Courgette ‘Pasta’ Ribbons With Honey, Chilli & Tomato Sauce: 53p

One of my Twitter followers has challenged me, me of the bread-and-pasta staples, to try to make gluten free recipes on my budget. The results will be here as I experiment – although she is also a vegetarian and hates kidney beans, but I think I have enough left to work with despite wiping all of my staples out! The first thing I noticed when walking around the supermarket was the price difference in gluten free or wheat free products. Where my usual value range plain flour is 65p, the spelt flour is £1.99. Eek. Still, onwards and upwards, clutching my tenner, here’s what Small Boy and I had for (gluten free!) lunch:

Courgette ‘Pasta’ Ribbons With Honey, Chilli & Tomato Sauce. £1.06 for 2 portions, 53p each.


2 courgette, 60p (£1.80 for 1kg, 6 in my bag)
1/2 carton chopped tomatoes, 17p (35p per carton)
½ an onion, 3p (Part of a 1.25kg vegetable pack. £1)
1 chilli (free, grows on my window ledge)
Handful each of basil and parsley (free, grows on my window ledge)
Teapoon of clear honey, 3p at a guess (99p for a jar)
20g Italian Style Hard Cheese, 23p (£2.30 for 200g)
Chicken stock cube, 1p (10p for 10)

How To:

1. Pour half the carton of chopped tomatoes into a saucepan. Dice the onion and add it to the tomatoes, with the basil, parsley, chilli, and honey. Crumble the chicken stock cube in and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, cut the top and bottom off each courgette. Cut lengthways, to make four ‘halved’ courgettes, and then lengthways again so you have eight long thin pieces of courgette.

3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of courgette away and add to a saucepan of cold water. Continue until you cannot peel any more. Put the skins and leftover pieces of courgette to one side to make Kids Courgette Fries with. (I don’t like to waste things and as I was making this I had a Small Boy nagging at me for a snack. Double bonus.)

4. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes – these just need warming through.

5. Drain the courgette ribbons and shake thoroughly to get rid of any excess water. Separate with a fork as you serve into two dishes.

6. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top, and add shavings of hard cheese to finish.

Make it posh variations:

1. Add a generous sprinkle of pine nuts to the courgette when draining to add a crunchy texture and delicious nutty taste. Alternatively add them to the top with the cheese shavings.

2. Serve with home made garlic bread at 9p per portion.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

*(Prices calculated at Sainsburys, using the Basics range where available. Costs checked on date of publication against ASDA SmartPrice, Tesco Value, Morrisons Value and Waitrose Essentials. Some variation between major supermarkets but most items widely available at similar price.)

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11 thoughts on “Courgette ‘Pasta’ Ribbons With Honey, Chilli & Tomato Sauce: 53p

  1. Looks lovely ….. Hellishly more expensive to eat on a special diet – I am dairy free, and also have to avoid yeast. Have just discovered dumplings made with olive oil (to go with veggie stew), scrumptious, and cheap. Really enjoy your blog!

  2. Good luck on the gluten free front, I’ll be interested to see what you come up with. I’d agree that most of the food with a gluten free label is more expensive, though there are cheap unlabeled options, like rice and potatoes, that are gluten free. The only way to get cheap flour that I know of is to buy basics rice and make your own rice flour from it.

    The other thing I’d say is to check your stock cubes because some stock cubes include wheat flour to make the stock thicker.

  3. I added mushrooms and italian herbs from the co op. I dont so chillis! Ekks to hot for me!!I find out on friday if gluten is banned from my diet, the doc is really concerned about this

  4. Don’t give spelt to a coeliac; it’s related to wheat and does contain some gluten. It’s wheat free, but not gluten free, and can still damage people who can’t have gluten.

      • Yes – you mentioned in your other post about cooking with spelt flour to avoid wheat gluten specifically, and you made it really clear in the comments too, but I wanted to add a comment to this post as well in case anyone who hasn’t read the other post reads this one in isolation and gets the wrong idea. Dietary needs are a total minefield :-D

  5. Just had this for tea and it was amazing, we had the herb bread with it too. Thanks for the brilliant recipes Jack, I have also cooked the Apricot Curry and put it in the fridge for tomorrow… it smells fantastic, Thank you again for sharing your great ideas :)

  6. Hi Jack, just to let you know I am medically gluten intolerant, and use a number of your recipes, or variations thereof. I make kidney bean burgers with mixed frozen veg and cumin, and just use a tiny bit of gf flour in place of wheat flour for instance.

    And I see someone else has already mentioned this, but as it is so important when medical conditions are involved, spelt flour is not suitable for wheat or gluten intolerant people. It’s just an old type of wheat, very dangerous for people who can’t digest it.

    Price is always an issue trying to replicate gluten based recipes, however I recommend Doves Farm Organics blends. Reliable, so worth it not to waste ingredients through the flour not performing!

    Good luck, hope you have success!

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