Easy dinner idea: Spicy black bean and chickpea stew

I love to cook, but, to be perfectly honest, I just don’t feel like doing it these days. As much as I’d like to pretend that I am superwoman and can juggle a full-time job, night classes, school work (as finals are approaching…), my personal life, as well as other little odds and ends, sometimes it gets to be a little much, and sometimes the last thing I want to do is make myself dinner (it has always been my least favorite meal to prepare…).

Despite my lack of motivation these days, it is still a priority for me to eat clean, real foods as much as possible.  Eating better makes me feel better, and I will always be a firm believer that “healthy” doesn’t have to equal time-consuming or boring.  Making something from scratch (or even sprucing up a premade veggie burger….) can often be just as easy (and often faster!) than relying on the more “convenient”  or fast foods out there.

So, I won’t lie, even though  I have been consisting mostly on veggie burgers, oatmeal concoctions,  random snack combinations and huge salads these days, I have also made some more notable meals as well. Last week, for example, my sister and I had the idea to make some sort of spicy bean-based soup/stew for dinner using a few simple ingredients we had on hand.  I am no chef and tend to make pretty low-key “recipes,” but, I must say, this turned out to be pretty delicious if I do say so myself.

The stew had a nice spice from the fire roasted tomatoes and chili powder, and the cumin gave it a nice smoky flavor as well.  Plus, all you need is a can opener, a few canned items, an onion/garlic, and some simple spices to whip this together…. it is basically impossible to screw up and works very well as leftovers (I am going to be eating a serving over some spinach for lunch today)…

Spicy black bean and chickpea stew

makes approximately 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)

Directions

  • spray bottom of pot with non-stick spray (can also use olive oil)
  • saute garlic and onion for 5-6 minutes
  • add fire roasted tomatoes, black beans, chickpeas, and seasonings to pot
  • simmer 30 minutes
  • top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some additional hot sauce (optional)

I initially ate mine on top of some sautéed kale and roasted acorn squash/brussel sprouts (random, but I was craving roasted vegetables and was on a roll in the kitchen that day…), but I imagine that this would work really well on top of some quinoa or with a nice crusty piece of bread on the side as well.  If you have a can opener and a few simple spices you are good to go with this recipe…. try it out!

What are your favorite simple dinner recipes?

Family Quirks + the BEST salad dressing recipe

Since going away to college and then living away from home, I have come to realize some odd quirks/habits my family has. Sometimes it takes a little time apart to see things from a different perspective. Some examples…..

  • We refer to all beverages that we drink as “drink.” For example, if my mom wants someone to pass her the iced tea during dinner she will say, “Can I have the drink.” Or in general, if someone is thirsty, they will say, “I need drink.” I feel like this is odd….
  • We have “clothes parties” at my house, meaning, my mom wants us to come downstairs and help her fold the laundry and take it upstairs. These “parties” started when I was about 10 in order for my parents to inspire my sisters and I to help with the laundry, but my mom still implements the term (even though I am 23 and do my own laundry…). The “parties” usually only revolve around towels these days….
  • We always have this one homemade dressing that is always made/kept in the house. We refer to it as “house dressing” (like Italian restaurants do), and you can always find it in our pantry. It is my FAVORITE kind of dressing, but I will only eat it at home. It is so simple to make, but it doesn’t taste the same unless my mom makes it….

I am sure we have plenty more “quirks,” but I’ll leave it at that for now…. Any weird habit/quirks that you/your family have and/or participate in? I know I am not the only one!

Since the “house dressing” I mentioned above is so delicious and so amazing, I thought I’d share the recipe. I just watched my mom make a fresh batch yesterday, so I took note of the ingredients. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your house already, so go make this ASAP! It’s so good!

My lunch from yesterday using said dressing... so good

“House Dressing”

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together in small bowl until blended together. Store in any type or resealable bottle and/or tupperware container. Pour on any type of vegetable and enjoy!

Have a nice day everyone!

What odd quirks does your family have?

What is your favorite type of salad dressing (homemade or  purchased)? Please share!

