Honestly, science was not my best subject back in high school, so I’ll skip the lecture on how protein needs to be part of our daily diet. I mean, you remember the pyramid with the proteins close to the top?
I’m sure it’s gone through many revisions over the years, but protein in our meals keeps us satiated longer, and is beneficial to our cells and blood flow.
OK, you survived my grade school science recap, now on to how to make it fun, delicious and easy to bring to work with you. When lunch rolls around you’ll have something ready to eat that will get you through the rest of your work day, without the hunger pains.
Quinoa Apple Salad with Tehina Dressing
Yields 1 portion.
I tasted quinoa for the first time about eight years ago and I love that it gives me that carby-feel, yet is a complete protein. What’s even better is how versatile it is. You can add so many different things to it and get a different flavor each time.
What I do each week is measure out 2 cups of raw quinoa and cook it, so I have it in the fridge and ready for me to add to any of my lunches. I eat an apple every day (you know, to keep the doctor away) and I have now incorporated it into a full meal that actually keeps me full. The best part is even the dressing is full of protein. Be as creative as you want with your quinoa salad, but this salad and dressing keep well in a sealed container in your work bag until lunch time rolls around.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 green apple, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup strawberries or cranberries
- Fresh chopped parsley leaves
- Pumpkin seeds
- Almond slivers
- 2 Tbsp. raw tehina
- 2 tsp. water
- 2 tsp. honey or maple syrup
- 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
Cook the quinoa in a medium sized pot. One cup of raw quinoa to 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt. Place the quinoa and water in the pot uncovered and bring to a boil, let simmer for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally until water has evaporated. Let cool and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Stays fresh up to one week.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add all the salad ingredients into your lunch container and then pour the dressing over your quinoa salad.
Wrap Your Protein
Yields 1 wrap.
So this is really the best way to use leftovers from Shabbat or dinner the night before. These wraps can be bought in most supermarkets and really takes the everyday sandwich to another level. My dear husband, Sam, prepares these in the evenings for his lunch the following day using either chicken, turkey or beef that he shreds from Shabbat or dinner leftovers. You can obviously use the protein of your choice to repurpose for a lunch or two.
- 1 wrap
- 2 Tbsp. hummus
- 1 tsp. pesto or chili sauce (optional)
- Thin slices of tomato
- Shredded cabbage
- Shredded lettuce
- Grilled chicken slices
Lay the wrap down on a baking paper and spread the hummus, then sprinkle on the pesto and chili sauce. Layer the veggies and chicken slices evenly. Use the baking paper to roll up your wrap and twist the ends of the paper tight to keep it from opening, like a candy wrapper.
Slice the wrap in half at an angle and keep both halves in a bag in the fridge until you pack your work bag in the morning.
Depending on the weather you may want to keep it in the fridge until lunchtime, and that’s a wrap!
Protein Salad in a Jar
Yields 3 salad jars.
It’s all in there! The dressing, crisp salad, protein and even the crunchy toppings you like in one jar! Seriously, this is the best way to have your protein and salad for lunch in an easy grab-and-go jar that can be prepared up to three days in advance.
I am giving you the inspiration to put in all the salad fixings that you enjoy with your choice of protein, like Bulgarian cheese, tofu, beans, chickpeas, salmon, chicken, and so on.
- 2 different colored peppers, sliced
- 2 cucumbers, cubed
- 3 mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 purple onion, cut in rings
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- ½ cup grated carrots
- 1-2 cups of protein, cubed or sliced
- ½ cup roasted seeds or almonds
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Dash of salt and pepper
I save jars from honey, tomato sauce, pickles, and so on, and I wash them out well, so I can use them for storage or salads. There is a method for layering the salad ingredients so the contents, including the lettuce, stay crunchy.
Set out three clean glass jars in front of you. Mix all the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl, obviously you can use any dressing you like.
Add the ingredients to the jar in this order:
- Your choice of protein, cubed
- Seeds or nuts
Seal the jar well. Important!: Do not shake the jar once it is covered, as that will make the lettuce soggy. Once you are ready to eat, empty the contents of the jar into a bowl or plate, and now you have a protein and salad with dressing all ready for you.
You can prep these salads up to three days in advance and keep them refrigerated.
I’d love to hear what salads you made and see some photos as well! (Write to me at [email protected])
Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cookies – Gluten free and Vegan
Yields about 12 cookies.
We all love cookies, they give us that comfort food feeling all over; however, most cookies are not what we use as a protein snack. These cookies are packed with protein and low in sugar, they are the perfect excuse to get your protein in cookie form and enjoy every bite.
- 3 Tbsp. oil
- 3 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups almond flour (ground almonds)
- 4 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
- 3 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Pour the oil, honey and vanilla into a mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon or rubber spatula until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the peanut butter, and mix it well. If it seems too loose or sticky, slowly add a bit of almond flour, if it seems too dry, slowly add a bit of oil (climate has a lot to do with consistency so it may vary). Once the batter is mixed well, add the peanut butter and fold it into the batter, do not over mix, as we want to see swirls of peanut butter in the cookies. Line a baking sheet with baking paper, wet your hands to form 2.5 cm balls and place them on the cookie sheet, leaving space between cookies
Bake in the oven for eight to ten minutes. Let the cookies cool and set before removing them from the baking tray. Don’t forget to bring enough to share with your coworkers!
Wishing you a delicious and healthy day at work!
From my kitchen to yours, Henny ■
The writer is a kitchen coach who inspires confidence and creativity in the kitchen. Learn more about workshops and coaching: www.inthekitchenwithhenny.com