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Cooking doesn’t have to be expensive
By Sophia Moss (follow Sophia on Twitter: @EndlessMoss)
Cooking is the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day, but relying on ready meals or takeaways isn’t sustainable for someone who’s broke in London. Luckily, there are loads of cheap food staples which can be used as the basis for quick, easy and affordable meals. Next time you go food shopping why not try out some of the ideas from this list?
#1 | Chickpeas
Chickpeas are one of the most versatile legumes in the world. You can blend them with some Tahini, olive oil, garlic and salt to make your own hummus, you can use them to make a simple chickpea and tomato curry, or fry them with some spices and pumpkin seeds to add to a tasty salad.
Chickpeas can be bought for around £0.35. Many shops like Tescos and Morrisons also have 4-for-a-pound deals on chickpeas and other tinned products.
#2 | Tinned Lentils
Lentils are another cheap, healthy and surprisingly versatile bean which can be bought for under £0.60
Why not add onions, water/stock and spices for a makeshift dhal/lentil soup, use lentils instead of mince for your spaghetti bolognese, or create a vegetarian shepherds pie with lentils as the filler?
#3 | Tinned Tomatoes
Tinned tomatoes can be found in pretty much any cupboard in Britain and they’re popular for a reason! If you’re low on cash and ingredients you can simply add oil, garlic, herbs and tinned tomatoes for a basic pasta source (add some chilies for a spicy arrabiata source), or you can use them to make chili, curry, soup, salsa and loads of other recipes.
#4 | Aubergines
Aubergines (which normally cost around £0.60-£1) can be a bit tricky at first, but once you get a hang of cooking them you’ll never look back!
This delightful fruit can be fried and added to a curry, pasta source or stir-fry, it can be grilled and used as a gluten-free pizza, it can be added to pretty much any grilled vegetable meal, and, if you have the time, they can be turned into delicious dips!
#5 | Mushrooms
Mushrooms may not sound particularly inventive, but they are a staple in so many dishes that it seems crazy not to include them. Mushrooms can be used as the main ingredient in pies, pasta sources, stir-fries, tarts, curries and more. If you like mushrooms you can get a lot of use out of them, and they tend to cost around £0.80-£1.00
I hope these tips have given you some ideas for some cheap and tasty recipes. What are your favorite food staples? Let us know in the comments!