Parenthood brings endless joy and many new challenges. One thing I struggle with a lot is finding the time to make a nutritious meal for myself. Most days, I hustle to daycare drop-off and start working immediately after – next thing I know, it’s 11:30 and I realize the only thing I’ve had all morning is copious amount of coffee! *stomach growls* So, in the past few months since starting work again full time, I’ve really been working on my repertoire of quick and healthy lunches. Here are 3 no-recipe recipes that I turn to over and over, in case you need some lunch inspirations!
Curry chickpea salad
Stealing this idea from my friend Julie, who is a brilliant cook! I had her curry chickpea salad last spring and have been making some version of it ever since! If my memory serves me right, her original version had canned chickpeas, red onion, celery, chopped grapes for sweetness, lemon juice, mayo, curry powder, and salt/pepper, but you can substitute most of these ingredients. Over time, I’ve made it with cucumbers or raw Brussels sprouts instead of celery, apples instead of grapes, cider vinegar instead of lemon juice, and added things like carrots, black olives, and avocado. Just taste as you go and adjust depending on how tangy/creamy you like the dressing. This salad goes great with pita chips or crackers.
A spin off “pan con tomate” – which I ate loads of while studying abroad in Spain years ago – this is my go-to breakfast, snack, quick lunch in the summer when good tomatoes are in season! Here is what you do: pop bread in the toaster until crispy (I like mine on the verge of burning), brush olive oil on the toasts liberally, rub a raw garlic on the crispy bread until the garlic disintegrates, place tomato slices on top, and season generously with salt. It’s the kind of quick and delicious meal that you’ll probably finish before you leave the kitchen (and over the sink if your tomatoes are particularly juicy). Just be aware: refrain from talking to anybody for the rest of the day because you will breath garlic fire 😛
One sheet pan veggie bowl
I make this when I’m short on time and crave veggies (which is about…every day). The idea is this: in one sheet pan, roast a couple of things that can cook in roughly about the same time, emphasis on roughly. If you have some ingredients that take longer to roast than others, say sweet potatoes and zucchini, just chop the sweet potatoes smaller! 400F is my go-to temp, and you can always do a quick broil at the end if you want more texture. Some combinations to consider:
- Broccoli and tofu (oil & salt & pepper on the broccoli, toss tofu in soy sauce and sesame)
- Any combo of tubers and squashes (oil & salt & pepper & a drizzle of maple syrup or honey)
- Cauliflower, mushroom & chickpeas (rosemary + garlic powder)
- Zucchini, corn, and asparagus (top it with a chopped up hard boiled egg and/or feta crumbles if you have any)
What to do after you are done cooking? Well, give me a bowl of veggies and I’m a happy gal! But you can also: wrap everything in tortillas, pitas, or scallion pancakes, serve alongside leftover rice/quinoa/farro/couscous, or microwave a whole sweet potato to go with it (high power until tender). Add a handful of nuts, douse in hot sauce/chili crisp, spoon a dollop of yogurt…whatever topping that strikes your fancy.