Do you want to eat healthier but you’re afraid it will be too expensive? I have three easy recipes you can combine to make a wholesome meal for less than $1 per serving. And it doesn’t taste like cardboard, either!
These recipes come from the More-With-Less Cookbook, a collection of Mennonite recipes with a focus on affordable but nutritious meals. It’s also focused on moving away from processed foods and wisely using the world’s resources. I highly recommend you buy a copy if you don’t already have one. It’s a very affordable cookbook ($11.55 on Amazon) and a great value!
Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
Combine in soup kettle:
1 cup lentils
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Cook until the lentils are soft (about 30 minutes), adding water if needed to maintain a soup consistency.
Heat in skillet:
1 tablespoon olive oil
Add and sauté just until yellow:
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
Cook for a few minutes. Then add the sautéed ingredients to lentils and bring to a boil. After the soup boils, remove from the heat and stir in:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine in a bowl:
2 cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes (about two medium tomatoes)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh cilantro, if available.
I hope you already know how to make steamed rice…
Fix up about 5-6 servings (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups dry rice).
Serve the Middle Eastern Lentil Soup over rice and top with the Tomato Chutney. This should make about 5-6 servings. Total cost per serving? $0.80! (Assuming you drink water, of course.) You could probably add a vegetable for an additional $0.20-0.30 per serving. You can easily prepare and cook this meal in about 40 minutes. (Rice is easy, and you can fix the chutney while the lentils are boiling.)
Lentils are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They’re high in fiber, folate, molybdenum, manganese, iron, and vitamins B1 and B6. They’ve also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Serving lentils with rice ensures that you get the complementary proteins you need to match the complete proteins available in meats. The lack of meat, however, means that this meal is very low in cholesterol.
Eating Healthy for Less
I plan to share additional recipes that will provide you with healthy meals at an affordable price. While this isn’t a cooking blog, it is about saving money. Saving money on your food bill shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. These types of recipes help you save money and eat healthier. In general, if you want to eat healthier and save money, follow these tips (from the More-With-Less Cookbook):
- Whole Grains- rice, wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, and millet
- Legumes – dried beans, soybeans, dried peas, lentils, peanuts
- Vegetables and Fruits – inexpensive, locally grown, in season or homegrown and preserved
- Nuts and Seeds – inexpensive, locally grown or homegrown
- Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
- Processed and Convenience Foods
- Foods Shipped Long Distances
- Foods Heavy in Refined Sugars and Saturated Fats