I was spoiled for my first few years in the professional world. Though I was perpetually broke, I worked in the middle of a small town where cheap and delicious food with real ingredients abounded. Fresh wraps, salads, even Thai food were easily accessible, and when I was feeling desperate, there was always a full grocery store within walking distance, if I cared to walk. When I ate lunch, I usually ate out.
Then, I started working further away from the downtown core (such as it was), and started bringing my lunch less and less. This week, I start another job in an industrial area with almost no options, and certainly none within walking distance. And, as you know, with a new job comes uncertainty — how do other people do it? Do they bring lunches? Do they make the 10-minute drive into the next town? What are the expectations?
My strategy now is to just bring food until I am convinced it’s okay to do otherwise. That means making big batches of grain salads and other things on Sundays and Tuesdays (my easiest nights to cook), and combining them with fresh greens and snacky things each day just so I know I have food if I need it.
That’s where this lentil salad comes in. It is chock-full of garlic, so I might tone that down a little for the office, but the hearty legumes, fresh tomatoes and tangy blueberry balsamic are the perfect pick-me-up for the middle of the day. The base is taken from this recipe at Pinch of Yum, but I have modified it to make it gluten-free and I used a different dressing.
Throw this over greens, add a little piece of flatbread or some veggies, and you’re all set for whatever the day might bring. Enjoy!
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils
- 3 cups vegetable broth (or bone broth, if you like)
- 4 cups tomatoes, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Cook lentils in broth as directed on package. Yum. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, saute tomatoes and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until soft and the skins begin to peel a tiny bit. It’s going to smell amazing. Remove from heat, and add lentils, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Process blueberries, balsamic vinegar, honey and olive oil in a blender, food processor or mini food processor until smooth and well-combined. Drizzle over salad and mix very well.
- Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature. Keeps for about three days in the fridge.