5 Healthy Recipes Under £2 | Vegan, GF

Hey everyone, I’ve had a few requests for some more savoury meals recently and I decided to set myself a challenge. My most popular post ever is my £20 grocery list post, so I know you guys love knowing how to save money on your food. I decided to try compile a list of recipes under £2. That’s £2 for the full recipe, they all serve two, so this is £1 (or less) per serving.  And to be totally honest, I’m sick of hearing people say vegan diets are expensive. As with any other way of eating, it can be expensive, but it is what you make it. 

I have a little pet peeve when it comes to posts like this. People calculate the cost of a recipe by working out the cost of half a carrot and a single stick of celery. That’s all well and good, it’s what the meal costs, but it isn’t really. At the end of the day, you buy a full carrot and a bag/ bunch of celery. And half a pepper may only cost you 20p, but if the other half goes unused for a few days, that meal cost you 40p even if you only used half.  

Because stuff like this winds me up, I’ll be working out the cost of the recipes using the following method: fresh ingredients are priced at full cost as you buy it, even if we don’t need all of it. The only exception being something that lasts for weeks in the fridge once opened, rather than days. And then pantry products like rice, lentils, grains and flours will be priced at cost per serving as most of that stuff lasts months, if not years.  

Some of these meals are more exciting than others and others could have been way more interesting if I’d allowed myself a little more in my budget, but feel free to adjust. I’ve tried to make each recipe fairly nutritionally balanced with a source of protein in each.  There’s a lot of rice and lentils used here, but they’re cheap ingredients and pretty versatile. All of these recipes are straightforward to make and none of them require a great deal of equipment either so I think this is a pretty good one for students too. 

I’m going to work out the cost of each meal, but I’m not going to work out to the nearest penny how much herbs and seasonings cost. I’m going to allow 10p per recipe for herbs and spices, some may be more and others less, but it should balance out.  All ingredients will be costed from either Tesco or Sainsbury’s, so I’m sure you can make them cheaper too. I used canned beans for the sake of convenience but you could also use dried and prep them the night before to make things even cheaper. 

Baked Falafel 

Now this one is slightly cheating as I don’t think the average person eats falafel alone. This recipe is the cheapest though and you have about £1 remaining to either put it in a pitta, wrap or make up a cheap salad to go with it.

5 under 2


  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered  
  • 2 cloves garlic  
  • 2tbsp flour (any flour works, I use buckwheat) 
  • Half a tsp coriander leaf  
  • 1tsp smoked paprika  
  • 1tsp cumin  
  • 1tsp chilli powder  


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.  
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and turn on low until fully combined.  
  3. Split mixture into 10 equal parts and shape into balls.  
  4. Place on baking tray in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and slightly crispy on the outside.  

Cost per recipe: £1.01

Lentil Dal  

Probably the easiest recipe ever to make, one pan and a little bit of chopping. I love lentil dishes as I find lentils are really good at taking on the flavour of a dish and they’re really filling too!

5 under 2


  • A cup of red lentils  
  • 2 cups vegetable stock  
  • A red onion, finely chopped   
  • 1 red chilli, chopped  
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped  
  • 1tbsp turmeric  
  • 1tsp cumin  
  • A cup of kale/ spinach (optional) 


  1. On a medium heat, add a dash of water and the chopped onion and garlic and chilli to a saucepan.  
  2. After the onion has softened add the spices and cook for another minute, add more water if necessary.  
  3. Then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 20 minutes until lentils have cooked.  
  4. If you’re adding greens, add them now and cook for another 2-3 minutes then serve.  

Cost per recipe (including kale): £1.92

Smoked Butter Beans and Greens  

This is probably the least impressive dish of the bunch, but I threw this together really quickly one day and it went down well. It’s healthy, it’s easy and it’s quick.

5 under 2


  • 1 can butter beans  
  • A bag of sliced greens (approx 200g) 
  • 1 cup brown rice  
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika  
  • 1tsp harissa seasoning  
  • Pepper to taste  


  1. Cook brown rice according to packet instructions.  
  2. When rice is about 5 minutes from being cooked, add half the paprika to the rice.  
  3. In another pan add enough water to cover the bottom then add all remaining ingredients.  
  4. Cook for 5 minutes until greens have wilted and beans are warmed through then serve.

Cost per recipe: £1.84

Moroccan lentil soup  

I know this one doesn’t look the most appealing, but those flavours come through brilliantly. It’ a shame all of the seasoning for this one is orange or brown.

