The Brown Bag Blues

By: Caitlin L.

It’s 10:00 at night. You have to be at work at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Having to figure out  the next day’s lunch is the last think you want to worry about so you you bag up some veggies, maybe some hummus, a few wheat crackers and you throw it in the fridge. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? Well do not fear, I am here to get you out of your lunch rut. Never again will you be craving a costly lunch out after you try some of these fabulous and easy meal ideas.

For those that have taste for the spicier foods life has to offer, this lettuce wrap is for you. In a bowl, combine a can of drained chickpeas, a large tomato, an avocado, 2 tbs of diced chives, 1/4 of chopped cilantro, 1/2 tsp of salt, 3/4 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tbs of tabasco, and half a lemon- squeezed. Blend all the ingredients well. Once everything is blended, you can toss the mixture in 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Portion onto lettuce leaves and you have a wrap filled with flavor.

Once you’ve conquered the wrap, perhaps you prefer to get a little bit more complex with your preparation. To satisfy your Asian palate, we have a tofu stir fry.

12 oz (350 g) firm or extra firm tofu, cubed 1/2-3/4 inch thick
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Teriyaki Sauce
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 1/2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp oil
4 1/2-5 cups broccoli (florets and stalks), chopped (about 1/2 lb/225 g)
2 tsp water
1 medium large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup green onions, sliced

In a shallow dish, add tofu. Pour soy sauce and vinegar over tofu and marinate for 10 minutes or longer (flip tofu at least once while marinating). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk all ingredients for teriyaki sauce until cornstarch is dissolved (or put it in a blender to puree).

In a large frying pan or wok on high, heat 1/2 tbsp oil. Add tofu and saute for 4-5 minutes, then turn over to saute for another 3-4 minutes, utnil lightly brown on each side. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add another 1/2 tbsp oil to wok, and add broccoli and water. Toss, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, until broccoli turns bright green, then add bell peppers and saute uncovered for another 1-2 minutes. Add teriyaki sauce and increase heat to high. Toss to coat, and let sauce come to a slow boil. As soon as sauce has reached a slow boil and has thickened, add tofu, cashews and green onions, and toss to combine.

Pop that sucker in a tupperware container and stick it in the fridge. When you bring it to work the next day, don’t be surprised to see that you have a few more friends at the office than usual.

So happy eating and never let your brown bag get boring again!

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