As many of you know, I’m a big fan not only of brown bagging it for lunch, but coming up with impromptu lunches based on whatever ingredients I may happen to have in my bag. See, because I don’t have a car and travel on light rail, I try to keep a canvas tote of basic food staples in the break room fridge. It’s much easier than having to lug around an extra bag of lunch back & forth everyday, and I can feel free to change my mind about what to enjoy that day.
With time, my coworkers have gotten used to my lunchtime adventures, going rather wild about some of them, especially my Garbanzo & Avocado Salad. This time around, they were both amused & impressed with the simple but flavorful lunch I came up with on the fly. My original plan was to make a quick lentil & veggie salad with the last few things I had in Pantry Bag. But upon further inspection of its contents, I came across a package of white corn tortillas. All of a sudden I wanted nothing more than a couple of carne asada tacos, the kind you get at those tiny taco trucks, filled with flavorful steak & topped with crisp onions & cool cilantro.
Alas, I had no steak. But I did have the lentils, half a sweet red bell pepper, and my last can of the RoTel diced tomatoes & green chilies I’d scored for my video recipe. I figured they’d make a good meatless filling for some quick little tacos, and they were, indeed, quite delicious. I love this recipe because out of just one cup of lentils & the veggies I had on hand, I was able to make enough filling for two days’ worth of lunch for under $5! And even though the photo’s not my all-time favorite (wretched office lighting!), I think it still shows off how fresh & tasty these little tacos are.
As far as the preparation goes, I don’t expect you to be as weird as I am and keep small containers of salt, cumin, etc. at work so that you can make this dish. That’s just one of my many odd Kimberlisms, in case I want to “cook” something that wasn’t originally on the schedule. But the point of this recipe is that no matter how random your ingredients, or how limited your cooking set-up might be, you can still create a tasty, filling lunch that won’t break the bank. All it takes is a little creativity and an open mind. And some very understanding coworkers who are eagerly awaiting one’s next “secret work recipe”. :)
Lentil & Sweet Pepper Tacos (makes 4 tacos; total cost per taco: $0.90)
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 can diced tomatoes w/green chilies (RoTel or store brand are both fine)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cumin
4 small white corn tortillas
2 T diced white onion
2 T chopped cilantro
Combine the lentils, chopped pepper, diced tomatoes & chilies, salt & cumin in a bowl and mix together until well combined. Check for flavor & adjust according to taste. Heat the tortillas either on the stovetop or in the microwave and fill with generous amounts of the lentil & pepper mixture. Top with the diced onion & cilantro, roll ‘em up, and enjoy!