A week’s worth of salad ideas

Since I started photographing my meals (especially my lunches), it has come to my attention that I eat A LOT of salad – at least one a day to be exact. I LOVE loading up on fresh foods early in the day and salads are the perfect way to do it. They are filling, healthy and are SO easy to switch up on a daily basis.

I know that a lot of people hate packing their lunches and especially avoid making things like salads because they seem to be too time intensive, but I am determined to show the world (or at least the lunch packers of the world) that it is not only possible, but easy to pack fun and delicious meals everyday. Lunch doesn’t have to be boring!  Wouldn’t it be nice to look forward to lunch and know that you are doing something good for your body/wallet on a daily basis?  It is a myth that lunch packing has to be tedious or monotonous. A weeks worth of various vegetables/grains/proteins can actually provide a limitless amount of fun lunch (salad!) options…..

My lunches of the week….  (including what I had to work with):

(side note: I share all of this food with my sister… just so you are aware that I don’t eat 8 cups of beans by myself in one week)

Vegetables:

  • spinach (1 tub)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 big bag of baby carrots
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag each of kale and arugula (the tub of spinach I bought on Sunday which was NOT packed very full… (such a rip off!), so I had to replenish my greens mid-week – which is usually not the case)
  • radish (a few leftover from last week)

Grains:

  • quinoa (I made about 2 cups worth on Sunday night for the week)
  • brown rice spiral pasta (made about 2 cups worth on Sunday night as well)
  • whole grain bread (I will usually eat a slice on the side with my salad if I don’t add a grain into the mix)

Protein:

  • 1 can pinto beans (3 servings a can)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can bean salad
  • lentils (I made 2 cups worth on Sunday when I made the quinoa and pasta) -  enough for approximately 4 meals

Additional items (things that I needed to use up or ingredients that I usually have on hand):

  • goat cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • blueberries (the last of a pint from last week)
  • radishes (from last week)
  • various vinegars/sauces/dressings

Monday

Fruity spinach salad with quinoa and blueberries

  • spinach
  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • pinto beans (1/2 cup)
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped broccoli
  • chopped radish
  • sprinkle of blueberries (the last of a container from last week)
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s Muscat Orange Vinegarette

Tuesday

Indian-inspired salad with lentils, spinach, quinoa and goat cheese

  • spinach
  • lentils (1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (1/2 cup)
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped broccoli
  • chopped zucchini
  • goat cheese
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s curry simmer sauce/marinade

Wednesday

BBQ sweet potato, kale, and black bean salad

  • kale
  • zucchini
  • sweet potato (1/2 of a medium-sized potato, microwaved and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • black beans (1/2 cup)
  • quinoa (a small sprinkling of whatever I had left in the fridge… maybe 2 tbsp?? )
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce diluted with a little water to thin it out

Thursday

Arugula bean salad with sunflower seeds (enjoyed in the sun!)

  • arugula
  • bean salad (1/2 cup)- in a vinegar-based marinade which served as my dressing
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped broccoli
  • sunflower seeds

I also ate a slice of bread on the side with this.

I bought this canned bean salad (with string beans, kidney beans and pinto beans) a longgg time ago and finally used it as a salad topper this week. I loved the vinegar-y and tanginess of this mixture and it felt so light and spring-y. I am inspired to make my own… and may need to make this recipe from Tone It Up in the near future….

Friday

“Pasta salad” with arugula and pinto beans

  • arugula
  • pinto beans (1/2 cup)
  • brown rice pasta (1/2 cup)
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped broccoli
  • dressing: Trader Joe’s Muscat Orange Vinegar

So there you have it….. I hope I (maybe?) showed how a weeks worth of vegetables can be made into different salad/meal options! I love how  a few basic ingredients can be switched up so easily to make a completely different meal. What can I say, I love my salad.

Do you eat a lot of salads for lunch? If so, how do you keep them exciting? I like to switch up dressings everyday so I never get bored, and I also try to add “fun ingredients” (like blueberries or sweet potatoes) to keep things exciting.

What is your favorite salad combination? I love the mixture of quinoa, goat cheese and broccoli together in salads and have also been loving to add fruit to my salads as well these days

What I’ve Been Reading….

Some posts I have enjoyed recently….

