The Canny Cook: Smoked mackerel, wild rice and beetroot salad recipe

Try to find a combination of brown basmati and wild rice – the nutty flavour and robust texture work well in this wholesome dish.

Eleanor maidment

Keeping shopping costs down and buying for a balanced diet isn’t easy. It is usually the fresh produce that hikes up the spend. But while many prices have increased since last year, some – including potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and onions – have gone down, so make the most of them.

Remember, too, that frozen veg can contain more nutrients than its fresh alternative. It is often picked at its peak and quick-frozen, retaining its goodness, rather than hanging around in transport and on the supermarket shelf – then your fridge – before being eaten. It has been found that once picked, green peas lose half their vitamin C in 48 hours.

The NHS also recommends adults eat two portions of fish a week, including one oily variety. It’s a good source of protein and vitamins while oily fish contains omega-3, said to keep our hearts healthy. And these benefits aren’t just for fresh fish – smoked mackerel or trout are great-value options and add a whack of flavour, too.

Finally, wholegrains bring extra nutrients for little extra cost. Swapping from white to brown rice, bread and pasta will boost fibre intake, while bulking out salads with quinoa or buckwheat adds B vitamins and antioxidants.

Smoked mackerel, wild rice and beetroot salad recipe

Smoked mackerel, wild rice and beetroot salad


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the rice and bring back to the boil. Then simmer vigorously for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender. (Top the pan up with water if it starts to look dry.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mining bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp honey.
  3. Roughly chop the beetroot and add to the dressing, then add the drained rice and toss everything together. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  4. Stir the finely slice spring onions through the cooled rice and divide between plates, then flake over the mackerel.

SERVE If you like, a little chopped dill or some peppery rocket leaves make great additions.

NOTE This cost assumes you already have some basic store-cupboard ingredients.

Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne.

*Prices taken from Morrisons and correct at time of going press

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