5 Not Sad Desk Lunches

Let’s be honest, Potatoheads: actually setting aside the time for lunch – a real get away from your desk, leave the office lunch – is nearly impossible most weeks. We work through lunch frequently, and our lunches are anything but innovative. We order delivery more than we’d care to admit, and we’re basically in a relationship with our sweetgreen servers at this point. On days when we actually make our lunches, they’re usually thrown together before we leave for work in the morning. Read: lame, not healthy, full of sugar.

This year, we’re working on treating ourselves better, all year long, and we’re starting with lunch. Read below for five delicious desk lunches that come together quickly and are easy to eat at work. We promise, they’re anything but sad and are even nutritious.

Jazzed-Up Kale Salad:

  • 1/2 cup cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (preferably Lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)

1. Heat oven to 425° F. Toss squash cubes in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Divide salad between Tupperware containers. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and either eat immediately or save in the fridge for up to three days.

Zucchini Noodle Minestrone:

  • 1 pound zucchini, spiralized into noodles
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, torn into pieces
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. On a baking sheet, toss together 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomatoes, rosemary sprigs, and crushed garlic cloves. Roast for 15 minutes until tomatoes just start to blister. Reserve roasted garlic cloves for pesto.

3. In a food processor, combine kale, basil, roasted garlic cloves, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, red pepper flakes, and salt. Pulse to combine. With the food processor running, slowly pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. Pesto should be thoroughly combined but still have some texture.

4. Divide all of the ingredients among four mason jars, with the zoodles on top. Store in the fridge until ready to use, up to four days. To serve: fill one jar with boiling water; let sit for three minutes then shake to combine all ingredients. Serve immediately.

Hummus Bowl:

  • 1 serving of hummus
  • 1/2 cup roasted broccoli
  • 1/2 cup raw baby carrots, radishes, jicima, or other crunchy veggie

1. Make this recipe for homemade hummus – or buy your favorite store-bought version. Make sure the sodium is low and the ingredients are free from canola or soy oils.

2. Line the bottom of a Tupperware with the hummus. We like to top it with lemon juice, salt & pepper.

3. Pack veggies in a separate plastic bag; keep hummus & veggies cold, then serve together.

Veggie Burger & Greens:

  • 1 veggie burger
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives

1. Make one of these recipes for a veggie burger, or buy your favorite from the store. Again, you want one that is low on sodium and has only clean (read: names you understand) ingredients.

2. Cut the kale into strips after removing the rib. Slice one clove of garlic into very thin strips.

3. Add some oil, approximately two teaspoons, to a saute pan on medium high heat. Cook the garlic for fifteen seconds, then add in the kale. Cook until wilted and remove form heat.

4. Drain the cashews. Add to food processor with 1 bunch of dill, 1 tablespoon olive oil, pinch of sea salt, lemon juice, black pepper to taste, and three tablespoons of water. Process until the consistency of ranch dressing.

5. To serve: heat up veggie burger in the microwave, then add to the top of sauteed kale – kale can be served warm or cold. Drizzle cashew dressing over the top, and top with olives.

Homemade Poke Bowl:

  • 1/4 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1 sushi-grade tuna filet
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 cilantro bunch
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into slices
  • 1/2 cucumber slices

1. Chop tuna into roughly 1 inch cubes.

2. Combine tamari, coconut aminos, and lime juice. Pour over tuna; leave to marinate overnight.

3. Chop cilantro. Mix with brown rice.

4. To pack in serve: layer brown rice in Tupperware. Top with tuna & avocado slices. Salt cucumber slices, serve alongside the poke bowl.

Looking to be healthier this year, too? Check out these dinner recipes & these smoothie recipes.