Inflation Cooking – The New York Times

Chicken meatballs, tofu salad and more budget-friendly recipes.
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Inflation is dominating the news, and all we seem to be talking about at New York Times Cooking (virtual) headquarters is how much groceries cost. My colleague Margaux Laskey has put together a list of 19 recipes that call for relatively cheap ingredients to help you through this time.
Inspired by Margaux, I picked five additional bang-for-your-buck recipes I love for this week’s newsletter. And here are a few basic rules for when you’re thinking about meals and current grocery prices: Move away from meat (which is up considerably, especially beef) or make recipes that use it in smaller amounts. Embrace vegetables and beans, which are less impacted by inflation. Canned tuna is your friend, as are anchovies, which can bring incredible flavor to your cooking.
Tell me what you’re cooking and how you may have changed your habits given the economy: I read every note.
Generally speaking, meatballs are a thrifty way to eat meat: Ground meat is less expensive than steaks or chicken breast, and the meat is “stretched” with added ingredients. A little goes a longer way. In this excellent Ali Slagle recipe, the addition is zucchini — inexpensive always, and abundant right now.
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Fresh fruits and vegetables have been less susceptible to inflation, which makes this gorgeous silken tofu salad from Hana Asbrink a good choice for dinner. Serve it with greens or with rice noodles tossed in some of the dressing.
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This Melissa Clark dish says “I’m having a light meal on Mediterranean island,” and you can buy most of the ingredients at Costco. Cheap and chic, and easy to make, too.
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In addition to being enormously versatile and climate-friendly, beans tend to be pretty affordable, especially if you start with dried beans. You can feed yourself handsomely with recipes like this one, from Ali Slagle, which pairs black beans with coconut milk, a classic combination found in various cuisines.
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This Francis Lam recipe checks a lot of boxes. It’s cost-effective. It’s make-ahead, in large part (the sauce will keep in your refrigerator for weeks). It’s customizable for eaters of all ages. It’s an excellent vehicle for leftover meat and vegetables. And it’s completely delicious! Make it!
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