In a prior article entitled, “Ideal Healthy Lunch or Dinner,” I discuss the value of having a good lunch, some common unhealthy choices, and I presented my Health Nut Salad recipe. Since that time, my diet has become about 95% vegetarian for health and ethical reasons. You can read about how I came to this decision here. In this article, I am going to give you an even healthier and tastier vegetarian lunch recipe.
As I mentioned in a related article entitled, “Ultimate Healthy Breakfast,” many people are concerned about not getting enough protein with a vegetarian diet. The truth is that plant foods usually have a plentiful amount of protein. For example, lettuce gets 34% of its calories from protein, and broccoli gets 45%, spinach gets 49%, cauliflower gets 40%, and celery gets 21%. Beans range from 23% to 54%. Grains are 8% to 31%. Nuts and seeds are 8% to 21%. Fruits are the lowest at around 5-8%.
The recipe that I’m going to present to you below is significantly different from my Health Nut Salad recipe in several important ways. I leave out all animal and fish meat and replace them with tofu and beans. The result is a 100% vegetarian lunch. Another major change is that I don’t use pre-cut and bagged cabbage and broccoli slaw like I did before. Instead, these mixtures are prepared from the whole vegetables. This makes the recipe fresher, crunchier, and more flavorful. I also add onions to liven it up and enhance the health benefits.
All the accompanying beverage and dessert items that complete my lunch are the same as I had for my ideal healthy lunch. I’ve named this recipe the Veggie Delight Lunch Bowl. Here it is.
Veggie Delight Lunch Bowl – Recipe
Ingredients (1 serving.)
- 1 1/2 cups of diced or chopped white cabbage. (Cabbage is better for you than lettuce and it lasts longer and stays crunchy.)
- 1/3 cup of diced or chopped broccoli. (Broccoli is one of the most health benefiting vegetables of all. Many nutrition experts place it at the top of their list.)
- 1/4 cup of diced or chopped carrots.
- 1/4 cup of diced or chopped celery.
- 1-2 tablespoons of diced or chopped onion.
- 1 1/4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 1/4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. (I use white balsamic vinegar. It’s slightly milder and it doesn’t stain your teeth. Available at Trader Joe’s.)
- 1 teaspoon unsalted peanuts. (Higher amount used because they add heartiness and richness, and they are inexpensive.)
- 1 teaspoon unsalted sunflower seeds. (Higher amount used because they are tiny and inexpensive.)
- 1/2 teaspoon unsalted chopped walnuts.
- 1/2 teaspoon unsalted slivered almonds.
- 1/2 teaspoon unsalted pumpkin seeds.
- 1/8 teaspoon powdered red pepper (cayenne).
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of diced extra firm tofu and drained beans. (The healthiest and most fitting for this recipe are pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, or garbanzo beans (chick peas). Use one type of bean at a time, unless you’re feeling adventurous & really hungry.)
- 1/2 diced small (Hass) avocado.
- 5-7 (based on size) cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Large (deep, 6-8” diameter) salad bowl.
- Medium size microwave-safe cooking bowl with cover.
- Heat protection pads or gloves.
- Cutting board.
- Multi-purpose kitchen knife.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of diced or chopped white cabbage to a large (6”-8” diameter) salad bowl.
- Add 1/3 cup of diced or chopped broccoli.
- Add 1/4 cup of diced or chopped carrots.
- Add 1/4 cup of diced or chopped celery.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of diced or chopped onion.
- Add 1 1/4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- Mix olive oil with other ingredients thoroughly.
- Add 1 1/4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
- Mix vinegar with other ingredients thoroughly.
- Add 1 teaspoon unsalted peanuts.
- Add 1 teaspoon unsalted sunflower seeds.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon each of unsalted chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Add 1/8 teaspoon powdered red pepper (cayenne).
- Mix seasoning with other ingredients thoroughly.
- Place 1/2 – 3/4 cup of a 60/40 mixture of diced extra firm tofu and drained beans in a medium size microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle on some seasoning if you want (chili powder is best), cover, and microwave on high for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Drain afterwards if needed. Notes: (1) Cooking to warm is optional. (2) Adding seasoning is optional. (3) Liquid seasonings are not recommended as they make the recipe watery.
- Add warm tofu and bean preparation.
- Stir to mix in tofu and beans.
- Add 1/2 diced small avocado on top.
- Add 5-7 (based on size) cherry or grape tomatoes on top.
You don’t have to measure each ingredient exactly or include every item. If there are ingredients that you like or don’t like, increase, reduce, or eliminate them. However, I encourage you to NOT remove ingredients simply because you’ve never eaten this particular combination of foods before. Be bold! Try it!
I usually make about 5-7 servings at one time and place it in a large storage container. I make that many servings because I eat it for lunch and frequently for dinner as well. I put everything in the container except the olive oil, vinegar, tofu, and beans. I add these ingredients as I make each individual serving.
When I prepare this multi day supply, the largest quantity ingredient is the white cabbage. Then I just estimate the quantity amounts for the remaining ingredients. Overtime I’ve gotten pretty good at filling up the container with just the right amounts of each ingredient.
Here’s a downloadable copy of this recipe. It is in a PDF format. You’ll need Adobe Reader to view and make a copy of it. To download a FREE copy of this software, go to Adobe.com. Downloads come from my publishing website, Propel Publications.com.
Download a copy of this recipe here: Veggie Delight Lunch Bowl
To your health and fitness.