5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes - Broke in London

5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes

Breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes requiring little money and effort

By Amaryllis Tsegou | Thetastyother.com

London is a foodie’s paradise. Both in stores, as well as food markets, one can find pretty much any ingredient imaginable. London is also very expensive. However, preparing a beautiful and tasty home cooked meal does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. With a little bit of research and some planning, you can get your hands on quality ingredients that will not cost a fortune. Here are some versatile recipe ideas for your breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes that will satisfy your cravings (and your pocket) and fuel your imagination and creativity.

#1 Spinach & basil pesto | Cost per 2 people: £3.50

5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes

Spinach Pesto – Photo credits: Amaryllis Tsegou

Pesto is one of the easiest, most versatile and delicious sauces you’ll ever make! Ready within minutes, it can be added not only to pasta (like in this recipe), but also to homemade bruschetta, eggs, sandwiches, even soups! This one is a more budget- friendly, albeit equally delicious, version of the classic pesto, as it contains mostly spinach, just a touch of basil and pecans instead of pine nuts (but feel free to also experiment with any nuts you have available). Make lots, store in the fridge and use and enjoy again and again!


5 cups fresh baby spinach, gently packed
1 cup fresh basil, gently packed
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup parmesan
½ teaspoons garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

How to make

  1. Place the greens, nuts, parmesan and garlic in a food processor and pulse to form a thick paste; while pulsing, slowly pour in the olive oil.
  2. Season with freshly ground black pepper, taste and add extra parmesan or some salt if needed.

Where to buy

Baby spinach: Tesco (£1.50/ 240g)
Basil leaves: Tesco (70p)
Pecans: Sainsbury’s & Tesco (£1.90/ 100g)
Parmesan: Tesco (£1.70/ 100g)
Olive oil: Sainsbury’s (Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil, £3.50/ 750 ml)

#2 No-churn coffee & chocolate ice-cream | Cost per 2 people: £2

5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes

Chocolate ice-cream – Photo credits: Amaryllis Tsegou

Summertime is ice cream time! Making your own at home is super easy, fun and cheap too. All you need is condensed milk and double cream – and for this version, some ground coffee, chunky chocolate chips and a handful of nuts. Feel free to experiment with different combinations and flavourings, such as mint, white chocolate, or even crumbled cookies – you’ll be making this all summer (and perhaps autumn) long and your pocket will thank you (although your waist probably won’t).


300 ml double cream
175 g condensed milk
1 tablespoons ground coffee
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, whole or roughly chopped (optional)
A generous pinch of sea salt flakes

How to make

  1. Beat the double cream, condensed milk and coffee powder until slightly thickened and frothy.
  2. Add the chocolate chips, hazelnuts (if using) and sea salt flakes and fold to incorporate.
  3. Pour into an air-tight container and freeze until solid, about 6 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, take out of the freezer and let sit briefly until ready to scoop.

How much

Double cream: average price on most supermarkets, 85p
Condensed milk, priced varying on most supermarkets from £1 to £1,44
Dark chic chips: Sainsbury’s and Morrisons: 80p

#3 Beet hummus | Cost per 2 people: £2.50

5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes

Beet hummus – Photo credits: Amaryllis Tsegou

Tasty, wholesome and versatile, it’s no surprise that tahini is one of the most popular snacks. And once you start making it at home, you may never want to buy it from a store again. Canned chickpeas, delicious and nutty tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and some beets, for extra flavour, goodness and that gorgeous colour! You won’t be able to stop staring at this beauty and then you won’t be able to stop eating it!


2 medium beets, green parts discarded
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 can chickpeas (400g)
Juice of one large lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup warm water (or more, depending on how thick you like your hummus)

To garnish:

1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

How to make

  1. Wash and scrub the beets.
  2. Cut in small cubes; put in pan and cover with water.
  3. Boil until tender (5-10 mins); drain and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Rinse the chickpeas and place in food processor, along with the beets, tahini paste, lemon juice, olive oil and cumin.
  5. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency and if needed thin out with some water.
  6. Place on a serving plate, garnish with the chopped chives and serve with cut vegetables (carrots, celery or peppers) or pieces of pitta bread.

