The Definitive Guide to #NotSadDeskLunch
I always get so many messages about my #notsaddesklunch posts that I figured it was time I finally did a step by step of how I put everything together, @cheesebynumbers style. And my secret? There is no secret, and generally no recipe! It’s just a formula that works, and actually has helped me be a lot more creative in the kitchen.
Click through below to build the salad step by step!
Base: Greens! I like a mix of tender (spring mix, spinach, herbs like dill & basil) and cruciferous (kale, etc). If I’m extra hungry I’ll throw in a grain like rice or quinoa.
Fresh Veggies: Cucumbers, Carrots, Peppers are reliable go-tos, but this week went with purple cabbage (it’s hearty and lasts forever in the fridge) and snap peas because they’re in season!
Cooked Veggies: This is usually the foundation of my lunch bowls— AKA whatever I cooked for dinner last night and had leftover or whatever looked like maybe it was about to go out in my fridge. This combo is sautéed purple asparagus with red onion and minced garlic (I love an allium cooked in butter, y’all), but some reliable favorites also include roasted sweet potato with rosemary and garlic brussel sprouts, or roasted carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, seasoned lentils and just about any veggies.
“Protein” + Fat: Since I’m still learning how to be a good vegetarian, I still feel obligated to add some kind of protein source in addition to the plants (even though I know a good mix of plants has all the protein you actually need). But in the interest of being full and seasoned tempeh, tofu, black beans, chickpeas or a jammy egg, as well as a quality fat source like avocado, or extra virgin olive oil.
The most important rule of #NotSadDeskLunch is that you always need to top and season your NSDL:
Toppings; GET ON THE FLAVOR TRAIN. Hit that not sad desk lunch with toppings that add flavor and texture with a lot of bang for not a lot of bucks. I love a squeeze of lemon, flaky sea salt, fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, fresh basil, everything but the bagel seasoning, lemons juice, feta cheese, tabasco, harrissa, whatever!
Dressing/ Dip; I’m a big fan of both a dip and a dressing, but can you opt for one or the other depending on how you’re feeling! For dips, I love hummus, guacamole, baba ganoush or something homemade like the @sakaralife avocado tahini dip (truly just avocado, tahini, garlic and some spices blended up into dippy goodness). If that’s a big ask, I keep the @bonappetitmag “not so basic” shallot vinaigrette on hand pretty much at all times. It’s a 2:1 mix of vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, with diced shallot, grated garlic and freshly ground salt and pepper. It’s delicious on just about everything, and has been even better since I started incorporating @mollybaz ‘s recommendation to mix multiple kinds of vinegars for a little more nuanced zing 😍
Typically I’ll keep the fresh ingredients in one tupperware and the cooked / drippy seasonings in a seperate one until you’re ready to combine and enjoy so everything stays fresh. (truly nothing worse than soggy salad greens).