Listen, it’s not always easy to decide to pack lunch. I know it better than anyone. Two nights ago, one and a half martinis deep, my belly full of take-out bo bun (Vietnamese glass noodle and beef dish) and happily in front of the TV watching the end of the Roland Garros tennis match that pitted Scotland’s pride and joy, Andy Murray against France’s last hope, Gaël Monfils, it slowly dawned on my somewhat gin-blurry brain that I still hadn’t packed lunch.
Peeling yourself off the couch
Let me tell you that I know what it feels like to have to drag yourself off the couch, while your boyfriend looks at you like you’re crazy to be leaving the comfort of said couch to make lunch. Two lunches actually, that way I would be sorted through Friday. The things that really gets me off the couch at this time of night (and should get you moving too) are knowing:
- how much money I’ll be saving if I just get up and go do it, and
- that I have full control of what will be going into my lunch.
So, up I get to go scrounging around in my crisper drawer for available salad ingredients. Luckily, I had made hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week, and I had some left-over chicken breast, so I had the protein sorted! Bam!
I also had red cabbage, carrots, a cucumber and a red pepper and had picked up a bag of greens on my way home. I took a tip from a recent sighting of toasted pumpkin seeds on Rachel Cooks and toasted some plain sunflower seeds in the oven for a bout 10 minutes on about 180°C. While that was happening I went about slicing, dicing and shredding the veggies I had found in the the fridge, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to discover that I still have all my fingers, despite my gin-induced tipsiness!
Stock your basics
I’ve written a recipe below, but the take-away point here is basically this:
- Stock your fridge with fresh veggies whenever you can. There’s nothing worse than having to make a lunch when you have no base vegetables to start with. Plus, vegetables make a great snack to carry along with your packed lunch in little containers.
- Make hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week; they keep very well in an air-tight container in the fridge.
- Keep nuts and seeds on hand. They add an important boost of protein and healthy fats.
- Buy one fresh herb a week. You will find so many awesome ways to use it and it makes everything taste more exciting. I had some leftover coriander and basil in the fridge, so one salad got shredded basil, the other chopped coriander.
Hope you find the strength to lift yourself off your couch and make your lunch. I believe in you! 🙂
Red Cabbage, Carrot and Toasted Sunflower Seed Salad
Makes 2 servings/lunches
What you’ll need:
- 2 small handfuls (approx. 1 cup) red cabbage, shredded
- 1/4 English cucumber, seeded and sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium-sized carrot, shaved
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 small handful feta, crumbled
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled
- couple handfuls of greens
- 2 tsp whole grain mustard
- red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt & black pepper
- chopped herbs of your choice (basil, coriander, parsley)
- Set the oven to 180°C and place sunflower seeds on a baking tray. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool.
- While the seeds toast, shred the red cabbage, placing a small handful in each plastic container.
- Use a vegetable peeler to shave the carrots into ribbons right into each of the containers, one carrot shaved should be plenty for two lunches.
- Remove the watery seeds from the cucumber. This will help keep the salad dry. Slice the cucumber.
- Dice the red pepper and the feta and add in. In go the eggs.
- You can make a dressing, but in my lazy state of mind, I settled for a small teaspoon of wholegrain mustard in each of the containers, black pepper, salt, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Then shake.
- Sprinkle your chopped herbs onto the salad, place a handful of greens on top and add half of the cooled sunflower seeds to each salad.
What kinds of fun ingredients do you like to add to your salads?
Leave me suggestions in the comments, please! Always looking for new ideas!