That’s right, just one basic recipe that will be the gateway to all the others. It is a simple recipe, which is delicious on its own, but which can also be the basis for many other dishes. Not only is it simple, but it’s also very affordable. It will be good to your stomach and your budget, so without further ado, here’s the one life-saving recipe that will get you through uni.
What is the base?
This recipe can be made with as few as three ingredients: an onion, a can of kidney beans (or other beans if you’d like) and a can of chopped tomatoes.
You take a pan, caramelise the onions until they are soft, add chopped tomatoes and let it simmer on medium heat. While it’s doing its thing, you drain the beans and then throw them into the pan (not literally of course). Everything then simmers until it’s the thickness of tomato sauce. Basically, until most of the water from the tomatoes has evaporated. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce (season to taste, you may need to add a bit more), it’s the secret ingredient to any good tomato sauce. It balances the acidity of the tomatoes and makes it extra delicious.
You can season with salt and pepper, some mixed herbs, coriander, cumin smoked paprika or really any combination of spices and herbs you like. Make the recipe your own. These Spanish beans with Tomatoes and Onions have a similar consistency and recipe as the version above.
What you can add to the base
The base is delicious on its own, however, with just a few other vegetables in the mix you can get an even better, more filling and rich dish. Take the same basic recipe. But add a carrot and a pepper with the onion. This makes it sweeter and richer in taste and texture. It really elevates the recipe. It also takes you one step closer to more traditional tomato sauce. When you are ready to invest more time and energy into one, look up this recipe. Here’s a sneak peek.
Once you’ve got the basics down it’s time to start experimenting and making this recipe your own. You can switch up the beans for chickpeas. You can add both! You can add some lentils and turn it into a vegetarian chilli. You could put it in the oven (before the water has completely evaporated) with some sausages and bake that. You could go for more vegetables and add green beans, potatoes, peas, corn. Most vegetables can fit really nicely into the recipe. You could make a good burrito filling from this base, simply add some corn, maybe some mince if you’d like. Top it all up with cheese and maybe some guacamole.
Really what makes this recipe such a good starting point is that it’s simple and it works with a lot of things. It can be vegan, vegetarian and meat-based. It opens up a really interesting set of recipes from different cuisines, because this base (or a similar one) is used for a lot of dishes in various places. It is a great place to start if you don’t have experience with cooking because you don’t have to do much. It is a recipe that allows you to slowly build up your skills and your interest.
There are a lot of delicious and budget-friendly meals you can do with this recipe that will make your uni life much easier. Even if you just stick to the base, it’s a simple and tasty meal. Especially alongside some carbs (rice is my top pick).