Everyday Salad

I pack a lunch every…single…day… for work.  I pack a lunch when I travel too, but this isn’t about my obsessive need to have healthy food around…. this is about what I pack.  I get asked ALL of the time what I pack for lunch.  It’s actually a very basic salad that I use as my foundation and add to it with what I have around during the week.
The essentials:
Mixed greens
Vegetables; usually cucumber, green beans and/or snap peas (whatever you have around and as many as you want); blanched
Quinoa
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
Hemp Seeds (optional)
Olive Oil
Lemon wedge
*Add your favorite protein if you eat meat or fish… I like adding tuna, shrimp, or chickpeas
*If you have other things around throw them in! Sweet potatoes, tomatoes….
90% of the time I make my salad the night before because usually when I wake up I just want my coffee and I don’t want to have to think about it.  When it comes to vegetables I have put just about everything that you can think of in my salad and I found that green beens or snap peas work the best for me.  You can do ANYTHING though….. roasted vegetables, red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli…..
I like to blanch my green beans and snap peas…. meaning…. I add them to boiling water for about 20 seconds (if that) and then shock them with cold water.  The correct way to do this is to plunge them into ice water to shock them…. but who has time to make an ice bath every day for a handful of green beans?  Sooo I simply boil them and then allow them to cool in the strainer.
I use mixed greens, but you can you any kind of lettuce you like!
The greens are number 1! I like to cut mine into smaller pieces as well.
Then the quinoa!  I love quinoa because it absorbs any flavor you add to it, it keeps you full, and it has protein which is good for someone like me who doesn’t eat much meat.  I make my quinoa on a day off and keep it in the fridge so that I can have it throughout the week.  Making quinoa is really easy!  It’s a 1:2 ratio… so one part quinoa to 2 parts water.  I like to rinse my quinoa first like you normally would do with rice, bring the mixture to a boil then cover and let simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes.  Then, once cooked, I leave it for about 5-10 minutes off the heat then fluff it with a fork like you do rice.  Let it cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.  If you don’t have quinoa around my next choice would be sweet potatoes… roast them ahead of time and let cool completely.
Add as much of the cooked quinoa as you like to your greens.
Three kinds of seeds I like to add are flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.  I don’t add nuts because I have a slight allergy and don’t digest them well, but if they are something you like you can add them in.
Hemp Seeds! Hemp is my new obsession!!! I add the seeds to everything and I bought some hemp milk to use in my baking instead of regular dairy.  It’s a superfood that has SO many great benefits like protein, omega fatty acids, fiber, vitamins…. read more here!
Then add whatever you like!  Chicken, shrimp, steak, beans….. I usually add whatever is left over from dinner the night before.
As for dressing… In the morning I drizzle some good olive oil over the salad, sprinkle on a little bit of kosher salt, and then add a lemon wedge on the side.  I squeeze the lemon on right before eating.  I don’t use store bought dressings because there is SO much added in that you do not need….. lots of salt, sugar, and preservatives.  Olive oil is soooooo good for you! I could swim in it!
I pack fruit and veggies for my snacks.  Apples, bananas, and carrots are easy to pack because they travel well.  When other things are in season I will pack them…. peaches, grapes, berries, avocado, etc…
I highly suggest packing a lunch at least a couple times a week! It saves you time, money, and the headache of trying to figure out what to eat in the middle of the day. Happy lunching!

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