Taking your lunch to work every day can save you a lot of money—and calories. But getting in the habit can be a challenge. Scrounging in the fridge at 7 a.m. to try and throw something together for lunch is not the way to spend your workweek mornings.
The solution? Meal prep. Take an hour or two on Sunday to shop and prepare food. These four recipes are easy and forgiving. Feel free to sub in different veggies or proteins or add other ingredients.
Pro tip: Separate out the servings as soon as you make the dish—that way you’ll know the portions are equal, and you’ll be able to just grab a container and go in the morning.
All recipes by Miriam Wolf
Veggie Not-Poke Bowl
The cubed fish dish that is ubiquitous in Hawaii seems to have captured the mainland’s imagination as well. For a vegetarian version, use the same flavors, but sub tofu for the fish.
1 tablespoon dried hijiki or wakame seaweed
1 16-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained and patted dry with paper towels
½ sweet onion (Maui or Walla Walla)
1 small pickled carrot (optional)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
2 cups brown or white rice, prepared
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Place the dried seaweed in a bowl. Pour boiling water over it and allow to rehydrate for 5 minutes. Drain and chop finely.
- Dice the tofu into cubes. Cut the onions into a fine dice. Chop the carrot and scallion. Wisk the soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil together. Mix the veggies and tofu and pour the dressing over it.
- Store the prepared salad separately from the rice when taking to work. When ready to eat, heat the rice and serve the not-poke over it.
Makes 4 servings. Prep time, 10 minutes; cook time, 20–40 minutes (for rice).
2 cups prepared quinoa
1 teaspoon olive oil
1–2 tablespoons pesto
10 cherry tomatoes
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
8 ounces arugula
- Toss quinoa with olive oil. Stir in pesto. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Dice the mozzarella cheese. Add tomatoes, cheese, and pine nuts to quinoa mixture.
- Store quinoa separately from arugula. When ready for lunch, top arugula with quinoa mixture.
Makes 4 servings. Prep time, 10 minutes; cook time, 15 minutes (for quinoa).
Sweet Potato with Chickpeas Bowl
2 large or 3 medium-size sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch Tuscan (lacinato) kale, finely chopped
1–2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce or liquid aminos
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut sweet potatoes into 1½-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and fully cooked.
- Cool sweet potatoes and combine with kale and chickpeas.
- In a blender, combine garlic, tahini, vinegar, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Blend until smooth.
- Pour over vegetables and toss to mix.
Makes 4 servings. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 20 minutes.
Orzo Salad with Feta
1 cup dry orzo
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Pinch of dried oregano
- Prepare orzo according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, wine vinegar, and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- When orzo is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Combine with vegetables and toss with dressing.
Makes 4 servings. Prep time, 20 minutes; cook time, 10 minutes.
Miriam Wolf is the editor of The FruitGuys Magazine.