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I don’t know about you, but “What’s for lunch?” is one of my least favorite questions! When 11:30 a.m. rolls around, someone in this house (hello me!) is hungry.
Here are my 5 favorite lunches. I like to prep a salad dressing every week and have the ingredients ready to go in whatever shape and size the hungry humans want over here!
1. Chop Chop Greek Salad with White Wine Vinaigrette
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1/4 tsp salt and a few good cracks of pepper, more to taste
- 1/2 of the dressing above
- 2 hearts of romaine lettuce or 1 bunch of kale sliced into thin strips (about 6–8 cups)
- 1/2 can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 red pepper diced, 1/4 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives pitted and sliced in half
- 1/2 bulb of raw fennel, remove fronds, and slice. Chop up the slices into small pieces. (White core removed as you get inside the bulb.)
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1/2 cucumber peeled, seeded, and sliced into fourths, then chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
- Other delicious options: thinly sliced red onion or scallions, salami or chicken pieces, red cabbage instead of greens, or add some fresh dill.
- Measure olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and garlic in a bowl and whisk until well mixed.
- Add salt and pepper and whisk well.
- Dip a piece of lettuce or veggie into the dressing to taste, and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Use right away or store in the fridge for up to a week.
Recipe makes 1/2 cup of dressing.
- Toss lettuce or kale with about half of salad dressing or enough to coat the hearty greens.
- Layer or combine all the ingredients except feta cheese and spread out across the platter in a mound.
- Sprinkle feta cheese on top and serve.
- If prepping this ahead for lunch, layer ingredients in jars or meal prep dishes or keep prepped parts in separate containers. Save dressing for lunchtime drizzling.
- Tip: If you are not eating this salad right away, you can soak your fennel in a bit of water squeezed with lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.
2. Green Bean, Tuna and Radish Salad with Lemon Dressing
- 12 ounces of green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths, about 2 cups
- 1 can of chunk white albacore tuna in water drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup radishes thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced scallions
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 2–4 hard-boiled eggs
- 3–4 cups fresh spinach or greens, optional
Lemon dressing ingredients
- 1 lemon squeezed and strained
- 1/2 cup light olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 garlic clove crushed, optional
Creamy lemon dressing ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise – only added at the end of the recipe!
Lemon dressing base:
- Make two salad dressings. For the lemon dressing, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, crushed garlic if you are using, and salt & pepper.
- While whisking slowly, add olive oil to incorporate and emulsify.
- Save this dressing in a jar for at least a week, longer if you don’t add the garlic!
Creamy lemon dressing:
- Whisk together 2 tablespoons of lemon dressing and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
- Set aside for the end.
- In a large bowl, combine cold and blanched green beans, tomatoes, scallions, radishes, capers, olives and drained tuna broken up into pieces.
- Pour creamy lemon dressing over the top and gently stir together.
- Add hard-boiled egg slices on top (don’t mix in), sprinkle eggs and salad lightly with salt and pepper and a drizzle of lemon dressing if you wish, and serve.
- If you want to make a more substantial salad, toss spinach greens with extra lemon dressing as the base and top with green bean salad.
Recipe makes 3-4 servings!
3. Classic Chicken Salad
- 2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breast chopped into bite-size pieces (how-to roast chicken breast in this post!)
- 3–4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped dill or tarragon
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup toasted nuts: pumpkin seeds or almond slivers
- Options: 4 tomatoes for stuffing, toasted bread, rice crackers, lettuce cups or plated greens.
- To prepare the tomato cups if using, cut off the tops of tomato and gently cut out the core, opening up the seed cavities. Using your fingers, pull out the seeds and insides of tomatoes until they are seedless and hollow. Set upside down on a paper towel to dry while you mix the salad.
- In a small bowl combine chicken, mayonnaise, mustard, herbs, celery and scallions. Mix gently and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste as desired.
- Fill your hollowed tomatoes with chicken salad or serve with crackers or greens.
- Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds or almonds.
4. Kale with Roasted Delicata Squash and Chicken Salad
- 1 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 big handfuls of brussels sprouts, ends removed and halved
- 1–2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large bunch of kale, leaves removed from thick center stem and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup raw and shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 boneless skinless cooked chicken breasts – pan-fried or roasted
- Pecorino cheese grated or thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of honey (can skip if you prefer savory)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Spread your raw pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet and roast for 8 minutes. Continue toasting if some are still green, until evenly brown but not burned. Check every few minutes until puffed and lightly brown. Shake a little salt on top and stir around, scrape onto a plate to cool.
- Toss squash pieces and halved Brussels sprouts with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on a rimmed cookie sheet. If vegetables look dry, add a little bit more oil to make sure they are lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.
- For the vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a small jar and shake well or whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When your vegetables have cooked for 20 minutes, stir and check to see if squash and Brussels are tender by poking with a fork. If you prefer either vegetable to be cooked more, return to the oven for 5 minutes more at the most and taste to your liking.
- To prep salad, toss kale pieces with a couple of tablespoons of dressing at a time, making sure that each piece gets coated. Give greens a good stir and see if you need more dressing. Add more as desired.
- Spread your greens on a large serving platter or individual plates.
- Top your plate of greens with warm squash, Brussels and chicken pieces. Sprinkle with 1/2 of your pumpkin seeds and grate pecorino cheese if using.
- I like to leave extra dressing, cheese, and pumpkin seeds on the table so individuals can add more as desired.
5. Balsamic Orange Dressing with Greens, Proscuitto, Pine-Nuts and Pecorino
- 1 large orange zested
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of cracked pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary (optional)
- 1 clamshell of mixed Italian greens
- 4 ounces Proscuitto
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup shredded pecorino (Sheep’s Milk) or parmesan (Cow’s Milk)
- Wash and dry your orange. Zest the entire surface.
- Cut your orange in half and squeeze. You should have about 1/2 cup, give or take a little.
- Whisk zest, juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper together in a bowl until combined.
- Slowly add your oil by pouring it in a steady stream and whisking vigorously.
- If adding chopped rosemary, whisk in at the end or sprinkle a few leaves on the salad.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Toss greens with 1/4 cup of dressing at a time until all leaves are coated but not drenched.
- Plate dressed greens and top with prosciutto, pine nuts and pecorino.
I’m grateful to be making things with you! Enjoy and keep in touch.