Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baba Ghanoush and Pita

Baba ghanoush is essentially hummus made with eggplant instead of chick peas. The other ingredients are all the same: garlic, olive oil, tahini (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice and salt. I love to make it this time of year because I just can't resist all the pretty purple eggplants that are in season, but it's also a great Middle Eastern dip to make yourself because it's much easier on appliances than chick peas (I burned out the motors of two blenders before realizing you should really make hummus in a food processor!) If you're not up for the DIY version, many brands like Sabra sell it right alongside hummus at the store. Several varieties include mayonnaise though, so watch out if you're looking to keep the meal vegan.

Grocery list
  • Eggplant - 2 medium (about 3 lbs.)
  • Tahini - 2 tbsp. (optional - use more olive oil if not using. It's usually found near the peanut butter)
  • Lemon - juice of 1/2 (or 2 tbsp. bottled juice)
  • Whole wheat mini pitas - 2
  • Garlic - 2-4 cloves
  • Olive oil - 2 tsp.
  • Salt - about 1/2 tsp.
  • Smoked paprika - optional
  • Parsley flakes - optional

Slice each eggplant lengthwise and puncture the outside skin several times. Lay the fruit cut side down on a sheet sprayed with oil and roast under a low broiler for 1/2 hour (or for 1 hour at 400 degrees, although I don't like to leave the oven on for that long when it's hot outside!) Turn the the eggplant to face upwards about halfway through. If you like roasted garlic (it's more mellow) go ahead and throw the cloves in at this point.

It's best to let the eggplant cool completely. When it's ready to handle, peel off the skin and press out most of the liquid (it can give the dip a bitter taste; use a towel if you need to.) Now for the easy part - put everything in the blender! I like to add the garlic one clove at a time at the end to get the right flavor. And of course, add more of any ingredient until you get a taste you like!

Pack it in a small container. I topped mine with smoked paprika and parsley flakes for effect, but they're optional. Add a plastic bag with two sliced mini pitas and you're good to go! It's also great on bread (or a bag of pita chips from the vending machine if you're desperate.)

Yield: about 3 cups, or 6 servings
To bring: small container and plastic bag

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Strawberry and Walnut Salad

I have this idea that if I'm going to have salad as a meal, it needs to have a zillion things in it in order to "count." But if you just use larger amounts of whatever you have, it's really just as substantial, plus there's less prep. And if those things happen to be the kind of foods that make you look forward to your lunch break, all the better! I love fruit in salad because it's a punchy little surprise in every other bite. Nuts and chickpeas pack protein (about 10 grams total if you use 1/4 cup of each) and of course you have the leafy greens.

As for dressing, I used Galeos Miso Ceasar because it's just about the only awesome tasting low-fat dressing I know of that doesn't have tons of artificial ingredients, but (as Jamie Oliver would say) strawberries are also great friends with balsamic vinegar. Since both balsamic and olive oil don't need a fridge, they're a great option to keep at your desk without any worries of coworkers stealing a glug. If you're bringing dressing from home, try packing a small plastic container or baby food jar inside the salad container itself...at least if it spills, it will just go on your salad!

I haven't listed ingredient amounts here...I figure you know how much you want to eat!

Grocery list
  • Greens (spinach, arugula, spring mix, etc)
  • Strawberries (or apples in the fall!)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds)
  • Chickpeas (canned, optional)
  • Salad dressing OR balsamic vinegar and olive oil (about a tablespoon of each)


Wash wash, chop chop...you know what to do! Save the dressing for when you're just about to dig in to minimize the sog factor.

Yield: 1 great big salad
To bring: large plastic container, smaller jar for dressing

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Egg Salad on (Fancy) Toast

I know egg salad is up there with tuna on the potentially smelly-lunch list, but I eat it pretty often and haven't had any problems, so just use your discretion! If your eggs are fresh, smells should be minimal. I'm a big fan of organic eggs because I think you can really tell the difference, so maybe that's why I haven't had many problems  - plus you'll have much less to worry about considering the recent salmonella outbreak!

Egg salad sandwiches are still kind of "meh" though, which is why I thought of using these cute mini loaves I always see near the deli section - much fancier! I always pack the salad component separately anyway, so I figure there isn't much difference between transferring it to two slices versus a bunch of fancy mini ones. I'm really partial to seasoning the egg mixture with Old Bay - it's a spice blend so you don't have to think about adding anything else - but use whatever you like: chopped onions, garlic, any number of dried seasonings.

(PS...also makes a great study snack, although mostly I was just getting sick of taking pictures in front of my computer!)

Grocery list
  • Eggs - 2 (or more, if you want to make enough for several days)
  • Bread - 4-5 mini toasts, or 2 regular slices
  • Mayonnaise - about 1 tbsp. for every two eggs
  • Spices - 1-2 tsp. Old Bay or other spices


Boil the eggs - I usually add them to boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Cool (at least slightly) and peel, then mash them up with mayo and spices to taste.

Yield: 1 serving
To bring: small container for eggs, plastic bag for bread.

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