Cheap recipes to beat the cost of living crisis from Jamie Oliver (2024)

Cheap recipes to beat the cost of living crisis from Jamie Oliver (1)
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FOOD and energy prices have still not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, and with another winter ahead, Jamie Oliver has shared four recipes that will beat the ongoing cost of living crisis.

So I wanted to arm you lovely lot with the best recipes, hints, tips and shortcuts, as well as helpful cooking principles – think bigging up batch-cooking, embracing the freezer and the microwave more, and making the most of your oven – then you can whip up great food even on a tight budget.


Jamie who is the face of Jamie's £1 Wonders on Channel 4, has been celebrating recipes that are resourceful, clever, joyfully delicious – and come in at under £1 a portion*.

Each portion also contains the all five of your 5-a-day.

Some of the recipes are made in using an oven, and whilst it uses more energy than a hob, microwave or air fryer, it doesn't mean it should be abandoned.


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No matter what’s happening out there, I hope these dishes will give you the confidence to keep costs down and flavour and nutrition up.

This is good food made with clever, humble ingredients, and these recipes will be up your sleeve whenever you need them.

*At time of filming, September 2022.

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Mega meatloaf


(526 calories)

WITH beautifully tender meat, oozy cheese and the most outrageous tomato sauce, this is the kind of food that makes me really happy.

By elevating one of the cheapest cuts of meat with clever flavour hacks, this classic recipe works hard for you and your wallet.

Serves: 6

Total time: 1 hour


  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 heaped tsp dried oregano
  • 50g Cheddar cheese
  • 100g stale bread
  • Olive oil
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 fresh red chillies
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5kg potatoes


  1. Put the pork, egg and 1 heaped tsp of oregano into a bowl. Grate in half the Cheddar, then sprinkle the bread with water and add to the mix.
  2. Add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, use your hands to scrunch it all together well, then shape into a loaf (roughly 20cm long).
  3. Place a large shallow casserole pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the meatloaf, turning until brown on all sides.
  4. Meanwhile, trim and slice the carrots at an angle into rough 1cm-thick chunks, adding to the pan as you go. Peel, roughly chop and add the onion and garlic. Halve the chillies lengthways and de-seed, then add them to the party, along with the chopped tomatoes and remaining oregano.
  5. Season to perfection, cover, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, chop the potatoes into 2.5cm chunks and place in a large pan. Then just cover with water, place a lid on top and cook for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  7. Drain, then mash well, stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season to perfection. Once the time’s up on the meatloaf, remove the lid, grate over the remaining Cheddar, arrange the chilli halves on top, then cover again and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  8. Remove the meatloaf to a board and slice up, mashing the chillies into the sauce for added heat, if you like.
  9. Divide the mash between warm plates, spoon over the sauce, and serve with a slice of meatloaf and an extra grating of Cheddar, if you like.

Nutrition: 526kcals, 19.3g fat (6g saturated), 28.2g protein, 63.7g carbs, 11.4g sugar, 7g fibre, 0.9g salt

Weight of portion: 626.8g

Special diet tags: Gluten-free

Veg portions: 2

Scruffy veg lasagne


(474 calories)

MAKING the most of frozen veg, this lovely rustic lasagne is a joy to make and eat.

Serves: 6

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1 leek
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 160g mature Cheddar cheese
  • 50g stale bread
  • 2 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp English mustard
  • 1 litre semi-skimmed milk
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 500g frozen broccoli
  • 250g dried lasagne sheets


  1. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put a large, shallow casserole pan on a medium-high heat. Wash, trim and slice the leek and place in the pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil and the dried mint.
  2. Season with sea salt and black pepper, then cover and fry for 5 minutes, or until soft, stirring regularly and adding a splash of water, if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, coarsely grate the Cheddar and finely chop the bread to create rustic breadcrumbs, and put aside for later.
  4. Stir the flour into the leeks, followed by the mustard, and slowly stir in the milk to give you a loose white sauce. Then add just half of the grated Cheddar and leave to blip away for a few minutes.
  5. Season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper, then stir in the frozen peas and broccoli.
  6. Snap in the pasta sheets, mix up really well to coat and separate, then pull some of the sheets to the top to create a top layer – use the back of a spoon to create some dips and wells.
  7. Toss the remaining Cheddar with the breadcrumbs, then scatter over.
  8. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve topped with an extra grating of Cheddar, if you like.

Nutrition: 17.8g fat (8.7g saturated), 26g protein, 54.2g carbs, 12.8g sugar, 7g fibre, 1.3g salt

Weight of portion: 244.8g

Special diet tags: Vegetarian

Spinach, sweet potato and chickpea curry


(441 calories)

I’M bigging up the humble microwave here, which is one of the cheapest ways to cook, energy-wise.

