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Lentils Rule

by Meghann on July 19, 2012

Lentils. Are. Awesome.


High in fiber. Low in Fat. Rich in protein, folic acid, and vitamin C. These low-cost legumes are awesome.

Plus, you get a ton out of one little bag.


Lentil. Over-floweth.

I knew these would be my go-to ingredient of choice when I was creating my meal plan for the week, so I created two major meals (with room for leftovers) around them.

The first – lentil stuffed cabbage.


Unfortunately, I still haven’t got the stuffed cabbage recipe down. The cabbage leaves needed to boil longer and the dish as a whole needed to cook longer on a lower temp. Eh. Live and learn.


However, the filling was spot on – and so easy to do. I just sauteed some carrot with onion, added 3 cups of cooked lentils, a can of diced tomatoes, and 1/2 a jar of pasta sauce. I brought everything to a boil, then let it simmer on medium low for 10 minutes.


Next time I should just skip the cabbage and eat the filling as-is. That’s pretty much what Derek I did anyways. πŸ˜‰

Here’s the cost breakdown of tonight’s meal.

  • 1/2 bag of lentils: $0.90 ($1.79 for bag)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage: $0.88 ($1.76 for head or $0.69/lb)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes: $0.80 (BOGO deal)
  • 1/3 onion: $0.41 ($1.24)
  • 1/2 jar Publix pasta sauce: $0.75 ($1.49)
  • 2 carrots: $0.19 ($1.89)
  • Total for meal: $3.93 or $1.31 for my 1/3 of the total meal

I also snacked on some yogurt and the other half of my apple from breakfast this afternoon.


  • apple: $0.58
  • yogurt: $.42
  • Total: $1.00

Dessert was another handful of granola

  • Total: $0.18

Someone had asked for Derek’s totals for the #Surviveon35 challenge.

Day 1:

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: None
  • Lunch: Bread ($0.64), Ham ($1.00), Cheese ($.40) $2.04
  • Dinner: Stuffed Cabbage $1.31
  • Dessert: Granola ($0.40), Milk ($0.21) $0.61

It should be noted that Derek drinks coffee (for free) at work. He also plans to accept free “office goodies” that may or may not pop up this week.

I’ll try to post his totals at the end of each day through the challenge. My plan was to get him to take photos, but I’m not sure that’s happening. Two days in – and no photos.

I’m also waiting to write all my final thoughts re: #Surviveon35 until the end of the challenge. I have a lot to say, but I think it’s better to say them until all is said and done.

I can’t believe tomorrow is Friday. Seriously, where did this week go?

Good Night!

1 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More July 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I love seeing everyone’s take on this challenge. Definitely interesting and cool.

And I can’t believe this, but I’ve never tried lentils. And I WANT to try them, I just always forget about them. ha!
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Motivational Thursday

2 j3nn July 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I feel the same way about lentils! They’re so filling and can transform into so many recipes depending on the flavorings/spices you use. Whenever I have them I ask myself why I don’t have them more often!
j3nn recently posted..Got, Give, and Grew

3 Sana July 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Yeah, I think taking free things is fine. I get a ton of free food at my job!
Sana recently posted..Strange Parking Lot Encounters

4 RunInBoise July 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Thanks for the lentil recipe. Ive had a bag in the kitchen for a while & I never know what to do with them other then soup or mush lol.
RunInBoise recently posted..Vega Energizing Smoothie Review

5 Angela July 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Do you find that eating too many lentils cause *ahem* some “digestive distress”? (if you catch my drift!) I always end up running to the washroom a few hours after I eat even 1 or 2 regular size servings of lentils! Have you ever experienced this?

6 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 9:16 am

hmm.. not that I’ve experience. It could be the high fiber though, I know food with high fiber can cause stomach issues with some people.

7 Hollie July 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

The stuffed cabbage looks really good. I don’t think I’ve ever had lentils before. I’ll have to try some soon!
Hollie recently posted..MWLC Photo Food Journal 7/19/12

8 Khushboo July 20, 2012 at 12:56 am

Those lentils look great! Next time try combining them with brown rice instead of cabbage- it’ll amp up the meal’s protein content at a minimal cost!
Khushboo recently posted..Protein bars: to eat or not to eat?

9 jaclyn July 20, 2012 at 4:24 am

‘what may or may not pop up for free’ aka drive through, office pizza/treats, free lunches from firends…boy can’t live off that 4 /day lol πŸ˜‰
jaclyn recently posted..West Coast

10 Grace @ Grace Dishes July 20, 2012 at 6:02 am

I LOVE LENTILS! I get them in bulk at Patel Brother’s Indian Grocery Store! They have great red lentils that cook up so fast.

The dish looks so healthy and delicious!

