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11 Foods to Save You Money During this Hard Time in Nigeria

Traditional Eastern Nigerian recipe prepared with Goat meat, spices, seasonings, vegetables and palm oil.
No.DishIngredientsCost (₦)ServingsCost per Serving (₦)
1.Protein-Packed Bean Cakes (Akara)Dry black-eyed peas, onion, salt, oil52010-1535
2.Sweet Potato Porridge (Okpokpo Ogede)Sweet potatoes, milk, onion, peanut butter9506160
3.Leafy Green Stew (Efo Riro)Leafy greens, shrimp or smoked fish, palm oil9206150
4.Vegetable Jollof SpaghettiBrown rice spaghetti, carrots, green beans, tomatoes11006185
5.Savory Black-Eyed Pea Frittata (Akara Scramble)Akara bean cakes, eggs, onion, tomato6004150
6.Yam Pepper SoupYam, goat meat or beef, onion, peppers18105-6300
7.Coconut Jollof RiceRice, coconut milk, onion, ginger12554315
8.Moi Moi – Baked Bean Patties/CroquettesBlack beans, egg, breadcrumbs, onion9758120
9.Nigerian Fried RiceRice, tomato paste, onion, carrots, peas11004275
10.Cucumber SaladCucumbers, onion, lime, chili sauce3754100
11.Sweet Potato PottageSweet potatoes, peanut or almond butter, onion7704190

Eating well in Nigeria can be challenging with the rising costs of ingredients. However, there are still many flavorful, nutritious, and budget-friendly Nigerian food options that won’t break the bank. In this article, I’ll explore 11 authentic Nigerian dishes packed with local flavors, reasonably priced at around ₦2000 or less for a family of 6.

Protein-Packed Bean Cakes (Akara)

These tasty bean cakes are a beloved breakfast or snack, featuring just a few humble ingredients: beans, onions, salt, and oil. Buying dry beans in bulk slashes costs for this already wallet-friendly meal!

Ingredients: 2 cups dry black-eyed peas, soaked overnight (₦200) 1 medium onion, chopped finely (₦100) 1⁄2 tsp salt (₦20) Veg oil for frying (₦200)

Process the drained peas, onion and salt in a food processor until smooth. Scoop spoonfuls of the thick batter into the hot oil in a pan, frying until browned and crispy on both sides. These nutritious bean fritters are delicious paired with pap or egg sauce.

Makes 10-15 cakes for just ₦520 total. Each serving costs approximately ₦35!

Sweet Potato Porridge (Okpokpo Ogede)

Porridges make for comforting, budget-friendly breakfasts. Sweet potato porridge balances sweet tubers with milk, peanut butter, and aromatics for a healthy morning meal.

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped (₦300) 2 cups milk (₦500) 1 onion, finely chopped (₦50) 2 tbsp peanut butter (₦100)

Simmer the sweet potato chunks in milk with onions until soft. Mash mixture into a thick porridge, then swirl in peanut butter for added protein. Serve warm – a nutritious start to the day!

Feeds 6 for just ₦950 total, or about ₦160 per bowl.

Leafy Green Stew (Efo Riro)

Vibrant leafy greens, plump shrimp, and zesty spices come together beautifully in this simple, affordable stew. Double the recipe and freeze half for later!

1 small bag leafy greens like spinach (₦200) 1 cup shrimp or smoked fish (₦500) 2 tbsp palm oil (₦100) 1 onion, thinly sliced (₦50) 1 scotch bonnet pepper (₦20) 1 tsp crayfish (₦50)

Sauté aromatics in oil, then simmer greens and seafood until tender. Season stew with salt and pepper. Ladle over swallow like eba or serve with rice.

6 hearty servings for approximately ₦920 total, or ₦150 each. A budget-friendly source of vegetables!

Vegetable Jollof Spaghetti

This budget pasta dish adds vegetables like carrots and green beans for added nutrition. Use less-expensive brown rice pasta to further trim costs.

Ingredients: 1 pack brown rice spaghetti (₦500)
2 large carrots, chopped (₦100) 1 cup green beans, chopped (₦150) 1 can diced tomatoes (₦200) 1 onion, chopped (₦50) Veg oil (₦100) Spices like thyme, curry powder, stock cubes

Boil pasta until tender. In another pot, simmer chopped veggies in tomatoes and broth. Season sauce then toss with drained pasta. Sprinkle in corned beef or smoked fish for extra protein!

