Cheap lunch ideas that don’t skimp on taste

Devilled egg pasta salad. Picture: Supplied

Devilled egg pasta salad. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 26, 2024


When planning lunches, unfortunately, these days you have to budget. Though certain meats taste great, they are typically a splurge.

But that does not mean meals have to be boring. These tasty, cheap, budget-friendly recipes courtesy of the South African Poultry Association are budget-friendly and do not skimp on flavour.

They lean on low-cost ingredients such as eggs and pasta as well as pantry staples like spices. Add them to your weekly rotation and you will be glad you did.

Devilled egg pasta salad. Picture: Supplied

Devilled egg pasta salad


4 eggs

½ x 500g elbow macaroni pasta

80ml plain yoghurt

80ml mayonnaise

15ml Dijon mustard

1 small red onion, chopped

2 medium gherkins, chopped

Handful of dill, chopped

Salt and pepper

Paprika for dusting


Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. Drain and cool in cold water. Peel off the shells. Cut the eggs in half, remove the yolks, and chop the whites.

Meanwhile, cook the macaroni according to packet instructions.

Mash the egg yolks with a fork. Stir in the yoghurt, mayonnaise, and mustard. Mix through the macaroni.

Combine the egg whites, onion, gherkins and dill. Keep some out as garnish and mix the rest through the macaroni mixture.

Season the pasta with salt and pepper. Spoon into a serving bowl. Dust with paprika and sprinkle over reserved ingredients.

Tips: Older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs. Buy your eggs at least a week ahead if you plan to make boiled eggs.

This salad is great to make ahead and store in the fridge for up to five days. Add more mayo or yoghurt if the sauce absorbs too much during this time.

Mac and cheese. Picture: Supplied

Mac and cheese

Serves: 4


375ml macaroni

Salt and pepper

45ml butter or margarine

45ml cake flour

7.5ml mustard powder

500ml milk

2 eggs, beaten

500ml Cheddar, grated


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cook the macaroni in salted boiling water for about 8 minutes until al denté (cooked, but firm). Drain. Tip into a 25cm baking dish.

Meanwhile, heat the butter or margarine in a saucepan on medium heat until melted. Stir in the flour and mustard and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden.

Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until starting to bubble. Take off the heat and stir in half of the cheese.

Take out a little of the sauce and stir this through the eggs. Mix the egg mixture through the remaining sauce. Stir sauce through the macaroni.

Sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese over the macaroni. Bake for about 15 minutes or until starting to bubble. Grill until the cheese starts to brown.

Optional: Place the slices of a tomato on top of the cheese before grilling.