Helpful, honest and/or informative posts:

Sweet Tater: On Binge Eating - in this post, Katie lays down the facts about binge eating in such a clear and informative way and discusses how she personally deals with the issue. I love how blunt, honest, and hilarious she is in general (I always look forward to reading her posts), and I personally loved how she delved into this topic in such a relatable, open way.  Check it out if you haven’t already!

For the Love of Kale: Dissassociating my Veganism from my Eating Disorder: I have mentioned Heather/her blog on here a few times already, but I must say, her blog is one of my new favorites. I love when blogs are authentic and real and when you can tell that the person behind the page really has a passion for what they are writing about. Heather’s blog is just that, and I love the positive energy she exudes through her writing. She also  talks about topics in such a well-rounded and helpful way.  

Une Vie Saine: Lately: I have been reading Gabriela’s blog for quite a while now, and I have loved watching it evolve. I think our 20′s can be such a confusing time, and I appreciate how Gabriela has let her blog evolve with her life and how she is so open and real about her feelings.  I love how brutally honest she is in this post. It was very refreshing to read.   

You can’t fake authenticity and passion, and I love finding blogs (and posts) that are honest and real (these are the blogs  that keep me coming back for more!). It is not easy to whip out informative/thought-provoking/well-written content on a consistent basis, so I have huge respect for people who are able to write openly and honestly about their thoughts/experiences/feelings. Check out these blogs!

On the food/recipe front:

Accidentially Delish: Chocolate Banana Hummus - I have no words. This is such a good idea! I need to buy some chickpeas stat.

Healthy Happy Life: Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers -  I heard that these are delicious and I reallllly want to make them.

Gluten Free Goddess: Kale Salad with Quinoa, Tangerines and Roasted Almonds - I am always on the lookout for new uses for kale and this one seems right up my alley…

Recipe Success

Peanut Butter Fingers: Savory Salmon Oatmeal Hash - I made this for dinner the other week and LOVED it! While I have made savory oats before, this was a new spin on the concept. You couldn’t even tell that oatmeal was used as the grain! This was really easy to make and was sooooo delicious. I basically stuck to Julie’s recipe only making the following modifications:

  • I replaced the cauliflower with asparagus and broccoli 
  • I seasoned my oatmeal hash with some dijon mustard and pepper (that I mixed in at the end of cooking) and topped my bowl off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice  (instead of seasoning with dill)

Any posts you have loved recently?

Any recipes you want to make/have made and want to share?

….feel free to link!

It’s all about the balance

When it comes to health, I am all about balance. While it is important to eat your greens and fruit and whole grains on a daily basis, it is also important to eat ice cream and chocolate and enjoy some beer and wine from time to time. While it is important to incorporate exercise/daily movement into your life, it is OK to sometimes qualify bar hopping towards your quota or take the day off when you’re just not feeling it.

As long as you are fueling with the good stuff for the majority of the time and treating your body well on a daily basis, there is no reason not to throw caution to the wind and enjoy the HUGE margarita and/or ice cream when you want to. It’s all about having equal love for both the spinach and the mint chocolate chip….

I bring this up because this weekend definitely qualified as a more indulgent weekend for me. I participated in some fun St Patty’s activities on East Carson street ( a street in Pittsburgh that is lined with way too many bars to count), and I thought it could be fun to highlight how I balanced my day/weekend with both healthy eats and some more indulgent treats as well…..anyone else take part in some fun St Patrick’s day festivities?

My weekend included:

Drinks

my fair share of  green drinks

some on the “healthier” end of the spectrum…..

and some with the addition of some tequila… 

Big Azz kiwi margarita at Mad Mex

Green margaritas at Margaritaville!

Food

I balanced out some delicious eats

Lunch at Whole Foods on Saturday before the festivities began....

Breakfast on Sunday was a group effort: fruit bought and chopped by Jon and arranged by yours truly

with some delicious treats….

First Rita's of the season! Gelati with iced coffee cream ice and vanilla custard

There was also some unpictured  pizza, buffalo potato chips and caramel popcorn consumed throughout the weekend as  well…..

Exercise

  • BodyAttack on Saturday morning
  • Bar hopping/walking on Saturday afternoon
  • Plenty of laziness of Sunday….