₦1100 feeds up to 6 people, approximately ₦185 each for a nutritious meal.

Savory Black-Eyed Pea Frittata (Akara Scramble)

Take protein-rich akara bean cakes to the next level scrambled with onions, peppers and eggs for a deliciously hearty and affordable breakfast or light dinner. Excellent budget meal prep option too – just reheat portions throughout the week!

Ingredients: 5-6 akara bean cakes (₦200)
3 eggs (₦150) 1 onion, chopped (₦50)
1 tomato, chopped (₦50) 1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional) (₦50) 2 tbsp oil (₦100)

Chop akara cakes into bite-sized pieces. Scramble together with chopped veggies, eggs and seasonings in hot oil until set. Serve over bread or toast.

₦600 makes 4 generous portions, just ₦150 each!

Yam Pepper Soup

Warm up with this savory, soothing yam pepper soup, smartly stretching a few pieces of meat into a hearty, healthy one-pot meal.

1 lb goat meat or beef (₦1200) 4 cups yam, peeled & cubed (₦500)
1 onion, chopped (₦50) 3 habanero peppers, halved (₦60) Black pepper, thyme

Simmer meat in broth with onions and peppers until tender. Add cubed yam and seasonings and cook till yam is fork-tender. Serve broth soup style or over rice.

₦1810 makes 5-6 portions, approximately ₦300 each. Comfort food on a budget!

Coconut Jollof Rice

This unique jollof rice combines budget-friendly white rice with sweet coconut milk and ginger. Serve with fried plantain for a mouthwatering money-saving meal!

2 cups rice (₦600) 1 can coconut milk (₦500) 1⁄2 onion, chopped (₦25) 1 tbsp ginger, chopped (₦30) Veg oil (₦100)
Spices like thyme

Cook rice per package directions with coconut milk, onions and seasonings until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff rice and serve topped with ginger slices, shrimp or corned beef for added flavor and protein!

₦1255 makes 4 generous helpings of this wallet and taste bud-pleasing rice. Approx ₦315 per serving.

Moi Moi – Baked Bean Patties/Croquettes

Transform humble beans into melt-in-your-mouth vegetarian bean patties. Combining mashed beans with budget binding ingredients like breadcrumbs and egg holds down food costs while delivering on flavor. Serve in rolls, over rice or with condiments for an easy money-saving meal.

Ingredients: 2 cans black beans, drained well (₦800) 1 egg (₦50) 1⁄4 cup breadcrumbs (₦100) 1⁄2 small onion, minced (₦25) Salt, pepper, spices to taste Oil for frying

Mash beans with egg, breadcrumbs, onion and seasonings until combined. Form into patties and pan fry in batches 4-5 minutes per side until crispy. Build bean burgers in rolls with affordable veggies like lettuce, tomato and onion. Or top rice bowls with baked bean fritters for a complete meal.

Makes 8 patties for ₦975 total. Each bean loaded patty comes out to around ₦120.

Nigerian Fried Rice

This Nigerian street food favorite comes together affordably with egg, vegetables, spices and tomato paste or canned stewed tomatoes. Adjust recipe to your budget by using frozen mixed veggies in place of higher cost fresh veggies.

Ingredients: 2 cups rice (₦600)
1⁄4 cup tomato paste or canned diced tomatoes (₦50) 1 small onion, diced (₦25) 1 small carrot, diced (₦25) 1 cup green peas or mixed frozen vegetable medley (₦200) 2 eggs, lightly beaten (₦100) 1 tbsp veg or olive oil (₦100) Curry powder, thyme and other desired seasonings

Cook rice according to package directions. Heat oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Stir fry onions, carrots and other vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Push veggies to the side. Add beaten egg to empty space and scramble lightly. Mix in cooked rice and tomatoes, continuing to stir fry 4-5 minutes until tomato paste evenly coats rice and eggs are fully cooked. Season with spices as desired. Serve for lunch or dinner!

4 generous servings for only ₦1100 total, or around ₦275 each.

Cucumber Salad

Cool, crisp cucumbers pair perfectly with onion and chili hot sauce in this fast, fresh salad. Make it even more budget friendly by picking cucumbers from your backyard garden if available!

Ingredients: 3 cucumbers, sliced (₦300) 1 small onion, thinly sliced (₦25)
Juice of 1 lime (₦50) Salt & black pepper to taste Hot chili sauce like rocotto (optional)

Simply toss sliced cucumbers and onions with fresh lime juice and seasonings for an easy, light salad on the side of any meal. Sprinkle with chili sauce for some heat if desired.

