Many of us are feeling the pinch when it comes to buying groceries these days. With rising food prices, I'm trying to be more cognizant of how much we spend on food. Most of our produce here in Canada comes from outside the country, and because of the cheap Canadian dollar, this means soaring prices for fruits and veggies — especially during the cold winter months. Buying cheaper fruits and veggies — broccoli cabbage, squash, carrots, apples, and pears for example — is a good idea, as well as turning to frozen fruits and veggies more often, can help to cut down on your grocery bill, as well as substituting out some of the meat that you normally buy, for nutritious and high protein (and easier-on-the-pocket-book) meat alternatives such as eggs, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
In fact, 2016 has been declared by the UN "the year of the pulse," with the hope of encouraging consumers to purchase and consume more pulses (beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas). Not only are these foods cost-effective, but they're also extremely versatile, easy to work with and packed full of nutrition, specifically fibre, protein, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. As such, I've been trying to use my favourite pulse — the lentil — more often at home.
You don't have to soak lentils prior to cooking them (like in the case of dried beans or chickpeas)— you just have to boil them. You can pre-cook them, puree them, and store them easily for up to four days in the fridge. They also freeze well! They are a great addition to soups, salads, casseroles, baked goods, and granola bars. Oh, and hummus!
I admit, I usually buy hummus instead of making it. But because pre-packaged foods are a lot more expensive, regardless of rising food prices, I've decided to start making it at home. After all, it's super easy to make. Since I always have lentils on hand, I decided to make lentil hummus, something I've never made before. It turned out to be one of the best recipes I've ever tried!
Makes 3 cups of hummus
Rinse 3/4 cup dry split lentils thoroughly and add to a medium saucepot with 1.5 cups salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3-6 minutes (until lentils are just tender).
Transfer cooked lentils into a large microwave safe bowl and add chickpeas + juice, garlic, and salt. Microwave for 5 minutes.
Add microwaved chickpeas, lentils and garlic to a food processor as well as the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and cumin. Process until smooth and creamy. For an even creamier texture, transfer to a high quality blender and blend for 1-2 minutes.
Chill before serving.
*Recipe adapted from www.ilovevegan.com's roasted garlic Red Lentil Hummus
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Related: Carrot Hummus Recipe