Cheap food: eight delicious dishes that cost less than $ 5 per person.  serving |  Food

Cheap food: eight delicious dishes that cost less than $ 5 per person. serving | Food

WWhen trying to eat on a budget, inspiration is sometimes the hardest ingredient to gather. These recipes provide a fresh take on cheap staples, by using staples like legumes, seasonal vegetables and cheap cuts of meat to create something special.

Each of the dishes costs less than 5 USD per. serving – we ran the numbers using online prices from major Australian supermarkets. Prices have been estimated based on the quantities required for each recipe – so if a blob of unsalted butter costs $ 2.80, but the recipe only requires half, it costs $ 1.40.

A catastrophic summer has resulted in irregular prices for Australian products and also the delivery of certain goods can be unreliable, so do not hesitate to swap recipe ingredients for cheaper, more readily available options where possible.

Socca pancakes with herb corn salad
Hetty McKinnon tops her pancakes with a salad of goat cheese, avocado and sweet corn. Photo: Hetty McKinnon

Besan, or chickpea flour, is a great staple to have in the house. You can find it in supermarkets for about $ 2.50 per person. kilogram and it is used in a wide variety of Italian, Indian and French recipes.

Hetty McKinnon’s sock dough only requires you to whip a cup of nut flour with water and a little spice to enhance the flavor. She tops hers with a brunch-like salad of goat cheese, avocado and sweet corn, but master the socca and dress it as you like.

Cook and cook: 30 minutes plus rest time

Price per. serving: $ 3.90

Vegetable shawarma
Fried vegetables wrapped in a fresh charred pita, Photo: Martin Poole / The Observer

This recipe can be customized to use the best seasonal vegetables available – for fall, switch asparagus out of season with charred whole spring onions or oven-roasted broccolini.

To assemble the shawarma, simply fry the vegetables with lemon and olive oil, add a good portion of herbal pistachio yogurt and wrap it all in a fresh charred pita. Delicious.

Cook and cook: 40 minutes

Price per. serving: $ 3.85

Ricotta, spinach and lemon quiche.
Claire Ptak’s quiche is fresh and light with lemon and ricotta. Photo: Elena Heatherwick / The Guardian

Quiche has been unfairly victimized in the past, making it easy to forget how truly delicious it is. This one, by Claire Ptak, is made with a simple wholemeal dough. It is fresh and light with lemon and ricotta, but you can get everything in that needs to be used up. Cuts of small items and cheese or wilting vegetables and herbs are all excellent candidates.

Cook and cook: Two hours plus rest time

Price per. serving: $ 2.80

Tom Kerridge's sticky chicken thighs
Tom Kerridge’s honey-soy chicken thighs. Photo: Romas Foord for Observer / The Guardian

Sometimes you just want to roll up your sleeves and cuddle up with your hands. In the case of these sticky drumsticks, it is mandatory. Let them soak in the simple honey-soy marinade for a good two hours, and then bake until the icing becomes glossy and sticky. If you do not have malt extract, mix molasses in or just increase the amount of honey.

Cook and cook: One hour plus two hours of marinating time

Price per. serving: $ 4.96

Chickpea and rainbow soup
Yotam Ottolenghi’s soup can be made with silver beets, spinach or any leafy green. Photo: Louise Hagger / The Guardian. Food Styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay.

Yotam Ottolenghi created this sunshine-colored soup as part of a challenge to make a three-course meal of canned chickpeas and coconut milk, and not much more.

With onions, carrots, legumes and potatoes mixed into a creamy base and topped with crispy chickpeas, it is a tasty tool for your daily vegetable intake. The original recipe calls for rainbow chard, but replace it with silver beets, spinach or any other leafy green.

Cook and cook: One hour and 25 minutes

Price per. serving: 3.55 USD

Grilled sardines with parsley, roasted garlic and lemon butter.  Photo: David Loftus
Sardines are delicious cooked over charcoal. Photo: David Loftus / The Guardian

Sardines are severely underestimated as a cheap, sustainable local seafood option and are magical if you are able to cook them over charcoal. All you need is a simple compound butter and a quick grill to make them shine – serve yours with fresh vegetables, rice or flatbread to round off the meal.

Fresh sardines can be found at most fishmongers for about $ 12-14 per serving.

Cook and cook: One hour

Price per. serving: $ 4.52

Meera Sodha's blondies with peanut butter, jam and chocolate.
Meera Sodha’s vegan blondies with swirls of jam, peanut butter and dark chocolate. Photo: Louise Hagger / The Guardian. Food Styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay.

This simple blondie dough is baked to a crispy top and hides swirls of jam, peanut butter and dark chocolate. It is vegan-friendly and you can customize the flavor combination to whatever is on hand.

If you can not find ground chia seeds, just crush whole seeds in a spice or coffee grinder until coarse.

Cook and cook: One hour and 10 minutes

Price per. serving: 0.89 USD

Claire Ptak's chocolate honey cake
Claire Ptak’s chocolate gingerbread is a dessert for special occasions. Photo: Kristin Peres / The Guardian

This cake cuts beautifully, with a thick double layer of cream and honey swirl in contrast to the dark chocolate base. It uses a rich dough of whole almonds, eggs and bitter dark chocolate to counteract the sweetness of the honey cream. It’s a dessert for special occasions that does not blow the bank.

Cook and cook: 45 minutes

Price per. serving: 1.52 USD

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