The Ultra Frugal Lunch Recipe

Cooking and bringing your lunch to work can seem impossible. Who has time to cook and eat a healthy, filling lunch everyday? If you ate out every weekday you would be spending upwards of $35 a week! With this simple, ultra frugal lunch recipe you can skip the take out lunch and save money.

The Ultra Frugal Lunch Recipe

D takes his lunch to work every single day and as a SAHM, I eat the same thing. We batch cook all of our meals for the week on Sundays. This includes this simple, frugal lunch recipe. It is a health and wallet conscious decision to make your lunch at home and take it to work, school, etc.

Yes, it can sometimes get boring eating the same thing every day for lunch, but this is an easy-to-adjust recipe! One week we can add taco seasoning, the next we use curry paste or pesto. It is really up to you and what you like to make this recipe your own.


Our frugal recipe for lunch is inspired by The Frugalwoods who have mastered the art of frugality. If you are looking for a lot of material on how to life hack your way into an uber-frugal lifestyle, I highly recommend you head on over to their blog.

Below you will find everything you need to complete your ultra frugal recipe. We use dry beans and rice to save even more and reduce waste. You can most certainly use canned beans if you are short on time or just don’t want to cook your own beans. You can also substitute out the rice for quinoa, Bulgar, barley, or whatever grain your heart desires.

For this recipe you will need:

Large food storage container
Two pots (if using dry beans)
One sauce pan (we use cast iron)


1 C dry black beans or 2 cans (rinsed and drained)
2 C white rice (or other grain)
4 C water
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated over a micro-plane
4 TBSP curry paste
3-4 Thai bird chilies (optional – very hot)
1/2 – 1 LB button mushrooms, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, place dry beans and add enough water to cover the beans by 4 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 1.5 hours or until soft and starting to split.
  2. While beans are cooking, start and cook the rice. Place the white rice or other grain into a pot and add the 4 C water. Turn to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down and cook for another 15 minutes or until the water has evaporated.
  3. Place the cooked rice into the large food container to let cool.
  4. In the sauce pan or skillet, add a small amount of oil or butter. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Once the onions are cooked, add carrots and mushrooms and cook until they start to soften, about 6 minutes on medium heat. If the pan starts to dry out, add a tablespoon of water at a time.
  6. Stir garlic and curry paste in and cook for another 3 minutes.*
  7. Add Thai bird chilies if using (very hot). Cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Once the veggies have cooked, place them in the large food storage container.
  9. Once the beans are done, give them a good rinse in the strainer. Add them directly into the food container.
  10. Mix everything together in your food container and store in the fridge until ready to eat. We divide the servings out the night before we take our lunch to work so it is easy to grab and go.

    *NOTE: if you are not a fan of curry, you would add in other seasoning on this step to allow them to cook into the food.

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  1. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It looks like an easy and delicious meal. I like to have frugal options that still taste good and can be healthy! Your blog layout and pictures are very appealing to the eye as well! Great job!

    1. Thank you Teresa! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I appreciate your feedback as well!

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