Inspired by the Rainbow Health Initiative’s Pounds4Pride campaign for a more fit Minnesota LGBT community, I sat down with one of my roommates to plot some cheap-but-healthy recipes to share with y’all.

When I say cheap, I mean cheap. These two dips are not only based around some of the cheapest things in the grocery store, but they can give you some of the cheapest protein-per-dollar around — and they’re wicked tasty!

©2009 James Sanna
Roommate’s Hummus
One 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 tbsp. tahini
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt (around 1/3 tsp.)
Black Pepper

Empty the beans, tahini, and garlic into a food processor. Add a splash of water and puree the three. It’ll be chunky at first, but if you keep the machine running while you slowly pour the olive oil in, it will turn deliciously smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

©2009 James Sanna
Curried Lentil Spread
1/2 cup dry lentils, washed and picked over for pebbles
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
About 2 tsp. yellow curry powder
1/2 bunch Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, washed and chopped
Crushed red chillies, or cayenne pepper
Black Pepper

In a small saucepan, warm 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add lentils, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer lentils until soft, but still slightly firm (about 20 minutes). Drain lentils and onions, and add to food processor with garlic and a splash of water. Puree just like the hummus, slowly adding the remaining olive oil and curry powder. If it’s not smooth enough, keep the food processor running while you slowly add water until you like the consistency. Toss in the parsley, and add salt, black pepper, and crushed chilies to taste.

So why does the Rainbow Health Initiative think we all could shed a few pounds? Loretta Worthington, Executive Director of RHI, couldn’t point to specific statistics showing numbers of overweight or obese LGBT Minnesotans, but she pointed out that many Minnesotans are obese – 1 in 4, according to the Minnesota Department of Health’s Obesity Plan – suggesting it would be a problem among the LGBTQ community, too.

Ani Koch, the head of the “Pounds for Pride” program, said the initiative is a “very basic” step in eventually reducing what they see as an obesity problem in the community. RHI has been traveling from Pride to Pride around the state, convincing people to pledge to incorporate one healthier activity into their lives this summer.

“Health doesn’t mean going off the deep end and stopping eating the things you love and run five miles a day,” Koch told us, “That may be health for one person, but it doesn’t have to be [the best for another person]. It could mean drinking an extra glass of water every day.”

Koch also hit out at the bar scene for promoting what she sees as less-healthy behaviors. “To get there you have to walk through a cloud of smoke, and once you’re in the bar you’re encouraged to drink as much as possible, because that’s how the bar thrives. I’m not by any means anti-bar, but that’s where [the community] meets, and that’s where we gather, and that’s where addiction starts.”

Photos: James Sanna

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