How to Save when Cooking Spanish Food

Spanish dishes can be expensive, but they do not need to be. In fact, it is possible to save money when cooking them. By substituting a few ingredients and adding a few simple dishes, cooking Spanish dishes can be very affordable.

A delicious snack, and one that is not at all expensive, is bread with tomato. It is bread, usually toasted, with tomatoes rubbed all over along with olive oil, salt and different toppings. These toppings can vary from cheese, sardines and ham to anchovies. Many Spaniards also like to rub fresh garlic over the bread. The Spanish omelette is maybe the most famous Spanish snack of all and can be found in tapas bars all over the country. The only ingredients needed are potatoes, onions, eggs and salt. Another delicious and simple snack is patatas bravas. They are roasted potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce. 

Many Spanish soups are delicious and inexpensive. Garlic soup is a popular soup. Also delicious is lentil soup with chorizo, a spicy Spanish sausage. If chorizo is too expensive, a less expensive sausage can be used instead. Another delicious soup is salmorejo. It is less famous that gazpacho, a vegetable soup that is also tasty and inexpensive. Unlike gazpacho, salmorejo only uses five ingredients. It is easier to prepare and less expensive than gazpacho. The ingredients needed for salmorejo are simply tomatoes, garlic, bread, salt and olive oil. The ingredients are pureed in a blender and the soup is served cold. Salmorejo is often garnished with a boiled egg chopped into small pieces and bits of serrano ham, but this is not absolutely necessary. If these are added, it is possible to use regular ham instead of serrano ham to save money.

Other inexpensive Spanish dishes are beans and rice, chicken and rice, beef and tomato stew, meatballs with parsley sauce, and pasta in chorizo and tomato sauce. Besides these dishes, there are many kinds of salads that are not only inexpensive but also very nutritious. Popular salads include white bean and feta, tomato, cucumber, and mixed green salad.

Fish can be expensive, but two dishes that are not so expensive are cod in tomato sauce and fish in lemon sauce. Fish in lemon sauce can be very inexpensive because any solid white fish can be substituted for monkfish.  Relatively inexpensive seafood dishes include creamy Spanish shrimp soup, and spaghetti and shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce.

A relatively inexpensive sauce is aioli, a garlic mayonnaise. Only five ingredients are needed- crushed garlic, egg yolks, olive oil, salt and lemon juice. This sauce can be served with bread, rice, chicken and vegetables.

Paella, arguably the most famous Spanish dish, does not need to be expensive. Instead of using saffron, it is possible to substitute turmeric powder. Also, to save money, chicken can be added instead of expensive seafood.

Some inexpensive Spanish desserts are lemon sorbet, rice pudding and pears in wine. For pears in wine, an inexpensive white wine can be used. With Spanish dishes such as paella and pasta in chorizo and tomato sauce, many people like to enjoy wine. Two inexpensive and good Spanish wines are rioja and tempranillo.

Without question, Spanish dishes can be expensive. Serrano ham, seafood paella, valencian prawns and rabbit stew come to mind. However, by cooking inexpensive dishes and substituting certain ingredients, it is absolutely possible to save when cooking Spanish dishes.

Marita