why buying food in bulk seems adventurous, or, why sara should probably go camping


There’s nothing I love more than buying food in bulk. Aside from the obvious savings aspect, it makes me feel all pioneerish, like I just stepped into Little House in the Big Woods with Laura Ingalls Wilder. It also takes me back to those days of 4th grade computer class, playing Oregon Trail and worrying if 3 pounds of food was enough to get me to the next fort or if I should trade for six. Life was tough back then.

A few goods I always make sure to buy in bulk are quinoa, lentils and oats. (And yes, just writing that made me feel all Oregon Trail-ish.)  I haven’t had a problem finding new ways to use quinoa and oats, but lentils are tough. There’s the go-to lentil salad & scallops recipe I recently blogged about, but other than the standard lentil soups, the faces behind Viva Catalina are in need of a few more meal ideas.

I stumbled across this Sweet Lentil Brussel Burger recipe from Pure2Raw last week and I can’t wait to try it. I also found an interesting Ethiopian recipe on Food.com that’s super tasty and you can make it in 30 minutes or less. All the spices make this dish incredibly flavorful and hearty. If you have most of the spices already on hand, it’s an easy go-to meal for weekday dinners.

I tweaked the recipe and doubled almost everything since I found the ingredient list leaned more to one serving size than two. For the times I’ve made this, I’ll switch between red and green peppers (just depends on what I have on hand.) I also substitute fennel seeds for the fenugreek and sometimes I’ll add parmesan right before serving. Naan makes a great side for spooning up any leftovers.

ethiopian lentils and sweet potatoes

ethiopian lentils and sweet potatoes

ethiopian style lentils & sweet potatoes
recipe source: food.com
serving size: 1-2


  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 small sweet potatoes or 1/2 small yam, diced
  • 1/4 red sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lentils (split red)
  • 1 -2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt or soy sauce
  • black pepper


1. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and yam in olive oil at medium heat until the onions are almost translucent.

ethiopian lentils and sweet potatoes

2. Add the red bell pepper and saute for an additional minute.

3. Add the lentils, tomato paste and water.

4. Bring water to a boil.

5. Add the paprika, coriander, allspice, fenugreek and ginger.

6. Lower heat slightly and allow the stew to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender and all the water absorbed.

ethiopian lentils and sweet potatoes

7. Add salt, soy sauce and black pepper as needed, and serve.

    I’m on a mission this month to find new creative ways to use lentils to make a meal – no soups allowed. What’s your favorite recipe that calls for lentils?
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15 Responses to why buying food in bulk seems adventurous, or, why sara should probably go camping

  1. Becca says:

    I loved Oregon Trail! These recipes look great but not very kid-friendly. Do you know of any healthy/raw kid-friendly quick recipes?

  2. Meghan says:

    Oregon Trail rocks! I hope you don’t die of dysentery after trying these recipes ;) Great work, Sar!

  3. Melinda says:

    Hey, found your blog/twitter through Olivia (Green Junkie Living) – I like it! As for lentils, soups are my main go-to, but I do have a lentil loaf recipe I love. Unfortunately it has cheese and eggs as binders. I wonder if you could sub? Anyway, I can share the full thing if you’re interested, but my version consists of cooked lentils, uncooked oats, cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce and one egg mixed together and baked. I usually serve with sauteed greens or a salad on the side. (This also sates my cravings for all things BBQ.) Good luck with your continued journey!

    • sarasuzanne says:

      Hi Melinda! Yes, I’d definitely love to see the full recipe! And oats too! Another thing I love to buy in bulk :) I’m not full vegan or vegetarian so the cheese and eggs will be fine. Thanks!

  4. Melinda says:

    Also I just glanced at your “About Sara” page and we have a lot in common. Namely we both have now-husbands named Kevin and got married on the same day. WEIRD!

  5. Colleen says:

    I have recently tried lentil tacos. Its basically the best thing that has ever happened to lentils. Delicious!! By the way, nice job on the blog. It looks really great!

  6. sarasuzanne says:

    Hey Colleen -thanks for the blog love! I’ll have to see if I can find a recipe for these tacos..especially if they’re the best thing that’s ever happened to lentils ;) !

  7. Melinda says:

    Ok here is the lentil loaf recipe:

    1 cup cooked red lentils (you could probably use other varieties but I like this one)
    1 cup old fashioned oats (not steel cut, not instant)
    1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
    1 red onion, diced and sauteed until soft and translucent
    1 large egg, beaten
    BBQ sauce to taste (because I looooove bbq sauce, I use a lot, like 1/4 cup, but others may want to tone it down)

    Mix ingredients together in a big bowl, pour in greased loaf pan, bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until top of loaf is dry and browning. Take out of the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

    Notes: It may be a little messy, especially the first time. I’m usually pretty hungry by that time, so I’ll serve me and Kevin up a slice before popping it back into the oven. Also, this is the basic recipe and you can tweak it a lot of different ways. Sometimes I add garlic to the sauteed onions, add salt and pepper, change it entirely to tomato sauce with Italian spices. Very versatile and yummy. Let me know if you try it and how it goes!

    p.s. The oyster recipe looks delicious! Once I get my hands on some, I’m going to give it a try (but without pepperoni… do you think it’ll still work?).

  8. Melinda says:

    Agh, sorry – I should have mentioned that the one cup cooked red lentils, is actually one cup dry lentils, cooked. I’m not sure if that changes things…

    • sarasuzanne says:

      yay thanks for sharing this, melinda! i think the oysters rockefeller will definitely work well without the pepperoni too. in my opinion, the most important ingredients are the pernod, breadcrumbs and spinach. let me know when you try it! (if you want to be really adventurous, you can also light the pan on fire after you add the Pernod. the fire will die down pretty quickly, but it’s a fast and easy way to seal in the flavors. kevin loves doing this!)

  9. Lindsay says:

    Lentil Chili is super good…does that count as a soup? I think this one shouldn’t because it is super thick, and much more hearty. My recipe can be found here: http://lindsay-mylifeasaforeigner.blogspot.com/2011/03/super-quick-easy-olov-recipes.html Along with my favorite, could eat them every single day recipe for chick pea filled pitas.

  10. Pingback: how to limit your meat and dairy intake |

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