This pasta stir fry is a super cheap and delicious recipe that is perfect for families on a tight budget! The dish is healthy and well balanced in terms of veg, carbs and protein. The taste is a fusion of Western and Asian flavours which gives normal everyday ingredients a slightly different look and taste. Coming in at $5.58 (AUD), this will easily feed a family of 4 and help protect your bank balance!
Welcome to the first post in our March frugal series!!
Every post this month will be our best attempt at making a recipe as cheap as possible, using ingredients you probably already have on hand, and without sacrificing on flavour. Each recipe will be super EASY and relatively BALANCED in terms of carbs, protein and vegetables.
All recipes in this series will include costings and they will all be based on how much things actually cost on a normal day, not counting any sales or bargains that may not be accessible to everyone. We’re going to try to create recipes for a family of four costing somewhere between $5-$10.
Our first recipe in the series is Cheap Pasta Stir-Fry! The idea of stir-frying pasta seemed a little crazy to us initially, but then we tried it and hey it’s actually pretty good. This is a great recipe to clear out any leftover meat or veg you may have in the fridge, and will use only $5.58 worth of ingredients. This dish reheats well, and makes for a great lunch for work the next day.
My Tips for a Successful Pasta Stir Fry
- Use a non-stick pot / pan if possible.
- Use a pasta shape that doesn’t break easily, like penne, spirals or curls.
- This recipe will work with pork, beef, chicken or turkey mince
- Cut the vegetables thinly so they cook quickly.
- If short on time, use frozen veggies!
- Throw in any leftover meat and/or veg. This recipe will pretty much work with anything!
- If you are using leftover pasta, reheat it in the microwave first with a few dashes of water to stop it from drying out. Then loosen the pasta up before adding it to the pan / pot.
This graph shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).
With the “Shop Price”, we’re assuming you’re buying the smallest possible quantity to make this recipe. Obviously if you’re buying things in larger quantities the price will be higher, but you’re also more likely to be paying less per unit. We haven’t bothered with things like salt and pepper as the cost would be negligible.
All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online as at time of writing.
|Ingredient||Quantity Bought||Shop Price||Recipe Needs||Recipe Cost|
|Pasta||1 x 500 gm packet||$1.00||500 gm||$1.00|
|Oil||750 ml bottle||$2.25||1 tbsp (15 ml)||$0.02|
|Garlic||1 bulb||$1.50||3 cloves||$0.40|
|Pork Mince||500 gm tray||$5.50||250 gm||$2.25|
|Carrots (medium)||2||$0.66||2 (150 gm each)||$0.66|
|Cabbage||½ a head||$2.00||150 gm||$0.15|
|Soy Sauce||250 ml bottle||$2.70||3 tbsp (45 ml)||$0.49|
|Tomato Sauce||500 ml bottle||$2.95||4 tbsp (60 ml)||$0.35|
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Cheap Pasta Stir Fry
- 500 gm pasta spirals or your choice
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 250 gm pork mince or you choice
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped thinly
- 3 - 4 leaves drum head cabbage or your choice, shredded
- 2 stalks spring onion, chopped (optional)
- leftover veg or meat
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp tomato sauce
- Sriracha chilli sauce, (optional)
Cook 500 gm of pasta as per instructions on the packet then drain.
Prep all your vegetables.
In a bowl, add the soy sauce and tomato sauce. Mix until completely combined. Leave aside until needed.
In a large pot or fry pan on medium high, add 1 tbsp of oil and chopped onions. Let the onions sweat for a minute and then add the garlic, pork mince and pepper.
Cook the mince until there is no pink left on the meat. Add the carrots, cabbage, leftovers and 3 tbsp of sauce and stir through. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the pasta over the top and then the remaining sauce over the pasta. With a wooden spoon, stir the pot until everything is combined and warmed through.
Garnish with spring onions (if using) and serve with sriracha (if using).