Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chopped Caprese Salad

Pardon my extreme enthusiasm for this lunch - it is probably my most favorite food, ever! Especially with summer tomatoes that are just coming into season. Of course it's best with fresh buffalo mozzarella, but I've noticed that if the tomatoes are good enough it's not horrible to substitute a packaged cheese like Sargento or Polly-O, and it's certainly far cheaper. You'll often find this prepared in restaurants with large slices of cheese and tomatoes layered together, but I like to dice everything to make it easier to eat with a fork! I highly recommend buying both the tomatoes and basil at a farmer's market for the freshest taste.

Grocery list
  • Mozzarella cheese - 2 ounces (about two 1 cm slices of a 16 oz. package)
  • Tomato - 1 large
  • Basil - small bunch (about 1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp., or to taste
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh black pepper - to taste


Chop the tomatoes and cheese into a medium dice and shred the basil. In a large bowl, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to lunch container.

Yield: 1 serving
To bring: transport container

Questions about the cooking method? Please let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Berries, Nuts and Greens

This recipe is a little more complex than most of the recipes I plan to post on this site, but if the rave reviews it received from every single person who tried it tell you anything, I think it's worth it! I used a whole box of quinoa so it makes a ton - feel free to cut it in half if you don't think you'll use all 8 servings in one week.

Bonus: this recipe is crazy healthy, especially for how delicious it is! Quinoa (keen-waa) is a whole grain with lots of fiber and protein, and you already knew that nuts and leafy greens are super good for you. Depending on how much olive oil you add, it's also fairly low fat, plus it's vegan and gluten free!

Grocery list
  • Quinoa - 1 box (16 oz.)
  • Vegetable stock - 1 box
  • Fresh currents OR pomegranate seeds OR dried sweetened cranberries - 1 cup
  • Kale OR other dark greens (collards, spinach) - 1 medium bunch
  • Walnuts OR other nut - 1 cup, chopped
  • Onion OR shallots - 1/2 to one cup, chopped
  • Olive oil OR butter - 1 to 2 tbsp.
  • Salt - 1 tsp. or to taste

Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the box, substituting vegetable stock for water (add a few cups of water if you need need more liquid.)

Chop the greens and their stems into fork-sized pieces. Blanch them in boiling water, making sure to add the stems about 2 minutes before the leaves. Cook the leaves and stems together for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Sautee the onions or shallots along in olive oil until softened and slightly caramelized.

Optional: toast the walnuts in a dry pan 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn them!

When the quinoa is cooked, salt to taste. Toss in the rest of the ingredients: greens, berries, nuts, onions. Top with more olive oil if desired. Store in a large container in the refrigerator for up to one week, or immediately split into individual lunch containers. Serve either cold or heated.

Yield: 8 one to two cup servings
To bring: transport container (microwave safe if heating)

Questions about the cooking method? Please let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Open-Faced Strawberry Sandwich

This is hardly a sandwich, but I don't know what else to call it! For this low-sugar take on PB&J, I used an Arnold's multi-grain sandwich thin. It's sort of an odd cross between an English muffin and pita bread, but you could use any sort of bread here, even regular whole wheat slices. I used Brad's Organic Cashew Butter, but regular peanut butter would definitely be cheaper and has fairly similar nutritional content. By my calculations, this simple lunch has about 300 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber!

Grocery list
  • Whole grain bread product: sandwich thins, English muffins, pita OR bread slices - 2 slices
  • Nut butter: cashew, almond OR peanut - 2 tbsp.
  • Strawberries (or other fruit) - 4, sliced


I wouldn't transport this in its assembled form - too likely to get mushy! Instead, I slice the strawberries ahead of time and pack them in a small plastic container. You can pack the bread slices in a separate plastic bag, or just keep the whole package in your desk at work if you plan to use it all in one week. Nut butters will keep well in a desk drawer too!

When you're ready to eat, toast the bread if possible/desired (you can also do this ahead of time at home) spread a tablespoon of nut butter on each slice and top with strawberries. Make sure they don't fall off when you eat it!

Yield: 1 serving
To bring: transport container for the strawberries, plastic bag for the bread.

Questions about the cooking method? Please let me know in the comments!