour cream works well.

Serves: 4 | Total cost: £4.18 | Cost per person: £1.05


  • 1 onion, £0.10
  • 2 cloves of garlic, £0.25
  • 1 red pepper, £0.40
  • 300g mushrooms, £0.90
  • 500g sweet potato, £0.80
  • 1 x 400g can kidney beans, drained, £0.33
  • 1 x 400g chopped tomatoes, £0.45
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning, £0.95


  1. Dice the onion, garlic, pepper, mushrooms and sweet potato

  1. Add the vegetables and Cajun seasoning to a heated pan with some olive oil and cook for five minutes

  1. Then add the tin of beans, chopped tomatoes and 300ml water

  1. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and most of the liquid absorbed

  1. Season well and serve

Bacon, pea and mint risotto

Dinners don’t come much heartier than a wonderful creamy risotto that is surprisingly simple to make—there’s only five minutes of prep and the occasional stirring of the rice.

To make a risotto, you don’t need any fancy ingredients. In this recipe, we’ve used Arborio rice, but any rice works just as well. Similarly, substitute parmesan for Gran Padano or any other hard cheese.

“Dinners don’t come much heartier than a wonderful creamy risotto”

For a vegetarian alternative that’s equally as delicious, replace the bacon with either leeks or mushroom.

Serves: 4 | Total cost: £4.42 | Cost per person: £1.10


  • 1 onion, £0.10
  • 300g Arborio Rice, £1.00
  • 300g cooking bacon, £0.75
  • 1L vegetable stock, £0.65
  • 50g hard cheese, £0.80
  • Fresh mint (or dried herbs for a cheaper alternative), £0.47
  • 100g frozen peas, £0.65


  1. Add diced onions and bacon to a pan and cook for five minutes

  1. Add the rice and stir for one minute

  1. Gradually pour into the vegetable stock and stir well. Only add the next cup of stock once almost all of the previous liquid has been absorbed

  1. Continue to stir the rice for around 20 minutes

  1. Add the frozen peas, chopped mint and grated cheese to the pan and cook for another five minutes, stirring well

  1. Once the rice is cooked, plate up and serve with an extra sprinkle of cheese

Sausage, spinach and ricotta lasagna

There’s a common misconception that a homemade lasagna takes hours to make and require an endless supply of ingredients. Instead, this slightly alerted version requires only a handful of ingredients and 15 minutes prep time.

A lasagna is a great way of using up leftover vegetables—simply dice them up and add into the tomato sausage mixture.

“A lasagna is a great way of using up leftover vegetables”

As this recipe serves six, two portions can be frozen or eaten the following day for lunch with a salad.

Serves: 4 | Total cost: £4.98 | Cost per person: £1.25


  • 12 dried lasagna sheets, £0.69
  • 8 pork sausages, £1.00
  • 3 garlic cloves, £0.25
  • 2 x 400g chopped tin tomatoes, £0.50
  • 250g spinach, £0.75
  • 250g ricotta, £0.99
  • 60g hard cheese, £0.80


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

  1. Place the lasagna sheets on a roasting tray and cover with boiling water, leaving them to soak

  1. Add chopped sausage and diced garlic to a frying pan with a splash of olive oil and cook for eight minutes

  1. Add in the tinned tomatoes, spinach and dried herbs (if you have any) to the pan and simmer for five minutes until the sauce has thickened

  1. Drain the lasagna sheets and stir them into the sausage and tomato mixture, coating well

  1. Mix the ricotta with the grated hard cheese

  1. Place the coated lasagna sheets into an oven proof dish with any remaining sauce

  1. Cover the top evenly with the cheese mixture and bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden

Read more: How to beat rising food prices

Read more: Expectant parents: How to save money in the cost-of-living crisis

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