How much

Fresh beetroot bunch: Ocado (£1.27)
Tahini: Waitrose (£1.80)
Chickpeas: Tesco (55p)
Lemons: Tesco (30p each)
Chives: Tesco (70p)- whole pot: Asda (£1)

#4 Green peas & mint soup | Cost per 2 people: £2.50

5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes

Green peas & mint soup – Photo credits: Amaryllis Tsegou

A great soup is a lifesaver not only during the winter, but in the summer as well. This one has a beautiful bright green colour and is also super smooth, delicious and can be whipped up in a flash. Frozen peas (a freezer must-have), some fresh mint, green onions and garlic, a pinch of nutmeg and some lemon zest and you have yourself a healthy, tasty dish, the leftovers of which you can freeze and enjoy again. To make things even more interesting, top with homemade croutons, made of stale bread, which you can also keep in the freezer. (You can also easily adapt this for the summer and make a gazpacho: blend the peas, onion, garlic, lemon zest and mint, add cold water instead of stock and season according to taste. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.)


3 tablespoons olive oil
6 salad onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 kg frozen green peas
5 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon grated nutmeg
Jest from 1 lemon
5 tablespoons milk (preferably full fat)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the croutons:

1/2 loaf of bread, preferably not fresh
1 olive oil (optionally mixed with about 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make

  1. Take the peas out of the freezer and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5′, or until golden.
  3. Add the nutmeg, stir quickly and then add the green peas, stirring until thawed.
  4. Add the vegetable stock, half-cover the pot with the lid and cook for 25-30′.
  5. In the last 15′, start preparing the croutons: turn the oven to 180C. Slice the bread and cut in small cubes (you will need about 4 cups).
  6. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, drizzle with the chili oil and add salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Bake for 5′, take out, toss and return to the oven for 3-5’, until golden brown.
  8. When the soup is ready, remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  9. Once it’s cool enough to handle, puree using a hand processor. When smooth, add the chopped mint and lemon zest, milk, sea salt and pepper; turn on the heat to low and let simmer for a couple minutes. Remove from the heat and serve, topped with the croutons.

How much

Green onions: Sainsbury’s (45p)
Garlic: Asda (25p)
Peas: Asda (75p/kg)
Vegetable stock (Knorr, 6 cubes, average price: £1.40)
Fresh mint: Tesco (70p)
Chilli flakes: Morrisons (£1.55)

#5 Red pepper & harissa baked eggs | Cost per 2 people: £3.50

5 Delicious Budget-friendly Recipes

Red pepper & harissa baked eggs – Photo credits: Amaryllis Tsegou

Eggs are one of the most inexpensive and super versatile ingredients you can have in your kitchen. Apart from all the wonderful things you can make with them (muffins! savoury cakes! cookies!), they are also perfect on their own. Can you honestly think of a spectacular breakfast or brunch without eggs? This dish is perfect as a fancier version of morning eggs, but can also be accompanied by a simple leafy green salad for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner. Eggs, peppers and harissa (for extra flavour and a little heat) – so little time, so much flavour!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly slices
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ tablespoon minced garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon harissa paste
1/4 teaspoon honey
4 medium eggs

To serve:

Basil leaves
1/3 cup feta crumbles (optional)

How to make

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C air).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat and cook the onion for a few minutes, until soft; add the sliced peppers, cook for 5′, then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  3. Combine the harissa paste with the chopped tomatoes and add to the pan; turn the heat down to a low simmer, stir in the honey, season generously with sea salt flakes and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 10′.
  4. Remove from the stove, make 4 holes in the sauce and crack one egg on each.
  5. Transfer the pan in the oven and cook for 10-12′, until the egg whites are just set, but the yolks remain quite liquid.
  6. Remove from the oven carefully, scatter the torn basil leaves on top and serve hot with feta crumbles and sliced bread.

How much

Red peppers: Waitrose (36.6p/ pepper)
Chopped tomatoes: Waitrose, essential range (45p)
Harissa paste: Morrisons (Bart, £1.49)
Organic eggs: Sainsbury’s (£3.70/dozen)
Basil leaves: Tesco (70p)
Feta: Waitrose (£2.50 for 2x 200g)

*** The above prices mentioned are according to the current rates (August 2015)

A bit about Amaryllis

Amaryllis is a primary school teacher from Athens, Greece, living in London for the last ten years. She has an MA and a PhD in Dance Anthropology, but for the past couple of years she has swapped dancing for cooking; taking advantage of her love of food and her studies, she explores London’s foodie scene, through recipe testing, interviews and lots of eating.

Amaryllis has her own food blog called Thetastyother.com which by the way is our favourite food blog by far! It’s a blog about the art of cooking, sharing and enjoying delicious, simple food. Find The Tasty Other on Facebook and on Twitter.

You may also want to check out the top 10 budget street food stalls in London.