Looking to liven up mealtimes? We’ve put together a list of go-to cupboard ingredients to keep on hand and add in bulk or as small bursts of flavour to your meals.
These humble heroes are often overlooked but are must-haves for quick and simple meals that will leave everyone happy and full on a budget.
Lentils are an ingredient that can carry any flavour and are a great way to bulk up dishes. They also make a perfect replacement when you’re trying to cut down on meat. Try substituting half of your beef with lentils in your Bolognese for a simple swap.
Frozen veg is picked and frozen at its peak ripeness and nutritional levels. Helpfully, they are usually prepped so they can go straight into your pan without stopping for a chop. Try adding them to bulk up rice dishes or curries, or add to a quick stir-fry.
Dried spices are a secret weapon when it comes to flavour packed meals. Curry powder, turmeric, garam masala, paprika, chilli and cumin can add a crucial hit of flavour. You’ll be amazed at how they can liven up the most basic dish.
Oats last for ages and are perfect for a hearty breakfast that keeps you satisfied. Try yours with some jam or frozen berries. They are also perfect to thicken up a smoothie or transform into homemade granola.
Whether you reach for tabasco or Worcester, a cheeky dash will take your dish to the next level, even try it on scrambled eggs or cheesy toast. Soy, honey and vinegar are also perfect to keep on hand to create sauces and salad dressings.
Beans are packed with protein and fibre, so they will keep you fuller for longer. They are a great bulker for all sorts of soups, stews and curries, and carry flavour with an amazing texture.
Dried or vac packed noodles
Use dried noodles to make a five-minute meal with soy sauce, spring onions and whatever ends of veg you have available. They are also great to add to a stock with dried mushrooms and frozen veg for a quick and easy noodle soup.
Sesame or pumpkin seeds
Cheaper than nuts and just as tasty and nourishing sprinkled over risottos, pastas, salads… or anything really - they'll add a little crunch to your lunch or dinner.