Top | Tales from a Studio Apartment

Budget Lunches!

(post, David Silva)

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I love pumpkin. [repeat] L-O-V-E pumpkin and anything pumpkin/squash related. Sweet, savory, whatever! What can I say? As much as I adore summer, squashes are (to me) one of the best parts of Fall. I was reading Bon Appétit magazine, and they had a great looking salad recipe that I HAD to try. Now I know I’m not alone when I admit this: I’ll read a culinary-type magazine, “Oooo” and “Ahhh” over certain recipes, then upon completing the magazine, I close it, store it, and sadly forget all about those recipes I was so eager to try.  Well, this salad was the one to break that bad habit. I ripped it out and stuck it on the fridge. It couldn’t be easier: Roast pumpkin cubes (I cubed up some butternut squash) with olive oil, cumin, hot Spanish paprika (my addiction), and sea salt. Toss these with some pre-cooked lentils and put the mixture on top of rocket lettuce, oil, vinegar, and some goat cheese. It’s seasonal, healthy, and budget friendly. And don’t skimp on the goat cheese. It’s what makes that salad sing and right now, for some reason, I can’t ever get enough of the stuff.

I also saw cello carrots were on SUPER sale in my supermarket, so I opted to make some carrot/red pepper soup. Using similar spices as the pumpkin, I cooked carrots and chopped red bell pepper with cumin, hot paprika, some fresh thyme I had in the fridge, and salt `n pepper. Add some vegetable broth and puree. Cozy and vegan. You do a fair amount of prep work for both dishes, but it’s not every week you do it, and the “from scratch” results are worth the effort. Who doesn’t love healthy food that actually [gasp!] tastes good?  

$2.80  2 cans vegetable broth
$0.50  1 yellow onion
$3.70  1 butternut squash
$2.00  2 red bell peppers
$0. 50  1 bag of Dole carrots (on super sale)
$4.00  1 8 oz. bag of rocket (divide this in half for two 4 oz. salads)
(I already had lentils in the pantry and Chevre in the fridge)

So for $13.50 (or thereabouts) you can have 4 lunches that put a smile on your face. Just like my tummy, the wallet is (as Emeril would say) “Happy Happy”.