02 Jul Work-week salad obsession
Happy Sunday everyone!
This week I’m sharing with you my latest health/work day hack – this easy, delicious salad I’ve been having for lunch.
Traditionally, I’ve taken leftovers for lunch, or bought something from a cafe – sushi and Vietnamese rice paper rolls are my usual go-tos. However, in an effort to stick to my budget (I’ll save that post for another day) I was inspired by one of my friends to start taking salads to work for lunch. Now, I’ve NEVER believed that salad, in and of itself, can possibly be classified a meal. However, I have been converted, mainly because of one simple discovery: I BLOOMING LOVE CRANBERRIES.
Aforementioned friend, when approached for advice, recommended this simple salad combo and I’ve not looked back since. I’ve not even been tempted to grab some hot chippies or venture out for some other delectable (and possibly overpriced) goody.
The great thing about the recipe is that it’s basically just mix and match until you find something that tickles your tastebuds. I’m still refining my combo, and I know the world is my oyster in terms of possible combinations, but I’ve been eating the below for about a month every day for lunch and still am not tired of it.
In terms of organising myself, I usually prepare all my ingredients after my weekly shop each Sunday, and then it’s a matter of just making a new one each night. I’ve not tried prepping more than a day ahead, but depending on what you’re adding, I’d say it could be put together a few days ahead. If you are doing it each day, like me, my number one tip is make tomorrow’s lunch AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME. Seriously. It will revolutionise your life. I’ve always been the type to get home from work, throw everything on the dining room table and veg out in front of the tele for what turns into hours. However, if you wash up your lunch box and prep the next day’s meal as soon as you walk through the door, you’ll feel much better about collapsing on the couch, knowing you’ve done all your jobs. And you’ll be much less likely to skip it, buy lunch, and waste that day’s allocation of ingredients.
In terms of a lunch box, I do tend to go a bit batty trying to find the right container for the job, however in this case I’ve managed to coax myself away from some cute box (Sistema do have some great mobile meal options), and I just grab whatever plastic container is left in the drawer. Generally I do like to use these Sistema ones (which I already owned), however I’ve got a whole heap of yoghurt containers or takeaway food containers that do just fine if the Sistema ones are otherwise engaged (ie. the in the dishwasher or forgotten at work). One thing I would recommend investing in is some small dressing containers. I’ve just got some of the cheap home-brand ones from Coles and they survive pretty well in the dishwasher. It’s worth the couple of dollars a pack to ensure your dressing doesn’t percolate in the bottom of your lunch box longer than necessary.
Anyway, enough of my ruminating, here’s the recipe, and note it’s for one work week’s worth of lunches. There’s usually a little of everything left over so I either make a giant salad on Fridays or use it up over the weekend.
- 4 leaf salad mix 120g
- Punnet of Roma tomatoes 200g
- 1/2 cup black grain quinoa
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 200g cranberries
- 200g sunflower seeds
- 200g Parmesan cheese
- 5xtuna in spring water
- Bottle of french salad dressing
- Combine rice and quinoa with about two cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until grains are well cooked and stir occasionally. I usually end up adding quite a bit more water, because there’s nothing I hate more than undercooked rice, and also because I’ve not yet motivated myself to experiment for the perfect water to grains ratio. This is just easier, TBH.
- While you’re waiting for your grains to cook, grab your lunch and add a smattering of salad leaves as the base layer. How much is up to you. I don’t really like salad leaves, so I don’t add much (basically enough for it to cover the base of the box), however if you’re super into your greens, feel free to add as much as you like.
- Chop up some of your tomatoes. This again is up to you in terms of quantity.
- Once grains are cooked through and have soaked up all the water, leave them to cool a while and pop in a plastic container.
- Add a couple of spoons of the grains to your salad; I quite like these as they fill me up for the afternoon and therefore I’m less likely to go on a chocolate hunt around the 3pm mark, so I add quite a bit. Again, it’s up to you.
- Throws your tomatoes on top.
- Sprinkle some sunflower seeds on. (I usually add about a tablespoon).
- Throw some cranberries on.
- Open up a tin of tuna and mash it up. The messier the better. Spread this on top of your salad.
- Sprinkle some cheese on top. Again, I add about a spoon, but this really depends on what mood I’m in.
- Grab one of the small containers and fill it with dressing, pop the lid on and squish it into your salad (I know it ruins the aesthetic, but believe me, it’s much better than well dressing the contents of your handbag – I speak from experience).
- Pop the lid on and put in a plastic bag (again, extra precautions to avoid handbag disaster), and pop in the fridge.
- Just grab it out of the fridge on your wait out of the door!
Repeat the steps above, however you’ve obviously already helped yourself out by cooking all your grains, so you just have to grab them out of the fridge when you’re ready to add them.
And that’s it! You can really value-add to this salad any way you like. I’m so tempted to add haloumi but that seems a little decadent, so I haven’t tested it out. However, I encourage you to! You can also try such as chick peas, switch out your salad mix for kale, switch out your tuna for salmon, or add some roast sweet potato and lentils. The type of dressing is also totally up to you. This really is basically just a mix and match quest. Please comment below with any great combos, because I think a month is probably enough with the same combo!
Happy salading. Xo