Budget Spring Recipes

If you are trying to save money but still want to eat well, these budget-friendly spring recipes are easy to make. They are the perfect lighter dinner option at this time of year using seasonal ingredients.

Mushroom & Kimchi Fried Rice

Serves 2

1 egg, beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
½ onion, finely sliced
200g white mushrooms, sliced
250g pouch microwave brown rice
15g ginger, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
75g frozen peas
1 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
50g kimchi, drained
2 spring onions, sliced


Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Tip in the egg, swirl the pan to spread it out and cook briefly until set at the edges. Draw the edges into the centre using a spatula. Cook for 1-2 mins until set. Remove to a bowl.

Heat the oil in the pan, turn up the heat to high and cook the onion and mushrooms for 7-8 mins until browned. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the rice, ginger, garlic and peas, and season with pepper. Cook for 2 mins until the rice is hot, then stir in the cooked egg, soy, kimchi and most of the spring onions. Season, then garnish with the remaining spring onions.

Lemon & Herb Chicken Traybake

serves 4

800g potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
400g can tomatoes
2 x 400g cans butter beans, drained
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
1kg skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 lemon, cut into slices


Cut the potatoes into large wedges, then toss well in a large bowl with 2 tbsp of olive oil and some salt. Spread the wedges out on a baking tray.

Fry the onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil over low heat until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, butter beans, and some seasoning. Simmer for a few minutes, then pour into a baking tin or dish.

Mix a pinch of salt with the herbs. Stuff equal amounts under the skin of each chicken thigh. Put a slice of lemon on top of each thigh, then arrange it on top of the tomato and bean mixture in the baking tin.

Bake the wedges and chicken traybake in the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 45 mins until the chicken is cooked through. Check the potatoes after about 30 mins, shaking them around in the tray – depending on the size of the wedges, they may already be cooked through.

Three Bean Spring Minestone

Serves 3

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 banana shallot, chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
400g can cannellini beans
400g can borlotti beans
700ml vegetable stock
100g green beans, chopped
rind of a vegetarian hard cheese, plus 30g, grated
150g frozen peas
1 lemon, zested
handful basil leaves, torn to serve


Put the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the shallot, fennel, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until softened. Drain the beans, reserving the starchy water from half of one can. Tip these into the pan along with the stock, green beans and cheese rind. Cook for 15 mins until the green beans are completely softened.

Stir in the peas, cook for a couple of mins more, then stir in the lemon zest and grated cheese.

Lemony Tuna, Tomato & Caper One-Pot Pasta

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
400g dried pasta
1l hot vegetable stock
2 x 110g cans tuna in olive oil, drained
3 tbsp mascarpone
30g parmesan, grated
2 heaped tbsp capers
½ lemon, zested
small bunch parsley, finely chopped


Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry gently for 7 mins or until softened and turning translucent. Add 350g of the tomatoes, the pasta and veg stock to the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 mins, uncovered, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes should have broken down and the pasta will be just cooked.

Add the remaining tomatoes and bubble uncovered on a medium-high heat for 5 mins or until the liquid has reduced. Gently fold through large flakes of tuna, mascarpone, parmesan, capers, lemon zest and parsley as well as salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Place a lid on the pan and leave to sit for 5 mins before serving in deep bowls.