Quick and Easy Lunch: Cran-Lentil Salad

Happy Monday, my friends!  Are you staying warm? Christmas is coming so soon- just two more weeks!

Believe it or not, I actually adapted this week’s lunch recipe from one that I found in a Panera Bread email a few years back!  I simplified it a lot, and I love to make it the night before for work, or even as a quick supper.  It’s very high in protein and fiber, and the pepitas add great boosts of iron and zinc! Lentils and dried cranberries are great pantry staples that make this recipe full of flavor and easy on the budget.

 1 cup cooked green lentils (or whatever variety you prefer)

¼ cup dried cranberries (Craisins are perfect)

¼ cup either black peppered  or regular feta cheese, or blue cheese if you’re really bold

¼ pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds) or slivered almonds

Salt and pepper to taste (especially if using plain feta)

OPTIONAL: 1 T olive oil, citrus-based salad dressing, or 1 T orange juice: makes the salad more moist, adds a pop of flavor, and reconstitutes the cranberries a bit

This is easy- combine everything together!  I think this is another salad that is better the next day, after the flavors have time to really meld together.  I prefer it cold, or at least room temperature. Make it the night before and keep it in the fridge for the perfect lunch!

Quick and Easy Lunch: Grape and Couscous Salad

Can you believe its Monday already?  I can’t.  I just want to rebel.  Sometimes I get in a real funk on Mondays- but a great way to brighten the day is to fix yourself a yummy, nutritious lunch that you can look forward to all morning!  This is one of my staples.

One of the first easy and healthy lunch recipes that ever caught my eye was this beauty from Real Simple Magazine.  Every month they feature a brown bag lunch recipe, and I’ve been using this one for over two years now!  I just love the clash of the sweet and juice grapes with the salty feta- and the couscous holds everything together just enough to keep you full until dinnertime. The Mediterranean flavors really balance each other well, so try the entire recipe before altering it or leaving something out 🙂

1 cup cooked whole-wheat couscous

¼ cup feta cheese

¼ cup red grapes, sliced in half

¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 T olive oil

1 T lemon juice

Salt, Pepper, and Parsley to taste

Stir together the couscous, oil, and lemon juice.  Fold in the cheese, grapes, and walnuts.  Season to your liking and enjoy!

This recipe is great freshly made, and equally satisfying kept in the fridge overnight to eat for lunch the next day (or more!).

Quick and Easy Lunch: Black Bean, Feta, and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad

Happy Monday, Foodies!

A lot has happened in the past three weeks- tour ended, Matt and 
I moved back into our old apartment (joy!), and life has been all around busy.  SO busy, in fact, that I missed my one year anniversary of writing this blog!  I guess I need to have grace with myself since it was on our moving day, but alas, it has come and gone.

Thinking about how I felt starting this blog a year ago really makes me want to put more time and effort into my learning and take it more seriously.  I don’t want to make any promises, but my goal is to seriously step it up for this second year! I am excited about the journey I am on, and that you’re here to read along with me 🙂 

With that said, here’s a yummy, nourishing recipe for your lunch this week! Enjoy!

One of my new favorite go-to lunch (or even dinner) recipes comes from Heidi Swanson’s newest cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.  It is incredibly quick, full of flavor, and nutritious- not to mention very filling!  The quantities below make enough for at least 2-3 servings- I make a large portion and eat it throughout the week.  The flavors get better as it ages, too! 

 2 15-oz cans of organic black beans

1 jar olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes-chopped into small pieces, liquid reserved

1 6-oz package of feta cheese (flavored, if you prefer- black pepper is nice here)

¼ cup of slivered almonds, toasted (optional)

 Rinse the beans thoroughly in a colander- this really effects the recipe.  Not only are canned beans packed in liquid that changes the color/flavor of the dish, but the cans themselves contain BPA, and we don’t like that!  Giving the beans a good rinse (until they stop ‘bubbling’ on water contact) gets rid of most of the liquid and, therefore, chemicals that we don’t want to ingest.

 Once rinsed and patted dry, combine the beans with the tomatoes and their oil, coating the beans so that everything looks uniform and sort of ‘glistens’.  Fold in the feta and almonds, and you’re done! you can add some salt and pepper or even a splash of lemon juice if it suits you.

 I eat this raw with a spoon, but I think it would be lovely wrapped in a whole-grain pita for a little bit more substance.  You could even heat it up!  Enjoy!