Lunch needs to be quick and easy, but also nourishing and satisfying so that you can power through the afternoon. When I get home from morning practice I'm usually pretty hungry, and want to grab the first thing I see and gobble it down. To avoid munching on junk, I like to have the ingredients for my lunches pre-prepared in the fridge. This means cooking the grains, meats, and vegetables beforehand so that only assembly is required. When I cook like this, the dishes are usually slightly different every time. I like to use flexible recipes that allow me to swap out different ingredients based on what I am craving, what is in season, or what I have on hand. Here are a couple of my go-to lunch recipes that I've been enjoying this fall.
This recipe uses cauliflower rice, which I'm totally into right now. You can make it yourself, but honestly I've done both and its way easier to buy pre-prepared and costs the same. Remember you can always sub out for a different squash, nut, leafy green, etc.
- Cauliflower rice (I get mine pre-made, so easy!)
- Roasted butternut squash (or pumpkin, or sweet potato)
- Grilled chicken
- Goats cheese crumbles
- Toasted walnuts
- Basil pesto
- Whole wheat tortilla
- Shredded Tuscan kale
Toast the cauliflower rice in a pan on high heat with a little olive oil for about 5 min until its a little browned. Toss in the pesto and roasted squash and mix. Warm the tortilla, fill with the cauliflower rice mix, add grilled chicken, cheese, walnuts, and kale.
This open-faced sandwich is a lunch-version of my avocado toast from breakfast with bonus protein from the tuna. I don't like mayonnaise, so I sub in plain greek yogurt instead.
- Whole wheat bread
- 1/2 Avocado
- Few pieces of baby kale (or another green)
- Can of tuna (light, chunks, packed in water, drained)
- 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt for each can of tuna works pretty well, but play around until you get the consistency you like
- Handful toasted walnuts
- 1/4 apple, chopped into small chunks
- Dash of salt and pepper
Toast your bread and cover with avocado. I mash mine up a bit to make it spreadable. Place the greens on top. In a bowl, mix your tuna, yogurt, walnuts, apple, and s+p. Plop the tuna mixture on top of the toast in a mountain. If your bread is smaller, make two so that you have the right ratio of toast:avocado:tuna.
Try this one for a lighter lunch, or pair it with the cauliflower soup below for a full meal. I used spring mix and chicken this time, but I also love it with salmon and baby kale or arugula. The dressing comes from my teammate Shalane Flanagan's cookbook, Run Fast Eat Slow. I use this dressing CONSTANTLY. You gotta try it!
- Spring mix
- Cherry tomatoes, chopped in half (I like the heirloom ones that come in different shapes and sizes)
- Baby sweet peppers, deseeded, chopped in bitesize pieces
- Grilled chicken thighs (I do this in a pan with a little olive oil and some lemon pepper)
- Parmesan cheese, shredded into thin slices
- Run Fast Eat Slow lemon miso dressing (recipe here)
- Hunk of a sourdough baguette on the side
I don't even think you need directions here! Assemble the salad on a plate or large bowl, greens first, veggies and chicken, cheese on top, the drizzle the dressing to your liking.
As soon as the leaves start turning, I start getting cravings for flavorful, rich soups that makes me feel cozy and warm. @thefeedfeed is one of my favorite food Instagram accounts to follow, and I love this soup they posted with roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. It was super easy and delicious. I paired it with the salad above for a well-rounded lunch.
The recipe author, @girlonrange, says:
"Definitely the easiest stew you will ever make, I promise. No standing over the stove stirring, no missing your favorite shows while you are still in the kitchen making your family dinner – this is so easy you only need a baking sheet and a blender!"