Microwave Meal Prep: Cheap & Simple Recipes Under $5 (Low Calorie)
Want food that tastes good, is easy to meal prep and won’t burn a hole in your wallet? Well, you’re in the right place. We’ve done the hard yards and found a bunch of tasty meal prep recipes that a) cost less than $5 per serve and b) can be reheated in the microwave for the ultimate convenience. From quick and easy breakfast meals like overnight oats (a meal prep staple, of course), to simple lunch fixes like curries and soups, to heartier dinner dishes like chicken cacciatore and turkey bolognese, we’ve got something for everyone. Are ya ready? Let’s get to it.
Most of these meals will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days. Then, just reheat in the microwave until it reaches the desired temp. They can all be stored in the freezer too.
Read more: How to Shop on a Budget
Is it Really Under $5 Per Serve?
To the best of our ability to calculate, these meals are all under $5 per serving. Prices will vary depending on where you shop and the brands you purchase. These recipes reflect Woolworth’s pricing and where possible, Woolworth’s branded/home-brand items.
Quick & Easy Microwaveable Breakfast Recipes Under $5
1. Veggie Frittata
Cal per serving 149
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.
- 2 cups button mushrooms, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups spinach, wilted
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 100g feta
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup almond milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Leafy greens to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C and saute mushrooms and garlic until soft. Layer spinach, sauteed mushrooms, feta, and cherry tomatoes in a pie dish. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with nutmeg, bake for 30 minutes until golden brown, cut into 4 slices and serve with greens.
2. Overnight Oats
Cal per serving 299
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Can be heated if you prefer warm oats. Heat for 30-45 seconds or until the desired temperature.
- 30g (1/3 cup) traditional rolled oats
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seed and almond mix)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract
- 160ml (2/3 cup) unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 tsp nut butter
Mix oats, chia seeds, LSA, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight until thick. Crush raspberries in a bowl, layer oat mixture and half the raspberries in a jar. Drizzle with nut butter, top with remaining raspberries, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Chai Spiced Banana Muffins
Cal per serving 102
Store in fridge for up to 6 days. Reheat in microwave for 60 seconds or consume cold.
- ¾ cup (115g) wholemeal plain flour
- ½ cup (40g) rolled oats
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 overripe banana
- 1 egg
- 30mL reduced fat milk
- 30mL extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (130g) raw sweet potato
Preheat oven to 180°C and line or grease 10 muffin holes in a tray. Grate sweet potato. Mix flour, oats, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. In another bowl, mash banana, mix with egg, milk, and oil, then add grated sweet potato. Combine dry ingredients with the sweet potato mixture to form a thick batter. Divide batter into muffin liners, bake for 35 minutes until muffins are golden and cooked through. Remove from oven, cool on wire rack.
4. Salmon & Coconut Fishcakes
Cal per serving 300
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheat in the microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.
- 300g tinned salmon, flaked
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup shredded coconut
- 2 red chilis, deseeded and chopped
- 2 thumbs ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 teaspoons Tamari sauce
- 4 teaspoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour, plus extra to coat patties
- 4 eggs
- Coconut oil, for frying
- Lime wedges and leafy greens, to serve
Mix salmon, spring onions, lime leaves, coconut, chilli, ginger, garlic, Tamari and fish sauce, and coconut flour in a bowl. Add whisked eggs, mix well, form into 8 patties and dust with coconut flour. Shallow fry in coconut oil for 5 minutes on each side until golden.
Affordable & Delicious Microwaveable Lunch Recipes Under $5
1. Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dressing
Cal per serving 379
Store in fridge for up to 5 days. Store dressing separately. Reheat in microwave for 60-90 seconds and then add dressing.
- 2 tablespoons hummus, original or roasted red pepper flavor
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped roasted red pepper
- 2 cups mixed salad greens
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground pepper
Stir hummus, lemon juice and red peppers in a small dish. Thin with water to desired consistency for dressing. Arrange greens, quinoa and chickpeas in a large bowl. Top with sunflower seeds, parsley, salt and pepper. Serve with the dressing.
2. Naked Chicken Burrito Bowl
Cal per serving 378
Store in fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave on high for 90 seconds.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 chicken breasts (cubed)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 cans black beans (drained)
- 1 jar salsa
- 200 g brown rice (50g per serving)
- To serve: lime wedges & fresh coriander
In a large non-stick pan, heat olive oil and fry the onion until softened. Add garlic and cubed chicken, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and cook until chicken is fully cooked. Stir in drained black beans and salsa, and cook until heated through. Serve with rice and garnish with coriander and lime.
3. Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
Cal per serving 338
Store in fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.
- 400 g lean turkey mince
- 4 tbsp. oats
- 2 spring onions (chopped)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 garlic clove (crushed)
- 100 ml soy sauce
- 150 ml water
- 100 ml Sugar-Free Maple Syrup
- 2 tsp. ginger (grated)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tsp. cornflour
- 240 g tenderstem broccoli (steamed)
- 180 g jasmine rice (cooked)
- To garnish: spring onions & sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, mix turkey mince, oats, spring onions, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper until evenly combined. Roll mixture into meatballs and place on lined baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Make teriyaki sauce by mixing soy sauce, water, Sugar-Free Syrup, ginger, garlic, and cornflour in a non-stick pan over medium heat until thickened. Add meatballs and stir until coated, then turn off heat. Divide broccoli, rice, and meatballs into four meal prep containers. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.
4. Greek Kale Salad with Quinoa & Chicken
Cal per serving 301
Store in fridge for up to 3 days. Can eat cold, or heat in microwave for 60 seconds for a hot meal.
- 4 cups chopped kale, sauteed.
- 1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- ¼ cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup Greek salad dressing (see Tip)
- 28g Crumbled feta cheese
Saute kale in a frying pan. Place cooked kale, chicken, quinoa and roasted peppers in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Top with feta, if desired.
Simple & Satiating Microwaveable Dinner Recipes Under $5
1. Tuna Bake
Cal per serving 372
Store in fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave on high for 60 to 90 seconds.
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium capsicum, chopped
- 1 cup sliced baby mushrooms
- 300g tuna (your choice!)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 cups uncooked spiral pasta
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add in the carrots, onion, capsicum and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally. Then, add in the tuna, spinach and peas, and cook until the spinach has just wilted. Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions. Then, place the pasta and the tuna mixture in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it is smooth, and gradually whisk in the broth and cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until it thickens. Stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper, and pour the mixture over the pasta. Toss to coat.
2. Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry
Cal per serving 471
Store in fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil or canola oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup diced capsicum
- 1/2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
- 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cups coconut curry simmer sauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 cup precooked brown rice, heated according to package instructions
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, pepper and zucchini; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chickpeas, simmer sauce and broth and bring to a simmer, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in spinach just before serving. Serve over rice.
3. Indian-style chicken jalfrezi patties
Cal per serving 346
Store in fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in microwave on high for 90 seconds.
- 500g Lilydale Free Range Chicken Mince
- 1/4 cup jalfrezi curry paste
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 1/4 small (240g) cauliflower, trimmed, finely chopped (see Notes)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Plain yoghurt, to serve
- Mixed salad leaves, to serve
- Extra coriander sprigs, to serve
- Rice – optional
Combine mince, curry paste, peas, coriander, cauliflower, onion, carrot, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix. Shape mixture into 12 patties (1/4 cup each). Fry patties (in batches) over medium heat for 4-5 minutes each side until browned and fully cooked. Serve with yoghurt, salad leaves and extra coriander.
or 3 minutes. Add chorizo and cook for 2 minutes until both ingredients are light golden. Remove with slotted spoon, set aside. In the same pan, cook leek and red pepper for 2 minutes and add kale for 1 minute until slightly softened. Drizzle with soy sauce and vinegar and add rice. Stir in chicken and chorizo and cook for 3 minutes until heated through. Serve.
4. Chickpea, Leek & Brown Rice Salad
Cal per serving 398
Store in fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in microwave on high for 60 to 90 seconds.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250g chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 100g chorizo, chopped
- 1 leek, halved lengthways and finely sliced
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 80g kale, any tough stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp low salt soy sauce
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ cup wholegrain rice
In a frying pan, heat oil over high heat and fry chicken for 3 minutes. Add chorizo and cook for 2 minutes until both ingredients are light golden. Remove with slotted spoon, set aside. In the same pan, cook leek and red pepper for 2 minutes and add kale for 1 minute until slightly softened. Drizzle with soy sauce and vinegar and add rice. Stir in chicken and chorizo and cook for 3 minutes until heated through. Serve.
Simple & Affordable Meal Prep is Possible!
As you can see, meal prepping on a budget is totally achievable, especially with the help of a microwave. From tasty stir-fries to flavorful pasta dishes, these recipes prove that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a wholesome and convenient meal. So, next time you’re looking to save some money and simplify your meal prep routine, consider these cheap and microwave-friendly options.
Let us know in the comments your fave, cheap go-to meal prep recipes!