Cheap Bean/legume recipes, please
January 18, 2010 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Looking for low-cost vegetarian bean or legume recipes.

I know there are a lot out there on the Internet. But I am looking for some of your favorites. The recipes need to be somewhat easy to make, high protein, and low cost. They do not need to be fancy, but they should be something you would be able to eat without gagging.

I prefer recipes that do not rely on a lot of cheese to make them palatable. I prefer to use dried beans and canned tomatoes. I also prefer recipes that do not make use of a lot of fresh vegetables (since they tend to be expensive).

Pretty much I am looking for survival food for a Depression budget.
posted by fifilaru to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 99 users marked this as a favorite
you can substitute dried black beans, just soak/prepare as normal. the cheese is absolutely not needed. i just like the little crust it adds to the top.

lentil nachos

1 cup dry lentils,sautee onion/garlic, 2.5 cups of water, chili seasonings (boil, simmer for 30-50)

in a separate pan mix can of black beans, can of corn, 1/3 cup of salsa - cook for 20 min on low

spread out chips (i use the little chip cups and fill them individually), layer of lentils, layer of black bean/corn, sprinkle of cheese

cook on 425 for 3-6 min

guiness chili

again, you can substitute the dried beans for the canned beans. i just haven't made good friends with dried beans yet. also, skip the crumbles, or substitute TVP if you'd rather.

1/2 an onion
4-6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
4 - 14oz cans of tomatoes, undrained (i use one 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes and then 2 others that grab my fancy, this time it was "fire roasted diced")
1-2 small cans of green chilis, undrained
2 - 14oz cans kidney/red/chili beans, undrained
2 - 14oz cans black beans
1 or 2 - 14oz cans of corn (i go with no salt/no sugar added)
1 bag of morningstar crumbles
1 bottle of beer (guinness 250 is what i went with)
chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper (i never measure spices - my dad always said, start small, you can always add, but you can never take out)

other things to add to chili - a teaspoon or so of brown sugar to cut the acidity and add a little sweetness - a dash of cinnamon early in the cooking process to add a robustness.

people will try to give you all sorts of advice about what is "allowed" in chili - in my kitchen, if it tastes good, it's allowed in the pot.

saute chopped/minced/diced onion/garlic in butter in the pan you'll be making the chili in
run tomatoes and chilis through the food processor - add to the pan
do a first round of spicing
add beer
bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes or so. in the pan i use, this is usually an inch of volume lost
taste - if it's not chili-y enough add another round of spices. remember that spice gets hotter the longer it cooks and will be even hotter tomorrow. underspice until you know what you're looking for
add beans, bring it all back to a boil
simmer uncovered for another 30
taste (again, add spices as needed)
add corn
at this point you're looking at a consistency thing. if you like it a little thin, you're basically done, otherwise, keep cooking until it's as thick as you want. if you like super thick chili, simmer the tomatoes for longer before you add the beans so you don't overcook the beans.
posted by nadawi at 3:47 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mujidara is basically exactly what you're looking for. Cook a cup of rice; cook a cup of lentils; caramelize an onion, thinly sliced, slowly until it is very sweet and dark. Mix together. That's it.

Dirt cheap, big protein punch, so ridiculously delicious.
posted by peachfuzz at 3:56 PM on January 18, 2010 [9 favorites]

I made this Chickpea hot pot the other night and thought it was simple and great. You could add/subtract veggies to clean out the fridge as desired.
posted by Adam_S at 3:56 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

These are all staples in my house:

For all beans: 1 lb beans, sort (remove rocks and icky beans and dirt), wash, cover with 2-3 inches of water, cook, covered, on low-ish heat with 3 cloves garlic & 2 bay leaves (I like to throw in a dried chipotle but you don't have to). This takes around 2 hrs if you start with dry beans from a bag, or you can pre-soak them overnight to speed up cooking. Change the water before cooking if you soak. Of course, this takes longer because you have to start the night before (an extra 8 hours, at least!), so I never do it.

