A Whole Foods opened last month in Laguna Niguel. It’s shiny exterior, perfectly lined produce, and very cheerful staff keeps beckoning me from afar. This particular one is humongous. I’ve never seen a Whole Foods(WF) this impressive before!
Unfortunately for those of us penny pinching, the WF is actually pretty cool. I’ve been looking for any excuse to visit and look around or have a smoothie at their juice bar. Yet somehow I always end up buying something I didn’t realize I needed, like freshly ground nut butters or 10 different types of olives!
Among its many features, the store has a large bulk section where you can find recipes to help you delve into the possibilities of using the store’s items. Seizing the opportunity before me I decided to run a bit of an experiment. I chose a recipe from the pack and set out to compare the prices and produce selection to Sprouts. What I came up with was predictable, yet surprising.
As I suspected the prices at Whole Foods were consistently higher than those at Sprouts, but to my disappointment Sprouts did not have the beluga lentils or pebble beans that the recipe called for, thus rendering the experiment impossible.
I shop at Sprouts often because they have a great produce section with fair prices. In my opinion, after the farmers market, they have the best prices and selection of organic produce in the area, but with the advent of the new WF I might have to rethink my shopping preferences.
Once the novelty of the new WF begins to fade, even if I go crawling back to Sprouts for the prices, I will continue to admire WF’s commitment to supporting local agriculture. They are creating an important connection between the people behind the product and the consumer. I love that they are also making product available to the consumer that before would have only been available through a restaurant purveyor, like the spongy sea urchin tongues you usually see at sushi bars.
The Recipe: Curried Beluga Lentil Pebble Bean Salad
Anyway…..I did end up making the Beluga Lentil & Pebble Bean Salad. The curry and yogurt combination in the salad gives it a refreshing yet intense flavor. It was a hit with the munchkin.
Curried Beluga Lentil Pebble Bean Salad
- 3 cups Pebble Beans, cooked
- 1 cup Black Beluga Lentils, cooked
- ½ Red onion, medium, sliced
- ¾ cup Celery, chopped
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp. Ginger, fresh, grated
- 2 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
- ½ Lemon, juice of
- 1 tbsp, Yogurt optional, greek style
- 1/3 cup Olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp, Curry powder
- In a large bowl combine the beans, black lentils, red onion, and celery.
- To make the curry vinaigrette: in a small bowl whisk together the garlic, curry powder, fresh ginger, lemon juice, yogurt, and olive oil. Set aside.
- Pour half the dressing over the beans and toss to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and adjust quantity of dressing as desired.
- Sprinkle cilantro over salad and serve.
When cooking the beans make sure they are cooked until tender, but not falling apart.
Recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market Cooking