. . . on a limited budget?? Yes – it’s completely possible – think rice and beans. Look for organic grains and beans sold in bulk at places like Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl. The combination of grains and legumes provides lots of protein (all the essential amino acids), and other nutrients, at a bargain price. In one form or another, it is the staple diet for much of the world.

Boring? Naw, not with your prolific imagination . . . your options are endless. Experiment with familiar grains like rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), barley, quinoa, maize – or try something different, like faro or millet. The variety of beans is seemingly endless – and the best prices are always in the bulk section. Soak the beans overnight, rinse, and then cook in fresh water until the beans reach the desired consistency.

A favorite of mine is Mujadara, a delicious Middle Eastern dish which combines rice and lentils, and is seasoned with toasted cumin, garlic and caramelized onion. For optimum effect, cook the onions slowly over low heat in olive oil and sea salt. Mujadara can be served as a side dish, or it can be a meal in itself – perhaps with a dollop of plain yogurt and chopped cilantro.