Walking the Periphery: A Trip Through the Grocery Store–Part 1

This post includes a great recipe for vegan lentil soup.

Let’s take a walk through the grocery store.  We’ll not be going up and down aisles, as many people do when shopping.  Instead, we’ll walk around the periphery of the market.

Why?  Because fresh food items like produce, meat, and dairy are almost always situated in the periphery of any grocery store.  In learning how to prepare lunches that are nutritious as well as delicious, it’s important to be acquainted with the freshest foods your market has to offer.

I live near an Albertson’s, and today I chose it for our peripheral trip.  So I passed through the front entrance, took a sharp left towards the produce section, and….Wow, look at the colors!  And that’s just the berry section!

PRODUCE 5

Produce can be intimidating to people who are not sure how to cook or prepare fruits and vegetables.  Also, produce goes bad relatively quickly without proper storage, and this discourages consumers who feel they don’t have money to waste on such tricky stuff. But fresh produce tastes so good.  And fruit and vegetables inevitably lose some nutrients when they are canned or frozen.

Fortunately, fresh produce is often packaged in 2-4 serving allotments.  For example, the berries that you see above are in two to three serving-sized containers.  By the way, berries that you don’t use can be placed in Tupperware containers and frozen for future use. 

PRODUCE 3.jpg

Many markets have salad counters with product in individual containers.  Although it costs a little more, single-serving salad is convenient for those of us who don’t have time to chop up lettuce.

PRODUCE 4

One of my favorite vegetables is cauliflower.  I love it raw with dip, or steamed with cheese sauce.  It used to be that cauliflower was only sold by the head.  Now you can purchase bags of cut-up florets for consumption.  So convenient!

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Here is a recipe which incorporates cauliflower and other vegetables into premade canned lentil soup.  It is easy to make and delicious.  It also freezes well.  (And for my vegan friends….it’s vegan!)

EASY CURRIED LENTIL SOUP (3 to 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • One medium vine-ripened tomato, chopped
  • Two cans Progresso lentil soup (look in soup section)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until smoking.  Turn down the burner to low.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and cauliflower.  Saute and stir for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the curry power.  Saute and stir for another minute.
  4. Add the tomato.  Saute and stir for yet another minute.
  5. Add the lentil soup and mix all ingredients well.  Heat until the mixture is almost at a boil.
  6. Turn down the burner and cover saucepan.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

This dish is great with naan or pita bread.

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Next blog:  Walking the Periphery: A Trip Through the Grocery Store–Part 2

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