Eating on a student budget – Grapeshot Recipes


Words || Hugh Rigney

Eating well in our convenience-oriented food system is no easy task, particularly on a student’s shoestring budget. These six tips are here to guide you towards a more delicious, nutritious, and economical lifestyle.

  1. Do it yourself, start cooking!
    The most important thing that any hungry student can do to eat well on a budget is to cook! Cooking is always going to be cheaper than eating out, and being in control of what goes into your body is an empowering process.
  2. The pantry is your friend
    Stocking your dry store with cheap pantry staples like rice, pasta, bread, tinned pulses, vegetables, grains, and spices is a great way to build easy meals to fuel your study.
  3. Give meat a miss
    Do the planet and your body a favour by adding meat free dishes to your repertoire. Reducing your meat consumption is one of the best ways to save money at the checkout.
  4. Bulk it out with seasonal vegetables

Seasonal vegetables are not only abundant, cheap and healthy, but their seasonality means you are purchasing the produce at its best. Seasonal produce is at its freshest and most sustainable because it hasn’t been stored for months or imported from overseas.

  1. Waste nothing
    Waste not want not! With a bit of thriftiness and lateral thinking, you can utilise commonly overlooked products like vegetable stems, roots, peels and leaves to add flavour and texture to your meals.
  2. Love the leftovers

A bit of planning goes a long way in the kitchen, and cooking large batches lets you save time and money by purchasing in bulk and generating leftovers. Cook tonight and tomorrow’s lunch is sorted!


Italian Panzanella Salad – Cost: $2.16 per serve

Got an old loaf of bread that’s well past stale? This classic salad is the perfect way to avoid wasting it. Showcasing the best of late summer produce by making a hero of the tomato, complimented by a punchy balsamic dressing, this fundamentally bread based salad presents something different with every mouthful as some of the bread soaks up the dressing and some remains deliciously crunchy.

Panzanella (Stale Bread) Salad – Serves 2

100g (Approximately 4 Slices) Stale White Bread, Torn into Rough Bite Size Pieces.
1 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Seeded Mustard
1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Level Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Small Clove Garlic, Smashed and Minced.
300g Ripe Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
100g Bocconcini Cheese, Roughly Torn
½ Bunch Fresh Basil, Roughly Torn

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Place bread pieces in an oven tray and bake for around 10 minutes until dry and slightly coloured. In the meantime whisk the mustard, salt, pepper, brown sugar, minced garlic, balsamic, and oil in a mixing bowl for the dressing. When the bread is ready, transfer straight into the dressing and mix to coat, letting the bread soak up the dressing slightly. Add the tomatoes, bocconcini and basil, and toss thoroughly to combine. Serve immediately.


4 Slices White Bread = $0.20
15ml Balsamic Vinegar = $0.07
30ml Olive Oil = $0.18
3g Seeded Mustard = $0.03
3g Brown Sugar = $0.03
Salt and Pepper = $0.03
1 Clove Garlic = $0.06
300g Tomatoes @ 2.00kg = $0.60
100g Boconcini = $1.62
½ Bunch Basil = $1.50