So it basically was a great weekend, and I wish I could rewind and do it again…. Why must it be Monday morning right now?

He loves me, I swear

How was your weekend/St Patrick’s day?

How do you incorporate balance in your life?

 

Tribute to the Margarita

When it starts to get warm out, I have a slight problem… I start craving delicious, cold, refreshing margaritas like nobodies business.

Sami also shares my love of tequila

Margaritas are, hands down, my favorite type of cocktail to enjoy in the warmer months. While I lean towards more towards beer (like IPAs and maltier/hoppier brews)  and red wine (like Cab and Syrah) in the fall/winter months, the craving for tequila comes rushing back as soon as t-shirt/dress/sandal season begins. I love my tequila, what can I say.

There is just nothing like enjoying a cold, fresh margarita during happy hour, or anytime really….. YUM.

My favorite margarita is on the rocks and includes a simple mix of a good quality silver tequila (I am not a fan of gold), grand marnier , lime juice and ice. I sometimes like to add some seltzer and orange juice  if I am feeling fancy. I HATE sour mix and think it is completely wrong to include it in the mix. I am all about simplicity here….

My go-to margarita recipe:

  • 1-2 shots silver tequila
  • 1/2-1 shot triple sec
  • fresh lime juice (anywhere from 1/4-1/2 lime depending on how juicy it is)
  • a splash of orange juice
  • a small squeeze of agave or a little stevia (to taste)
  • ice

Options:

  • replace triple sec and orange juice with a splash of grand marnier
  • add some seltzer to make it a little fizzier (original, lime or orange seltzer would work well here….)

My favorite places to get a margarita:

Mad Mex… I love the Chihuaua and the Perfect Patron Margarita and am a sucker for Big Azz flavored ones as well (I was OBSESSED with these during my undergrad career at PITT)

Tamarindos… a local restaurant in my hometown of Ambler, PA. These margaritas will always be my favorite margaritas. They are just so delicious. If you live in the Philly area, I highly recommend this restaurant.

Favorite bottled margarita

Skinnygirl Margarita - it is not mixed with anything crazy and has the simple mix of ingredients and flavors that make a margarita so delicious in the first place. I love adding some fresh lime juice to these and sometimes will add a little seltzer as well. I also am obsessed with Bethenny which probably makes me love these even more….

Recipes to try

I have a “I Love Fun Cocktails” board on Pinterest, and it has just come to my attention that many of them are recipes for margaritas… oops. I really want to try all of them out:

Grapefruit Margarita

Pink Grapefruit Margarita

Orange Ginger Margarita

Strawberry Margarita Jello Shots… in Strawberries (how cute are these!)

Are you a margarita fan? On the rocks? Frozen? Salt or no salt?

If not, what is your cocktail/drink of choice?

My favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes

Hi there,

I just want to say thank you (!) to everyone who wished me well yesterday in my comments section. It meant so much to me, and it amazes me how supportive and helpful this community can be. I am so happy to be a part of it!  

So, on a completely different note, lets talk about vegetables today…..

A couple of weeks ago I shared some of my favorite (and simple) ways to eat kale. I thought I’d continue with the vegetable love today and move on to a new vegetable… sweet potatoes!

I love sweet potatoes (almost as much as I love kale… which is saying a lot). They are so versatile and can take on either savory or sweet flavors very easily.  They are delicious baked, roasted, and even microwaved when you’re short on time (or too impatient to wait for the oven to preheat). Plus, not only are they delicious, but they are also  packed full of vitamins and minerals and are so good for you too (here is some more info if you’re interested)!

Just like my favorite ways to enjoy kale, my favorite ways to enjoy sweet potatoes are also very quick and easy… I don’t have tons of time to devote to cooking these days, so I am all about being quick and efficient in the kitchen. Plus, since my kitchen is the size of a shoebox, has bad lighting and has limited counter space,  it’s not exactly my ideal place to be….

One day I will have a big kitchen with natural light and counter space and will have ample amounts of  time to devote to my cooking love (a girl can dream….), but until then, I’ll just stick to easy (and delicious!) meal preparation.

