Healthy Lunch Recipes to Take to Work

Quinoa Taco Bowls with Cucumber Jalapeño Ranch

I think lunch is the most important meal of the day. Ok, that’s not true, I think ALL meals are the most important meal of the day, and it’s a rare day that I would skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner because when one is over, all I can think about is the next!

When I worked in an office, the lunches that I packed were the best lunches I’d eat that week. They were the meals that kept me on a healthy track because when 12pm rolls around and you’re starving, it’s easy to go out and grab the closest unhealthy thing. In the spirit of a healthy new year, I thought I’d post of a roundup of my favorite easily packable lunches. And because I get so many questions about food storage, these snapware glass containers are my go-to for keeping the food fresh. Click directly on the photos to go to each recipe.

Pictured above:

Quinoa Taco Bowls with Cucumber Jalapeño Ranch
This recipe has a base of spiced quinoa and black beans. The taco toppings are customizable – if you’re packing lunch for multiple days, use finely chopped kale instead of romaine lettuce. The creamy cashew sauce will last about 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone

Soups are my favorite packable leftover lunch because they always always taste better on the second or third day. Just reheat when you’re ready to eat.

Pictured above:
Zucchini & Sweet Potato Noodle Minestrone
It’s fun to eat the vegetable “noodles” in this recipe, but if you don’t have a spiralizer, just chop the sweet potato and zucchini. It’s delicious either way.

Pictured below:
Vegan “Cheesy” Broccoli Soup.

This soup is full of cheesy, tangy goodness and is great on a cold day. You can keep the croutons in a separate baggie so they don’t get soggy, or just skip them if you’re low on time or space.

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

Spinach Hummus Lunch Wraps
I made these for our flight to France earlier this year (which we missed…) but we enjoyed these wraps nonetheless. I purposely didn’t put tomatoes or avocado in here so that the wraps wouldn’t get soggy or get messy while traveling. Wrap these in foil and they can withstand being tossed in your bag (or in our case, an Uber ride to the airport and then directly home… sigh).

Spinach Hummus Lunch Wraps

The next four recipes are bowls, which are always easy to pack and eat later:

Spring Broccolini, Kale & Quinoa Bowls
I realize it’s not spring, but quinoa, chickpeas, and broccoli are all available year round and the pesto in here is made with frozen peas. Plus, eating this in the winter will make it feel like spring?

Spring Broccolini, Kale & Quinoa Bowls

Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad
Tahini sauce makes everything better! Broccoli, green beans, zucchini, and sun dried tomatoes in a creamy mayo-less tahini sauce. This one is really healthy if you use brown rice pasta.

Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad

Rainbow Bowls with Almond Ginger Dressing
All of the vegetables here (and there are a lot of them) are good packable ones. This is one of those recipes that’s even better on the second day – the creamy almond ginger dressing is so yummy and tangy and really soaks in nicely.

Rainbow Bowls with Almond Ginger Dressing

Roasted Delicata Squash Kale Salad
While there’s nothing better than squash roasted just out of the oven, I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved having these leftovers for lunch. You may want to pack the sauce separately.

Roasted Delicata Squash Kale Salad

Easy Power Lunch Bowls
More bowls (last one, I promise) and more kale! I love this bowl because the trifecta of sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kale is a hearty combo to get you through the day. Those little meatball looking things are veggie balls – I love them, but you can toss whatever protein you want in here.

Easy Power Lunch Bowls

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches
Here’s one if you’re a sandwich person. This one can be a little messy – I wouldn’t pile it quite so high as what I have in the photo and I would wrap it well with foil. If you haven’t tried tempeh, this smoky baked tempeh is SO good.

Vegan Tempeh Club Sandwich

Chickpea Salad Wraps with Avocado Dill Sauce
Pack the chickpea filling separately from the lettuce leaves and assemble these at your desk. You can skip the pickled onions and the sauce if you want to, the chickpea filling is so good on its own!

Chickpea Salad Wraps with Avocado Dill Sauce

Happy lunching!

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

Hi, my name is Jeanine and I’ve been an Instagram addict from the beginning. I love seeing what’s going in on other people’s lives, what they’re making, and most of all drooling over delicious looking food that I want to eat right through the screen. Someone who I’ve loved following is Lindsay Maitland Hunt while she was working on her cookbook Healthyish. It felt like I would always see her photos right before lunch or a few hours before dinner and I’d just salivate. Her food looks not only so delicious, but it’s the kind of approachable, real life, I-can-make-that-too, kind of food that I always want to have right in front of me at any time of day. So, needless to say, I’m so excited to talk about (and cook from) her book! If you’re not familiar with Lindsay’s work, she was an editor and recipe developer at Real Simple Magazine and Buzzfeed. She’s created recipes for everyone from college students to busy families to seasoned home cooks.

