Meatless Munch: Busy Week Lunches

This week I work approximately 70 hours between 2 jobs.

Most days I go straight from one job to another- which means I'm eating at least 2 of my daily meals (and both my snacks) somewhere outside of the house.

Last week, I gave some tips for a busy life, one of which was 'Plan Ahead: Food.'

Lunch staples for me are as follows:
- Salads made up of whatever veggies and fruits are in my fridge
- Leftovers
- Veggie and hummus or Egg Less Salad Sandwiches 

This year, I decided to step outside my box and try some new vegan and vegetarian recipes. I've tried to make one or two a week. 
A couple recipes have already stood out as winners.

Each of these are:
1. Easy to prep
2. Easy to store and transport
3. Easy to eat (I can't handle messy foods at work- think spaghetti or something that oozes- yuck)
4. Last but not least- Delicious and Nutritious!

Angela at Oh She Glows has great vegan recipes- many of which are tested on her omnivore husband so you know they are good!
I saw picture on Instagram about a Back on Track salad and thought 'What better way to kick off the new year?'

I am now on my second round of making this salad and I absolutely love it. It makes enough servings that I can make it on Sunday and it covers me for lunch every day of the normal work week (M-F)

Here is the version that I made:

Back on Track Salad
as inspired by Oh She Glows

  • 1 cup dry wheat berries, cooked and drained 
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 Persian cucumbers diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced (I omitted this the second time- mostly because I didn't have any tomato...weird)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, diced with large stems removed
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard (I heart Grey Poupon so if you don't, use only 1 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh if possible)

Cook the wheatberries according to the package
**So she mentioned soaking them overnight and then cooking them but i cooked them up just like rice before I read all the instructions...still turned out okay**

Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together. When wheatberries are fully cooked and cooled, add them to the salad ingredients. Mix well then pour the dressing over the top and give it a few good stirs.
You can then store it in the fridge or go ahead and divide into containers for the work week. 
It made 5 decent servings for lunch. I served it atop fresh spinach or baby salad greens.

At my favorite grocery store in town, there is an Edamame Salad that I LOVE.
I decided to try my hand at making it based on the listed ingredients and it turned out amazing. 

Edamame Salad
as inspired by Gateway Market Des Moines

1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen edamame
1/2 block sprouted tofu, cubed
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 green onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil (I used grape seed)
1 spoonful minced garlic
lemon juice + salt + pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
The corn and edamame will thaw and the tofu will absorb the flavors. 
This salad is very light and summery. you can eat it plain as a side dish (how I normally eat it) or as a salad topper. If you eat it as a side dish, I'd consider 1/2 cup a serving. This will make about 2-3 cups. 

Last week I had a work food day and I wanted to make something relatively healthy that would also yield a little bit leftover for lunches. I saw this salad at Gateway and knew I had all the ingredients to make it- so I gave it a try with a little twist!

I'll be honest, it doesn't taste a ton like Falafel to me...maybe because the texture is not bread-like? So I'm renaming it as well. :)

Greek Bean & Broccoli Slaw
as inspired by Gateway Market 'Falafel Salad'

1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cups broccoli slaw (roughly chopped into smaller pieces in food processor)
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 spoonful minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coriander seeds (chopped in a food processor or you can use 1/2 tbsp ground)
Cumin and chili powder to taste (depending on how strong of flavor you like, I think you can never have enough cumin!)

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl together.

Mix the remaining ingredients together in a bowl as the dressing.

I'll be honest- I've never used coriander in anything so I was excited to finally open this spice that has been hanging out in the rack since I got it...

Whisk together the dressing...

Pour dressing over the salad mix and stir!

Ta-da! This was pretty easy and I got some good feedback on it so I'm going to say 'winner'!
I'm not sure on servings since I took it to a food day...I'd say you could eat 1-1&1/2 cups of it over top a pile of mixed greens as a lunch with a side of fruit. I also think this would be good with some kind of grain mixed in...maybe couscous? I'll have to give that a try next time...

I also tried this Red Quinoa and Black Bean Salad from Oh She Glows. It reminded me a lot of Iowa Girl Eats Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad...which is one of my favorites. 
Seeing how the ingredients of this salad are my high school colors (red and black!), maybe this salad should be called Scarlet Pride Salad? :)

Red Quinoa & Black Bean Salad
as inspired by Oh She Glows

For the salad:
  • 1 cup uncooked Red quinoa (cook according to package)
  • 1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn (optional and I used frozen- just nuked in the microwave first)
  • 1 small avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I omitted for storing purposes, but this would be a good topper)

For the dressing:
  • 4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (Juice from 2 small limes)
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 garlic clove, minced (everything is better with more garlic)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste

After the quinoa is cooked and cooled, mix it with the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl.
Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour over salad ingredients and refrigerate overnight to let the flavors soak in. 

Cumin makes it tasty!

Such a colorful salad!

The black beans, corn and quinoa keep me full all afternoon

The finished product!
I really love how this salad turns out- it's colorful and filling and excellent over a pile of mixed greens. It makes about 5 1 cup servings. 
(I serve a lot of stuff over mixed greens or spinach to get all my vitamins in!)

I can make one or 2 of these salads on the weekend and have enough lunches and  'away' dinners for a week!

How do you prep food for a busy week?
What is your favorite meatless lunch?
Do you hate beans?
I have a few friends who can't stand them. I eat them all the time. 
'Beans, beans, the wonderful fruit!'