No matter which industry you work in, chances are high your lunches have gotten a bit stale. Whether you bring the same sandwich every day or spend unnecessary money on a bland salad, let’s face it, the “same old thing” can get boring no matter how exciting or tasty it once seemed. We’ve got a solution. You don’t have to break the bank or spend too much time preparing yourself a delicious and healthy lunch. Make these tasty but nutritious recipes the night before and add some zest to your lunchtime routine.
How to Cook Quinoa
Makes 2 cups
1 cup red, black, or golden quinoa
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups water or vegetable broth
½ teaspoon sea salt
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cool running water for about 2 minutes, rubbing and swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Add the water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
Makes about ¾ cup
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
Makes 2 to 6 servings
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups cooked beans
2 cups torn fresh greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, etc)
½ cup dried blueberries or cherries, chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Make the dressing: place olive oil, lemon juice, lemon rind, sesame oil, and tamari in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cap the jar and shake well to mix.
Make the salad: place the quinoa, beans, greens, blueberries, onion, bell pepper, and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Toss to mix. To serve immediately, shake the dressing, drizzle over the salad and toss to mix.
To serve later, keep the salad and dressing separate, cover each, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. When ready to serve, bring both to room temperature, then shake the dressing, drizzle over the salad, and toss to mix.
Make these exceptional wraps seasonal by using spring asparagus, fresh green peas in summer, chopped kale in fall, and a hearty green such as chopped cabbage or thinly sliced Brussels sprouts in winter. Serve the Parma Ham Crisps inside the wrap or on the side for a meatier option.
Parma Ham Crisps
Makes 1/4 pound
1/4 pound Parma ham
Preheat the oven to 450. Line a rimmed backing sheet with parchment paper.
Place the ham slices in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the slices to a towel-lined plate and set aside.
1 head Boston, Bibb, or butter lettuce
4 ounces rice cellophane noodles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 can (6 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped cooked greens
1/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts or pistachio nuts
Core the lettuce and rinse under cool water. Drain and pat dry. Remove 8 leaves and place on a clean kitchen towel in the crisper section of the refrigerator until ready to use.
Place the noodles in a medium bowl and add boiling water to cover. Set aside until soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tamari, vinegar, water chestnuts, and greens. Cook, stirring frequently, to heat through, about 1 minute. Use tongs to hold the noodles over the skillet and cut roughly into 2-inch lengths, letting the pieces fall into the pan. Remove the skillet from heat, add the nuts, and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Arrange the lettuce leaves into 2 stacks on one side of a large serving platter. Place the ham on the other side and transfer the noodle mixture to the center. Fill the wraps as you’re ready to eat!