Category Archives: Lunch

Lentil Tacos w/Carrot-Jicama Slaw

These lentil tacos are so simple.  What takes the most time is prepping all the vegetables, and after that, it’s a cinch. It took about 45 minutes to make, start to finish, which is a bit long for a weeknight meal, but it was definitely worth the wait. I got the recipe from vegan cookbook, Thug Kitchen – which I’m putting out there, is not for the faint of heart.  If it were a CD, it would definitely have the label for “Parent Advisory Lyrics.”  That said, if you can look past the word choices in the recipe descriptions and look at the recipes, they are pretty great. I actually can’t believe how little of what I made is left – that’s how much everyone liked it!  I suggest prepping the vegetables ahead of time, to make cooking this recipe even easier.  We enjoyed without the salsa the author suggested, and I’m sure that makes these tacos even better.  Even your meat-loving friends will love these!

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Lentil Tacos with Carrot-Jicama Slaw

adapted from Thug Kitchen

makes 6-8 tacos, or more if using mini tortillas

INGREDIENTS

3 cups water

1 cup black beluga lentils

1/2 tsp olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped

8 oz. mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces

1 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

3 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp apple juice (the unfiltered kind)

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 lb jicama, cut into small matchstick pieces

1 carrot, cut into small matchstick pieces

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into small matchstick pieces

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

pinch of sea salt

Your favorite corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the lentils with the water until boiling.  Once boiling, simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender, but not mushy.  Drain extra water.
  2. In a large pan, heat olive oil and add onions.  Cook until translucent.  Add mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add coconut aminos and lentils and stir.  Add garlic and apple juice, stir and cook for a few more minutes.  Turn off heat and add sesame oil. Stir in to combine.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the jicama, carrots, and cucumber.  Mix in apple cider vinegar and lime juice. Salt to taste.
  4. Assemble tacos and enjoy!

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Moroccan Quinoa

I’ve been working my way through The Love & Lemons Cookbook and was inspired to try a Moroccan Couscous recipe with quinoa instead of couscous.  I had to make some tweaks, because quinoa cooks differently than couscous, but the result was really good.  I also think it tastes better the next day, making this a great make-ahead dish for weeknight dinners or even lunchboxes.

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Moroccan Quinoa (serves 8-10)

adapted from Eating in the Middle

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups no-chicken (or chicken) broth

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed & drained

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup golden raisins

3-4 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley

 

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a medium sized pot, bring broth and water to a boil.

2.  Remove pot from heat and add quinoa, cumin, coriander, turmeric, lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Stir in and cover pot. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3.  Move covered pot back to burner, over medium-high heat.  Set timer for 5 minutes.  Check after 5 minutes to see if liquid has been absorbed.  Repeat for 5 minutes at a time until liquid is absorbed.

4.  Once liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork and stir in raisins and parsley.  Can be served immediately, at room temperature, or can be refrigerated and served cold.

 

Best and Easy Salmon Burgers

For several years, I have been wanting to make my own salmon burgers.  One of my family members makes the most delicious salmon patties every year for one of our family dinners – and intimidated by all the recipes to first cook and then flake the salmon, I just never tried.  That is, until I found this recipe from Food & Wine magazine.  All you need is a food processor (or I imagine a blender will do too) to chop up the salmon, mix in the ingredients by hand, and voila!  This recipe is not only delicious, but it also is easy to freeze and thaw next day and/or prepare the night before cooking.  We first made these for dinner with our friends, and this past weekend we made a whole batch for ourselves, because they’re just so good and easy.  Do you have a great salmon burger recipe?