Refried beans: When pinto beans are cooked sautee 1-2 minced onions, add 2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp coriander, 2 minced garlic cloves, and salt to taste. If you have smoked paprika, use some of that too (it adds a "hammy" note that's nice in beans). Sautee the spices for half a minute, then add half the beans and their liquid. Bring to a simmer, adjust salt, and mash or puree. Serve all week with tortillas or rice. Freeze the other half of the beans and use them next week.

Black beans. Prepare as for pintos, above, but don't mash them. At the onion-sauteeing step, add 1 cup frozen corn kernels, and, optionally, one diced small zucchini. Add half the beans, spices as above, and one can diced tomatoes. Simmer for awhile until the flavors blend. Don't mash them.

You can also use black beans to make hummus, just sub for garbanzos, whirl with tahini, lemon, olive oil, garlic, cumin, all to taste. My husband likes to add a little curry powder to black bean hummus.

White beans. Prepare as for pintos. I usually use these for "beanie-greenie": Sautee about 4-5 sliced cloves of garlic. Lots of garlic is key. Add 1 bag frozen collards or kale, and sautee until shiny. Add half the white beans, salt to taste, and enough water to make it stew-y. Simmer until the greens are tender.
posted by mneekadon at 4:02 PM on January 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

I love this soup:

Nigerian Bean Stew with a Peanut Sauce

1.5 cups red kidney beans or pinto beans
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1.5 Tbsp peanut butter

Soak and cook the beans; do not drain. Add the salt to the beans, stir to mix, and leave the beans in their cooking liquid.

Put the oil in a wide, medium pot and set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper. Stir and fry just until onion has turned translucent. Add cumin, tomato sauce, cayenne, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the peanut butter in a small bowl and slowly add about 6 Tbsp of the bean liquid, mixing as you go. Stir this mixture back into the pot of beans.

When the tomato mixture has finished cooking, pour it into the beans as well. Stir and bring to a simmer. You may have to add more water depending on how much was left after cooking the beans. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
posted by something something at 4:37 PM on January 18, 2010 [5 favorites]

Simple Lentil stew:

Coarsely an onion, a couple of carrots, and a few celery sticks. Chop some garlic.

Put some oil in a large pot, add onions and cook till translucent. Add garlic for a little but and then add carrots celery, and a small can of chopped tomatoes, stir well and let sit while you measure the (brown) lentils.

Add lentils (a cup and a half makes enough food to feed 2 people for 2-3 days) and 3-4 times as much water as lentils. Salt and bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for, 30min to an hour (till the lentils are done.) If the water looks like it is getting low just add a bit more.

If it tastes bland, a little Tapatio works wonders, as does a nice crusty bread.

If you are just being vegetarian for price regions, add one canned anchovy fillet to the hot oil and smash it up so it kind of dissolves into it. Trust me, even if you dislike anchovies this works oh so well.
posted by aspo at 4:48 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, and I forgot, my favorite lentils to use are those small French lentils. Yeah they are a bit more expensive (maybe half again as much when I buy them from the bulk bins?) but it's not exactly like lentils cost all that much.
posted by aspo at 4:49 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Rice with Chickpeas:

In a pot, heat olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion, and a tablespoon of minced garlic, and half a bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add 1-2 cups of chopped tomatoes with their juice, salt and pepper, a bay leaf, and 1.5 cups veg stock or water. Bring the mixture to a boil.

When boiling, add a cup of rice and a can of cooked chickpeas. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook for about 20mins. Eat.

I use canned chickpeas to save time, but to substitute dried, cook the .75-1 cups chickpeas ahead of time, then drain them and chuck them in when they're ready.

