Ava Szjana-Hopgood | Contributing Writer | Monday, 8 June 2015

Here\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Some Easy Pinterest-Worthy Salads To Make To Take For Lunch

Here's Some Easy Pinterest-Worthy Salads To Make To Take For Lunch

The Debrief: Make your co-workers jealous (and your bank balance happy)

Save your euros for frozen margs this summer and bring a lunch from home instead. These salads are Pinterest-worthy with the important extra addition of being achievable IRL. Just box them up the night before and be prepared for some serious FOMO-on-lunch vibes come 12.30pm. Even better: there’s no garlic or onion used in these, and they all register pretty low on the ‘office pong’ scale. Hey, you could even pack an extra box for a mate/ your office crush who’s always talking about how great all your food looks... micro-greens for all!

The seasonal goodness one

Cauliflower rice, roasted butternut squash, watercress and asparagus? Yeah, you’re down with the seasons and you know what a combo looks like. This is the super clean/lean/cauliflower blended machine choice. Squeeze over lemon juice for dressing, or add some of the extra oil from roasting the squash if you want something a little richer. The addition of micro-greens aren’t just to make it look pretty (pah, sure)- studies have shown they contain far higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids than their plant counterparts. Whack them on top of anything foodie that needs a bit more of a “can do” attitude.

Tofu & Quinoa Salad With Broccoli & Chilli

Makes 2 portions
Olive oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
Salt and pepper
½ medium cauliflower, stalk removed and florets broken down into chunks
6-8 asparagus stalks
Handful of watercress
Handful of micro-greens
½ lemon, sliced

Squash & Asparagus Salad With Cauliflower Cous Cous

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly cover a roasting tray with olive oil, place the butternut squash cubes in and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until the squash is cooked soft.
Now it’s time for the cauliflower rice. Using a food processor or hand blender (or a sharp knife and some patience), cut the florets down to rice grain size. It won’t take as long as you might think so make sure you don’t blend too far. Put all the grains in a bowl and microwave for about 4-5 minutes. It doesn’t need any extra water but you can add some oil or seasoning if you’d like. Remove from the microwave and stir through to ensure it’s all properly cooked, then set aside.
Once the squash is ready, quickly steam the asparagus in a pan with boiling water. They taste so much better when they haven’t been over-cooked so make sure to keep it al dente.
Box up the cauliflower rice, squash and asparagus with half a handful of watercress for each portion, a good sprinkling of micro-greens and a drizzle of lemon juice. Add extra seasoning if needed.

The zingy, chilled one

Classic 'no-it’s-not-from-Wholefoods' vibes for this gal. We all know quinoa is a complete protein but its lesser-known skill is that is keeps in the fridge like a BOSS for up to three days. Quinoa has all the chill. Chop up the broccoli super small if you want to make this even more Instagrammable. Who knows why, it just seems to work.

Tofu & Quinoa Salad With Broccoli & Chilli

Makes 2 portions
For the salad
150g dry quinoa, cooked as per instructions
½ medium broccoli, stalk cut off, cut into small florets
4 medium carrots, peeled and grated or shredded
2 handfuls of garden peas- podded or left in their shells
100g smoked tofu, sliced into bite-size chunks (a sesame seed one will work really well)
2 spring onions, chopped down fine
1 red chilli, sliced small
1 handful of coriander, chopped

For the dressing
1 lime- zest and juice
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 thumb of garlic, peeled and grated
Salt and pepper

Tofu & Quinoa Salad With Broccoli & Chilli

Get your quinoa ready as this can take 20 minutes or so. While it’s on the boil, in a separate pan steam the broccoli until just cooked, then add in the garden peas for another minute or so of cooking.
To make the dressing, simply combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Add more lemon or sesame oil if needed- it’s a strongly-flavoured dressing so a little goes a long way.
Into a large mixing bowl add the cooked quinoa, broccoli, peas and carrots, along with the tofu, spring onions, chilli and coriander. Pour the dressing over the top and you’re ready to go.

The one that shouldn’t be a salad but is one

Gnocchi knows the usual rules don’t apply where its doughy, potatoey clouds of bliss are concerned. That’s why it can be called a salad if it wants. No-one questions a gnocchi.
This is the one to save for a work hangover. You’re most likely to feel the pull of a take-out lunch on these days, so make sure you’ve got something a bit stodgier waiting for you in the communal fridge. Homemade oregano and chard pesto and heirloom tomatoes keep things on your lunchtime A-Game while you try not to play over exactly what you meant by tweeting Flo Rida on your work’s Twitter account.

Italian Gnocchi Salad

Makes 2 portions
250g gnocchi
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic (if you’re feeling wild- leave out if you’d rather not)
1 small handful of oregano leaves
1 large handful of chard, stalks removed
30g pine nuts
Olive oil
1 lemon zest and juice
1 large handful rocket
Selection of heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks

Italian Gnocchi Salad

Boil the gnocchi in salted water until the dumplings rise to the top for a few seconds. Drain and set aside. In a heavy-bottomed frying-pan, sweat the onion and garlic (if using) in olive oil, salt and pepper until it’s cooked through.
Using a food processor or hand blender, blend the onion and garlic with the oregano leaves and chard until chopped right down. Add in small amounts of olive oil, pine nuts, lemon juice and extra salt and pepper until you reach a pesto consistency and like the flavours.
Stir a generous amount into the gnocchi- the rest you can keep for about a week in the fridge.
Box up with plenty of rocket and heirloom tomatoes so it’s about one part salad to one part gnocchi, and drizzle with a little more lemon juice.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

A Few Super Easy Breakfast Recipes To Get You Through This Week

Another Super Easy, Super Cheap Take-To-Work Lunch From Gluten Free Rosie

A Few Easy Spiralising Recipes To Master So You Don’t Get Food FOMO

Follow Ava on Twitter @Guacandroll or over on her blog here.

Tags: Food, Food Glorious Food, ReciPLEASE