to try: lunches

  • Arugula Salad with Roasted Chicken, Black Quinoa and Lemon-Tahini Dressing

    Makes: 2 lunches
    Time: 10 minutes
    Cost: $10Jazz up a regular old salad with everyone’s favorite protein-rich grain: quinoa. The mix of chicken, quinoa and tahini—which enlivens the dressing—makes this arugula-based salad stand out, and not just for health reasons. You can make a big batch of the lemon-tahini dressing a week or more in advance to save prep time on weekday mornings. Bring the salad to work in two parts: the greens, grains and meat, and then a little container for the sauce.Ingredients
    For the salad:
    5 ounces baby arugula
    ½ cup cooked black quinoa
    ¼ cup thinly sliced carrots
    ½ cup diced cucumbers
    1 roasted chicken breast, shredded

    For the vinaigrette:
    Juice of half a lemon
    1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon tahini
    ¼ cup olive oil
    ½ teaspoon salt

    In a large salad bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad.

    Make the vinaigrette: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon, vinegar and tahini. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified and combined. Season with the salt. Alternatively, you can combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.

    Pour the dressing down the side of the larger salad bowl and toss the salad until combined. Serve as an appetizer or a hearty main course salad.

  • Spicy Vegetable Hummus Wrap

    Makes: 6 sandwiches
    Time: 15 minutes
    Cost: $12, depending on ingredientsTotally vegetarian and eminently healthful, this wrap features pretty much all the good things in this world: avocado, hummus and chipotle peppers. Those ingredients—plus carrots and radishes for crunch—come together to create this salad-in-a-wrap that will have all your co-workers begging for a bite.Ingredients
    1 avocado, mashed
    1/2 lemon, juiced
    1 cup chipotle hummus
    6 medium tortillas
    2 cups sliced radishes
    3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 4-inch matchsticks
    1/4 lb baby arugula
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    In a small mixing bowl, combine the avocado with 3/4 of the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

    On a work surface, spread a large spoonful of hummus over half a tortilla. Spread a spoonful of the avocado mixture over the other half. Place a handful of carrot sticks in the center, top with a sprinkle of radishes, and 1/4 cup of arugula leaves. Fold in the top and bottom sides of the tortilla. Fold in one of the sides length-wise and roll the tortilla, making sure the top and bottom stay tucked. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

  • Chili-Spiked Orzo Salad With Pinto Beans

    Makes: 4 lunches
    Time: 25 minutes
    Cost: $5A light hand with cumin and chili powder gives this inexpensive grain salad a slightly southwestern feel. It’s totally vegetarian, and because it pairs pasta with a bean, you get a complete protein which leaves you satisfied and alert for an afternoon of work. Best of all, the salad gets better with time, as the flavors really come together, so Wednesday’s meal is likely to be even tastier than Monday’s.Ingredients
    2 scallions in 1/4-inch slices (white and most of the green parts)
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
    1 cup dried orzo
    1 cup cooked pinto beans, preferably cooked from dried*
    2 carrots, cut in a 1/4-inch dice
    2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    juice of 1 lime
    1/8 teapoon cumin
    1/4 teaspoon chili powder
    1 tablespoon neutral oil
    About 1/4 teaspoon salt

    Put the scallion slices in a small prep bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar. Pour in ice water and a few ice cubes to cover the scallions. Let them sit while you make the rest of the salad. This “cures” the scallions of their sting.

    Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt it generously and add the orzo. Cook until al dente, then drain and put it into a large mixing bowl.

    Add the pintos, carrots, chopped cilantro and toss to combine. Sprinkle on the lime juice and the remaining cider vinegar, plus the cumin, chili powder, oil and salt. Give the salad a good toss. Eat immediately, or keep up to 3 days in the fridge. Bring up to room temperature before serving.

    *Because this salad has so few ingredients, I think using really fresh pinto beans gives it a lift. If you make them from scratch (instructions here), add a dried chili pepper to the pot while they’re cooking.

  • Teriyaki Soba Salad

    Makes: 3 lunches
    Time: 20 minutes
    Cost: $10Lighter than regular pasta, buckwheat-based soba makes a great lunchbox staple. In this salad, sweet potatoes, Napa cabbage and carrots mingle with the noodles and a slightly sweet sauce—a super easy-to-make version of teriyaki.Ingredients
    1 teaspoon peanut or safflower oil, plus more for roasting the sweet potato
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon ginger, minced
    1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    3 tablespoons rice wine
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 large carrot, julienned
    1/2 cup frozen, shelled edamame
    1 small sweet potato, cut in 3/4-inch dice
    1 cup Napa cabbage, finely shredded
    1 carrot
    5 ounces soba noodles (available at most major supermarkets)

    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    Toss the sweet potato with a little bit of oil (I used the fabulous Misto sprayer) and lay the cubes out on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until nearly soft, then toss with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and bake for 5-10 more minutes, until browned and cooked through.

    Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in an un-oiled pan until fragrant and golden. Set aside.

    Saute the garlic and ginger in 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. When the garlic is translucent, add the remaining soy sauce, rice wine, honey and 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil slowly, simmer for a minute or two, then add the julienned carrots. Simmer another minute or two, then add the cabbage and most of the sesame seeds. Continue to cook until the carrots have softened (you don’t want them too limp) and the cabbage has wilted.

    While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until tender, according to package directions. About 2 minutes before cooking time is complete, add the edamame. Drain both in a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Toss the teriyaki sauce with the noodles and edamame and the sweet potato, adding some of the cooking water if the noodles seem dry. Taste and add more soy sauce as needed. Serve hot or warm, and garnish with the remaining sesame seeds if desired. If you plan to reheat at the office, you may want to make a little extra sauce or add a touch of soy sauce to keep it from getting dry.

  • Tomato Basil Soup

    Makes: 5 servings
    Time: at least 5 hours (in a slow cooker, which means you can make it while you sleep)
    Cost: $15Tomato soup is the ultimate comfort food. This fragrant, make-ahead lunch will warm you from the inside out—even if your office is only cold from air conditioning. Pack a thermos or a mason jar so the soup doesn’t spill on the way in, then warm it in a bowl in the office’s microwave. A roll and some string cheese make the soup into a meal that’s more than worthy of your lunchtime affections.Ingredients
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
    2 medium sweet onions, finely diced
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1 tablespoon salt
    3 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
    1 quart chicken broth
    10 fresh basil leaves (plus more for garnish)
    Freshly grated Parmesan (for garnish, optional)

    Slow cooker version:

    Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Then puree in batches in a blender until very smooth. Serve immediately, or transfer the soup back to the slow cooker to keep warm if eating immediately. If not, let cool and then transfer to a refrigerator-safe container.

    Stove-top version:

    Combine all ingredients in a heavy-lidded pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Then puree in batches in a blender until very smooth. If you like a thinner consistency, add a little bit more stock or water.

    Garnish with more fresh basil and some grated Parmesan cheese, which can be transported fresh in a plastic baggie or small, sealable container.

Published in: on September 27, 2012 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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