This is a Mark Bittman recipe. He has a lot of good legume recipes, actually.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 4:59 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Taco Style Lentils and Rice

3/4 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
4 cups water
1 packet taco seasoning

Mix it all in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, put a lid on it and allow it to simmer for 45-50 minutes. Looks and tastes like taco meat. You can put it in taco shells or use in burritoes, but we usually just eat it out of a bowl. Sour cream and cheese are nice additions but it is also very tasty plain.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:19 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Lentils with brown basmati rice (from Trader Joe's) + garlic. Once cooked through, I stirred in a little dijon mustard (trader joe's) some frozen spinach (trader joe's) and some extra virgin olive oil, or flax seed oil (depending what I had on hand).... and sea salt (trader joe's.)

Lentils I bought in bulk (cheap, anywhere.) The basmati rice lasts a long time (2/3 lentils-to-1/3 rice - start the rice first, add lentils + more water halfway into the cooking...) Frozen spinach bag is about a buck fifty, the oil is $3 to 8$ - you only add a tbls or two, the sea salt is $1.29 at TJ's.

I LOVE this dish. Supplement with TJ's frozen veg (about $2) or whatever - chicken, fish, shrimp, nothing - it's ALL good. And nutritious. And Delicious. And cheap.

Oh, dip! I just remembered!

I would get dried wakame seaweed from the asian mart and crumble that in. A $2 bag lasts forever, flavor is awesome, vitamins and minerals abound.

Somehow, the seaweed really complemented the mustard, btw.

I never tried adding ginger or soy sauce or sesame in whatever form - but I should have! You could easily "italian" this recipe up by sticking with spinach, tomatoes in some form + cheese.

Don't forget those TJ's chicken sausages - $3.99 per 4 links, I often added a link or 2 sliced into this mix.

(when I first moved to LA I didn't have a full kitchen, I think I lived on this recipe/variations for over a year - it was tasty and easy and inexpensive and healthy. I cook more elaborate stuff now, but I miss this dish. I sometimes make it for old time's sake. As you do:)
posted by jbenben at 5:45 PM on January 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

I make these all the time, but add in some canned diced tomatoes and way more carrots.
posted by marylynn at 6:33 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lundberg's Old World Pilaf is great. It contains three kinds of brown rice, black-eyed peas, brown and red lentils, and green and yellow split peas. It is sold in bulk at many food co-ops for around $3/pound (a pound is 4 servings). To serve with the pilaf I usually stir-fry some firm tofu and a few sliced mushrooms with a bit of garlic and onion (sometimes adding fresh spinach and/or sliced carrot) and top it all with tamari and/or sriracha, but you can use this pilaf as a base for most anything.
posted by FrauMaschine at 6:43 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

I make lentil soup, much like apso's but with two small changes:

1) take out 3-4 cups at the end and puree in the blender -- it adds creaminess, and

2) start with a little chopped bacon (you can freeze it and chop off chunks, you only need about 1/4 per BIG pot of soup.). The bacon provides flavor and you can cook the veggies in the oil.

With the carrots and the celery, see if they sell the carrots loose -- sometimes that's way cheaper than buying a whole bag if you only need one. I've also occasionally just bought a little celery from the salad bar, if I know I won't get to the rest before it goes bad.
posted by mercredi at 7:32 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, this is really helpful.
posted by fifilaru at 7:40 PM on January 18, 2010

Mujaddarah (also here): rice plus lentils plus caramelised onions plus spices. Serve with thick yogurt. The knack is that you cook everything separately and combine once cooked to ensure "tender, not mushy".

And Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks is your friend.
posted by holgate at 7:59 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also here. And you can come up with a very decent posole -- hominy, beans, chile, topped with fresh veg and herbs -- without meat, but if you're partial to pork, that's perfect.
posted by holgate at 8:02 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

OK, I don't have any specific recipes, but you should check out Cook For Good, which is a site started by a woman trying to prove that it was possible to eat healthy on a food stamp budget. She's got it down to $1.07/person/meal, on average (in NC prices, at least).

