Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frugal Monday Menu on a Wednesday | Lentil Salad

Sorry, I didn't get to post this on Monday, but I do want to share my lentil salad. It's cheap to make and yummy to eat.

I read recently where more people are turning to bean recipes for their low cost, but high protein value. It makes sense. Meat costs are skyrocketing and will probably keep going up, up, up. And then, of course, there the issue of too many hormones and if that's actually "beef" in the package.

Lentils are one of my favorite go-to beans. Unlike most legumes, it's cooks up fast, usually in about 20 to 25-minutes with a pre-soak. They also have a great meaty flavor (love that lentil soup). One of my favorite ways to use them is in a salad, either as a side dish or with the addition of a little cheese to create a main dish.

To start, measure out about a cup to a cup and a half a beans.

I spread them out on a baking pan first and then sort them them, picking out anything that looks bad. I then rinse them and add them to a pot with enough water to cover them by an inch or so.

Boil the lentils for about 20 to 25-minutes or until soft (but no mushy soft, you want a little bite). Also, don't add salt to the water. That toughens the beans. When they're done, rinse in cold water.

Add the lentils to a bowl and then add a variety of diced vegetable you like, such as cucumbers, onion, peppers, tomatoes, parsley or cilantro, olives (black or green).

Make a vinaigrette-style of dressing. I like to use a bit of Penseys' Greek Dressing mix to olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice (we like ours zingy so it's heavy on the vinegar and lemon).

Mix it up well and add a little cheese if you like. I like a salty, dry cheese like French Feta or Mexican Cotija. Serve it on a bed of lettuce and enjoy.

As for cost, I figure I spent about $5 to $6 on this. The lentils and veggies are pretty cheap, but the cheese -- what you buy and how much you use -- will be the difference in price. I usually use about 1/4 lb to 1/3 pound of cheese. Oh, and this actually makes a lot, so Hubby and I ate this for dinner and still had leftovers for a lunches for a couple of days. 

Do you have some favorite lentil recipes to share? I'd love to hear about them.

Till next time!