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Nikki P’s eight favourite budget-friendly seafood recipes

crispy fish lettuce cups

Busy working mum Nikki is our resident seafood expert, and loves cooking it for her family, too. For Nikki, frozen seafood is a no-brainer – it’s budget-friendly, convenient, and just as tasty as fresh seafood. Check out her top picks and we’re sure you’ll agree.

Expert NickyP



“Frozen seafood is often cheaper than fresh, which helps when you’re on a tight budget. I always keep some in the freezer. If the frozen seafood is crumbed, I just follow the packet’s instructions to cook it. When it’s not crumbed, I let it thaw in a resealable bag in a bowl of cold water. When I’m really organised, I’ll transfer what I need to the fridge the day before and thaw it slowly on paper towel in an airtight container. Always pat your thawed seafood dry with paper towel before cooking to remove any excess moisture – there’s no need to wash it.”

- Nicky P

crispy fish lettuce cups


Crispy fish lettuce cups

Our family loves a crunchy lettuce wrap in any shape or form, but this version is a favourite. Here, I’ve mixed things up with these crispy frozen crumbed whiting fillets, which makes prepping a breeze. If you don’t have gem lettuce, iceberg works a treat, too. I put all the ingredients on the table and let everyone help themselves. It might get a bit messy, but it’s a whole lot of fun and a great idea for easy Easter entertaining.

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marinara gnocchi with fried caper gemolata


Marinara gnocchi with fried caper gremolata

Having a pack of marinara mix in the freezer is a must for me – it’s so versatile for midweek dinners, whether it’s for this luscious tomato-based sauce with potato gnocchi, or a quick and tasty seafood gumbo. I also sometimes swap out the gnocchi and stir through cooked, drained short pasta, such as penne or farfalle, to change things up.

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prawn dumpling soup


Prawn dumpling soup

This is my idea of comfort food that you can eat any time of the year. Best of all, you cook the dumplings straight from frozen. It’s also a one-pot wonder, so there’s less washing up at the end of a busy day! Use chicken or fish stock if you prefer, and any other green veggies you have on hand. Broccolini or zucchini work well.

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tomato fish curry


Tomato fish curry

This is another family favourite that’s on high rotation in our household, and takes just 20 minutes from go to whoa – perfect for a weeknight meal. You need firm-fleshed white fish fillets, so frozen barramundi or flathead fillets are a perfect choice for this, but I sometimes zhuzh things up for a Saturday night dinner by swapping out all or some of the fish with frozen raw prawns.

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fish with tomato and olive traybake


Fish with tomato & olive traybake

Weeknights are always busy, and this delicious Mediterranean-style traybake ticks all the convenience boxes. It’s so simple and quick to prepare, and no one’s going to argue about too much washing up! Frozen basa fillets are another of my freezer must-haves. Their firm white flesh is ideal for all sorts of recipes, including another family fave, fish fingers!

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basa fish cakes


Basa fish cakes

Made with everyday ingredients, these fish cakes are a regular feature on my midweek menu. They also freeze well – uncooked – for up to two months in an airtight container, so I often make an extra batch for another time. They’re perfect for our fish-cake lettuce cups recipe, but you can serve them so many ways: in crispy baguette rolls with iceberg lettuce and mayo, with coleslaw and oven chips, or with peas and mash.

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fish rolls with aioli


Fish rolls with onion aioli

This is a great way to use up that extra batch of basa fish cakes you’ve got ready to go in the freezer. These fish rolls make an impressive café-style lunch if you’re having friends over at the weekend, although I find the kids enjoy them just as much as the adults! I always use a vegetable peeler to slice the cucumber into ribbons – it’s quick and easy, and you get nice, regular strips.

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prawn and tofu laksa


Prawn & tofu laksa

I like to call this “homemade takeaway”, because the time it takes to make it is quicker than ordering and picking it up from our local restaurant – and it’s a whole lot cheaper! It’s also a recipe you can mix up depending on what you’ve got in the freezer. Don’t have frozen raw prawns? Replace them with thawed cubes of salmon or basa, or you could even turn it into a seafood laksa with some frozen marinara mix.

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