One of my defining culinary traits is the fact that I pack a week’s worth of lunches every Sunday. I don’t mind eating the same thing for five days straight- as long as it’s yummy! When I plan out my packed lunches I try to ensure that they’re healthy, and contain a balance of vegetables, grains and some form of vegetarian protein. Thus, I often end up with variations of a “bowl”, which can be eaten warm or cold, and which contain stuff from my pantry and stuff from the grocery store. Here’s what I’ll be eating this week!
Vegetable, Grain and Bean Bowl (Makes five servings.)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Cooking spray
- Enough chopped vegetables to cover a baking sheet (I used two zucchini, one eggplant, one bell pepper, one red onion and four tomatoes)
- Add-ins of your choice (I had some sun-dried tomatoes that I re-hydrated and thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup uncooked grain of your choice (I used brown basmati rice) and cooking liquid
- 1 can beans or other vegetable protein (I used chickpeas)
- A little flavour (I used one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and two tablespoons of lemon juice)
- Garnish (I used a small tube of soft goat cheese, but fresh herbs or toasted nuts could work well)
Pre-heat your oven to about 375. Toss chopped vegetables and olive oil, then spread onto a greased baking sheet (tinfoil is your friend!). Roast until soft, allow to cool.
Cook grain according to package directions. You can pump up the flavour here by cooking it in vegetable stock. Allow to cool.
Drain and rinse the canned beans. Place in a large mixing bowl and add in the cooled vegetables and grains. Mix to combine, splash with flavourings, and top with garnish.
Voila! A week of lunches!
Variations: Make a Mexican-inspired bowl with zucchini, tomatoes, corn (saute instead of roasting!) and black beans. Use salsa to flavour and garnish with fresh cilantro. Or, try an Indian bowl with cauliflower, peas, potatoes and spinach (steamed, not roasted!), and with paneer in place of the beans. Use a splash of coconut milk, then top with toasted cashews and mango chutney.
Nutritional Estimate: As I prepared the dish today, each of five servings contains about 300 calories, 10 grams of fat and 10 grams of protein.