Some of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes

1. Roasted

source

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Wash sweet potato and cut into cubes
  • Put cubes into bag and add a little olive oil (or cooking spray) as well as any seasonings you’d like…. I am a fan of spicy seasonings like old bay, red pepper flakes or chili powder or a more sweet combo like cinnamon
  • Place sweet potato in one even layer on greased baking sheet
  • Bake for 40-60 minutes, flipping halfway through

These are good as a side to a meal or are also excellent salad toppers.

2. “Loaded” sweet potatoes

photo from Dancing Carrots blog… who have a simple/easy recipe for these

I also love using sweet potatoes as a base for delicious toppings. I find that really any combination of ingredients can work well as a sweet potato topper. Some of my favorites include:

  • sweet potato + black beans + BBQ sauce + sautéed spinach + sautéed mushrooms
  • sweet potato + black beans + salsa + plain greek yogurt (as sour cream replacement) + avocado
  • sweet potato + white beans + spinach + zucchini + mushrooms + peppers + balsamic reduction (heat balsamic vinegar in a saucepan until it gets thick and sweet and delicious)
  • Sweet potato + baked beans (originally from Caitlin…. this is such a good combo, try it!)

Really any combo of a protein (beans are my personal favorite, if you can’t tell), veggie(s) and condiment could work for this…. It’s such a fun,  delicious and fast meal! I usually will just:

  • Wash and pierce potato with a fork
  • Microwave for 5-6 minutes
  • While potato heats, saute and prep my “toppers”
  • Cut potato open and top with ingredients

You could also bake the sweet potato vs. microwaving as well.

3. Sweet potato rounds

photo from The Athlete’s Plate

(who has a delicious recipe for these with a Coconut-Peanut Sauce!)

I don’t really know what to call these but there are one of my favorite ways to enjoy sweet potatoes. I used to make these all the time in college, and they are a great vehicle for a ton of ketchup and/or BBQ sauce consumption. The best way I have found to do this is with a George Foreman grill, but you can also improvise with a saute pan or do this in the oven.

George Foreman

  • Preheat George Foreman grill and spray with some non-stick cooking spray
  • Cut sweet potato in rounds (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • Place rounds on greased George Foreman and grill for about 10-15 minutes (or until grill marks form and potatoes are cooked through), flipping once

 OR

Skillet

  • Preheat and grease skillet
  • Cut sweet potato into rounds
  • Microwave rounds in microwave for 2-3 minutes (until they get a little soft)… this speeds up the process a bit
  • Place on skillet and brown each side (about 2-3 minutes each side)

These taste amazing dipped in ketchup or BBQ sauce, and I find they are a quick fix to a crispy “fry-esque” craving (they definitely don’t taste like french fries…. I am referring more to their crispy fry-like texture and ability to hold ketchup…. I don’t want to false advertise). Kailey over at Snackface has a good oven-method of making these as well….

Again, as you can see, my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes are pretty simple. I am all about quick meals that don’t take too much time to prepare. It’s always possible to squeeze more veggies in your life, I swear!

If you would like some more ideas (and complete meal ideas), check out some of these recipes….

Anne’s Sweet Potato & Black Bean Vegetable Enchiladas…. these are SO GOOD. I made them about a month or so ago and am still thinking about them…. I need to make them again.

Mama Pea’s Spicy African Peanut Stew… another delicious recipe using sweet potatoes that I highly recommend (so simple but so good!)

Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Pasta… I have this bookmarked, it sounds delicious!

and as always… Food Gawker can always give you an endless supply of ideas as well.

What are your favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes?

Any fun recipes to share? Feel free to link!

WIAW #8 (March 14, 2012)

Hi everyone, how are you doing today?

I’ll admit, I have not been doing my best, and this past week has been a little bit rough for me. I have definitely not been feeling 100%. I have been dealing with some tough, emotional issues and have been a little stressed and overwhelmed, to say the least. Given my current state, I have been all about finding ways to incorporate chocolate into my life (in as healthy a way as possible), and all about  making quick meals that are as easy as possible.