Some notes

  • Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup – I got 11 patties from the mix
  • I used 1/4 cup fat free mayo and 1/4 cup reduced fat/light mayo
  • I used sambal oelek that I found at the supermarket
  • I prepared the night before and had in the fridge to cook up the next day.  When I cooked the next day, I coated with panko/sesame seed mixture then.  (Feel free to use traditional and black sesame seeds)
  • I used 1 tbsp vegetable oil in nonstick pan for 8 patties – I’d say if cooking up a few, maybe use 1-2 tsp for every two – just eyeball what looks good – since it’s in a nonstick pan, it doesn’t need a ton of oil, but enough to brown the patties.
  • To freeze, I wrapped each patty in saran wrap and put in a freezer ziploc bag.
  • We ate with out the slaw or avocado aioli
  • They taste great in salad, so a bun is optional.  If using a bun, you might want to add avocado, tzatziki, or the toppings suggested in the recipe

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Avocado Caesar Dressing

Until this weekend, I hadn’t considered using avocado in a Caesar dressing.  In anticipation of her new cookbook, I found a recipe from What Gaby’s Cooking‘s book Absolutely Avocado.  I adapted it a tinge, and the result was really great.  The recipe was straightforward and I made the entire recipe in my mini food-processor (smaller machine, smaller clean up!).   Scott said it was a great salad dressing for lunch.  He prefers the Vegan one for dinner.  I tried to ask what specific qualities brought him to this decision, but I couldn’t get a straight answer, so I guess we’ll just go with it as is.  Try this one at home and let us know how you like it.  Would you say it’s more of a “lunch dressing” too?

Some notes

  • I used three garlic cloves instead of 1 or 2. One more would be fabulous too.
  • Our serving size was 2 tbsp., while the recipe would allow for about 4tbsp – 1/2 cup per person.  I would suggest adjusting serving size for how large your salad is, and taste preference 🙂
  • We used the Parmesan cheese, but I think it could easily be omitted.  Perhaps add a bit more salt and pepper if doing so.

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Avocado Caesar Dressing
adapted from Gaby Dalkin, Absolutely Avocado

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 Hass avocado
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cut avocado in half lengthwise and remove pit. Remove flesh of avocado with a spoon into the bowl of a food processor.

Add the remaining ingredients and pulse about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Nobu Bento Box

We had a lot of great food on our trip to New York a few weeks ago, and the one I keep thinking about is our lunch the day we arrived in Southampton.  While I have still yet to try sushi from Nobu, I can now cross off eating there on my bucket list.  We shared a Bento Box that had tuna sashimi, salad, rice, and teriyaki chicken.  It was the perfect lunch.  The next time you’re in Southampton, check out Nobu at the Capri to get yours.

Nobu Bento Box

Poolside Lunch for 2

A Wicked Tuna Roll

Lobster Rolls don’t mean a thing to me, but Tuna Rolls sure do.  Before I lived in Boston, I never knew about Lobster Rolls (rightfully so, coming from a family that keeps Kosher-ish).  I remember the afternoon like it was yesterday, I took the train to Rockport and grabbed lunch at a quaint cafe.  I don’t remember the name of the restaurant or what I ordered, but I do remember the lobster roll the couple next to me ordered and thinking, “it’s served on a hotdog bun!?”  Fast forward about three years, when I saw a Barefoot Contessa episode where she made Grilled Tuna Rolls – this I could do.  I LOVE tuna, in all forms (albacore sushi, seared ahi, tuna salad…) and this recipe definitely makes my list of favorites.  I like to make it on extended weekends (like Memorial Day this weekend!), and we’ll usually enjoy it for a few days.  I might not be bringing them next door to my neighbor, Rob Marshall, but hey, I think making them for us is a pretty good second best.

Some tips

  • We found it better to dice the tuna in small 1/2 inch cubes, rather than 1-inch.  We made it both ways, and felt the smaller pieces were easier to eat.
  • I seared the tuna in a nonstick pan, and used about 1-2 tsp. of olive oil
  • To help in cutting the tuna up later, I asked the fishmonger to cut the tuna steak in half so that it made 1/2 inch thick steaks
  • I suggest using 2-3 tbsp. of red onion instead of 1/4 cup – for us, it was too strong otherwise
  • For hot dog buns, any kind will do – we use the low-cal kind
  • The mix also works great on crackers as an appetizer

Grilled Tuna Roll
(Please excuse the camera-phone quality picture)

A Butternut Lunch

A few weeks ago, I shared the soup that gave me a newfound appreciation for butternut squash.  Today, I’m sharing yet another version of my turkey sandwich, inspired by leftover squash puree (from our Black Bean and Butternut Squash Tacos) and sheer curiosity of what else I could use that puree for!  This sandwich features olive tapenade, spinach and butternut squash puree – in addition to my regular sandwich staples: whole wheat sandwich thin, turkey and Maple Grove Balsamic Dressing.  What are some creations you’ve made for weekday lunches?

