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Ideas for lunches at work--quick-prep please!

Hi all,

I'm a pesce-lacto-ovo vegetarian, which is to say that I don't eat poultry/pork/red meat. I find it difficult to eat healthfully for lunch at work without bringing tuna every day, which I don't want to do due to the smell. It is very important to me to have some protein during lunch so I don't get headaches/fatigued.

So, requirements:

-easy/quick to throw together
-protein strongly preferred (tofu/eggs/nuts/cheese, or tuna in a more disguised version than a sandwich)
-high in fiber would be good
-no poultry/pork/red meat
-reasonably healthy

So--thoughts? I think I will have space for a small fridge and a microwave (I will have a small office, but it will be my own--and in case you can't tell I haven't started yet!).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. How about a quinoa salad? I make mine with quinoa, black beans (you can used canned if you're in a hurry), corn, red pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, scallions. It's filling, healthy and pretty quick. You can also make a bunch at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Miss Needle

      I made quinoa tabbouli this week to bring for lunch and it turned out really well...took me a grand total of 20 minutes (and only because my "kitchen" isn't big enough to boil water and chop veg at the same time). Quinoa, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper, then add parsley, mint, cucumber, and red pepper. Quinoa has (relatively) a lot of protein, and is a whole grain...

    2. I always make onigiri to take with me to class and I have no access to a fridge or a microwave. I make the onigiri the night before and wrap the seaweed around it when I am about to eat it.

      I like to stuff it with tsukemono, umeboshi, kimchi, etc

      1. I am like you - almost. I do eat chicken :S

        I really like the combination of pasta, veggies and beans - two of my favorites are from cooking light -

        This one is very garlicky - spinach and feta are the centerpiece here. It calls for garbanzo beans, but i have also used cannellini & great northern:
        http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

        And there is another one I love that I can't seem to find, but I will try to summarize:
        Combine 1 c. Cherry tomatoes (sliced in half),
        2 tbsp fresh basil
        salt
        pepper
        and a 2 to 1 mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

        Boil some pasta, and drain a can of cannellini beans into a strainer. When the pasta is done, dump the pasta water (try to save some water if you can) over the beans in the strainer. Combine pasta, leftover water, and tomato mixture.

        But there are endless combinations. You can make a batch for dinner, and it can make you lunches 1/2 the week. Seriuosly though - if you are looking for fiber and protein, beans cannot be beat. I hope you like them - and if you don't - you should try!! :)

        1. I, too, need protein at lunch. I like things based on peas/beans:
          -salad of French lentils with red wine vinegar and olive oil
          -hummus and crudite and/or pita wedges
          -salad of chick peas and cubed, cooked potatoes with any oil/vinegar or mustard-based dressing
          -marinated fava or other large, white beans with crackers
          -leftover beans and rice from last night's dinner (I always make several meal's worth)
          -bean and cheese burritos or tacos (keep the "wet" ingredients separate from the tortillas, heat the filling and then assemble).
          Also:
          -cottage cheese with things mixed in (I like celery and carrots, lots of black pepper)
          -Egg salad (I'm one of those people who love it - I use light mayonnaise)
          -Greek yogurt with things mixed in
          -shrimp salad (either a light mayonnaise dressing or an oil/vinegar dressing)
          -smoked or cured fish (lox) with a bagel or crackers
          -swiss cheese with cole slaw on rye
          -granola with fruit and nuts, either as cereal or mixed into yogurt or cottage cheese

          Happy lunching, and good luck at the new office.

          1. You could always roast some salmon in advance and take on a salad, tossed with pasta or even as a sandwich.

            There are also some decent companies that make frozen premade falafel that you could take as a wrap. Here in Austin a local company sells large packs at the nicer grocery stores that are quite good rewarmed.

            Egg Salad is also an option. Or how about a bagel with smoked salmon. The real trick I think will be making some things a night ahead and then reheating at work.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ashes

              These are really great, everyone. I have a hard time getting it together the morning of because I try to hit the gym, so I think that making a lot of stuff at the beginning of the week, or at elast the night before, is key.

              ashes and others: I like the idea of roasting salmon and taking it on a salad. How many days in advance can I make the salmon and have it still be OK? If I make three pieces of salmon Sunday night, can I eat it until Wednesday? I'm paranoid about fish. Really paranoid.

              1. re: IndyGirl

                I would say a smell test should do. Two days definitely (I have leftovers from Tuesday on a salad today) but three could be pushing it (depending on how fresh the fish was to begin with. Of course I'm paranoid on all meat and fish and rarely eat anything over 3 days (although my sweetie has other ideas).

                1. re: ashes

                  In my experience, 2 days is max.

                2. re: IndyGirl

                  Poached salmon is really good cold the next day, but I wouldn't go any more days simply from a flavor point of view. I poach in water/wine, drizzle with olive oil, chopped garlic, chopped parsley, s & p, sometimes add a bit of soy sauce. Serve with sliced lemon. I like it as is for lunch with whatever sides you like but you can put it in salads or with pasta if you prefer.

                  There was a great recipe posted here for potato salad using smoked salmon & I believe a vinaigrette dressing; I searched for it but couldn't find it--will try to dig it up. Great for a one dish meal, and smoked salmon lasts longer than fresh--if you wanted it for lunch for more than one day.