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Pasta with boerie meatballs

10 of the best budget-friendly dishes: The flavour edition

When it comes to putting dinner on the table, the main aim of the game is to whip up a dish that’s rich in flavour and easy on your budget. If you think tasty food comes with a hefty price tag, read on, because we’re here to prove you wrong!

Jana du Plessis

Know your flavours
When you think of your favourite meal, what makes it so special? Is it the fresh ingredients? The time it took to prepare? Or maybe the person who usually cooks it for you? While all three of those things contribute to making a tasty and memorable meal, ultimately, flavour and texture are the most important components for a smashing dish.

Let us explain: take something as simple as a burger. There’s the soft, doughy roll, topped with a juicy patty, a slice of melting cheese, succulent tomato, crisp lettuce and sour gherkin. While it doesn’t take much effort to assemble, the end result never disappoints. The secret to its success? An awareness of how ingredients will taste together.

According to plan
Start your planning by deciding on the main components of your dish: The protein, the starch and the flavour base. From there, make a list of flavourful items to add for extra depth. Here are our recommended ways to add flavour, bulk up your dishes and still have time to catch an episode of your favourite TV show before bed.

1. Chopped, grated or diced veggies add just the right amount of sweetness to salty-savoury protein.
TRY: R50 kidney-bean mince

Kidney bean chilli

2. Be creative with food applications. Experiment by using your favourite ingredients in new and interesting ways.
TRY: Pasta boerie meatballs

Pasta with boerie meatballs

3. If the dish is meaty, add some fresh or pickled veg to cut through the richness.
TRY: Pulled-brisket tacos

Pulled brisket tacos

4. Cook grains in stock for super easy flavour infusion.
TRY: 20-minute fish parcel

Baked fish with peppers and savoury rice
Baked fish with peppers and savoury rice

5. Use a wide variety of veggies for different textures and tastes.
TRY: Super-healthy beef and brown rice stir-fry

Beef stir-fry

6. A one-pan dish is so easy to whip up, yet still makes for a really tasty meal. Plus, it’s a dream to wash up!
TRY: Lemony roast chicken and gravy

Lemony roast chicken with gravy

7. Homemade patties, fritters or meatballs easily take on whichever spices and flavours you add.
TRY: Cannellini bean burgers

Veggie burgers in pita bread

8. What’s more fuss-free and budget-friendly than whipping up a nutritious soup?
TRY: Pea soup and Parma ham sandwiches

Pea soup with Parma ham sandwiches

9. Take a trusted classic and add a special twist.
TRY: Zola Nene’s mielie pot breads with curry butter

Mielie pot breads

10. Work with what you have – but keep it interesting!
TRY: Tuna and biscuit bake

Tuna and biscuit bake

What are your favourite low-budget, big-flavour dishes? Comment below!

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