When I saw this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge, I knew it would be a piece of cake (well, not literally).
“How low can you go? Can you make a meal for less than $3 per serving? Whatever your budget, show us your healthy entree recipe to help keep food spending in check in 2017.”
People tend to think healthy eating is expensive, but as a vegetarian, my grocery bills are usually quite low. Whereas meat-eaters spend the majority of their money buying expensive proteins, like meat, chicken or fish, I’m lucky enough to only eat low-cost proteins like beans, legumes, grains and dairy. So when this month’s challenge asked us to create a cheap dish, I knew I wouldn’t even need to think twice about my protein. Legumes were calling my name!
Yellow split peas are a type of dried legume, that you can purchase in a bag for less than $2. Split peas are hulled and split in half along their natural seam. They cook faster than dried beans and don’t require a presoak. With a cooking time of 20-30 minutes, yellow split peas are a bit more starchy and less sweet than green split peas. They are also high in protein and fiber and they have a nice bite to them.
This stew is a nice combination of the chewy yellow split peas, soft and sweet butternut squash, ooey-gooey cheese and stewed kale for some added nutrients and bite. It’s perfect on any winter day, and it’s an extremely affordable way to feed the entire family. While I didn’t do the math (because I had all of these items on hand), I know that I can get all of these ingredients for less than $10.
Makes 3 servings (each serving is 1.5- 2 cups)
1 medium butternut squash, sliced in half with seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup yellow split peas
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet with skin side down and orange fleshy side facing up. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until butternut squash becomes very soft. Set aside to cool
- Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add the split peas, vegetable stock, water and salt and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- After the squash is cool, take a spoon and scoop out the inside from the skin. Discard the skin. Mash the squash with a fork until it’s in large chunks, and then add it to the peas.
- Add the chopped kale, cheddar, parmesan and lemon juice to the pea and squash mixture and simmer for 5 more minutes. Mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.