Although I would love to have a lazy summer that consists only of weekends at the beach, afternoons at the pool, day trips to San Francisco, and road trips to Disneyland, I will be spending my time this summer split between two jobs. Since I am commuting to Santa Clara during the week, I have been packing a lunch for myself everyday because it is both cheaper and healthier. My go-to lunch was a sandwich and some snacks, but I was getting tired of eating the same thing. To alleviate my food monotony, I have tried mixing up my bagged lunch to include something other than a basic sandwich.
My favorite thing to bring as lunch lately has been to make a salad made with leftovers from dinner and goodies from the pantry. Although salad has a bad rep as being boring and unsatisfying (my roommate thinks salads are rabbit food), they are one of my favorite meals because they can quickly and easily be transformed into tasty, colorful, and exciting meals. I have also found salads to be an unexpected outlet for creativity and experimentation. I love using what I have available in the kitchen to create a new combination of flavors, all while keeping an eye on my eating habits.
One issue with bringing salad as a lunch is the threat of wilted lettuce. Nothing ruins a delicious salad quite like soggy romaine or limp spinach. Emily had the great idea of bringing a salad in two separate containers if you’re packing it up the night before–one for the greens and one for the toppings. I have also found that spinach maintains its crispness through lunch time if I dress in lightly in oil and vinegar in the morning. Another idea that I am excited to try is putting my salad in jar and layering it with the dressing in the bottom, veggies/toppings in the middle, and lettuce on the top. I’ve seen this all over Pinterest and it seems like it would help keep the lettuce crisp. Plus you can shake it up before you eat, how fun is that? I’ve included a recipe for the salad I created this morning for my lunch. Enjoy!
Steak, Strawberry, and Spinach Salad
- 2-3 generous handfuls of spinach
- 2-3 pieces of sliced steak (or however much you have leftover!)
- 3 sliced strawberries
- 5 sliced cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup of chickpeas
- 1 handful of unsalted, roasted almonds
- 1 handful of dried cranberries
- Dressing to taste (I usually just drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry spinach, wash and slice strawberries and tomatoes, slice leftover steak, and thoroughly rinse chickpeas. Combine all ingredients in a large and portable container. Add almonds, cranberries, salt, and pepper. Drizzle a little dressing on top and you’re ready to go!