5 under 2


  • 1tbsp sunflower oil  
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped 
  • 1 carrot, chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped 
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander 
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • Dash of pepper 
  • 1 litre vegetable stock  
  • 1 cup red lentils 


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until tender (about 3-4 minutes). Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon and pepper and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes stirring the whole time. 
  2. Now add the stock and lentils, stir well and heat to a boil. 
  3. Simmer uncovered on low heat for about 20-25 minutes {until the lentils are tender}, stirring occasionally. If it looks dry or too thick for your liking, add more water. 
  4. At this point you can either serve the soup as it is or blend it and serve (I find it easier to use a hand blender in the pan). I prefer mine with a little substance so left it as it was.

Cost per recipe: £1.56

Mexican rice 

I nearly blew my budget on this one but I wanted to keep it as authentic as I could. This dish disappeared very quickly in my house. My grandmother is the fussiest eater I’ve ever met in my life and even she likes this one!

5 recipes under £2


  • A cup of brown rice  
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed  
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn  
  • 1 large carrot, roughly chopped  
  • 1 pepper, red or yellow, roughly chopped 
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped  
  • 1tbsp tomato puree  
  • 2 cups vegetable stock  
  • 1tbsp paprika  
  • 1tsp cumin  
  • Chilli to taste  


  1. Heat up a little olive oil or water in a large pan and add the chopped onion, garlic, pepper and carrot. Lightly fry for about 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Add in the rice along with the spices. Stir and leave to cook for a few minutes.  
  3. Add in the tomato puree, mix thoroughly and cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. Pour in your vegetable stock, beans and sweetcorn. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer with a lid on for around 25-30 minutes. Make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan, so stir occasionally and add some extra stock/water if needed. 
  5. When the rice has fully cooked, you’re ready to serve.

Cost per recipe £1.99 (I was going to use a cup of corn but that took us about 5p over budget)

There we have it! 5 recipes for under £1 a serving. Which one is your favourite? The rice went down very well in my house, but I think mine is the soup. Let me know if you make any of them using the hashtag #glowsteadyeats.


Until next time,



To view some more of my dinner recipes, click here or here for dessert!



  1. 15th April 2018 / 9:53 am

    The Mexican rice looks delicious! I’m planning to eat healthy after my holiday (my diet consisted of pizza and icecream for a week!) so this post is just the inspiration I need. I love that each dish is so affordable, so no excuses. Thanks for the helpful post Sophie! xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  2. 15th April 2018 / 11:40 am

    These are all such fab and varied recipes! I loveee Mexican food so will definitely be trying out the Mexican rice and its such a bonus that the cost to make is so little. I love your method of costing too, it makes much more sense to do it your way- https://sophiehearts.net x

  3. 15th April 2018 / 11:49 am

    This post comes in so handy. Thank you!!!
    I have been blowing up my food budget a little bit too much over the last few weeks and it leaves me with less to spend for the next few weeks.
    That lentil dahl, I’ll give it a try! It looks yummm

  4. 15th April 2018 / 11:55 am

    The Mexican rice looks delicious. I make most of these myself and they’re such nice meals and so affordable

  5. 15th April 2018 / 12:21 pm

    Thanks for posting. I love falafel and lentils and I’m always looking for new recipes. Your photos are very nice.

  6. 15th April 2018 / 2:42 pm

    I’m not vegetarian or vegan but I have been looking for more vegetable based recipes and these look so yummy. Idk how much the Jamaican conversion would work out to but I think I’m definitely going to try a recipe or 2.

  7. 15th April 2018 / 3:05 pm

    OMG. All this food looks so good. I definitely want to try the Mexican rice and the lentil soup .

  8. 15th April 2018 / 8:01 pm

    These look amazing! I love meals that don’t cost too much and I really want to try the falafel.

  9. 15th April 2018 / 8:02 pm

    It is amazing that you put together all of these meals without breaking the bank! All of them looks super delicious! I know I’d love the smoked butter beans the most ;). Thanks for sharing these delicious recipes. I’m hungry!


  10. 15th April 2018 / 8:05 pm

    I am just back from a holiday in Tuscany where I have been eating so much so this is perfect for me! Healthy and cheap! That mexican rice looks amazing! xx corinne

  11. 15th April 2018 / 8:21 pm

    This is SO good for a broke uni student like me lol! I’m always stuck for meal ideas by the end of term when I have no money left!


  12. 15th April 2018 / 8:22 pm

    Great post! I fancy the look of the Mexican Rice it looks delicious I love that you have given a true costing too as it annoys me too.
    Thanks for sharing some money conscious recipes.

