Oh man, the Grail. ;) Your request tickles me, because healthy means something so different for me. In my example, healthy involves having fats and saturated fats from animal sources -- diets low on this (for weeks on end) causes crazy blood sugar problems for me. And then healthy for other folks means avoiding this.
But, here's one recipe that's tasty, cheap, and low on saturated fats. I eat it with bread, or have rice on the side for extra filling-ness if that's what you need. I last served this for a dinner party, it + a loaf of bread fed 5 hungry people. It totally fills me, and doesn't take that much attention of mine when it's cooking.
(Cheap tips, assuming you're in America:
- Bulk lentils are often cheaper than packaged lentils, particularly in ethnic supermarkets.
- Vegetables and fruits are often cheaper in ethnic supermarkets than "regular" ones. They tend to sold ripe, which means these markets get a better price from the wholesalers (which is passed on to you!). You just need to plan on using them when you get them.
- Spices are often cheaper oh, anywhere BUT your local supermarket. I'm lucky, and have a spice shop that sells in bulk. But I've seen a lot of ethnic markets sells spices for cheaper than regular supermarket (various ethnicities, which is why I'm not naming any particular ones).
- Also, remember that you can make stocks from leftovers. Be creative. It's just flavorful, nutrient-packed liquid. : i.e.: The Gateway Stock: What to Do With Leftover Roast Chicken )
Indian Red Lentil Soup
1 1/2 cups red lentils
3 tbsp unsalted butter (or half butter, half oil) (NOTE: You can substitute margarine, olive oil, or anything you like that you can saute with. You can also lessen the amount you use here, since it's primary purpose is to help saute the onions. Just use enough so you don't turn the onions to carbon. ;) )
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
6 cups water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock (use the water, with 6
tsp better than bullion)
15 oz can peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes
2 tbsp lemon juice (THIS IS IMPORTANT. Any amount of lemon juice will do. Don't skip this one.)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint or cilantro (optional)
Pick over the red lentils and discard any misshapen lentils or stones.
Rinse the lentils and drain.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and
saute, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 8-10 min.
Add the coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne and stir to
mix well. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, to
release the flavors of the spices, 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils and
then gradually add the water or stock, stirring constantly. Bring to
a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and
simmer until the lentils are very soft, 30-45 min.
Stir in the tomatoes and lemon juice and cook until heated through.
Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, sprinkle with mint or cilantro.