Thursday, September 9, 2010

Veggie Might: Last-Minute Lunch

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism.

On Tuesday, I put out the call (as if you didn’t know it was me) for help with emergency lunch ideas. You came through aces, and I’ve been implementing a few of your tricks. (I already had hummus in the company fridge!) The full results will be posted in next week’s Q&A.

But here is what prompted the call for advice. Last Thursday morning, I overslept. The night before I had cooked corn-on-the-cob and some red beans for a quinoa salad recipe. My plan was to chop the remaining veggies and cook the quinoa in the morning before work. I needed a new plan.

With only 15 minutes until I had to leave for work, I started thinking about what I had ready and what I could prepare at the office. I’m new to this company, but I know 2 things about the place: lunch is sacred and there is a microwave in the lunchroom.

Dried quinoa, a slice of onion, and a teaspoon of salt went into a container. Into another, I combined corn from one of the cobs, a 1/2 cup of beans, and 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Taking one last peek into the fridge, I spied half a tomato and tossed it on top of the beans and corn. Maybe there was a knife at the office?

I was out the door right on time.

At lunchtime, Operation Microwave Quinoa deployed. I added 8 ounces of water (using my graduated water bottle as a measuring device) to the dry quinoa and onion. Using my best guess, I put the container in the microwave with the lid ajar, and set the timer for 5 minutes.

The quinoa was nearly done when the timer dinged. I removed the lid, reset it for 3 minutes, and what-do-you-know? It was perfect! Fully cooked, fluffy, and ready to eat.

I zapped my bean/corn/chipotle combo and sawed the tomato with a knife I discovered in one of the pantry drawers. In the future, I’ll try to cut all my veggies at home.

Once everything was hot, I mixed the contents into one container, topped concoction with the sliced tomatoes, and sat down to a delicious, office-cooked meal with Roger Federer. My last-minute lunch turned out to be a relaxing, satisfying break from a hectic day.

Thanks again for your fab comments on Tuesday. If you have any more last-minute lunch suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments.


If this article tickled your fancy, sidle on over to
20 Cheap Healthy Dishes Made from Pantry Staples
The Brown Bag Brigade
Healthy Takeout on a Budget

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Marcia said...

I have been known to go to work with a bag of veggies, and then cook or make salad right on the spot.

Leigh said...

Ha. Great idea! I think that's in my future, Marcia.

Just to clarify my method: I used 1/4 cup of quinoa for this little experiment.

kaye said...

Mouth watering!!!

Anonymous said...

I keep bags of frozen broccoli in the freezer at home and a containter of dried chili flakes at work. If I'm in a HUGE rush then while not a totally balanced lunch the fiber from the broccoli sprinkled with the chili keeps me full. Also, I keep lots of portions of cooked, brown rice in the freezer to add to things.

Katherine Josh said...

i've been drinking bird nest soup every night (i only get the homemade kind back at home). the only reason why i drink it is because it's supposed to be good for complexion.

i’ve been taking the store-bought kind online (e.g. of famous branded only of course) which is directly mailed from Hong Kong. this would be at a more affordable price.