Having spent the better portion of my adulthood in school with little time devoted to full-time work, I’m pretty accustomed to living meagrely and pinching pennies. These days, meagre living has become crippling poverty as I devoted an entire summer to TOO MANY UNIVERSITY CLASSES and not enough work. To cope, I’ve made some concessions but one area where I refuse to scale back is food. I love food. I love cooking. I love trying out recipes and serving them to other people. It’s just my thing (when I’m not stressing over some upcoming paper or exam.) However, I’ve become more and more conscious of the cost of a meal and have tried to include cheaper foods into my food repertoire that remain, nonetheless, delicious.
Enter the lentil.
I. Love. Lentils.
My go to lentil meal of choice is a soup that I have perfected over several years that never fails to impress. It’s one of the simplest things I make but it is so flavourful, so delicious, (so cheap!), and so comforting. Whenever I feel off, it’s what I like to make. I’m making some later today and I’ll gladly post some photos and recipes once I’m done. But, dear reader, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the need to make an inexpensive salad for a pot luck.
The beauty of the lentil is its super filler ability. In this salad, which is made mostly of pricey peppers, the lentils not only add a schwack of protein and nutrients, they stretch out the ingredients and make the salad go farther. VALUE! The cheap man in me is grinning with the delight at my devilish cleverness–or rather, the cleverness of the folks at Planet Organic since that’s where I found the original recipe. I included my version below the few small variations I made.
I’m happy with the outcome though I feel like the salad still needs a little something. If you try it out and improvise a bit, let me know what you come up with. I’m always up for permutations in recipes. My first inclination is to add feta and olives but today I’m too cheap and am keeping this a low budget delight. Next time.
Mediterranean Lentil Salad
2 cups French lentils (they keep their texture best)
2 bay leaves
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp basil
1 cup each yellow, red, and orange pepper diced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil, add lentils and bay leaves, reduce heat and cook until tender 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat, drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Drain again and place in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss evenly to coat.