    Melanie | http://www.frasersfunhouse.com

  13. 15th April 2018 / 8:29 pm

    These look amazing and I’m so glad to see they’re all Vegan too! This will for sure become a reference post for me once I start uni in September and am struggling to afford to eat xx

  14. 15th April 2018 / 8:34 pm

    I recently tried Falafels for the first time and I loved them! I’ll definitely have to try your recipe out! Thanks for sharing all these cheap and easy meal ideas! I really want to start cooking more healthy foods so this was the perfect post for me to read!

  15. Lea
    15th April 2018 / 8:47 pm

    The Mexican Rice and the Falafels are just right up my street. Gonna add them to my cooking list. Thanks for sharing. xx

  16. 15th April 2018 / 8:48 pm

    All of these dishes look amazing! Especially the Mexican rice, now I don’t have an excuse to try new health meals! Lovely post xx

  17. 15th April 2018 / 8:54 pm

    These all look so delicious I wouldn’t know which to make first! The mexican rice and falafels look so good I’ll have to give them a go!
    Ellie x

  18. 15th April 2018 / 9:04 pm

    I’m not the best at thinking of healthy recipes but you just seem to knock it out of the park every damn time! This post is going to be such a lifesaver when me and my boyfriend move out, I’m such a huge sucker for falafel too so I’m so glad you’ve popped that recipe in! They all sound super easy to put together, brilliant post as usual!
    Alice Xx

  19. Nadine
    15th April 2018 / 10:40 pm

    Great post! Always wanted to try and make it falafel this looks like a good place to start and cheap

  20. 16th April 2018 / 12:44 am

    The baked falafel looks so good! These are such good ideas and they don’t seem to complicated either, which is awesome. 🙂

  21. 16th April 2018 / 5:02 pm

    Sophie these recipes look so good! The baked falafel looks wonderful. I’m not a big fan of lentils but I might try them again with this recipe

  22. 16th April 2018 / 5:06 pm

    This is so helpful! I love falafel so much, so I will deffo try that out! X

  23. 16th April 2018 / 5:12 pm

    Ouuu so many dishes to choose from! That Mexican bowl looks super delish and the buttered beans oh my. I love that everyone is so healthy and honestly some great sources of protein. Lol how did you find the time to make all of these super yummy dishes Soph?

    xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

  24. 16th April 2018 / 6:04 pm

    Some great Idea here! Always looking for more Gluten Free recipes for my sister. The Mexican Rice looks great. I will have to try that. Rachel from Explore Kid Talk

  25. 16th April 2018 / 7:37 pm

    I completely agree with you about the whole costing thing! Lovely post – the Mexican rice sounds delicious!

  26. 16th April 2018 / 8:04 pm

    Brilliant recipes for a budget, I think the Mexican rice and falafels will be trialed next week! Great post thanks for sharing

  27. 17th April 2018 / 7:09 am

    These are all great options for cooking on a budget. I remember whipping up some dal in my early career days when I would return home after a 2 hour commute with no strength to cook and not enough money to order in.

  28. 17th April 2018 / 7:54 am

    That soup sounds delicious, I’ll definitely be trying to recreate it. I absolutely love falafel too. It’s so easy to eat cheap, especially if you use rice and lentils. Great post xx

  29. 17th April 2018 / 9:09 am

    I love the sound of the lentil dishes! But I do really like falafel but not on its own. I get these sweet potato falafel bites from Tesco sometimes, which are nice in pasta 🙂 xxx

  30. 17th April 2018 / 9:43 am

    Do you have any idea how useful this post is to me!!! You’ve saved my life! ♥ The Mexican Rice and Lentil Dal are getting cooked asap 🙂

  31. 17th April 2018 / 12:04 pm

    Who doesn’t love a good meal on a budget!? My boyfriend is a chef and always makes delicious food but can sometimes get pricey! These recipes look fantastic, and so cheap too!

  32. 17th April 2018 / 4:02 pm

    I’m so excited to try making the falafel and mexican rice, the rice especially sounds so good!

    Beka | astrobeks.wordpress.com

  33. Huda
    17th April 2018 / 8:35 pm

    These are some great ideas! I’ll have to admit I do sometimes feel like eating healthy is expensive but you made some amazing recipes so cheaply! xx

  34. 18th April 2018 / 4:53 am

    Love that these are so cheap to make!
    Also thank you for that falafel recipe!!! Guess who’s making falafel this week?!? Yep me!!


  35. 30th April 2018 / 8:02 am

    These all look so good. I love the sound of the falafel. It’s good to know that there are cheap options for vegan!

  36. 27th September 2018 / 7:51 pm

    These all sound so delicious! Xx

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