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I love when things surprise you by being a lot better than you thought they would be!  It’s moments like that which make me think that maybe my soul isn’t totally dead and corrupted by cynicism.  I hope that if I ever get to the stage where nothing is a happy surprise to me, that someone reminds me to just go try more new things…

Anyway, onto the point: the food!  I had an idea for a lentil and barley/tabbouleh/farro salad that sounded okay, but this one really turned out fantastic and got even tastier when stuffed inside some roasty peppers.  A true vegetarian delight!  My best-est friend in the whole wide world is a vegetarian, and I need to remember to make her this next time she visits.  After I was done being pleased with myself at making such a tasty dinner, I realized that it was a very low carb and low fat meal to boot.

This recipe is a baller cold salad for those hot summer months and a great filling for any vegetable you want to stuff.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

Serves 4-6 – cost approx $.72 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lentils ($1 in most stores)
  • 1 cup pearl barley ($.29)
  • bay leaf
  • 6 oz crumbled feta ($.99)
  • 2 ribs celery ($.31)
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, minced ($.25)
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, minced ($.25)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest ($.25)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • crushed red pepper, to taste or optional
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil

To make the lentil salad, start by combining the lentils, barley and bay leaf in a pot with enough water to cover and simmer until fully cooked and tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water, remove the bay leaf.

Combine the cooled lentils and barley with all the remaining ingredients, taste to adjust the seasonings.  Now you have an amazing, vegetarian lentil salad that’s wonderful cold or at room temperature.

You could add any other finely chopped vegetables that you like/have in the fridge/need to get rid of (such as onions, mushrooms, carrots, hot or sweet peppers…) to this dish too!

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Lentil Stuffed Vegetables

Cost approx $2 per serving

  • 2-3 peppers/zucchini/eggplant/mushrooms per person

Preheat the oven to 375F.  To prepare whatever veggies you’re going to stuff hollow them out and cut a thin slice off the bottom and sit them flat on a baking sheet.   Finely dice any usable scrap from the veggies and add it to the salad.  Stuff the little suckers to the gills then pop into the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy.

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