Confession: I’ve been getting off track with lunch recently. I am fortunate to live about a mile from work, so I frequently walk home during my lunch hour to let the dog out and grab a quick bite. It’s really ideal because I’m able to get a few steps in, take a mental break from the office, and enjoy some doggy snuggles.
However, I used to be the best at packing well balanced and filling lunches when I took my lunch to work and had to plan ahead. Now, I tend to grab just whatever is quick - some cheese and crackers, a can of tuna, a pear, some pretzels dipped in peanut butter, a cookie, whatever… I usually returned to the office feeling gross and bloated or still hungry and on the prowl for unhealthy snacks. Last week, I purchased frozen chicken nuggets and corn dogs at the grocery store because I thought that would be a great option for my grab-and-go lunches. What was I thinking?! After reaching that low point, I realized enough is enough. It is time to get back on track!
When I was single, I used to frequently make hearty quinoa bowls for dinner and then eat the leftovers for lunch. On Sunday, I decided to whip up a big batch and use it for at least three of my lunches this week. The great thing about quinoa bowls is they’re hard to mess up. Sometimes I follow a recipe, but more often than not, I just chop up whatever veggies and herbs I have on hand and add some good olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper for a little flavor. However, this time I used a recipe I found at Kaylee Cooks.
Tomato-Basil Quinoa with Spinach and White Beans
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 3 cups vegetable broth(note, this is more than you usually need to cook 1 c of quinoa, but we are also cooking the tomatoes and beans in the broth)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 oz canned white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1.5 tbsp basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz fresh baby spinach
- Combine quinoa and broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large dutch oven (or other large pan) over medium heat.
- Add garlic and onions; cook for 1 minute (until the onion is softened)
- Add tomatoes, beans and basil and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Pour the pot of quinoa and broth into the tomato mixture, season and simmer on a low heat (uncovered) until the quinoa is absorbs the broth and is cooked through (You may need to add a bit more broth to finish cooking the quinoa if the broth is absorbing too quickly).
- Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add the spinach and stir to wilt.
I’d love to hear your easy, go-to lunch ideas!