I have been planning to write a blog entry on “to-go lunches” that you can bring to work, school, or wherever else you might be going. I’ve snapped a few photos at my desk of lunches I feel are share-worthy—but I must say, the results have been pretty unattractive! My food sitting on a white styrofoam paper plate from our office kitchen… which blends into the white of my desk… Recently, it slipped my mind that a coworker had just moved into an office behind me with a view of my desk, so after snapping away at various angles, I realized she was probably watching me in confusion and/or amusement! I then found myself awkwardly explaining to her why I was taking picture after picture of my revved up sandwich…
We’ll see if this work lunch compilation post comes to fruition after I review my different lunch ideas and photos. For now, I wanted to dedicate this entry to one particular work lunch that carried Chris and I through most of last week–and it’s on the menu for most of this week as well! It takes some dedicated prep, but you can do it all on a Sunday and then just eat off of it throughout the week. I love it so much that I’m already worried I’m going to burn out. This lunch is packed with flavor and is quite healthy too!
I’m calling it a Tex-Mex Veggie & Beans Quinoa Bowl. I add roasted chicken for Chris, but I like to keep it vegetarian for myself. Simply make a big batch of quinoa (I’ve been using red quinoa and tri-colored quinoa from Trader Joe’s), divide it into bowls, then add clumps of refried beans, black beans, at least one sautéed veggie (like zucchini or yellow squash), and frozen corn. Top with salt, pepper, garlic spice, and a little cayenne pepper spice. Finish it off with FRESH pico de gallo. Seal the medley into a container, as this is what you will heat up in the microwave at work! I also like to bring some extra toppings to add after everything is nice and warmed. I’ve been adding shredded cheese, a little plain Greek yogurt, and occasionally some avocado for the final touches.
The key to this meal is really the pico de gallo and the spices! These flavors bring everything together and make the dish irresistible. Note all of the protein and nutrients in this lunch. You don’t even need meat to feel full and satisfied, because there is a lot of protein in quinoa, refried beans, black beans, cheese, and Greek yogurt. One day last week, I had some extra chopped and roasted sweet potatoes on hand, so I added those in too. Yum! I also swapped in some broccoli as the main vegetable for my lunch today. The recipe below is just the start of all the possibilities!
PS – I took these photos at home. Not sure if I’ll unveil my bright white desk + bright white styrofoam plate work lunch photos to the world… we’ll see!
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1 can refried beans
- 1 can black beans, drained
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 2 large zuchinni, diced and sautéed in olive oil
- Salt, pepper, garlic spice, cayenne pepper spice to taste
- 15 oz fresh pico de gallo
- Sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese, grated (optional as a topping)
- Plain Greek yogurt (optional as a topping)
- Avocado (optional as a topping)
- Spread a layer of quinoa at the bottom of six containers.
- Divide refried beans (in clumps), black beans, frozen corn, and zucchini among containers.
- Add two dashes of each spice to each container.
- Divide pico de gallo over the layers, spreading generously.
- Heat in microwave for 1 ½ to 3 minutes, stirring in the middle if necessary.
- Finish with any optional toppings that you prefer.