One onion, three meals

Filed in Blog by on June 10, 2010 3 Comments
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spicy black eye beansNote: This is an old post I found in the ‘drafts’ folder when sorting it out last week dating back to 2008!

You might remember that I saved the day over the weekend by turning four sausages into a hearty stew to feed four hungry mouths.

I’m the sort of gal that when I’m cooking something I like to make full use of the ingredients and energy for the oven. With 1 large onion to my name, I knocked up a sausage casserole, some dahl and curried black eye beans.

I fried off the onion with garlic and then split it three ways. You might also remember that the sausage casserole called for 100gms of red lentils. I cooked double the quantity to make the dahl. So not only does this method of cooking save time (you’ve got meals for another couple of days), but it saves on cooking energy and usually results in less waste too.

Here are the recipes I made up as I went along!

Lentil dahl


Little butter or oil for frying
1 small onion (or a third of a large one if you do as I did!)
1 or 2 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
100gms red lentils
1 dstsp balti spices
1 dstsp curry powder
1 dstsp corriander leaf or ground corriander
1 dstsp ground cumin


Cover the lentils with water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until soft
Meanwhile gently fry the onion and garlic until softened
Add the spices to the onion and garlic and mix thoroughly.
Add the onions and spices to the lentil, mix well and heat through for a few minutes
Remove from heat and this stage is optional, but I like to mix through a large knob of salted butter 🙂
Add salt and pepper if you wish
You can eat warm as part of an Indian meal with rice and chappatis or refrigerate and use as a pate on crackers or toast.

Spicy black eyed beans


Butter or oil for frying
1 small onion
! clove garlic smashed and chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mixed spices
! tin black eye beans, drained
good squirt of tomato puree
1/4 – 1/2 pint of vegetable stock


Fry the onion and garlic until softened
Add the spices and mix in
Add the remaining ingredients and leave to simmer until reduced and thickened.
Great served hot with rice, on jacket potatoes or cooled and served on toast! It’s great with salad in the summer too.

What about you – what cunning methods do you employ for zero waste or frugal cooking?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (3)

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  1. Karin says:

    The good thing about growing your own onions, is that sometimes they crop up in unexpected places and if they are in the wrong bed you can remove them before they are fully grown with non qualms to give flavour to your meals on those days when you accidentally run out of onions. There have been times like that when I’ve been pleasantly surprised by an onion or two I didn’t know I had.

  2. Waveney Bowman says:

    I freeze tea that is left in the teapot in icecube trays then when we have iced tea use these iced tea cubes so the iced tea is not diluted.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Karin: How lovely to find treasures in your garden – we find that with potatoes too 🙂

    @Waveney Bowman: Hi Waveney, thanks for sharing your great idea about freezing tea! We never drink iced tea so I would never have thought of this idea – inspiring 🙂

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