Where in the world would I be without meal prep? Hungry, crabby, and the chronic victim of an unproductive work-day, most likely.
All jokes aside, meal prepping has for some time now been at the crux of my routine. Between early morning workouts, an unpredictable work schedule and some semblance of a social life, I’m not exactly in a position to be cooking up leisurely dinners in the kitchen every night a la Nigella Lawson. Saturday nights are usually spent cooking up a batches of beans and grains, portioning out salad greens and smoothie packs. Sure, it sounds a little mundane and repetitive – but in the long run it saves so much time and for the most part prevents the “hangry” mood swings from kicking in at the office.
Given the delightfully warm temperatures (I say that with only the slightest hint of sarcasm – I actually prefer the hot weather), nutritionally dense, meal-sized salads have been my go-to lunches as of late.
This one is just that – not to mention piled high with a multitude of uplifting colors, textures, and flavours.
- 2 cups chickpeas cooked
- 2 cups quinoa cooked and cooled
- ½ cup yellow bell pepper finely chopped
- ¼ cup spring onion finely chopped
- ½ cup carrots grated
- ½ cup pomegranate seed arils
- ¼ cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- ½ tbsp agave or maple syrup
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated.
- Mix in the lemon juice, olive oil, agave, salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.
- Serve on a bed of greens of your choice with sliced avocados, pomegranate seeds and cilantro strands for garnish - devour!
- Add sea salt and black pepper to taste for the dressing.
There’s something about pomegranate and cilantro in a salad that just screams summer.
The sweetness of the bell peppers and pomegranate pairs wonderfully with the citrus dressing – and the crunch of the fresh veggies contrasts with the nutty quinoa, soft chickpeas and creamy avocado. I would say it’s akin to a party in your mouth – but that would be slightly cliche given the chosen recipe title.
As an additional note, I should mention that this serves four people as an appetiser, but two people as a main. A while ago I found myself feeling utterly unsatisfied with my packed lunch salads. It wasn’t until I read the nutritional guide of my current workout program when it dawned on me that I was including such meager portions of legumes (1/2 a cup of chickpeas – what?). Nowadays I typically include 1 – 1 1/4 cup of beans/lentils and 1/2 – 3/4 cup of grains – which I’m happy to report are adequately satiating.
I couldn’t resist having some of this for lunch the day I whipped it up, alongside a baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli – happiness on a plate.
What are some of your go-to lunches, work or otherwise?
Until next time, friends!