Some tips

  • After bread is toasted put a few spoonfuls of butternut squash puree on bottom, spread 1 plastic spoonful of dressing on top, follow with turkey
  • Spread 1tsp of olive tapenade on top of bread followed by spinach

Turkey sandwich with Butternut Squash Puree & Olive Tapenade

Let’s Do Lunch with Basil

Last week a recipe for Grilled Salmon with Quick Blueberry Pan Sauce caught my eye with the pairing of blueberries and fish – a combination I’ve yet to try.  As I was rushing out the door for work the other day, I decided it could likewise be an interesting experiment to put my favorite blackberry preserves on a turkey sandwich for lunch.  Searching the refrigerator for one more thing to add, I grabbed some basil, put items in baggies and was out the door.  I mentioned last week that turkey, a sandwich thin, baby spinach and balsamic are my lunch go-to’s – and adding the blackberry preserves and basil to the sandwich was even better than I imagined.  The basil makes the sandwich a standout and leaves me curious what other herbs and types of preserves might also work well.

Some tips

  • Toasting the bread gives the sandwich a firm foundation for all the fillings
  • To prepare basil, I roughly julienned 4 leaves with a plastic knife at work
  • For Side A (top):  I spread 1 plastic spoonful of Maple Grove Balsamic dressing and topped with spinach
  • For Side B (bottom): I used a little less than 2 tsp. of Blackberry Preserves, topped with basil, and then the turkey
  • For a vegetarian alternative, I think 1-2 slice(s) of swiss cheese – instead of the turkey, would taste great

Turkey, Blackberry & Basil Sandwich with Spinach & Balsamic

Let’s Do Lunch

Bringing lunch to work doesn’t need to be monotonous.  In the past months, I have worked hard to come up with some ways to keep it fresh.  For me, this means having a fridge at work and home, stocked with some essentials.

At Home

  • Your favorite bread/Whole wheat sandwich thins (these taste better toasted, if you can, at work)
  • Fresh organic baby spinach
  • Black beans
  • Dried cranberries
  • Slivered almonds
  • Homemade olive tapenade*
  • Cucumber
  • Organic loose carrots (a little more expensive, but they taste way better)
  • Shelled Pistachios

At Work

  • Maple Grove Fat Free Balsamic Dressing (there’s no oil in this, making it a great healthy addition to any sandwich or salad)
  • Dijonnaise (I LOVE this stuff and use it even to make my tuna)
  • Frozen Berries (a quick sweet midday snack and easy to store in the freezer at work)

With these, here are some possibilities that require buying one more ingredient (bolded), and can be assembled at work

  • Turkey, Tapenade & Spinach Sandwich – Sandwich thin, toasted:  (Side A) 3/4 tsp. tapenade + turkey**  (Side B) 1 plastic spoon of dressing, same amount dijonnaise + 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • Pistachio Spinach Salad – 1 – 2 cups baby spinach, 1/4 cup pre-chopped carrots, 1/2 cup pre-chopped cucumber, 10-15 pre-chopped pistachios, 2 tsp. dried cranberries, 1/3 cup shredded red cabbage, and 2 tbsp. dressing
  • Black Bean Spinach Salad – 1-2 cups baby spinach, 1/2 cup pre-cooked black beans, 2 tsp. dried cranberries, 1 tsp. almonds,  2 tsp. crumbled gorgonzola or feta, and 2 tbsp. dressing

What are your lunch go-to’s?

Turkey, Tapenade & Spinach Sandwich

*Olive Tapenade recipe is first four ingredients, and first step here
**I prefer Boar’s Head Low Sodium Turkey (for some reason having them slice it thin, improves the taste)