11 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope July 20, 2012 at 7:00 am

I’ve never had lentils before! It’s on my list of things to try πŸ™‚
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12 Amanda July 20, 2012 at 7:11 am

I think I’m going to have to try lentils some time. What do they taste like or are similar in taste to? I’ve never had them but they seem to stretch and I’m always looking for more ideas on stretching our meals out.
Amanda recently posted..Photos from the week

13 Sara@RunningInPinkProject July 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

It looks like Derek is staying in the budget really well too. Thats great! I know when my husband is in town our grocery bill sky rockets. I also know a lot of that is me buying “treats” or extras for him that I dont buy for myself. (So technically that is on me). πŸ˜€
Sara@RunningInPinkProject recently posted..It’s Ok to Make Yourself a Priority

14 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats July 20, 2012 at 7:30 am

I’m excited to see what you have to say at the end of this, it’s such an interesting challenge especially since many of us forget some people live on $35 a week or less!
Katie @ Peace Love and Oats recently posted..Breakfast Galore!

15 Amanda July 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

1/2 onion: $0.41 ($1.24)

Check your math. One half of $1.24 is not 41 cents.

16 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

That was a typo. SHould be 1/3 of onion. (it was a giant white onion)

17 Gabby (Quest for Delicious) July 20, 2012 at 7:49 am

Oh perfect! I have a bag of lentils I want to use, that filling sounds yummy.
Gabby (Quest for Delicious) recently posted..Life changer

18 Sarah July 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

I’d be curious to know if you are achieving recommended amounts of fruits, veg, whole grains, and all of the vitamins and minerals. All of your meals appear healthy but I think one thing that people who live on SNAP struggle with is to get all of the necessary nutrients.

Also, when you recap – would be interesting to share your thoughts on preparing the food. Again, another challenge for those who actually live on SNAP is that they have no kitchen skills…are you choosing to prepare things that require little preparation? Do you think these meals would be possible for someone who doesn’t think about food all the time or know what to do with, say a mango?

Lastly, would be curious to know if you looked at farmers markets – a big push for getting people in SNAP to get more fruits/veg is the ability to use EBT at farmers markets. did you consider this?
Sarah recently posted..How to store your greens and keep them crisp

19 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

A lot of good points. In general I don’t like to make meals that take a long time to prep in the kitchen. The lentils were a stretch for me, and that was just adding the bag of lentils to boiling water and letting it simmer for 20 minutes (I just followed the directions on the back of the bag). However, I made enough for more than one meal so I could stretch it out a bit. These meals could be possible for someone who doesn’t think about food all the time because they are simple and use simple ingredients. It’s funny you mentioned the mango, because I just had one for breakfast. It is true they require a little extra prep work, but I just peel them and cut the mango off the core. Mangos grow pretty well down here and are a very accessible fruit because of that. But this is also Florida, and I know that’s not true for mangos around the country.

I’m not sure about farmer’s markets, but I know a lot of fruit stands (including the one within walking distance from my house) take EBT around here. I would need to do more research on that.

20 Cait's Plate July 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

I definitely need to cook with lentils more often. I love the lentil stuffed cabbage.
Cait’s Plate recently posted..Southern Boy Twice Baked Potatoes

21 Sarah July 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

Just curious- do you have to include the price of seasonings in the challenge? Like salt, pepper, oil for the pan, cooking spray, etc.?
Sarah recently posted..Friday the 13th

22 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

I am not. We are allowed to use seasonings and cooking spray in the challenge. However, I’m keeping my seasonings very basic. So far I’ve just used chili powder, salt, and pepper.

23 Meg July 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thanks for the plum/yogurt/granola combo! Never would’ve thought to put plum in my yogurt, but I had it for breakfast this morning. Yum!

24 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City July 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

There’s an amazing recipe on post punk kitchen for lentil sloppy joes. It’s really simple and soo tasty! I’m not sure you have all the staples for it now but if you have leftover lentils you should definitely check it out!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Five For Friday

25 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

THe leftover lentil filling taste just like sloppy lentil joes. Was thinking about making a sandwich with them for lunch today.

26 Kaitlyn July 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

Love lentils. I may have to try out cabbage stuffed lentils. Looks good and filling too.
Kaitlyn recently posted..A new race on the radar

27 Sarah July 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I’m curious to see if you or Derek lose any weight after this challenge. Judging by Derek’s meals you’ve listed, he’s either going to drop a ton of weight or his office provides a lot of extra free calories. Office junk food isn’t abnormal or bad but might be something to mention just to keep it real here.

That amount of food you’ve listed for Derek is not something your typical male metabolism would “thrive” on, which I think was your goal for this challenge right?

28 Meghann July 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

TO be fair, Derek isn’t a big eater to begin with. He typically skips breakfast, packs two sandwiches for work, has dinner when he gets home, and a bowl of cereal before bed. That’s his typical routine, so he isn’t straying too far. The numbers listed are how much each item is, but doesn’t tell the portion size.

29 Sarah July 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Fair enough. It’s interesting to see that $1.21 equals 2 sandwiches. I never would have guessed!

30 Dani @ The Indecisive Wife July 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Love lentils! Will definitely have to try this out πŸ™‚

31 Corrie @ Blurb Column July 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm

A couple things about cabbage wraps…first if you steam your whole cabbage in the microwave for a couple minutes the leaves are easier to wrap and less likely to tear. Also, if you stuff and steam them in a steamer they will be soft and sweet. You could bake them after if you wanted, but they wouldn’t need it.
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