Monday, May 7, 2012

Lunch in a Box: Mediterranean Veggie Delight

After a gluttonous weekend that included 1/2 a pound of meat, and a ton of pink lemonade cake (more on that in my next post), I knew I needed to get back to business with my healthy lunches.

Hunk has been sweet enough to not only let me take up garden space in his yard with herbs and veggies, but he also waters and takes care of them for me. And they are growing like crazy! The herbs are doing so well, and we're about to have tomatoes and bell peppers soon, too. I can't wait. Meanwhile, the parsley, oregano and mint are out of control, and we've been looking for ways to use them. In dire need of some veggies in my system, and a few healthy lunches on the menu, this is what I came up with:

This is my version of a Greek salad with dressing, Tabbouleh with herbs from the garden, and a side of bell pepper and carrot sticks. I also packed a snack of an apple, and a half portion of yogurt with fresh blueberries. Most of the time when I make salads, I just throw a bunch of stuff together without really paying attention to quantities. So my "recipes" below are merely my best guess. Please, always feel free to adjust to your own taste. After all, that's half the fun of cooking.

I used many of the same veggies for the the two salad dishes. So as I was cutting things up, I had two large bowls going to dump the ingredients in.

"Greek" salad
(makes 4-6 servings)

1 head of romaine, coarsely chopped
1/2 each of red and green bell peppers, diced
2 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced and diced
2 banana peppers (seeded and finely diced- straight from Hunk's garden!)
1/2 container cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cucumber, peeled/seeded/chopped
1-2 T chopped oregano (again, from the garden)
sprinkling of feta cheese (optional)

Do all your prep work (that's the hardest part), and then toss it in a bowl. The end.

Actually- you'll want to make some of this delicious "Greek" dressing to mix with it. This stuff is addictive- consider yourself warned.

"Greek" dressing

1 cup Fage 0% fat yogurt (this is my favorite brand)
1-2 T chopped fresh dill
1/2 cucumber peeled/seeded and really finely diced (I mean really small bits)
1/2 garlic clove, finely diced
juice of 1 lemon (this is one you might want to adjust- I used more, but I like things tart)
pinch of salt to taste

Mix everything together in a small bowl, and adjust seasonings to taste. Should make enough for about 4 servings. It's fat free though, so make as much as you want!

(makes 4-6 servings, depending on if it's a main or side dish)

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 each of red and green bell peppers, diced
2 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cucumber, peeled/seeded/chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1-2 lemons
salt and pepper to taste

Toss everything together in a bowl, and season to taste. Some people use olive oil in this dish, but I was trying to keep the fat content down. If you want to add a bit, go ahead. But I found that the mint and lemon gave it plenty of taste.

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