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A complete dish, simple and low cost. Rich in vegetabe protein, fibre, potassium.

It's also quite high in carbohydrates, but the Glycemic Index is low, due to the lentils and the whole farro kernels.
Some peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce can be added during cooking, for taste and to increase carotenoids in the diet.

A big salad as a starter or other cooked or raw vegetables will complete the meal.


  • emmer wheat, 300 g
  • dried lentils, 300 g
  • onlion, 100 g
  • extravirgin olive oil, 60 g
  • red wine, 60 g
  • sage, 5 g
  • rosmary, 5 g
  • parsley, 10 g
  • vegetable broth or water


Chop the onion.
In a casserole, put the entils, the onion, sage, red wine and water (approximately 3 times the volume of the lentils). Cook covered, until the lentils are soft (40 min ca.). If needed add more broth or water. Add salt if needed and olive oil.

While the lentils cook, boil the farro (cook a little shorted time than what is written on the package). Drain if needed, and season with olive oil.

Serve separately. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, to taste. Decorate with some good olive oil.


  • energy 624 kcal
  • protein 28.8 g
  • fat 17.8 g
  • carbohydrates 90.5 g
  • fibre 16.1 g
  • calcium 99.9 mg
  • potassium 1141 mg

Fonte: Simonetta Salvini


This Middle Eastern chickpeas puré, easy and fast to prepare, is usually served as an appetizer, with raw vegetable sticks and pita-bread or other types of bread. But it can easily be transformed into a main dish: I suggest to eat it with some toasted whole grain bread. It is perfect for those who are not legume-lovers:one carrot after the other...and the hummus is  happily eaten also by those usually saying: "I don't like chickpeas...".

The sesame seeds paste (tahina or tahini) can be found in supermarkets or in stores specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine.

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings as a main dish, 8 as an appetizer

  • cooked or canned chickpeas,  480 g drained weight or 2 cans
  • tahina - sesasme paste, 1 tablespoon
  • juice of one lemon
  • garlic, 2 cloves
  • extravirgin olive oil, 4-5 tablespoones + 2 tablespoons for decoration
  • salt, to taste
  • paprika and some whole chickpeas, for decoration

Serve with:

  • carrots, fennels, peppers, cucumbers, radishes, etc. 
  • whole wheat bread - toasted


Mix all ingredients in the food processor. Add some of the chickpeas' cooking water if the puré seems to hard.
Pour in a low serving bowl, sprinkle with some paprika and decorate with some whole chickpeas and some generous circles of olive oil.


  • energy 263 kcal (1088 kJ)
  • protein 6.4 g
  • fat 22.4 g
  • carbohydrates 9.5 g
  • fibre 10.5 g
  • calcium 88 mg
  • potassium 199 mg
  • sodium 406 mg
  • iron 3 mg

NUTRITIONAL VALUE PER PORTION as a main dish with 120 g bread and 250 g vegetables (peppers, carrots, fennels, celery, artichock)

  • energy 607 kcal (2555 kJ)
  • protein 19.5 g
  • fat 24.3 g
  • carbohydrates 82.9 g
  • fibre 24.5
  • calcium 229 mg
  • potassium 1132 mg
  • sodium 1321 mg
  • iron 7.4 mg
Fonte: Middle Eastern recipe, adapted


A healthy and low-cost menu, in line with guidelines for healthy eating.
Approximatively cost for 4 persons (Italy - March 2012): 3.80 euro
If you substitute meat for the beans (you could quickly stir fry beef stripes with the squash), the estimated cost would jump up to 8.65 euro.

INGREDIENTS per 4 persons

  • brown rice, 320 g
  • borlotti beans, dry, 300 g
  • winter squash, 500 g
  • extravirgin olive oil, 40 g
  • sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon


Soak the beans the night before. Rinse them off.
Cook the rice "al dente".
Cook the beans, fully covered with water, with 1 bayleaf.
Cut the squash in smal, dices and stir fry quickly with some olive oil and with sesame seeds.
Gently mix together rice, beans adn squash, and season to taste with olive oil.
Serve wit a salad (romaine lettuce and scarola and usually among the cheapest on the market), seasoned with oil, lemon juice and finely chopped chives.

Fonte: Published in "La Nostra Salute" - LILT - Florence - n 1. 2012


A trick to save some money: every day, when you clean your veggies, cut the discarded parts in small dices and freeze them immediately. Use them as a base for this soup, or to bake them in the oven: you will have a fiber, mineral and vitamin rich dish, at virtually no cost.

COST  (Italy - March 2012): 3.41 euro for the soup plus grilled onions as a side dish (see recipe).

INGREDIENTS for 4 persons

  • mixed vegetables, 1 kg
  • dry lentis or peas, 200 g
  • parmesan crust, 1 piece
  • grated parmesan cheese, 4 teaspoons
  • pepper
  • rosmary, sage or bayleaf
  • extra virgin olive oil, 4 teaspoons


Prepare a "minestrone" by cutting in small dices all stems and other parts of the vegetables that you might have used in previous days and set aside for this purpose.
Put the cut vegetables in a large casserole, add water (it should be at or just above the level of the vegetables, in order to obtain a thick and antioxidant rich minestrone).
Add the lentils or peas, a stem of sage or rosemary or other herbs, the parmesan crust (scrape the outer part of teh crust with a knive and then rinse it). 
Cook for about one hour, coved. Add water if it seems too dry.
Before serving, add finely chopeed garlic adn your preferred herbs (parsely, rosemary, sage, thymes, ecc.)
Serve with some grated parmesan cheese, some olive oil, pepper and a slice of thick crust whole wheat peasant bread, if possible without salt.

Fonte: Published in "La Nostra Salute" - LILT - Florence - n 1. 2012
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