At the beginning of the book she talks about her Healthyish balanced approach to eating which I totally relate to (see post about my lemon-only diet) – “I’ve oscillated between extremes my entire life, whether it was eating a greasy grilled cheese or eating a boring bowl of steamed vegetables. But seesawing between the two isn’t how you achieve balance. Healthyish is eating a big, hearty bowl of food that doesn’t leave you feeling weight down. Food that makes you feel good, and not sad.”

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

The recipes are a mix of really-healthy and mostly-healthy recipes, hence the name. The book is not entirely vegetarian but there are SO MANY vegetarian recipes, especially in the section that’s titled Vegetarian Dinners. I have my eye on the Linguine with Trumpet Mushroom “Scallops” and the Smoky Cauliflower and Onion Frittata.

Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls

We made these Adzuki Bean Bowls the other night (very healthy without the “ish”) and they are simply delicious. The napa cabbage, snap pea, and carrot slaw take no time to toss together. It goes over adzuki beans (if you can’t find canned adzuki beans, black beans sub great here) and brown rice. A yummy sesame miso dressing gets drizzled over the whole thing. It’s hearty yet light, crunchy, and so so delicious. I just love bowls like this!
  Brown Rice and Adzuki Bean Bowls from Healthyish by Lindsay Maitland Hunt

You can buy the Healthyish Cookbook here, I hope you love it as much as I do!

OR you can win a copy of both Healthyish + (our book) The Love and Lemons Cookbook: head over to THIS Instagram post to enter the giveaway.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

During my first semester in college, I gained about 25 pounds. For a short person like me who never had any prior issues with food or weight, it was dramatic. It was the result of terrible cafeteria food, too many fat free animal crackers, and definitely too many midnight dorm room pizzas. That New Year’s Eve, I resolved to get the weight off… and fast. My best friend told me that she was doing this thing called the master cleanse so, naturally, that sounded like a good idea. I’m sure you’ve heard of it – it involves a concoction made of lemon juice, maple syrup, and black pepper. Only I didn’t like black pepper and maple syrup was expensive, so instead I decided that I would just drink lemon juice mixed with water for as many days as were directed in the “cleanse.” During those first few weeks back at school, while everyone would have their cafeteria trays full of pancakes and whatever other breakfast food, I’d fill my tray with four glasses of water, sit down, and start squeezing my lemons. Everyone thought I was crazy, but the idea of just eating reasonably and sensibly didn’t make sense to my college self, who wanted to be thin NOW. Well, I was crazy and drinking only lemon juice isn’t actually sustainable (no love with those lemons), but this line of thinking stayed with me for a couple of years while I yoyo’d up and down in weight. That was until one day I learned that if I just ate pretty well and avoided crazy ups and downs, everything would be ok – and it has been.

So this year, like every year, I have no New Year’s diet resolutions other than continuing to eat delicious, wholesome food with some room for fun foods. Just like this tomato soup (wholesome) with grilled cheese croutons (fun!). It’s all vegan but I promise you won’t even know it because it’s so creamy even though there is no actual cream. We’re partnering with ALDI on this post because they carry delicious organic produce and some A+ pantry staples as well.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Because it’s winter, I intended to make this soup using only canned tomatoes, but when we got to ALDI, their organic fresh tomatoes just looked so darn good. So I roasted onions, tomatoes, and garlic which I later blended with canned tomatoes, chickpeas, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh thyme.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

This soup is SO good. It’s tangy from the tomatoes, creamy from the chickpeas, and so so satisfying. I’d say yes to a bowl of this every day of the winter. Jack, who is not the biggest fan of tomato soup, could not get enough.

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

It’s delicious on its own, but the fun, yummy grilled cheese croutons really take it over the top. I used ALDI’s Knock Your Sprouts Off Sprouted 7 Grain Bread and their Earth Grown Vegan Shredded Cheese. I have to tell you that I’m so excited about this vegan cheese because: 1 – it tastes really good, 2 – it actually melts great, and 3 – it’s so affordable!

Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons Vegan Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

Happy New Year’s soup making!

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

The first snow came early in Chicago this year. It was barely November and we were driving to an appointment. It was snowing, and then all of the sudden it went from “really charming” to “wow it’s really coming down!” Now I learned to drive in snow, so I know how to pump the brakes (before anti-lock brakes existed) and to turn into the slide. But after living in Austin for so many years, I got soft. It was always funny to me how the slightest hint of snow in Texas meant that schools were closed and roads were abandoned, but when our first real snow day happened here in Chicago, my first though was “how many people are really going to be on the road?” Well, the answer ended up being way too many – we sat in the cold car way too long, wearing way too-light coats, staring at brake lights and a grey sky. I thought – really – what have we done?? I write a blog about vegetables, I’m shooting a book that’s due before May (when the spring farmers markets open) and we’ve moved so far from the sun!

