Brown Bag Lunches

I learned a few things this week.

1. I can’t go a whole week without drinking. Though, to be fair, the only time I did drink was when it was offered, you know like as a gift, and you can never refuse a gift. That’s just bad manners.

2. I can’t eat quinoa for four days in a row.

The first was an unsurprising lesson, I blame uni, Sydney’s amazing bars, friendly customers who order too many tequila shots and the ridiculous amount of free alcohol at Fashion Week…I can keep on blaming other things despite knowing it’s my own doing, but shh, I’m just going to continue with the list. Also, it turns out Kahina can do a full week. So props to her.

The second lesson was not so pleasant.

As I have started interning three days a week I want to try and bring my lunch to save a few dollars. I’ve been testing out different recipes that I can make in bulk and then have ready to go for the rest of the week. Week 1 was far more successful than Week 2.

Week 1 I made a pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta, and artichoke hearts and got three good servings out if it. I also didn’t get sick of it. Major plus.

Week 2 I made quinoa with roasted tomatoes, avocado and pesto. It sounded yum and quinoa is healthy so I decided to give it a go. Due to laziness mostly I didn’t alter the serving size and simply followed the recipe and ended up with 5 servings. Mistake. Big mistake.

Quinoa, despite all its good quality’s and healthy glory, is not ideal for lunch more than two days in a row. After a few days I could barely even look at the dish and getting a whiff of it turned my face as green as the pesto. On day 4 I chucked the whole thing, including my tupperware container and the fork that had touched it slightly. I think I get a gold star for ridiculous waste-age.

Not to discourage you from making this dish, because it is very tasty, just don’t make my mistake and try to eat it for four or five days in a row. Unless you’re a quinoa fanatic, but even then you would have to be pretty dedicated, like “I heart Quinoa” t-shirt-wearing kind of fanatic to eat it this much. Let’s hope Week 3 is a little more promising, though there is canned chicken involved. This could get interesting.

Pasta Salad:
Makes 3 servings

2 1/4 cups of cooked vegetable pasta
Pitted Kalamatta olives
Sun-dried tomatoes
Feta cheese
Artichoke hearts

Cook the pasta according to the directions and run it under cold water until it has cooled. Toss it with a bit of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Slice the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts into smaller pieces. Add these to the pasta and toss to mix. Crumble the feta cheese, sprinkle in and toss to combine. The amounts of each are up to you and how much you like each ingredient.

Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes, Avocado, and Pesto
Adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen

2 cups cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
2 cups dry quinoa
1 avocado, cut into chunks
300g of bocconcini
400g can of chickpeas
Small jar of pesto
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
A pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 175C. Line a baking sheet with foil. Make sure the tomatoes are completely dry then drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat them all. Bake the tomatoes for about 35 minutes, flipping once, until they are brown and poufy. They will deflate when you take them out of the oven. Sprinkle with salt.

For the quinoa: combine the quinoa with 4 cups of water in a small, lidded saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, give it a stir, put on the lid, and turn the heat down as low as possible. Cook for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat but leave the lid on for 5 more minutes. Then, spread the quinoa out onto a baking sheet to let it come to room temperature and dry out a bit so it doesn’t stick together when you make the salad.

Mix the pesto with the mustard, rice wine vinegar and olive oil. If you visit the original recipe they have a full recipe for a pesto vinaigrette, but I don’t have a food processor so I improvised.

In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the quinoa with the tomatoes, avocado, bocconcini, and chickpeas. Spoon in the dressing and toss to distribute it evenly. Eat at room temperature or cold.




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Filed under Lunch, Recipe

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