My packed lunch prerequisites are:
- can be made in advance preferably in under 20 minutes and I don’t have to turn on the stove to do it
- one largeish batch will hold in the fridge for 3-4 days
- doesn’t require 4 billion tiny items.. (like… a hard boiled egg! a build your own pizza! leftovers! mini salad! mini dressing! apple carved in the shape of a cute animal)…
- I can grab it and go even if I only woke up 10 minutes before class
- some sort of flavor….or pizzaz…..which pretty much only means not a PB&J or a few wilted pieces of spinach and a bag of carrots
- economic use carb + protein + veggie (see number 3…)
So as a result I use a lot of canned stuff (chickpeas, other beans, tuna, corn…) and vegetables that hold up (bell peppers, celery..) and just put it between two slices of bread…Read ahead for more fascinating revelations…
A couple weeks ago I made smashed chickpea salad using curry powder, chili powder, dried onion, chopped garlic, celery, and red bell pepper. It sounds like a lot but the spices and garlic I have on hand and so I only had to get celery, bell pepper, and two cans of chickpeas.
- Smashed chickpeas in sesame oil (that I took from somebody else) with some salt and pepper, then mixed in spices.
- Folded in chopped garlic, celery, and bell pepper.
- Packed for lunch with a handful of kale and 2 pieces of bread to build a sandwich.
Another week, same formula: making tuna salad less boring (at least in my opinion) by adding canned black beans and corn in addition to the usual (no mayo, but olive oil; salt+pepper; squeez of lemon juice)…. And to force myself to eat green vegetables that haven’t been cooked beyond recognition I put some spinach in ze sandwich….. easy peasy…
And of course I’ve been toting lunch around in my extremely utilitarian and dorky ArcticZone lunchbox from my public school career… you know the kind with the sandwich container at the bottom and the choice between velcro-shut or zip-shut… very versatile in my humblest of opinions… Not to trigger any scarring middle school memories anybody out there is currently repressing (totally not me, for example) but I regret to inform you all that in the early 2000s I was not that chick carrying around a PB+J and Capri Sun and SnackPack in the headless Abercrombie model bag… unfortunately nor was I that chick with the Lilly Pulitzer…. For better or for worse I’m stuck with being an ArcticZone bitch forever! Which in all honesty I kinda think is a look and statement piece!
Until we meet again… peace to all my fellow BYOLers out there and goodwill to the rest of you too…