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Budget Bites

You only need 15 minutes for these affordable dinners

This month’s money-saving food column puts lamb mince, sweetheart cabbage and gochujang to good use, says Hannah Twiggs

Monday 05 September 2022 15:30 BST
Korea and Italy come together in this mashup to remember
Korea and Italy come together in this mashup to remember (Sorted Food)

Whip up a rich ragu, burgers and some banging Korean chicken in this recipe pack full of easy wins and simple ways to get big flavours without spending hours at the stove. Great mealtimes have never been so speedy!

As part of our Budget Bites column – where we’ve teamed up with Sorted Food to bring you easy, affordable, quick and (most importantly) tasty recipes once a month – the below dishes are perfect for time poor cooks on a budget.

We’ve also provided a handy shopping list for the ingredients, which are used across all recipes to ensure minimal food waste. You just need to decide where to shop, whether it’s locally or online.

To help consumers reduce their food bills amid the rising cost of living crisis, Sorted has also launched a weekly meal planning tool that enables home cooks to save at least 30 per cent on their food bills while enjoying up to six delicious yet easy-to-make meals created by chefs. With 93 per cent of shoppers spending more on food than they’d planned to and 70 per cent feeling like their large food shops don’t stretch as far as they’d hoped, the new tool couldn’t have come at a better time.

Get prepping and cooking below.

Shopping list

Pasta with gochujang lamb ragu

Serves: 2


2 tbsp vegetable oil

250g lamb mince

200g dried pasta

5 spring onions

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp gochujang

15g fresh coriander


1. Fry the lamb: Fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil - this will be for the pasta later.

Drizzle 2 tbsp of vegetable oil into a large frying pan and place it over a high heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer and loosen, tip in 250g of lamb mince and break up with a spoon.

Fry for 4-5 minutes, until golden in places. Cook the pasta in the next step while you wait.

2. Boil the pasta: Place a large saucepan over a high heat and tip in boiling water from the kettle. Season with a generous pinch of salt.

Add 200g of pasta and boil for 8-10 minutes, until soft but still with a slight bite. Get on with the next steps while you wait.

3. Add some flavour: Cut 5 spring onions crosswise into 4 and chuck them into the pan with the lamb once it is golden in places.

Fry the spring onions for 2-3 minutes, until softened slightly. Peel and finely grate 2 cloves of garlic while you wait.

Tip the garlic and 2 tbsp of gochujang into the pan. Fry everything for a further 2 minutes, until darkened slightly.

4. Simmer down: Add 150ml of water to the pan, bring everything up to a boil and take the pan off the heat. We are looking for a sauce that coats the meat in a loose, glossy glaze. If it looks a little thin, return it to the heat for a couple of minutes.

If you are still waiting for the pasta, now would be a great time to do a bit of washing up.

5. Mix it up: Once the pasta is ready, use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer it to the pan with the ragù. Don’t worry if a little pasta water gets carried over!

Return the pan to a high heat and toss everything together to coat the pasta fully - add a splash of pasta water to loosen if it looks a little dry. We are looking for a sauce that clings to the pasta.

6. Serve: Season the pasta to taste with salt and divide it between plates. Top with leaves from 15g of coriander.

Lamb smash burgers with tahini slaw

There’s tons of umami flavour in these smash burgers
There’s tons of umami flavour in these smash burgers (Sorted Food)

Serves: 2


3 spring onions

½ sweetheart cabbage

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp tahini

1 clove garlic

250g lamb mince

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 brioche burger bun

2 tbsp sriracha

15g fresh coriander


1. Chop it up: Thinly slice 3 spring onions crossways and shred ½ a sweetheart cabbage crossways too, avoiding the hard white core at the base.

2. Assemble the slaw: Tip the spring onions and cabbage into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tbsp of mayonnaise and 1 tbsp of tahini.

Peel, then finely grate in 1 clove of garlic.

3. Mix it up: Give everything a good mix, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Get ready to fry: Place a large frying pan over a high heat and form 250g of lamb mince into 2 balls. Preheat the grill to its highest temperature - this will be for the buns later.

Once the pan starts to smoke, drizzle in 1 tbsp of oil.

5. Fry: Place the lamb balls into the pan, then use a small pan or spatula to flatten them to a thickness of 0.5cm. Wash your hands after handling raw meat!

Season with a generous pinch of salt and fry for 1-2 minutes, until deep golden brown on the underside, before flipping and repeating on the next. Get on with the rest of the dish in the next steps while you wait.

6. Assemble: Cut 2 brioche buns in half through their middles. Toast them on the cut-side under the preheated grill.

Once the burgers are ready, lower 1 onto each of the bun bottoms.

Load 2 tbsp of Sriracha and split 15g of coriander into each of the burgers and finish with a bun lid.

7. Serve: Lower an assembled burger onto each plate and load on generous handfuls of the slaw. Tuck in!

Korean chicken with charred cabbage sesame couscous

Make Friday night stay-ins a little more exciting with this recipe
Make Friday night stay-ins a little more exciting with this recipe (Sorted Food)

Serves: 2


½ sweetheart cabbage

3 tbsp sesame oil

4 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

2 tbsp gochujang

100g couscous

2 spring onions


1. Prep it up: Preheat the grill to its highest temperature, fill a kettle with water and put it on to boil.

Thinly shred ½ a sweetheart cabbage and toss it with 2 tbsp of the sesame oil and a generous pinch of salt on a large tray. Push the cabbage to one side of the tray.

Plonk 4 chicken thighs onto the tray and rub with 2 tbsp of gochujang and 1 tbsp of the sesame oil.

Remember to wash your hands after handling raw meat.

2. Grill: Whack the tray under the grill and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the cabbage is charred in places and the chicken is opaque white throughout when cut into with a small knife. Get on with the couscous in the next steps while you wait.

The cabbage should be charred in places and the chicken should be opaque white throughout.

3. Cook the couscous: Tip 100g of couscous into a large mixing bowl and season with a generous pinch of salt.

Tip enough boiling water from the kettle into the bowl to just cover the grains.

Give everything a quick mix with a fork, cover with a plate and set aside. Allow the couscous to cook for 6-7 minutes, until the grains are soft. Thinly slice 2 spring onions crossways, then crack on with a bit of washing up while you wait.

4. Mix it up: Once everything is ready, tip the cabbage from the tray into the couscous and give everything a good mix. Season again with salt if necessary.

5. Serve: Divide the couscous between plates, then top each portion with 2 chicken thighs and the spring onion. Enjoy!

Recipes from Sidekick, which publishes a wide choice of ‘Smarter Recipe Packs’, each containing three awesome recipes that work together to make sure nothing is wasted. The app then provides a full shopping list of ingredients to buy – you choose where, so you can shop local or online. These are used multiple times across the dishes, meaning users are left with zero food waste at the end of the week. Subscriptions start at £4.99 per month. Head to find out more.

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