8 meal ideas at less than 1€ per person - FAST, EASY and LOW COST!

How to make a cheap and good meal?

Less than a dollar per person, it's possible!

All of these dishes use ingredients that are economical, nutritious and healthy at the same time. Note that I base my prices on the prices of entry-level products from a classic supermarket.

If you buy organic, you will still be able to get by for a small price. I deliberately don't give precise prices because prices vary a lot depending on the shops and the doses you eat, but believe me, these recipes are economical.

1. Rice, tuna and bean salad

A dish that's easy, good and cheap (well, like all the ones I'm going to list here, anyway).

Rice salad can be eaten fresh or at room temperature and makes a delicious starter. You can make a mega salad bowl and you'll have it for 4 days without any problem. If you have a lot of mouths to feed at home, it will make you that much less to prepare.

Little tip: rice salad, just like pasta or quinoa salad, is a particularly suitable dish for lunch at work.

You'll kill two birds with one stone since you'll save money (as the young people say) while eating a healthy and balanced dish, and I'm not talking about the time you'll save by not having to heat it up since it can be eaten cold 🙂

Another advantage, and not the least: since you're the one who makes it, you know that there's no chemical junk in it unless you put some (I'm thinking in particular of the industrial vinaigrette stuffed with sugar and colourings).

If you want to make something really healthy, put brown rice, chia seeds, and a good dose of fresh vegetables in it.

What you need :

Okay, now it's up to you. You can put whatever you want, but here are the most common ingredients for this type of salad:

  • ·        Rice (brown rice is always best, especially for fiber)...
  • ·        Raw vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, celery stalks, shallots
  • ·        Olives (green, black, stuffed...)
  • ·        Corn
  • ·        Tuna
  • ·        Red Beans
  • ·        In seasoning: salt, pepper, olive oil, why not a little mustard, you'll see that it's not bad!

How to make it:

  • ·        Cook a good dose of rice and wait for it to cool down. You can pass it under cold water once it is cooked when you drain it if you are in a hurry.
  • ·        Cut the vegetables into small pieces
  • ·        Mix the rice with the other ingredients in a large salad bowl.

There you go! If you miss this, you're officially a basket case.

2. Vegetable soup

Easy to do, and yet you don't necessarily think about it. All you need is a few seasonal vegetables, a little water and in 30 minutes it's ready.

I admit that it can be a little light or even bland. But don't worry: nothing prevents you from eating it with bread or croutons as an accompaniment, to incorporate a chicken stock cube or other seasonings.

All you need is..:

Vegetables of your choice, of which the most suitable are:

  • ·        Potatoes
  • ·        Carrots.
  • ·        One onion (no more, otherwise it's gross)
  • ·        A little garlic.
  • ·        Tomatoes (if it's summer)
  • ·        Tomato paste in cans or bricks is the best taste/nutrition/price ratio in the supermarket. 0.30€ a brick, everyone can afford it!
  • ·        Pumpkin (if it's winter)
  • ·        A leek
  • ·        Zucchini

You can also add :

  • ·        Salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (the base, what)
  • ·        Chia or flax seeds for nutrition and digestion, they contain a lot of fibre and nutrients, especially Omega 3 and 6.
  • ·        A beef or chicken stock cube for taste
  •     Pieces of ham, chicken or bacon if you want to make a dish in itself
  •     Pieces of breadcrumbs if you want to thicken it.

How to proceed :

  • ·        Peel, clean and cut your vegetables into small pieces.
  • ·        Put all this in a saucepan with water (it should cover the vegetables quite well).
  • ·        Add the cube and the meat if you put some in.
  • ·        Cook them in boiling water until they are very soft (about half an hour).
  • ·        Don't throw the water away: mix it all together.
  • ·        Add more water if you want a thicker soup.

Here you are with a really good, nutritious, homemade soup. In my family, we add a little wine to it, how about you?

3. Potato omelette

A great classic in our canteens and in Spanish cuisine, the potato omelette is a delicious, healthy, hearty dish that will cost you absolutely nothing!

What do you need? Potatoes, onions, salad and eggs. I challenge you to find me cheaper ingredients to cook a complete dish!

What you need for 2 people:

  • ·        500g of potatoes
  • ·        5 eggs
  • ·        Parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste

How to do this:

  • ·        Dice the potatoes and cook them in a frying pan with olive oil.
  • ·        While it's cooking, beat the eggs in a bowl with the seasoning.
  • ·        Once the potatoes are cooked (not the cooked potatoes, be careful, it hurts your teeth), drain the oil, pour the eggs over them and let them cook over a low heat (very low, otherwise it will burn!).

