In his blog, This Imperfect Plot, OrganicGardening.com’s web editor, Eric, is trying out the Brown Bag Challenge. I was going to attempt the same challenge, but certain circumstances out of my control (this crazy weather combined with the fact that I live next to a river) disqualified me pretty early on. However, this brought up a fun challenge that I posed to myself. How can I make a Meatless Monday lunch that solves all of the problems I (and others) often face when packing a lunch? The problems, in no particular order, include:
I decided on a salad, which is healthy and filling, and isn’t based around meat. But a salad can become lackluster if there are hours between its preparation and consumption, so I picked up this handy contraption. The bento-box style lunch container keeps the salad greens separated from the toppings and dressing, and the ice pack in the middle allows the greens to keep without getting crushed. The smaller containers also have measurements on the side, so I can measure how much dressing I’m using (healthy!).
But salads take forever to put together. I hear you. The last thing I want to do is spend my morning chopping vegetables. Many vegetables start to lose flavor after being chopped and refrigerated, and I don’t know about you, but I’m unlikely to use a whole onion or zucchini in one single-serve salad. Which is why I make mine a roasted vegetable salad. On Sunday, I chop up all of the veggies I want in my salad, roast them at 400 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, then seal them individually in zipper bags. In the morning, I dump the spinach in the big container, pour my roasted veggies in one small container, and the dressing in the other. At lunchtime, I combine everything together in the big container, close the lid and shake it up, then enjoy a fresh-from-home salad. Give this lunch a try – I promise you won’t be dissapointed.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
This salad is comprised of three separate parts – dry ingredients, roasted ingredients, dressing. Mix and match your favorites from below for your own custom salad. Make sure to pack each group separately, then combine when you’re ready to eat.
Spinach, lettuce, arugula, kale, nuts, croutons, cheese, seeds
Chop, then roast at 400 degrees. Store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
Whatever dressing you prefer. Homemade dressings can be great, and for a roasted vegetable salad, a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar combination compliments any vegetables you choose.