Life / Food

Avoid a sad desk lunch with these simple-to-make meals

Say no to leftovers and greasy offerings from the food court. A tasty lunch doesn’t have to be complicated or take time.

This version of the Japanese Protein Bowl includes tofu, miso dressing and a handful of sprouts.

Vince Talotta / Torstar News Service Order this photo

This version of the Japanese Protein Bowl includes tofu, miso dressing and a handful of sprouts.

Too often work lunches are a wimpy sandwich from a grab-and-go, a plastic tub of cold leftovers or a carb-loaded grease fest from the office canteen.

We deserve better than this! A tasty lunch doesn’t have to be complicated or take time, but it can be a bright spot in a work day, something to look forward to all morning and take fuel from all afternoon.

Remember that lunch is the most important meal of the middle of the day, and consider these easy, delicious suggestions. 

1. Curried Chickpea Salad. Mix some curry powder and fresh lemon juice into mayo. Stir in drained chickpeas, grated carrot, chopped celery and some sliced green onions. Spoon into a container and top with a large handful of arugula. Mix everything together just before eating. 

2. Kale Salad with Pear and Parm. Whisk some extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon and salt together in a container. Stir in finely chopped kale and mix well. Top with diced pear, chopped toasted almonds and coarsely grated parmesan. Mix everything together just before eating. 

3. Minty Lentil & Feta Salad. Shake one part rice vinegar with two parts olive oil and a pinch of salt in a large Mason jar. Add in diced avocado, drained lentils, crumbled feta and a few dried cranberries. Top with ribbons of cucumber and chopped fresh mint if you have it. Mix everything together just before eating. 

4. Za’atar Chicken Pita. Mix hummus with a spoonful of plain yogurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of za’atar. Stir in shredded rotisserie chicken. Pack into pita bread with some lettuce and sliced fresh tomatoes. 

5. Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps. Stir a can of drained tuna with chopped roasted red peppers, chopped artichoke hearts, pinch of dried thyme or herbes de provence and a squeeze of lemon. Bring a few lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps or tuck into pita pocket. 

The Burrito Jar includes black beans, cherry tomatoes, corn niblets, grated cheese and chopped cilantro.

Torstar News Service

The Burrito Jar includes black beans, cherry tomatoes, corn niblets, grated cheese and chopped cilantro.

6. Pesto Omelette Sandwich. Spread pesto and mayo on two slices of bread and wrap well. Make a two-egg omelette and pack it separately. Combine into sandwich form at lunch time, adding sliced tomatoes and cheese if you like. 

7. Burrito Jar. Stir brown rice with some oil, lime juice and Tabasco and layer into a jar. Top with black beans, cherry tomatoes, corn niblets, grated cheese and chopped cilantro. Pack some nacho chips alongside to make it even more fun.

8. Prosciutto Orange Salad Jar. Pack shredded radicchio into a jar. Top with sliced fennel or celery, then add peeled and sliced oranges and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Lay several slices of prosciutto or ham on top. 

9. Japanese Protein Bowl. Layer cubes of roasted sweet potato or squash into a container. Top with cubed tofu or hard-boiled egg and drizzle with miso dressing. Top with edamame, chives and a handful of sprouts. 

10. Ploughman’s Lunch. Drop a dollop of marmalade or chutney into a wide container. Throw in some cubed cheese, sliced ham or boiled egg and toasted nuts. Pack a fresh pear and a large handful of seed crackers alongside.

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