However, despite my rough week, I have been finding that I have still been trying to stay as healthy and as well-balanced as possible when it comes to my eating. If I am  mentally stressed or overwhelmed or what not, there is no need to take this out physically on myself as well…  I find that if I make it a priority to physically take care of myself, I mentally tend to feel better as well…. even if I have to resort more to prepackaged or convenient foods. There is always a way to make it work, right?

On that note, lets move on to the food… Happy WIAW! Here is what I ate yesterday….

Breakfast: 6:30 am

I was inspired by Heather once again (I love her blog!) and decided to try out her go-to breakfast yesterday morning: Chocolate Protein Pudding Oats.

I made mine with:

This breakfast tasted so indulgent and chocolatey, yet was packed with whole grains, protein and healthy fats…  I got to satisfy a chocolate craving and eat a filling, nutritious breakfast all in one… that is a win-win in my book.

Snack: 10:00 am

Midmorning, I snacked on some almonds, raisins and soy nuts to hold me over until lunch.

Lunch: 1:00 pm

I didn’t have to go into work yesterday, so I got to eat lunch with one of my favorite people… my boyfriend, Jon. It was so nice to get to hang out on a random Tuesday afternoon. I ate a pre-made Whole Foods Salad (that was so good), and he ate a Chipotle chicken burrito. We were both quite content with our choices.

I have never had this salad before, but I was quite a fan. I especially liked the peanut noodles and cilantro that was in the mix, and it was such a nice treat (since I never buy my lunch… especially during the week). When times are stressful and I really don’t want to cook or make myself food, I see nothing wrong with buying an overpriced salad here and there…. this one was definitely a winner.

I also had a Honeycrisp apple with my lunch as Jon and I played Family Feud on my phone…. anyone else addicted to this app? I can’t stop playing… which is saying  a lot because I am not a big game player.

 Snack (?): 4:00 pm

I wasn’t hungry for my normal afternoon snack yesterday, but I was craving a kombucha, so I treated myself (and my sister, Sami… I got her one too) to one. We drank them while doing some schoolwork outside a local coffee shop. it was my first time trying the mango flavor, and I definitely liked it. I usually don’t stray from Gingerberry and the Triology flavors, and while this one wasn’t as acidic/vinegar-y as my usual flavor loves, I still really enjoyed it. I love kombucha… why must they be so expensive?!?

I also forgot how much I LOVE (and NEED) sunlight in my life… it was soooo beautiful yesterday, and it better stay that way. I am loving it.

Dinner: 5:30 pm

Before  my usual Tuesday night Body Attack class last night, I made myself a big Greek-inspired salad for dinner that contained:

  • spinach
  • chickpeas
  • cubed tofu
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • tomato
  • goat cheese
  • greek dressing

I also had a piece of toast with some hummus and a squirt of lemon (I am loving the hummus and lemon combination, it’s so good).

Snack: 8:30 pm

And lastly, as my dessert/post-workout snack I had banana smoothie bowl that was made by combining the following in my Magic Bullet:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 ice cubes
  • a small spoonful of pb on top

This was very refreshing and delicious, but I am having some issues with my magic bullet…. I can never get all of the ice to fully blend! Does anyone else have this problem/have any suggestions on how to solve this issue?

And that concludes my meals/snacks from yesterday… I hope you all had some delicious food yesterday as well!

Questions:

How do you stay healthy when busy/stressed?

What is your favorite smoothie recipe (with the warm weather I see myself getting inspired…. I need ideas!)

Easy Lunch Idea: Veggie-Packed Lemon Tofu Sandwich

One of my favorite types of sandwiches to make is a hummus and veggie sandwich. They are easy to put together quickly, are always delicious, and always guarantee satisfying and healthy meal. My sister packed me a delicious variation of a hummus and veggie sandwich  for dinner the other day, and it was so delicious, I thought I should share.

This sandwich was full of veggies and had a nice punch of flavor with the addition of some fresh lemon juice.  My sister, Sami actually thought of this addition, so I can’t take the credit. Not only was this sandwich super delicious and fresh tasting, it was also super easy to pull together and filling with the addition of some pressed tofu (which is optional if you don’t like tofu… you could also add another protein source if you’d like).

I highly recommend you try this out!