Packed with flavour and lots of lovely veg, this delicious curry could not be easier to rustle up.

Serves: 2

Total time: 35 minutes


  • 160g frozen leaf spinach
  • ½ mug of basmati rice (150g)
  • 1 onion
  • 4cm piece of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 1 heaped tsp curry powder
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 small sweet potato (200g)
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt


  1. Take the spinach out of the freezer and place on a plate to start defrosting.
  2. Place the rice in a 2-litre microwave-proof dish or bowl with 1 mug of water (300ml) and a pinch of sea salt, then cover the bowl with a lid or a side plate.
  3. Cook in the microwave on a medium heat (400-500W) for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave), then remove and leave to steam with the lid on.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the onion, ginger and garlic. Place a box grater in a microwave-proof dish and grate the onion and ginger on the coarse side, followed by the garlic on the fine side.
  5. Add the tomato purée to the dish, along with the curry powder, a pinch of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and stir everything together.
  6. Prick the green chilli and sweet potato with a sharp knife, then add both to the dish and cover with a plate or lid. Set the microwave to high (800W) and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Carefully lift the dish out of the microwave and uncover. Using tongs, remove the sweet potato, place on your board and slice into 3cm chunks, then stir back into the bowl.
  8. Add the chickpeas (juice and all), along with the frozen spinach, stir together, then cover and cook in the microwave on a high heat (800W) for another 10 minutes.
  9. Carefully lift the dish out of the microwave, uncover and stir everything together, breaking up the spinach with a spoon.
  10. Carefully taste (it will be hot), season to perfection with salt and black pepper, then stir in the yoghurt.
  11. Remove the chilli to your board, finely slice and stir back into the curry for added heat, to your taste, then fork up the rice to serve.

Nutrition: 11.6g fat (1.7g saturated), 18.3g protein, 68.1g carbs, 22.1g sugar, 16g fibre 1.1g salt

Weight of portion: 328.3g

Special diet tags: Vegetarian, gluten-free

Veg portions: 5

50/50 bolognese

(554 cals)

MAKE your meat go twice as far with this batch-cook beauty.

I’m using half lentils and half minced beef or pork here, which means it’s not only kinder to the planet, but your wallet, too.

Serves: 12

Total time: 2 hours 40 mins


  • 2 tsp dried rosemary or half a bunch of rosemary (15g)
  • 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon or smoked pancetta
  • olive oil
  • 750g minced beef or pork
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 500g fresh or frozen chopped mixed onion, ­carrot & celery
  • 5 tbsp balsamic ­vinegar
  • 3 x 400g tins of lentils
  • 4 x 400g tins of chopped or plum tomatoes
  1. METHOD: Put a large deep casserole pan on a medium-high heat. Pick and finely chop the rosemary leaves, finely slice the bacon or ­pancetta, and place it all in the pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, stirring regularly, until lightly golden.
  2. Stir in the mince, breaking it up with your spoon, and let it brown for 15 minutes, ­stirring regularly. Peel, finely chop and add the garlic, along with the chopped mixed veg, season with sea salt and black pepper and cook for another 15 minutes, still stirring regularly.
  3. Stir in the balsamic, cook away, then add the lentils, juice and all. Next, add the ­tomatoes, then half-fill each of the four tins with water, swirl around and pour into the pan.
  4. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium-low heat for 2 hours, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season to perfection, and enjoy with cooked spaghetti, batching up extra portions to stash in the fridge or freezer for future meals.

SLOW COOKER TIP: If you have a slow cooker it may be even more economical.

Fry the base in a pan on the hob first, then transfer into the slow cooker, and reduce the amount of liquid added.

Nutrition: 16.8g fat (6g saturated), 30.1g protein, 74.6g carbs, 10.6g sugar, 4.3g fibre, 0.5g salt

Weight of portion: 347g

Special diet tags: N/A


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Veg portions: 2

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Jamie's top five budget friendly tips

FACING tough times? These may be small changes, but together they mount up.

FILL THE OVEN: If you’re turning the oven on, make the most of it by cooking two dishes at once. Don’t have time to make a second dish?

Prick a whole butternut squash and pop that in instead, then use cooked chunks in salads, soups, stews, pastas . . .

GO SMALL: It’s simple but the smaller you chop veggies, the quicker they’ll cook.

Cut potatoes to around 1in chunks and they’ll be done in about 10 minutes instead of 20.

And only just cover them with water, so you aren’t ­boiling water unnecessarily (don’t forget, it’s cheaper to boil it on the gas stove than in a kettle).

EMBRACE WONKINESS: ­Humble veg has always been budget-friendly, but wonky veg is even cheaper, so is a great way to keep costs down.

I love to see ­vegetables in all their wonderful sizes – perfectly imperfect is perfect for me.

