This year, as part of a plan to save more money, I’m pushing myself to bring lunch to work at least 4 days per week. For me, it saves a TON of cash (I work in an area where eating lunch out will cost you anywhere from $10-$20 per day, unfortunately), but the other benefit is that there’s a huge opportunity to eat healthfully more often too.
The only difficulty is coming up with dishes that can last a few days, because the reality is, I can’t cook every night and guarantee leftovers for myself. It can also be tough because dishes that hold especially well — namely, pastas and casseroles — tend to be refined carb heavy, which is something I’m trying to get away from. Soups are great, but I can only deal with so many weeks of soup before I’m ready for something else.
This week, I decided to make a simple bean salad, dressed with lemon and olive oil, which will hold at least until Wednesday. My plan is to bring a side serving of it each day, and then have it accompany a small sandwich or whatever leftovers I end up scrounging together from the previous night’s dinner (this would be great with some roasted chicken, or even atop a green salad). It’s colorful, flavorful, and filled with items that I specifically selected so that they wouldn’t be mushy by day 2 (I’m looking at you, cucumber).
You could easily take this idea and substitute whatever beans and herbs you have on hand. And if you’re eating it straight away, feel free to add in items like cucumber, tomato, even a little bit of feta cheese.
Get the (very easy!) recipe, after the jump.
Simple Bean Salad
1 can cannellini beans
1 can adzuki beans (these aren’t always in stores; substitute kidney beans instead)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 bunch curly leaf parsley, washed
1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup + more to taste extra virgin olive oil
–kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a colander, pour out the beans and the artichoke hearts, and rinse under cool water. Set aside and allow to drain.
Using a box grater, grate the carrots. Add to a medium sized glass bowl. Cut away the leaves from the stems of the parsley, and quickly chop. Add this and the chopped onion to the bowl. Using a microplane, zest the lemons over the bowl, then cut and half, and juice them over the bowl. Add in the beans and artichoke hearts, pour in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine. Taste the salad and season with more salt and pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, or even the vinegar of your choice (red wine, white wine, or even apple cider vinegar could work well here) until you like the way it tastes. Refrigerate for up to 3 or 4 days.
Remember, this is a plain salad meant to last me a few days for lunch. Spruce it up with more veggies, cheese, diced chicken — whatever you have on hand!
UPDATE: And, after eating this about 24 hours later, I can vouch that it’s even better after marinating in the lemon juice and olive oil. Lunch today = YUM.