The Cheapest, Healthiest Thing I Could Make (in 20 Minutes)

close upAfter a long, wonderful and gluttonous weekend back home, I found myself needing to get my budget and my stomach in check. So I attempted to create the aforementioned enigma – something cheap, healthy (and obviously delicious and easy). What I landed on was a simple combination of lentils, broccoli and “pasta” that was filling, delicious, and I think probably cost a total of $6 to create. Because it’s just me eating these days, I had two bowls and still have enough leftovers for a few more meals. Pretty stoked!

  • Lentils (approx. 8 oz dry)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • Broccoli (I used a frozen bag of chopped because I am both poor and lazy)
  • Chopped garlic (2-3 teaspoons)
  • Grape tomatoes (however many you have)
  • Pasta (I used shirataki noodles – still not sure exactly what they are or if I approve nutritionally, but any type of pasta would work)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crushed red pepper for garnish

Cook lentils according to package directions. (Note: don’t over cook them if possible. I overcooked mine a bit and they were mushier than I would have liked.) Rinse and set aside. If you’re using pasta that needs to be cooked, do that now too.

panIf you’re using frozen broccoli like I did, par cook it in the microwave on medium heat (it doesn’t need to be hot, just shouldn’t be frozen anymore). Heat oil over medium high in saute pan and add onion and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes and add broccoli and tomatoes. Cook until broccoli is softened, then add pasta. You’ll probably want to add some more olive oil at this point (I was pretty generous with it – the flavor goes well with these ingredients). Lower heat and add lentils. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste.

As I mentioned, I really didn’t do a great job of keeping an eye on this dish at any stage, so mine came out mushier than is probably desirable. You can avoid this by simply not trying to multitask while cooking – that’s probably a good rule of thumb anyway. Mushy or not, this tasted awesome, and I hope you enjoy it too if you’re looking for something healthy on the cheap!


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