The 5-Minute, Out-the-Door, Summer Salad

Think you don’t have time in the morning to prep your lunch for the day? Think again.

I must admit, I’ve been lacking in the “food-prep-the-night-before” department this week. Sure, on Sunday I had good intentions and cooked a large batch of wild rice meant to last an entire week, chopped up a few fresh vegetables, and bagged up pre-measured carrots and almonds to grab as hunger-striking snacks throughout the week. But alas, it is Thursday and and no, yesterday I neither prepped my breakfast OR my lunch for today. Yikes! Eating out for lunch today certainly didn’t fall into my [NYC-dwelling, NYU-student] budget so I had to think fast. And that I did. I grabbed the cutting board and the most accessible vegetables in my refrigerator and went in a chopping frenzy. All together, this salad literally took 5 minutes to throw together.

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The 5-Minute, Out-the-Door, Summer Salad:

Makes 1 salad
1 small cucumber, diced
2 radishes, slicedĀ 
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 cup light feta cheese, cubed
1 Tbsp Tessemae’s Lemonette Dressing*

Layer the ingredients in a to-go container as follows (from bottom to top): dressing, cucumber, radishes, tomato, feta cheese, spinach. When you’re ready to eat, shake the container with all your might (or just shake it normally…the end product is the same).

*Usually I make my own dressing, but Tessemae’s dressings are a great alternative to homemade dressings. They’re all vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free (READ: paleo-friendly), and can be found in select Whole Foods stores.

If you want to make your own lemon dressing, however, no need to fret. It’s simple and easy:

In a small dish, combine 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 lemon (juiced), 1 clove of garlic (diced), and a pinch of black peppercorn. Whip the ingredients with a fork, and you’re good to go. See, that wasn’t too bad, was it?

From start to finish, the salad took me less than 5 minutes to put together. And, might I add, it was delicious, filling, and healthy, just like lunch should be.

What are your favorite quick and healthy lunches? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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First Day of Classes! Pt. 2 + Easy Savory Vegetable Quinoa & Salmon

Alright, so it has obviously been a couple days since my first day of classes…but if I give you a Pt. 1, you’re expecting a Pt. 2 or even a Pt. 3 or Pt. 4 as well to follow up (but really, don’t expect a Pt. 3 or 4 – that’s just obnoxious). So here it is, even if it’s postponed a few days.

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Needless to say, my first day was a rainy one. And with the rain comes the drudge – every bit of dirt and grime becomes visible when the rain washes it up to shore (and by shore, I obviously mean the street).

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But somehow, New York still manages to keep its charm even in the rain. There’s just so much beauty in the city that there’s no way a little bit of rain could ruin it.

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Once I finally got home, my (non)rain boots were soaked and my stomach was grumbling. Loud. I’m not kidding, if the streets weren’t so noisy, I’m sure I would have gotten a few stares on the way home.

And when I’m hungry, I’m grumpy. So my first priority was to EAT.

Luckily, my pre-day 1 self was prepared for this moment and cooked plenty of food the day before. So all I had to do was heat it up and devour. And boy, was it good. Just what I needed to recover from a cold, rainy day.


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Easy Savory Vegetable Quinoa & Salmon:

Makes 2 servings

1/2 cup organic quinoa

1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth

6 oz thawed salmon filet (2 3-oz filets)

1 lemon wedge (1/4 lemon)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 large red onion, julienne

1 large zucchini, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

garlic powder (to taste)

garlic pepper (to taste)

Italian seasoning (to taste)

For the quinoa:

Heat quinoa and vegetable broth in small to medium-sized pot until boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. You will know when it’s ready when the vegetable broth has been absorbed by the quinoa and the quinoa has formed rings around each grain.

For the salmon:

Preheat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit. Place the salmon filet on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. Squeeze the lemon wedge on the filet, evenly covering it with lemon juice. Season to your liking – the secret here is to be VERY generous with your seasonings. I use garlic powder first (liberally), then garlic pepper, then finish it off with a little Italian seasoning. Key word: GENEROUS. Seriously, the more spices, the better, trust me. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes.

For the vegetables:

Heat the olive oil on a pan on medium-heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to look translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini and peppers. Cook for 3-4 more minutes.

Combine the finished products together for a healthy, well-balanced meal for you and a friend, or save half for lunch the next day. Mmm.

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With a full belly and a brave soul, I was more than equipped to finally survive my first classes of the semester, so off I headed into the rain and onward to campus.

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What’s your favorite rainy day meal?