Ingredients (for one sandwich):

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • cucumber (2 slices)
  • radish (2-3, chopped)
  • kale (leaves of a small stalk, shredded into bite-sized pieces)
  • zucchini (2-3 slices)
  • mushrooms (4-6 pieces)
  • hummus (1-2 tbsp)
  • squirt of lemon (1/4 of a lemon)
  • sprinkle of pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 block tofu (pressed, sliced into thin strips)… or another protein source (ex. a piece of grilled chicken, tempeh, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Press tofu (if using) to remove liquid (approx 30 minutes) – this can be done with a tofu press or with paper towels/dish towels and heavy objects…. (see Ashley’s post for a good tutorial) and can also be done ahead of time (I pressed mine over the weekend)
  2. Once pressed, slice block into quarters, reserving 1/4 for the sandwich and refrigerating remaining 3/4 (for more sandwiches later in the week!). Slice the 1/4 block of tofu into thin strips
  3. Spread 2 slices of bread with hummus (1/2-1 tbsp on each slice)
  4. On one slice of bread, add sliced tofu and veggies
  5. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top of the sandwich half with the veggies and sprinkle a little pepper
  6. Add on other slice of bread, cut sandwich in half, and pack in tupperware/tinfoil for an easy, healthy, delicious lunch (or dinner…)!

This sandwich was so good! I ate it while studying for a Bio test, and it made  studying  so much more enjoyable. Tofu and veggie sandwiches are great for a quick and healthy meal. Plus, they are so versatile! You can always switch it up with different veggies and condiments/spreads….

Options:

  • You could substitute any veggie with what you already have on hand (shredded carrot, pepper, tomato, etc. would all be delicious)
  • You can substitute plain hummus with another flavor or hummus or with another type of spread (I am a fan of using Trader Joe’s lentil masala spread as a sandwich spread)
  • You can omit tofu or add in another protein choice of your choosing

What is your favorite type of sandwich to pack for lunch?

I hope you have a great day!

Best Thing I Packed this Week: BBQ Lentil Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Hi guys, happy Friday!

I have some more delicious meals to share with you all… I was on a roll this week with making delicious and healthy lunches. 

Best meals I packed this week:

In case you missed them, here are some of my past weeks of “Best thing I packed:”

Veggie-Packed Tofu salad with  Poppyseed Dressing

I ate this for lunch on Thursday, and it was especially delicious. I basically tried to add as much color/texture as possible to my Tupperware container by packing as many fresh veggies as I could into my salad.

Since veggies alone would keep me full for about 20 minutes, I added in some tofu and whole grain rotini pasta for some protein and whole grains (and staying power). 

I used a new to me dressing (Drews Poppyseed dressing) on top, and I loved it. I feel like I am always talking about this brand of dressing, but I have yet to try a variety I don’t like. I guess I am a big fan….

This salad was so filling, and I loved all the different components. My favorite salads always tend to be the ones with a lot of different ingredients thrown in so my taste buds never get bored… I also love including cold pasta in salads. It always soaks up the dressing and is so good (try it!). This particular salad contained:

  • kale
  • cucumber
  • radish
  • carrots
  • beets
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 block tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • whole grain rotini pasta (1/2 cup)

Dressing: Drews Poppyseed dressing

BBQ Lentil Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

This was another delicious lunch combo I concocted this week. It contained:

  • chopped collard greens
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • spicy roasted sweet potatoes
  • brown lentils (about 1/2 cup)… I made them over the weekend using the method I talked about here

Dressing: BBQ sauce

I loved the mix of the BBQ sauce (I love using condiments as dressing!) with the collard greens and the lentils. The spicy sweet potatoes were also a fun addition. I made the sweet potatoes over the weekend by roasting 2 cubed potatoes in a mixture of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder for about 40 minutes (flipping halfway through) in a 400 degree oven. I made them for dinner on Sunday, but the leftovers served as a great salad topper.

Again, this was so filling (probably because of the lentils and potatoes) and so satisfying.  My taste buds were very happy. I have been loving BBQ/spicy foods these days.  

I hope everyone has a great day and eats some delicious food!

 What is the best thing you packed/ate this week? (I love hearing about your delicious creations/meals!)