There are some free recipes on the site, and a PDF cookbook you can buy.
posted by timepiece at 9:47 PM on January 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

Mexican Beans (or at least a reasonable approximation)

3 cups dry pinto beans, soaked overnight
1/4 cup oil
3 tsp summer savory
3 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp oregano
1 tsp black pepper
6 cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
any leftover bits of tomatoes or 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
dash of hot sauce
2 cups chopped onions

Put everything but the salt and onions in a pot. Add water to cover by one inch. Simmer for two to three hours, the longer the better. (I like my beans mushy.) Occasionally check to stir and monitor the water level; you want it to be medium-thick when you're done. When the beans are soft enough for you, add the onions and simmer uncovered for half an hour. Add the salt at the end.

The great thing about this recipe is that the beans have a lot of applications. You can pack them with rice and avocado slices for lunch, serve them as a side with a breakfast of eggs, or make burritos or tacos. Our favorite is tostadas: Refry the beans (mash with a potato masher in a skillet over low heat, or use a blender and heat in the microwave), spread on a tostada, and top with any of the following: shredded lettuce, diced tomato, avocado, cheese, sour cream, shredded meat or fish or meat substitute, and hot sauce.

On preview, I'm going to have to try it mneekadon's way. That sounds delicious.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:18 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Winter Weekend Curried Lentil Soup

It's made of:
butter or a vegan alternative
cumin seeds
grocery store curry powder
cayenne powder OR chopped fresh hot pepper OR bottled hot sauce to taste

Quantities are dictated organically, as determined by the size of your cooking pot.

Take your soup pot and put butter in the bottom of it. I generally put about three tablespoons, or one wad or wedge as pried free with my soup-stirring implement. Put the pot over low heat and add minced onion and minced garlic enough to sparsely cover the bottom of the pot. Cook until nearly golden, and turn up the heat a little. Add the rest of the spices (90% curry powder and 8% cumin, in a 1/4 cup measure) stirring, and cook until fragrant, adding more butter if required. Add two fingers of lentils (red or green or a mix of the two) and add enough water to cover to a depth of three further fingers (I'm using the bartender's measure here).

You can keep it on a medium-low heat for a couple of hours, and then serve it to anyone who is coming in from the cold cold outside, hopefully bringing fresh crusty baguettes. Refrigerate the leftovers right away, as this is the favourite growing medium of all mold. If you have leftover cooked carrots or potatoes from the night before, go ahead and throw those in just before you add the dry lentils.

You can puree this with an immersion blender, or not.
posted by Sallyfur at 12:41 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hummus. I find that for the base you just need chickpeas, lemon juice and oil (I'll be branded a heretic for saying this, but I find the tahini to be optional). Everything else is a matter of taste. I like mine quite thick with chipotle peppers, but you can throw in any spices you think might work and it probably will. Hummus will last for quite a while in the fridge, it goes with anything and it can be a dip or a sandwich/pita/tortilla filler depending on how hungry you are.

Nadawi's chili recipe is a great place to start as well: chilis are excellent improvisation food. You just need beans (any will do, really), chili (let personal taste decide), chopped tomatoes, whatever vegetables you happen to have and a selection of spices. Cheap, easy, tasty and easy to make in large batches for freezing. I'm a novice in the kitchen and have yet to make a bad chili.

I also keep a massive bag of frozen, pre-chopped onion, garlic and red peppers that works as a good base for lots of dishes and was a lot cheaper than buying the individual elements. I am also horrendously lazy, so not having to chop up the veggies helps. It's never as great as fresh vegetables, but it's a lot cheaper and easier.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:59 AM on January 19, 2010

Time to learn to cook Indian, fortunately there exists Manjula's Kitchen.
posted by mek at 3:33 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Bean Book by Rose Elliot has a load of old-school legume-based vegetarian recipes. Or any book of vegetarian Indian cuisine.