MAKE MEAT GO FURTHER: My meatloaf is bulked out with bread, and in my 50/50 Bolognese the mince is stretched with lentils, making it go further while being more nutritious and delicious.

It still feels joyful and celebratory, but it will feed more ­people.

PUT A LID ON IT: Again, simple, but just by putting the lid on your saucepans, it’ll save you energy by keeping all the heat in.

It won’t take as long to bring things up to a boil, or to sustain it. It’s also cheaper to cook things at a simmer than a full boil.

  •  Jamie’s £1 Wonders airs on Monday at 8pm on Channel 4 & All 4.


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Cheap recipes to beat the cost of living crisis from Jamie Oliver (2024)


What is Jamie Oliver's most famous recipe? ›

Here are ten recipes from Jamie Oliver that have contributed to his fame as a chef and television personality:
  • Jamie's Perfect Roast Chicken. ...
  • Jamie's Ultimate Beef Burgers. ...
  • Jamie's Classic Spaghetti Carbonara. ...
  • Jamie's Easy Chicken Tikka Masala. ...
  • Jamie's Crispy Fish and Chips. ...
  • Jamie's Quick and Easy Tomato Soup.

Is there a book of Jamie's one-pound meals? › Jamie Oliver 1 Pound Wonders.

Does Jamie Oliver have a wife? ›

How many Michelin stars does Jamie Oliver have? ›

And the second name in this European ranking — none other than Jamie Oliver — doesn't hold a single Michelin star, despite being the subject of 4.4 million Google searches last year, compared with 1 million for Alain Ducasse.

What did Jamie Oliver give up to lose weight? ›

Jamie Oliver revealed he lost two stone by eliminating meat from his diet. He decided to lose weight after realising how unhealthy his eating habits were. Feeling the need to make a change in his lifestyle, the 44-year-old celebrity chef decided to replace meat-based meals with vegetarian options.

How did Jamie lose so much weight? ›

Jamie revealed he began to "eat more" than he used to and dropped the weight fast. As a nutritional expert, he explained it's about what a person eats rather than how much they eat. He said: “I pushed meat down, pushed veggie up, got more sleep and more movement.

Why did Jamie lose so much weight? ›

The chef said that he focused on what he ate rather than how much he ate. Weight loss isn't always about eating less, sometimes you can eat more than usual and still drop pounds. That was the case for TV chef Jamie Oliver, who said that through switching up his diet he was able to lose weight fairly quickly.

Are Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay friends? ›

Sadly, the mutual brotherhood we envision couldn't be further from the truth. Ramsay and Oliver have had a tumultuous relationship, to put it lightly -- one that has included name-calling and embarrassing public comments on both sides.

How old is Jamie Oliver now? ›

Jamie Oliver is 48 years old as of 2024. He was born on May 27, 1975 in Clavering, Essex. Jamie Oliver's parents are Trevor and Sally Oliver, who ran a pub/restaurant in Essex, where Jamie learned to cook as a child.

How much is Jamie Oliver worth in 2024? ›

Jamie Oliver – Net Worth: $235 Million

The experience equipped him with the basics of food service and business management. By the time he was 16, he attended a culinary school to further hone his skills and learn new things.

What is Gordon Ramsay's best recipe? ›

Gordon Ramsay's best recipes include Beef Wellington, Coq au Vin, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Piccata, Rack of Lamb, Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill, Shrimp Scampi, Beef and Guinness Stew, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Beef Burgundy.

What cooking pan does Jamie Oliver use? ›

Jamie Oliver and Tefal are a winning combination: Jamie brings the knowledge and passion for food; Tefal brings the quality and technology. Together they make products that make cooking from scratch a joy. “I've been working with Tefal for nearly two decades now.

What food nationality does Jamie Oliver cook? ›

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver MBE
SpouseJuliette Norton ( m. 2000)
Culinary career
Cooking styleItalian cuisine, British cuisine; fresh, organic, and vegetarian cuisine
7 more rows

What style of food is Jamie Oliver known for? ›

Jamie Oliver specializes in fresh and organic Italian cuisine.

What is unique about Jamie Oliver? ›

Fun Facts About Jamie Oliver

He is the second-best-selling British author (J. K. Rowling is number one). The TV chef has severe dyslexia. He read his first novel at the age of 38. He was a drummer before being a TV chef.

Is Jamie Oliver a world renowned chef? ›

World-renowned chef and bestselling author

Jamie took an early interest in food; he grew up in Essex, where his parents run their own highly respected pub/restaurant and Jamie was frequently found helping out in the kitchens.

Who taught Jamie Oliver to cook Italian? ›

Born in Minori on the Amalfi Coast, Gennaro Contaldo is one of the most respected chefs in London and is widely known as the man who taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking.


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