Craving a fresh and nutritious salad, but worried it'll cost more than you can currently afford? Nourishing salads don't necessarily mean buying loads of expensive, specialist ingredients that you probably won’t use again. We've found proof that you can still budget your food shop while enjoying colourful, luscious dishes, which are quick, easy to make and promise full-on flavour, not to mention giving you essential health benefits.


We've gathered our favourite budget salads to make for weeknights, with recipes showcasing storecupboard staples such as lentils, beans, quinoa and beyond. Many of these salads are no-cook and satisfying.

Find more budget inspiration with our best budget recipes, budget comfort food and budget desserts. Check out our main budget hub for all your cost-cutting needs.

Budget-friendly salad recipes

1. Halloumi with lemony lentils, chickpeas & beets

Platter of lentils, chickpeas and beetroot topped with halloumi slices

Here's a storecupboard salad which assures strong, punchy flavour, thanks to golden brown halloumi and quick pickled red onion. This salad has good nutritional content, too, with lentils being a rich provider of protein and carbohydrates, as well as chickpeas being high in fibre, calcium and magnesium. This salad serves up to four, so it can easily make leftovers for lunch the following day.

See these 20 ways with chickpeas for more low-cost ideas.

More like this

2. Kale caesar salad

Kale caesar salad with avocado, sourdough croutons and parmesan

Transform winter greens into this simple caesar salad, topped with homemade croutons and drizzled in a easy dressing made of storecupboard ingredients, such as tinned anchovies. If this is a solo supper, leftovers will make an extra special lunch the following day, plus it'll be the envy of your colleagues.

See more caesar salad recipes as well as the best tinned fish recipes.

3. Elote-inspired pasta salad

Elote-inspired pasta salad topped with coriander

Venture beyond the average pasta salad while sticking to your budget with this elote-inspired version. You'll have most of the ingredients to hand already. This recipe combines canned sweetcorn – which provides a wonderful charred sweetness when fried – with cooked pasta, spring onions, coriander and crumbled feta. To make the dressing, mix mayonnaise with lime juice, chilli powder and salt then mix with the pasta.

Stick your teeth into more vegetarian Mexican-inspired dishes.

5. Coronation chicken salad

Chicken salad in a lunchbox

Forget shop-bought salads – rustle up this low-cost, healthy coronation chicken salad for your next packed lunch instead. Roast chicken is mixed with grains, onions and courgette, and stirred through with a punchy dressing made of yogurt, curry powder, mango chutney and lemon zest. It's ready in just five minutes if you're using leftover roast chicken. Feel free to substitute the almonds with another nut which you already have to hand, too.

Discover more easy chicken salad recipes.

5. Storecupboard tuna bean salad

Storecupboard tuna bean salad on a green dinner plate

Excluding the herbs and salad leaves, this salad is made entirely up of cheap, storecupboard staples, such as cannellini beans, potatoes and protein-rich tuna. It packs in plenty of flavour, boasting a punchy dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and chilli powder.

Find more tuna salad recipes for midweek inspiration.

6. Puy lentil salad with beetroot & walnuts

One serving of puy lentil salad with beetroot & walnuts on a plate

Salads are as much about different textures as flavour, and walnuts add an earthy, crunchy dimension to this vegan salad of lentils and beetroot. It's a colourful seasonal salad for autumn, and a healthy one too – walnuts are a source of plant compounds called polyphenols which guard against inflammation.

Try more ways with beetroot in these beetroot recipes. If this salad leaves you with leftover walnuts, find exciting ways to use them up with these walnut recipes.

7. Black bean chimichurri salad

Close-up of a salad with black beans, avocado, tomatoes and feta

Looking for an easy, no-cook salad which is also lunchbox-friendly? This salad is here to jazz up your lunchtime meals. Mixing tinned beans with cheap ingredients, it's the herby chimichurri dressing which really enhances and elevates the dish to new heights, achieved by whizzing a handful of herbs, oil and spices in a blender.

Check out these black bean recipes for more cheap ways to bulk up dishes.

8. Mixed bean & wild rice salad

Rice and vegetable salad with coriander

Salads needn't be all limp green leaves. Reach into your storecupboard for pulses and sweetcorn to form the base for this colourful salad. It's pepped up with an easy dressing that's as sweet as it is hot, mixing lime juice with honey and chilli. Your lunchbox has never looked so enticing!

Discover more rice salad recipes for simple ways to bolster salads.

9. Brussels sprouts winter salad with clementine dressing

Brussels sprouts winter salad in a large dish with clementine dressing

Sprouts aren’t just for Christmas – here they're combined with zesty clementines and piquant flavours such as vinegar and mustard. They bring freshness and a satisfying bite to this winter veggie salad. Finish by scattering over some pomegranates, which offer small bursts of sweetness to counteract the earthy kale.

Find more of beautiful winter salad recipes.

10. 10-minute couscous salad

Couscous salad with cucumber, peppers, feta and pine nuts

Couscous absorbs vegetable stock for extra oomph, and is then mixed with onions, peppers and cucumber to make a veg-packed salad. Crumble in the feta for a salty hit, then sprinkle over pine nuts to serve. The beauty of this recipe is it's easily customisable – if you don't have any pine nuts to hand, bulk up with whatever nuts you have lurking in the cupboard. Nuts adds a crucially crunchy dimension to salads.


Try more of our tried-and-tested couscous salad recipes.

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post