Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.
Today: Salads, for even the most reluctant of you.
In the interest of full disclosure, salads aren't my favorite food. They don't even rank in the top 20, 15 of which are just varieties of cheese. But I've grown to view them as better than a necessary evil: They come together quickly, don't require a stove or oven, and often serve to clear your fridge of produce that might be turning.
If you're cooking on a budget, or exceptionally lazy, they make for excellent lunches and light dinners. Here's how to embrace them, without feeling like you're eating rabbit food:
1. Think outside the lettuce leaf.
2. Learn how to pack one effectively so you're still interested come lunchtime.
How many times have you packed a salad, then opened it come lunchtime to find it so sad and wilted that you ended up buying chips or a sandwich instead? (Be honest.) Put it all in a jar, for better lunching.
3. Just because you're eating salad doesn't mean you can't carb-load.
4. But don't forget your favorite proteins.
Bean-based salads are excellent, and extra affordable: Try spicy lentils or creamy white beans to start. Tofu and tempeh are other excellent vegetarian options, and there's no better way to use leftover chicken than shredded in a salad.
Read about our staff's favorite salads here, then tell us: What are your favorite salads-as-meals?