I love lunch. I am one of those people that needs to have a real lunch every day. That doesn't mean I want to down a calorie-bomb sandwich necessarily, and it doesn't exclude things like soup or salad. But when I see someone eating a bag of Fritos or sadly trying to make eating a yogurt last thirty minutes, I just feel depressed. That being said, I am always running late in the morning, and like many working people, I only have half an hour to prepare and eat my lunch, and that is on a slow day. I am fortunate to work in a place where I have a microwave, toaster, and refrigerator at my disposal, and I definitely take advantage of that. For those people who aren't as fortunate, I expect lunch can be a much more difficult meal to deal with. My mom, who I'm providing ideas for, is in basically the same situation as me, except she gets a full lunch hour. She is busy, so speed of preparation is of the essence, and also like me, she wants a meal she can look forward to all morning that will keep her going through the afternoon when five o'clock seems way too far away. Up front I will say, these ideas aren't going to blow the doors off of how you think about lunch. I am going to talk a lot about salad, soup, and sandwiches. But since I went through it for my mom, I wanted to share it on the blog as well, in the hope that it might be interesting for other folks as well.
Tofu "Egg" Salad Sandwich
- Start with a whole lot of greens and then go crazy with vegetables. Add whatever you like best, or whatever seasonal items looked great at the grocery store. My favorite salad ingredients include carrots, onions, radishes, snowpeas, bell peppers, avocado and tomatoes. (Other people would probably add cucumbers and celery to that list as well, but I hate them and I refuse to support cucumbers unless they have done the right thing and become pickles.) Add nuts or seeds for crunchy texture and healthy whole-food fat. Add beans (chickpeas are great!) or baked tofu/crumbled tempeh/soy chick'n for a protein boost. When it comes to dressing, homemade beats storebought every time. Maple syrup and mustard with pepper and garlic powder is a simple, quick and tasty honey mustard sub with no oil. Flavored vinegars make a good dressing on their own, and silken tofu is a good base to make creamy dressings.
- Non-dairy milks and pureed vegetables make great bases for creamy soups. Real milk and cream are easy to replace, so you aren't missing anything.
- Vegetable broth-based soups with veggies and noodles
- Bean or lentil soups
- Tempeh BLT = awesome.
- Hummus and veggie sandwich
- Baked tofu sandwich with veggies
- Vegan "tuna" salad (recipe here: click for deliciousness )
- Vegan "egg" salad
- Grilled cheeze or simple quesadillas
- Veggie "lunchmeat" (if you're into that sort of thing, and sometimes I am)
- PB&J or a variation
- Pasta with sauce (could run the gamut from marinara to mac & cheeze)
- Rice and beans
- Stir fry vegetables with rice
- Baked potatoes (cook a few extra the night before and eat with your favorite toppings. Ideas would include: broccoli & cheeze sauce, vegan sour cream and veggie bacon, chili, salsa.)
- Dips: Black bean salsa dip (simply a can of beans and a jar of salsa mixed up in the food processor); Hummus; Mexican layered dip (refried beans, vegan sour cream, guac and salsa)
- Things to dip: Crudites, pita, tortilla chips