Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cheap meals: Tasty Lentil Salad (Vegetarian)

When I was about seven years old there was a sale on baked beans at our local supermarket. A can of beans cost just 3p with a maximum of 4 cans per customer. My parents took my (even younger) sister and I along so that in total we could buy 16 cans of beans for 48p. We were pretty poor and had beans for most meals in a variety of different ways. I got so sick of them that I hated baked beans for a good five years or so after that!

Whilst it is possible to live on the absolute cheapest food available, you can rapidly get bored of it. My object is to find a variety of meals that cost less than £1 per person (or portion) to cook, hopefully with leftovers that can be taken to work the next day.

My recipe for lentil salad comes in at £2.92 for four portions, or 73p each. It is a variation on this recipe using cheaper ingredients, no coriander (because I hate it) and increasing the garlic (because I love it).

I am also concerned about nutrition. According to Calorie Count's recipe analyser, one serving contains:

So it's pretty healthy. It's also easy to cook! Look:

Tasty Lentil Salad (serves four)

250g green lentils (aka Lentilles vertes) – 500g bag costs 92p
4 tomatoes – six cost 69p (Lidl)
1 red onion – 20p
100g salad cheese (if you're not worried about the high saturated fat and sodium you could add more) – 50p for 200g
Juice of 1 lemon – 35p
4 cloves of garlic – 26p
1.5 tsp oil (I used olive oil).

  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly before adding them to a pan of boiling water. They don't require much stirring but don't let the water boil down. Burned lentils smell SOOOO BAD! These need to simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. Whilst the lentils are cooking, roughly chop the tomatoes and cut the cheese into cubes (approximately 1cm x 1cm). Put these to one side for later.
  3. Chop the red onion in half and slice it. Crush the garlic cloves.
  4. When the lentils have been cooking for about 25 minutes heat the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Fry the onion for approximately 5 minutes then add the garlic and fry for another 5, stirring regularly to prevent the garlic burning.
  5. Drain the lentils once cooked and mix in the garlic, onions and lemon juice. Plate it up and then add the tomatoes and cheese to the top. 

    (Totally forgot to take a photo of the finished product! Blogging fail! :D)
Depending on how hungry you are, you could add some pita bread to the meal too. (55p for six wholemeal pita in Tesco, or 18p for six Tesco Value white pita breads).

Let me know what you think if you make this! :)

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