Just because you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean that you should compromise on having tasty meals. It is possible to have delicious meals by using simple ingredients and using a few food hacks. I’ve created this recipe with students and meal prepping in mind so that you can make a big batch and not have to worry for the week.
2 Red Onions – 62p a packet (12.4p)
1/2 Packet of Mushrooms – 79p a packet (39.5p)
3 Cloves of Garlic – 62p a packet (7.75p)
250g Dry Red Lentils – 69p a packet (34.5p)
2-3 tbsp Soya Sauce – 42p a bottle (10.5p)
2-3 tbsp Oregano – 49p a jar (9.8p)
2 Tins of Chopped Tomatoes – 28p a tin (56p)
500g of Spaghetti – 20p a packet
Total: Approximately £1.90 to make the whole dish
This dish makes 6 portions so that’s just over 30p a portion!!
Also bear in mind that use can use the leftover ingredients for a lot of other dishes and will keep well. Also I brought all my ingredients from Lidl so prices may vary across different supermarkets.
Firstly begin by dicing your onions and mushrooms very finely. It’s best to cut them small as this will mean that they stretch more and will create a better texture with the lentils.
Add the onions to your pan with your oil of choice on a medium-high heat and fry until they begin to soften. At this stage add in the mushrooms, garlic and soya sauce. This creates a deep salty taste and flavours the dish without using stock. At this stage, if you wish to add your own seasonings according to your budget do this now.
Once the onions and mushrooms are both soft add in your lentils, tinned tomatoes and oregano and turn down to a medium-low simmer. You may need to add some more water as it is cooking in order for the lentils to fully cook but judge this by taste and eye. With this dish the longer you leave it too simmer and cook, the better the flavours will marinate together, however if you’re in a hurry just 20 minutes will be fine.
Just before you are ready to serve, begin to cook your spaghetti. Cook according to however long your instructions give you on the packet. For mine it said 10 minutes. One tip for perfect spaghetti is to keep it whole (do not break) and add to boiling salted water. If it is already boiling there is no need to add oil as your pasta won’t stick together.
When your bolognese and spaghetti is ready, just drain and serve! This is a beautifully simple dish and great for students on a budget. You can make a big batch of this and portion it up to either keep in the fridge or freezer. Just cook your pasta as required to ensure the best taste and texture! If your budget can stretch to it and you want to give it an extra oumph you could always add vegetable stock, chilli or grated cheese for on top. Also if you get bored of this dish you could always add some different beans, chilli powder and paprika to turn it into a tasty chilli con carne.
Please let me know if you try this recipe out and your thoughts on it. I definitely want to create a lot more budget-friendly meals as I know this will appeal to a lot of you out there and a true passion of mine. As always have a joyful and delicious time creating this dish.