No Power Meal Plan – Couscous Salad 50p a serving

Jun 27, 2015 | 7 comments


Well this first recipe tested ok, good start. It has quite a lot of oil in it to get the calories in. If you don’t need that, you could cut the oil down quite a bit. If you have it, you could use olive oil here. There are 2 servings of fresh vegetables per person. It is substantial, filling and good to eat, very important when times are particularly tough. Whether or not this stays in the finished plan, this is a good recipe for anyone stuck without power. It tastes so nice in fact that I keep sneaking a teaspoonful every time I go past!

Couscous salad

Serves 2
166g couscous, Asda 500g/65p, 22p
180ml veg oil, Asda 1 litre £1.25, 22p
2 tblsp lemon juice Asda 250ml/50p, 6p
200g carrots, Asda 59p/kg, 12p
100g onion, Asda 78p/kg, 8p
2 tblsp Asda Red Tomato Pesto, 88p, 29p
120ml cold water
salt and pepper
Total cost 99p, 50p a serving
Per serving, 1168 calories, 13g protein, 78g carbs, 90g fat, 9g fibre

Reduce the oil to 30ml to make 547 calories and 21g fat

Put the couscous in a large bowl and add the oil, lemon juice and water. Grate the carrots, no need to peel unless the outside is a bit manky. Peel and chop the onion finely.

Add the vegetables and pesto to the couscous. Season with salt and pepper. Stir it all well to distribute everything evenly.

Now leave it to stand for 15 minutes or so, so the couscous can absorb the oil and water. The standing will also take that raw onion taste away.

If you have any other vegetables, they would all work here. I wouldn’t go much over the total of 300g of vegetables, or the couscous will disappear and you will just have a dish of raw veg. So in your 300g you could have sweetcorn, raw and grated parsnip or swede have a lovely peppery flavour, radish sliced fine, a few raw peas, fine sliced fennel, beetroot, spinach leaves.

I think nice combinations would be parsnip and sweetcorn; radish and peas; beetroot and spinach; swede and peas.

This is deliberately a whopping amount of calories and fat. I had to use about 600ml of oil in this plan and there aren’t many places to add it. This would give a person about half their daily calories and in the context of the entire weeks plan is within bounds. The weeks plan is 46% carb, 43% fat and 10% protein.

So, inspired by that success, onwards and upwards!


couscous salad



  1. Sylvie

    Tried the couscous recipe,and it was delicious!Thanks for posting some new ideas,very useful and creative (as always).☺

  2. Lesley

    A frugal afternoon tea sounds lovely, what a good idea. Buxted Park is fab. A friends daughter had her wedding there at eye watering expense.
    For the tea, we could maybe use one of the sandwich spreads posted recently, egg mayo and salmon bits with cream cheese. That wouldn’t take too long to make.
    A hot savoury that goes down well is little squares of puff pastry, spread with pesto and a slice of tomato on top. Not too big a slice or the cooked tomato will burn lips.

    Fresh fruit tarts, on top of creme patisserie, is one my very favourite things! I have long intended to find out how to make them. Eclairs are lovely, but with all the other things, probably a bit much to make on one day. Could certainly do you a recipe for them.

    For the small cakes, it would be easy to convert a chocolate fudge, a lemon drizzle or coffee and walnut into something small.

    I’m dribbling now!

    Glad you enjoyed your pasta. It’s always nice to find new things to eat 🙂

  3. Lesley

    Interesting concept re using oats in the recipe, I might try it and see. Circumstances are so variable aren’t they, it may be an expedition to get to an Asda, it may be round the corner. Getting a loaf half way through the week is certainly an option. I swapped the milk from fresh to 2 x uht cartons for the reason of keeping it fresh, so they could keep the second one unopened until they needed it

  4. Lesley

    Whoops, 120ml, added now


    Dear Lesley,I was in your area recently,in Buxted Park,having an afternoon tea,with champagne, which I had bought in a charity auction. The tea was great and there were a fair number enjoying the treat,for special occasions,I guess.Have you got time and energy to produce a similar nice,costed at a fraction-of the -cost afternoon tea,suitable for special occasions? Some sandwich fillings,such as egg mayonnaise or cheese and cucumber, are not too dear. It would need to look good but be not too difficult or time-consuming to cook. I would choose fruit tarts (I like tinned blackcurrants in thickened juice),strawberry palmiers (with berries,jam and cream),chocolate,lemon or coffee eclairs ( perhaps with pastry cream instead of whipped cream) with,for a change, lemon scones (with rind in) with lemon curd. The tart cases using pate sucree,and palmier biscuits,perhaps using bought puff pastry, could be prepared beforehand and kept in a tin. Another easy pastry would be pastry boats,filled with heaped up chopped walnuts,butter and honey with coffee icing. Something small and cakey would be good as well. Perhaps this would work out too expensive but we all need sometimes to provide a special treat. Anyway,when you have time to lift your head up from the austerity programme,perhaps you could find time to work on a few celebratory meals,like you did for Xmas.Thanks for your current ideas. Made the latest pasta with onions and carrots dish from menu 9 . Thought I would be really frugal and make it last three meals.So divided it into 3 portions.Unfortunately,I enjoyed it so much I ended up eating it all in one day,for lunch,supper and snack.I am not sure if that is the right way to be frugal! All the best.

  6. Katherine

    Do you think this recipe would be any good using porridge? Thus shaving 26p off your plan if you can get 500g of oats for 39p (as in Lidl) instead of couscous at 65p.
    My main worry is bread going mouldy. Seven days is a long time and it’s not as if you can let it dry a bit and then toast it. Could you cut out the wheat biscuits, have seventy or so grams of muesli followed by a slice of bread and jam for breakfast every day and buy a second loaf half way through the week? Alternatively, cut out the muesli. Would that reduce the milk consumption too much? I don’t know how well the milk will last either.

    Good luck

  7. Sylvie

    How much water?

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