There you go! A bit of salad and vinegar on the side and you have a superb dish 😉

4. Lentil sausages (with carrots and onions)

Another dish that is simple, good, healthy, effective and that will please everyone: Lentil sausages! The star of the cheap meal 😉

Forget the foul tasting cans that make you want to hang yourself listening to Radiohead's Creep. Do yourself good by eating a really good, effective and cheap dish 😉
What you need:

  • You'll need lentils (amazing), sausages (or small pieces of chorizo, that works too), onions and carrots. Again, these are only products that are both ultra cheap and good for your health.
  • As for quantities, you are free to put what you want. It's up to you to see if you like a lot of lenses compared to the rest or not. Note that lentils swell when cooked.
  • Of course, you can add all the spices you want to add: curry, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, mustard... Anything you want, I tell you! Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, why not? As long as it's got a good face, go ahead cheerfully 😉

How to do this:

  • ·        Cook your lentils first. Take dry lentils because they are cheaper and can be cooked in 45 minutes in water (no need to let them stand in water overnight, unlike dry beans). If you are really lazy, open a can (shame on you!). You can add a teaspoon (no more!) of baking soda.
  • ·        Peel and slice your carrots as you like, then cook them for 15 to 20 minutes in water with a little salt. Personally, I cook them with the lentils, adding them halfway through. We optimize the energy too!
  • ·        Cook your sausages on the side and serve!

5. Croque-monsieur

Are you so lazy that you can't even cook pasta? Shame on you! But OK, I have a QUICK solution for a roughly balanced meal (if you add two leaves of salad on the side it will look good).

What you need :

  • ·        Soft bread (wholemeal if you can).
  • ·        Ham
  • ·        Butter (with butter, everything is better)
  • ·        Grated Emmental cheese (or old cheddar is excellent).
  • ·        We have fried egg on the sandwich if you want to make a croque madame...

How to do this:

  • ·        Put some butter, ham and a little emmental cheese between two slices of bread.
  • ·        Spread the top with butter and add some Emmental cheese.
  • ·        Put in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes maximum (depending on whether you like it cooked or not).

Serve with a little salad, and life is good.

6. Gratin dauphinois

Super easy, super good: gratin dauphinois.

It contains only good, nutritious and cheap ingredients: potatoes, crème fraîche and grated gruyère cheese. Look, here's one I made myself:

Just what you need for four people:

  • ·        50cl of thick crème fraîche (a large jar)
  • ·        200g grated cheese
  • ·        2kg of potatoes
  • ·        A little garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

How to do this:

  • ·        Cut the potatoes into strips
  • ·        Arrange them in a gratin dish while adding the fresh cream.
  • ·        Season with garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I like to add a little curry or cumin sometimes, it gives a nice taste (and it's cheap).
  • ·        Cover with grated cheese
  • ·        Put in the oven for 1 hour at 180°C and it's done!

You can accompany it with any kind of meat or even just vegetables (but then at least eat eggs as a starter to get enough protein).

7. Yoghurt cake

A nice little dessert (or snack, depending on): the traditional and simple yoghurt cake!

What you need for 4 to 6 people (or 2 gluttons) :

What I love about this recipe is that everything is measured in yoghurt cups! No need to bother with complicated dosages and measurements, just look at it:

  • ·        1 jar of plain yogurt. You can also put a flavoured one, but personally it's the natural one that I prefer because you can feel the taste of yogurt in the cake.
  • ·        2 jars (of the same yoghurt) of sugar.
  • ·        3 jars of flour (wholemeal flour also works and is healthier)
  • ·        1/2 jar of sunflower oil
  • ·        3 eggs
  • ·        1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • ·        1 sachet of baking powder (caution, do not use baker's yeast)

How to do this:

  • ·        Take a cake tin and butter it well, damn it! Even better: I recommend silicone moulds, they're great.
  • ·        Pour the ingredients into the bowl: first the yoghurt, then the sugar and eggs, then the flour, oil and yeast. Stir it all well!
  • ·        Pour the dough into your cake tin and put it in the oven.
  • ·        35 minutes later, it's ready!

Ah, of course you can add all sorts of jams, raisins, chocolate chips and whatever else you can think of, it's even better 😉

8. Fruit salad

After all that cake, we finish with something fresh and healthy; a good old fruit salad.

Careful: I'm talking about a fruit salad you can make yourself. I'm not talking about those junk foods that are sold ready-made in cans and bathed in a filthy syrup so sweet that you'd become diabetic right away! You're better than that, let's see...

Do yourself good: make yourself a nice fruit salad with real fruit! If you can, buy them organic and keep the skin (it rhymes), it will be better and there will be more nutrients.

What you need :

  • ·        Apples
  • ·        Pears.
  • ·        And scoubidoubidou-ah
  • ·        More seriously: the fruit you want! There is no limit
  • ·        A few nuts, hazelnuts or raisins go well with the mixture.
  • ·        A drizzle of lemon juice to top it all off, to your liking.

How to do this:

  • ·        Wash your fruit
  • ·        Cut them out
  • ·        Detail them
  • ·        Mix it all together in a bowl
  • ·        Add the lemon juice, if necessary, and it's good !

Don't overdo it either, because fruit also contains sugar. With fibre, of course, but it's not a panty party either, okay? Good

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