Looking to drastically cut your food budget? Start incorporating more lentils into your diet. Not only are lentils super healthy – they are also ridiculously cheap. One big bag of lentils – enough to make about five or six lentil-based meals – costs right around $1.40.
I gave this soup - inspired by Love and Zest - a cheap recipe makeover. I cut back on the spices, opting to use what I already had on hand. I also used ketchup instead of tomato paste, so I wouldn’t have to open a brand new can to use just a small amount.
This recipe is part of the $10 Food Day series: Four recipes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack) that will feed a family of four for less than $10 per day. View the other recipes:
- Onion (1 medium) = $.30
- Carrots (2) = $.20
- Lentils (3/4 cup) = $.42
- Chicken bouillon cube (1 large)= $.20
- Canned tomatoes (14.5 ounces) = $.99
- Tomato sauce (2 tablespoons) = $.17
- Spices (approximate cost) = $.25
Total cost of recipe: $2.53
Cheap recipe tip: Purchase carrots and onions in a bag instead of buying them individually.
Tomato and Lentil Soup Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 35 min
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cups water
3/4 cup lentils (I used brown lentils, but I imagine any type would work)
1 large or 2 small chicken or vegetable boullion cubes
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste, tomato sauce, or ketchup, in a pinch
Paprika and garlic powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, saute onions and carrots in olive oil until they begin to soften. Add water and lentils. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until lentils begin to soften. Add boullion cube and stir to dissolve. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and desired seasonings. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so, until lentils are completely soft and flavors are blended together.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, let the soup cool and transfer to a blender to puree. Reheat soup before serving.