Anyway here's a Nigel Slater recipe for Black-eyed beans and bulgur wheat, which is quick and easy:
1 can (200g drained weight) black-eyed beans
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic crushed
Bulgur wheat, measured by volume 200ml
Stock 400ml
1 Bay leaf
Salt and Black Pepper to season.

Saute onion and garlic in vegetable/olive oil until soft and golden. Add Bulgur wheat and fry for a minute or so. Add stock and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaf and turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. Check stock has been absorbed, turn off heat, mix in beans and let sit covered for 5 minutes or so until the beans have warmed through.
Serve as a side-dish or with a salad.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 3:53 AM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Creamy Chickpea and Tahini Casserole. This is my go-to food for when I want something cheap, easy and healthy.
posted by davar at 12:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

A staple in our house growing up, which I still make regularly, was white beans on toast.

Sort through half a bag of navy or Great Northern beans. Cover with water. Add half an onion (don't chop it -- you're going to remove it later), a couple cloves of garlic (ditto), a bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of thyme, and salt/pepper to taste. (Yes, add salt. No, it doesn't toughen the beans.) I also add a dried chipotle -- it mimics the flavor of the ham that my mom always added.

About 15 minutes before the beans are fully cooked, remove the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Chop the other half of the onion and add it to the pot. Cook until onions are tender.

Serve on buttered toast or cornbread. Top with chopped onion, if desired.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

This is my chili recipe, specifically designed to not cost very much and not be too difficult to cook. I know it's not real chili, but it's damn tasty. I put this next to mash (sweet potato mash if I can find them on sale) or corn chips or sometimes cheese and sour cream. I can usually find a way to make about 6 - 8 servings of this for about $12.

Put 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 or 2 Taco Seasoning packets, and 2 onions and 3 carrots in a pot. Simmer until carrots are softish.

Add some precooked kidney beans (either cooked from dry or in a can - about 2 to 4 cans/cups worth) and 1 or 2 bell peppers. Simmer until pepper is softish.

Add some dry TVP and continue cooking until everything is soft and the liquid has reduced.

If at any point you don't have enough liquid, you can either add some hot water with a little powdered gravy mixed in, or veggie stock, or a little boxed red wine or port (one cup for the stew, one cup for me!). Also, my amounts and ingredients are completely approximate (based only on the amounts I used to make this last night). If you find some vegetable on sale (mushrooms, butternut squash, zucchini, etc), you can add that in. If carrots are expensive, leave them out. TVP should be pretty cheap and it's amazing for things like this. When you reconstitute it in the cooking liquid (instead of just in boiling water), it takes on a really nice rich taste.

Here's my even cheaper yet tasty lentil / split pea recipe. The only veggies are onions, carrots, and celery, but it gives it such a nice rich taste. I can usually make 6 - 8 servings of this for $6.

Take a bag of lentils or split peas. Wash and sort. Take 2 onions, 2 or 3 carrots, and 2 or 3 stalks of celery, chop, and put on to simmer with a little veggie stock (I use powdered stock and hot water). Simmer until onions are just starting to look transparent, then add lentils / split peas and more veggie stock. Cook until done. Add salt and pepper. Eat with toast or crusty bread or grilled cheese.
posted by mosessis at 1:17 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am living off of similar recipes at the moment. I also have to avoid fresh vegetables in general because they're expensive and I can't really eat them fast enough to justify the extra cost.

What I have been doing instead is buying certain vegetables in bulk (carrots, say) and then spending some time peeling, cutting, poaching and freezing them in recipe-sized allotments. I also try to buy frozen when I can (green peppers, say), or buy when things are on sale, then spend time again cutting up, poaching, and freezing. This, combined with a well-stocked, strategically chosen spice rack, means that I can figure out a way to make most recipes pretty cheaply. At lot of the problem with fresh for me has always been that I just couldn't eat it fast enough and then felt incredibly guilty if anything went to waste, so preparing the stuff and freezing it really lets me feel like fresh vegetable purchases are worthwhile. ( -- this site is good for how to preserve various different vegetables in the freezer.)