We got to where we were going – an industrial area in the Pullman neighborhood where, situated on the roof of the Method production facility, is Gotham Greens. I’ve been obsessed with their locally grown greens the moment I came across their deliciously spicy arugula (among other greens) earlier this year at Whole Foods. We got a tour of their rooftop greenhouse and even though it was cold and miserable outside, it was so warm and sunny up there. There was a sea of the softest butter lettuces, my favorite spicy arugula, and the loveliest scent of fresh basil. My first two thoughts were: 1. Could I just hang out up here all winter? I could bring my laptop and maybe they could put a desk in a sunny corner for me? and 2. How hard would it be to build a greenhouse on our rooftop so that I could go up and pick local fresh produce (and hang out in the warmth) all winter?

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

Later that night, with a fridge full of greens and a pantry full of not much else, I made this five minute arugula pesto pasta because, well, we weren’t about to head out into the snow for any additional groceries. I used Gotham Greens’ vegan pesto, which I love, especially when I’m too lazy to make my own. This recipe for kale pesto would also be great here (and would be delicious using their fresh basil if you wanted basil pesto instead of kale pesto). The key to pesto pasta is to reserve some of that salty, starchy pasta water to loosen the pesto enough to make it a light sauce over the pasta.

Pesto Pasta with Arugula

Healthy Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

Creamy White Bean Shells with Broccoli

Happy 2018!

Usually I start a new year by posting smoothie bowls, salads and all of my favorite light and fresh things, but… well… it’s -3 degrees outside here in Chicago so I thought I’d start this year off with my favorite hearty, healthy, and most importantly warming recipes that you might want to make for dinner this week.

Creamy White Bean Shells with Broccoli (pictured above)

The title kind of says it all – this recipe includes an easy lemony white bean puree that’s made with ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now. Pour it over brown rice pasta shells and tons of sauteed broccoli.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale

Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic & Kale

If you got a spiralizer for Christmas, now’s the time to break it out! Noodle some sweet potatoes and toss them in a pan with tons of kale and garlic for a quick veggie-packed dinner.

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas

One of my favorite recipes from our cookbook, these enchiladas are perfect to eat for dinner when it’s cold outside. They’re stuffed with roasted butternut squash and black beans and they’re topped with a smoky chipotle tomato sauce that will take you only a few minutes to stir together. Make these quicker by roasting the butternut squash in advance! (note: the photo above is the step before they go into the oven).

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Obviously, I’m craving spicy things today! Tortilla soup is one of my favorite soups, but it’s rarely served vegetarian at restaurants so I make my own. This hearty soup has a tangy & smoky broth, plus a fun crunch from the tortilla strips. It can be made with butternut squash instead of pumpkin if that’s easier to find.

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

Herb & Garlic Mushroom Pasta

This is one of my favorite recipes that I made this past year. If you love mushrooms, you HAVE to make this pasta dish. Even though it seems very simple, it’s big on flavor because mushrooms and tarragon are a match made in heaven. A touch of cashew cream with Dijon mustard makes it just a little creamy and oh so luscious.

Crispy Butternut Squash & Poblano Tacos

Crispy Butternut Squash & Poblano Tacos

Ok, if I had to pick TWO favorite recipes from 2017 this may be my second favorite. That butternut squash looks fried, but looks can be deceiving – it’s coated with crispy hemp seeds and panko and baked. The creamy poblano sauce takes these tacos over the top.

Vegan "Cheesy" Broccoli Soup

Vegan “Cheesy” Broccoli Soup

Based on how many times I’ve seen this one tagged on Instagram, I’m assuming that this creamy broccoli soup is a fan favorite. Traditional cheesy broccoli soup is so very unhealthy, but my version packs a ton of vegetables and is husband-approved.

Mushroom Lentil Spaghetti "Bolognese"

Mushroom Lentil Spaghetti “Bolognese”

A super hearty pasta made with lentils and mushrooms instead of meat!

Sustenance Sweet Potato Stew 

Sustenance Sweet Potato Stew 

If you’re trying to eat more vegetables in 2018, here’s a great place to start. This stew packs 4 cups of sweet potatoes, 3 cups of broccoli, 4 cups of swiss chard, among other things. What’s amazing about this recipe is that it all fits in one pot 🙂

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

This sauce in this recipe is so good! Pour it over noodles, lots of kale and any vegetables you like. You can serve these noodles hot or cold. Keep extra sauce in the fridge for flavorful lunches!

Macro Bowls with Turmeric Tahini Sauce

Macro Bowls with Turmeric Tahini Sauce

When I truly need a reset meal, this is what I make. Brown rice, steamed vegetables, some kind of legume (pictured: mung beans), a little sauerkraut or pickled ginger, and a turmeric tahini sauce to bring it all together. I hope that this one proves that eating healthy is not at all boring!

Sweet Potatoes, Many Ways

Sweet Potatoes, Many Ways

For those cold nights when you really don’t want to cook much – roast some sweet potatoes and stuff them with one of these filling options!

Let me know if you have any dinner recipe requests for 2018!