Roasted vegetable salad in a shallow bowl

How to prepare a quick, healthy meal for less than $5 per serve

In a world where time is a precious commodity and budgets demand careful consideration, preparing a quick, healthy meal for less than $5 per serve often feels like a mean feat. Forget the notion that budget-friendly meals compromise on taste or nutrition. Here, we’ll embark on a journey that proves you can be a thrifty cook, creating delicious, nutritious meals that won’t break the bank.

Where to start?

Creating a budget-friendly meal begins with smart ingredient choices. Explore affordable staples that pack a flavourful punch. Opting for seasonal fresh veg or frozen or canned vegetable alternatives will help to stretch your dollar. There are many benefits of eating seasonal vegetables:

  • more affordable
  • fresher
  • tastier
  • good for supporting growers
  • higher in nutritional content
  • good for the planet
  • Frozen veg options can be as nutritious as their fresh counterparts, providing a convenient and affordable solution for year-round meal preparation[1]. When picking canned vegetables opt for the ‘no added salt’ for greatest health benefits[2].

    Consider lentils, a protein-packed option that not only adds substance to your meals but also keeps costs down. Embrace the versatility of grains like rice and pasta as they form the foundation of your dish, from hearty stir-fries to comforting casseroles and savory grain bowls.

    Make your weekly shopping budget go the distance with these cheap and cheerful dinner ideas.

    Homemade beef burger

    Homemade beef burger with tomato and red onion on a wholegrain bun

    Serves 4

    500g ‘Heart Smart’ beef mince
    4 wholegrain or wholemeal burger buns
    ½ iceberg lettuce sliced
    1 tomato sliced
    1 red onion sliced thinly
    ½ cup low fat mayonnaise
    1 tbs tomato sauce
    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)

    1. Form 4 patties with minced beef
    2. Cook the patties in a hot frying pan over high heat until well done
    3. To make the sauce put mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco into a bowl and mix well
    4. Cut the buns in half and toast them
    5. Spread both sides of the bun with the sauce (1 Tsp each side)
    6. Put the patties on the bun topped with the iceberg lettuce, onion and tomato

    Breakfast burritos

    Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs and black beans

    Serves 4

    8 eggs
    ½ cup milk
    30g butter
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    420g can corn kernels, drained
    400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
    4 large tortillas
    1 avocado, sliced
    ½ cup roasted red capsicum, diced

    1. Lightly whisk eggs and milk together with a fork until combined.
    2. Melt butter in a large non stick frypan over medium heat. Add egg mixture and cook stirring until lightly scrambled. Season to taste and set aside.
    3. Wipe frypan with absorbent paper and heat oil over medium heat. Add Edgell Corn Kernels and Edgell Black Beans, cook until lightly charred. Set aside.
    4. Spoon scrambled egg down the centre of the tortilla, top with avocado, capsicum, corn and black bean mixture. Fold in sides and roll tightly to encase filling.

    Charred corn with roasted red onion, avocado and tomato salad

    charred corn avocado tomato salad

    Serves 4

    2 red (Spanish) onions
    3 ears of corn
    1 ripe avocado
    250g cherry tomatoes
    ½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
    Salt and pepper to taste
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    Juice of 1/2 lemon

    1. Preheat oven 200°C or 400°F.
    2. Cut onions in half lengthwise with skin on and place cut side down on oven tray and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, then roast in oven for 30 minutes until soft and brown.
    3. Remove onions from oven to cool. Then slice approximately 1cm thick lengthwise (from top to root)
    4. Preheat pan to medium-hot heat. Coat corn with olive oil, place on grill and cook for 15 minutes or until well charred. Remove from grill to cool.
    5. Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise.
    6. Using a sharp knife cut corn from cob.
    7. Peel avocado and cut into 2cm cubes.
    8. To make the dressing, mix olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, maple syrup in a small bowl and mix.
    9. To assemble, place all ingredients in a large serving bowl, add dressing and toss well together. Season with salt and pepper if desired and enjoy.

    Explore more delicious and nutritious recipes on our website.


    [1] Nutrition Australia, Shop smart! A guide to seasonal, frozen and canned vegetables.
    [2] National Health and Medical Research Council, Vegetables and legumes / beans.