₦375 makes 4 side salads for under ₦100 each!

Sweet Potato Pottage

Warm, velvety and loaded with fiber, this sweet potato pottage comes together quickly for a fast weeknight dinner. Peanuts add extra protein to this budget-friendly vegetable dish.

Ingredients: 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped small (₦400)
1 cup peanut or almond butter (₦300) 1 onion, chopped (₦50) 1 knorr cube (₦20) Black pepper to taste

Simmer sweet potato chunks with onions and enough water to cover until very soft. Reduce heat and stir in nut butter, knorr cube and seasonings until smooth and creamy. Enjoy as a light vegetarian entree or side dish.

Serves 4 for ₦770 total. Each hearty serving costs just ₦190.

Other low buget-friendly foods:

Creamy, Spicy Egusi Soup on a Budget Egusi soup makes a hearty, wallet-friendly meal with vitamin-packed greens and anti-inflammatory seeds. Stock up on a bag of dried ground egusi which lasts for months in the pantry. When ready to cook, simply rehydrate in water for a quick creamy base. Sauté affordable aromatics like onion and scotch bonnets before adding egusi and your choice leafy greens. Spinach, bitterleaf, okazi and pumpkin leaves all work beautifully. Simmer until glossy and rich. Seafood elevates but snips of corned beef also do the trick. Ground crayfish lends authentic flavor for just pennies. With only about ₦850 total to feed 6, egusi soup makes both delicious and cost-effective dinner fare.

Jollof Rice – Frugal Family Favorite From party staple to simple weeknight fare, jollof rice always satisfies. This beloved tomatoey rice dish comes together affordably by relying on pantry basics like long grain rice, canned tomatoes or paste, onion, peppers and seasoning. Splurge on a few pieces of meat or fish if budget allows or stick to veggies for savings. Whatever you choose, be sure to stir frequently as it simmers until the rice becomes infused with rich red sauce and the textures become soft and fluffy. Not only wallet-friendly at less than ₦1000 for a whole pot, kids and adults alike give jollof rice rave reviews at dinner time!

White Rice and Stew for Simple Suppers When you’re looking for a fast, fuss-free budget meal, try this Nigerian rice and stew combo. Make the stew base ahead with onions, tomatoes and peppers. The day of, cook white rice until perfectly fluffy. While rice rests, finish assembling stew with preferred protein and greens. Expect total costs around ₦1500 to feed 6 with affordable chicken or fish. Served together, the fresh tomato gravy soaks into the rice for a one-pot effect without the hassle. Simple, scrumptious and easy on the wallet!

Crispy Fried Yam Chips With the natural sweetness of yams, few extra ingredients are needed for a delicious starchy side. Medium sized tubers are budget buys at around ₦200 each. Peel, slice into discs or sticks. Marley in salt, pepper and just enough oil to lightly coat. Spread in a single layer on tray and bake or pan fry until golden brown outside and tender inside, about 15 minutes per batch. Serve yam fries paired with tomato or chili sauce for dipping. Cost per serving comes out to approximately ₦100. Sweet, salty, crispy satisfaction without breaking budget!

Beans Porridge – Protein Powerhouse Beans offer an affordable plant-based protein to build meals around. Buy dry beans in bulk then soak prior to boiling until tender to slash costs further. Once soft, mash half the beans right into the pot to start thickening liquid into a hearty porridge. Add back the remaining whole beans along with aromatics, garlic and greens of choice. Simmer until heated through and broth reaches desired creaminess. The starchiness of the potatoes help bind the stew too. With a complete protein, fiber and plants for under ₦500 per pot, beans make both wallet and body happy. Serve alongside bread, rice or boiled yams.

Tiny costs can yield big flavor – as this report shows, feeding a family in Nigeria is possible even on a lean budget. The key lies in embracing lesser-known yet deeply satisfying traditional cuisine, from akara bean fritters to leafy stews overflowing with vegetables. With open minds (and mouths), Nigerian homecooks can continue serving up fabulous fare despite tough economic times. What hidden food gems offer affordability in your local kitchen? Give them their chance to shine on your family table today.

Izu Mgbaemena

I'm Izu Mgbaemena, a Nigerian-based writer for Naijadazz. I love sharing stories about Nigerian culture, food, music and more. As a frequent contributor to Naijadazz, I relish the opportunity to showcase the endlessly fascinating aspects of Nigerian culture to a global audience.