Sunday, January 13, 2008

Frugal Food: Lentil Soup with Goat Cheese

We had this for dinner last night: it's cheap, delicious, healthy, and doesn't take more than half an hour to put together from start to finish. I recommend it highly.

Pick over and rinse a bag of lentils. Bring 7 cups water to a boil in a big saucepan, add the lentils, and boil for twenty minutes. Chop up a big white or yellow onion. At about the fifteen-minute mark on the boiling, start sauteeing the onion in a smidge of olive oil, with two pinches of salt. Do this in the big pot that will eventually hold all the soup. When the onion is tender and translucent, dump in one 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, the (drained) lentils, and two cups water or stock (I used stock; water is obviously more frugal). Bring the soup up to a simmer and add half a bag of frozen spinach (or any other leafy green: kale, chard, whatever). Bring the soup up to a simmer again and adjust the seasoning to taste: I added lots of black pepper, some cumin, and some salt.

Top with some chunks of goat cheese (optional, obviously: you could also use yogurt, or a drizzle of olive oil, or a poached egg). They melt slightly and are super-delicious, and also bolster the fillingness of the soup (the cheese adds protein and fat—an egg would do the exact same thing for much less money).

The lentils cost $.99, the onion cost about $.80, the tomatoes cost $1.29, the stock cost $2.29, and half a bag of spinach cost about $1.20. An 8-oz. package of goat cheese cost $4; we used about a third of it on two servings, so let's say the whole thing, if you want to go there.

The total of the ingredients (including the optional stock and cheese) is $10.57. This provides six generous main-course servings, and, especially with the cheese, is really filling (also, somewhat obviously, really good for you), so the cost per serving of the "deluxe" version is $1.75. The pared-down version (or even substituting bullion for prepared stock and an egg for the cheese) is much cheaper.

11 comments:

SJean said...

That sounds delicious, I love your frugal food posts!

Sorry to be dense (I don't cook that often) what kind of lentils do you use?

English Major said...

sjean, I just used regular green lentils. You can use any kind you like—the recipe I started from on this one called for black beluga lentils, but I couldn't find them.

SavingDiva said...

That sounds amazing!

Dasha said...

I'm really loving these posts, that soup sounds yummy.

LongBeachBabe said...

Thanks for sharing! I made split-pea soup today, which is really yummy, cheap and filling as well!

Mrs. Micah said...

Oh that sounds really good. The goat cheese is a nice touch. I'll remember that...perhaps for this week's meals. :)

SF Money Musings said...

I loved the twist on lentil soup by using goat cheese! I had some leftover greek yogurt so that's what I used. I liked how different it tastes. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

shulie said...

Great recipe. I'm a legume novice, though. Do I need to soak the lentils first???

English Major said...

No soaking required, shulie!

Mrs. Micah said...

And it tastes good! :) Thanks for sharing.

brad said...

great recipe! it was oddly comforting to see you suggest adding a poached egg - i do this to soups all the time all the time. If you reheat the soup on the stove top, you can just crack an egg into the soup once it comes up to a boil. please keep the recipes coming...