Thursday, April 10, 2008

Frugal Food: Late-to-work Chickpea Salad

This quick-and-dirty Late To Work Chickpea Salad is so named because...I was late to work this morning, and needed lunch! Here's what I did:

Hardboiled an egg while I washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on some makeup, etc. Strictly speaking, I coddle eggs, I don't boil them: I put an egg and some salt in cold water, crank the heat up, wait 'til it hits a boil (not long, if it's a teeny pot like the one I used for this purpose), turn the heat off and cover the pot with a plate (you may want to use a lid. I use a plate). You want to leave your egg about 13 minutes before shocking it with cold water, but the great thing about this method is that a few minutes' overcooking won't turn your egg to greenish rubber.

Once the egg was done, I dumped half a can of chickpeas (but rinsed them first) into a Tupperware. Then I hacked up half a cucumber into roughly chickpea-sized bits. Then I crumbled in a substantial slice of feta cheese. Then I laced the whole thing with soy sauce and shook it up. The feta sort of breaks down in the soy sauce and becomes a dressing. Then I sliced up the egg on top. The whole operation took maybe five minutes.

1/2 can chickpeas: about $.80
half a cucumber: $.25 (I got them 2 for $1 at my supermarket the other day--slightly less than peak freshness, but still good)
about an ounce of feta: $.43 (I bought a pound for $6.99)
liberal dash of soy sauce: shall we say $.10?
one egg: about $.20--I can't actually remember what I paid for that dozen.

So, total cost of a big container full of healthy lunch deliciousness, packed with high-quality protein and fiber: $1.78. (It could be made even cheaper if you made the chickpeas from dried, but that would require more planning.)


Anonymous said...

why did you use soy and not, say, red wine vinegar? The addition of the feta and chickpeas makes of more of a Greek inspired dish, to me.

English Major said...

Good point, anonymous, but I was out of red wine vinegar. I had white and Balsamic, and neither seemed appealing. Plus, I really like soy sauce and chickpeas together, for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

OOoooo, love these posts.

Thanks for a new idea for lunch next week. I just lack the sort of "let's just throw a few things together" creativity. Can't do it.

I think i'll use red wine vinegar as above noter mentioned since I have it (and not soy sauce) and it sounds better to me

pennypincher said...

I actually boiled my eggs for easter egg dying exactly the same way that you describe, but soaked them in boiling water for 20 mins. I read the tip in a kraft foods magazine and it worked great!

MEG said...

OK, how much trouble do you go to for lunch when you're NOT late??

My "late for work, grab a lunch" consists of a) grabbing a Lean Cuisine from the freezer, b) grabbing a couple pieces of fruit and an individually packaged cup of cottage cheese, c) grabbing a power bar, or d) grabbing the tuperware of last night's leftovers from the fridge.

My regular "pack a lunch" might include making a quick salad (i.e. dumping spinach and a few random ingredients into a tuperware), making a sandwich (or packing the various parts of a sandwich to be made at work), or whipping up some tuna salad to go with an apple and cutting some raw veggies to put in a plastic baggie.

IMO, if it involves turning on the stove, it's not a quickie "late for work" endeavor! :)

English Major said...

Two of those things (a cup of cottage cheese, leftovers) I didn't have, and would have taken if I did have rather than making the salad I made. The other two things are not my thing. I try not to eat frozen meals, since they generally have a lot of chemicals that I don't trust to treat my ridiculous excuse for an endocrine system right (though I'll take a Stouffers lasagna in a pinch), and a PowerBar just doesn't make me feel like I've had lunch--though I do keep a Luna Bar in my bag for emergencies, like if I were scooped up by a helicopter and dropped in the Arctic.

When I'm not late, I generally make a sandwich with some stuff I've prepared beforehand (roast beef, grilled chicken, tuna salad, etc.), veggies, cheese, and collect some pre-made and packed snacks (string cheese, roasted chickpeas, yogurt) for the rest of the day, especially if I'm going to be out late. The thing is really that I try to do most of my prep beforehand, and I was just not prepared this morning. So this is what I turned up.

Joey said...

I never thought of making something like that with an egg. I'll have to try it. Lately I've been making a bowl of pasta salad the might before and then taking that for lunch for a few days. I just use whole wheat rotini, green pepper, and whatever other veggies I have around, chickpeas, feta, and then some Italian dressing. It keeps for a few days, so it is pretty handy.

L@SpillingBuckets said...

Tag! (You're it)

That lunch sounds delicious, if only chickpeas and my stomach were friends... I might have to try something similar with another type of bean, though.

Cara said...

I just found your blog while doing some Google searches for Roth IRA investing. I'd been planning to use Vanguard and finally got around to filling out the paperwork only to run into the $3,000 minimum per fund issue you mentioned back in January of 2007. Do you remember that post?

What did you end up doing? The upside is I have both my husband and my income to throw at this, so we could save up the minimums and make the contributions over a few years. But that doesn't take advantage of dollar cost averaging. And it's just annoying.

sfordinarygirl said...

You do an amazing job of making your meals diverse and packing in a good amount of protein. Soy sauce and chickpeas sounds interesting. I might try siracha sauce instead of soy ... i think the oddball mixtures make frugal food eating fun.

Anonymous said...

Yum. I will be devouring this in the very-near future.

And ironically, I'm ALWAYS late for work. Not a good idea being a teacher, and all.

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