This is one of my favorites:

I make this using a few substitutions. Namely:

Instead of fresh carrots I use bulk-purchased, frozen carrots that I prepared in advance.
Instead of fresh green pepper I use bulk-purchased frozen, or sometimes I just buy this already prepared and frozen.
Instead of fresh jalepeno I use dried red pepper.
Instead of canned beans I use dried beans that I soaked overnight in the slow cooker.

And I allow myself flexibility on the spices. Chili powder is pretty cheap, and as to the rest I use whatever I have a fair amount of that would probably taste okay. I buy Cumin in giant containers so I always have plenty of that.

This goes great with home-made cornbread which is pretty cheap and easy to make.

Another favorite is this recipe for vegetarian black bean soup:

Again dried beans, then onions which are cheap and last forever, substituting dried red peppers/cayenne powder for the fresh jalapenos. Goes well with french bread, which is also cheap to make at home, if time consuming. I am sure these substitutions would make a gourmand cringe in horror, but they work for me!

I make gigantic batches of everything I cook and freeze the results so that I can spend a while cooking every few days, but usually have a reasonably decent array of frozen stuff to choose from in the freezer. (When I'm on the ball anyway. I've been eating entirely too much pasta lately...)

Lentils and chickpeas (as others have mentioned upthread) also play a very large role in my diet. This is a cool thread, thanks for asking this question.
posted by ZeroDivides at 12:59 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Limey-black beans:
  • 1 big (1lbs ish?) can of black beans
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder (chipoltle is nice, but whatever)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 onion
Chop and saute the onion in a sauce pan until tender. Toss in everything else, including the bean juice. Bring to a low simmer and stir occasionally until nice and thick, about 5 min. This is crazy delicious, under 10 min and $1.50. I'd say 4 servings comes from this, if you also cook a cup of rice to go with it. Add a fried egg ($0.15), and you have a feast.

Got leftovers? Mash them up in a pot over medium heat with a bit of oil. Fry for a bit, then add water, and stir. Cook until thick. Add some salsa (look for goya brand, in a can. It'll be $.60 or less) Or a can of mexican style tomatoes. Eat it in warmed corn tortillas, or with corn chips.

Black bean burgers:
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 bag frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • bread crumbs (or toast and crumble up the heel of your own bread)
Mash the beans in a bowl with a fork, add cumin and bread crumbs. Combine. You'll have a thick paste. If you're not there, add more bread crumbs. Mix in corn (can still be frozen, as long as it's not a huge chunk). Form into 4 patties, and fry with a bit of oil. Stick it in a bun (or toast), cover with ketchup or whatever.

In my grocery store there are big containers of mexican spices (like cumin/comino) on the bottom shelf. They cost the same as the small containers, but are 4 times bigger.

Of course, dried beans are going to save you even more, but you can decide if it's worth the time and energy it takes to cook for 2 hours. A 1lbs can of beans will cost $1 to $1.25. Dried, it'll be $0.60 to $0.80. I don't know what it costs to boil water for 2 hours, but of course you can cook 4 lbs at a time for the same amount of effort. A good strategy could be to cook a huge pot of beans on a day when you have the time, and then creatively re-use them through out the week. If doing dried, it will probably be worth putting a bit of the saved $ into bouillon cubes. Most bulk food sections have a vegetarian "chick'n" broth powder. A few spoonfuls will make it taste a lot better.

Be sure to pad out every meal with a starch. Corn tortillas are cheap, as is cornbread, wonderbread, rice, pasta, potatoes (leave skins on for more vitamins). Eggs are also a great cheap source of protein, and last for a long time in the fridge. There are few things that are not made delicious with a fried egg on top.
posted by fontophilic at 9:06 AM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

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