Simplifying Lunchtime + My Broccoli Walnut Salad with Crispy Shiitake ‘Bacon’
When I take the time to listen to my body and nourish it with food that serves me, that’s when I operate at my best. And for me that usually means eating vibrant and fresh meals that I make for myself at home. It’s more time and energy, but I get to control what goes in it. I recently wrote a post on the importance of taking a mindful lunch break, but especially when things feel all go, go, go, planning ahead is helpful and keepin’ it simple is key.
Today, I’m sharing a little insight into my way of thinkin’ and preppin’ when it comes to eating well in partnership with California Walnuts for their Choose Lunch Campaign. Hopefully you can use and implement these routine hacks to help make the most of your lunchtime and to be sure you’re fueling yourself with foods that make you feel damn good! I’m also sharing one of my easy go-to lunch recipes that I eat all.the.time.
But first, it starts with having high-quality ingredients
When I go to the grocery store or farmer’s market, I know it can be a whole process, so I try to buy produce that are in-season like fresh fruits and vegetables. I look out for foods that are versatile, store easily, and can be used for multiple dishes or meals. Walnuts are great for that, and they are rich in omega-3s, amazing for heart health, and overall super versatile. The majority of the foods and ingredients I use can easily be found in the produce and bulk section.
When I get home from grocery shopping, the first thing I do is immediately wash and prep my produce before putting it away. That way everything is ready and waiting for me when I need it. For things like celery and carrots, I make sure to wash it and put it in jars with water. If you do this legwork ahead of time, it’s so much easier to throw it all together n’ go when you’re getting your meals ready. You can check out more on how I organize my fridge over here.
My 2 Simple Lunchtime Ground Rules
Find your Food Staples: I’m a creature of habit when it comes to lunchtime. I stock my fridge with most of the same foods every week, but I mix and match it to keep things interesting. Especially when you’re busy, it takes so much of the guesswork and decision making out of the process to have a few staples you can make without too much effort. I generally try to steer clear from recipes that are complex or time-consuming during the week.
Eat the Rainbow: When I eat food that’s vibrant, I feel vibrant. For lunch I make at home, I try to eat a variety of colors. I like to load up on dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, something juicy like a tomato, and something crunchy like walnuts!
The great thing about whippin’ up meals this way is they can be adjusted to suit your own needs and preferences. And they utilize whatever you’ve got in your fridge at the time, so less food ends up getting wasted.
Broccoli Walnut Salad with Crispy Shiitake ‘Bacon’
What You’ll Need (*I use all organic and/or local ingredients):
Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Shallots, Radishes, Apple, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Walnuts (about a 1/2 cup for 2 servings) and any other produce you need to use up in your fridge!
How to Make Your Salad:
Chop all ingredients into bite-sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and toss mushrooms with avocado oil, salt, and garlic.
TIP: for anything above 400 degrees, I use avocado or coconut oil, which has a high smoke point.. I don’t use olive oil for high heat, because the nutrients degrade.
Lay the mushrooms flat on a pan and put the pan in the oven on the bottom rack until mushrooms are crispy, like bacon. It doesn’t take long. Set an alarm for 3-5 minutes.
Mix other ingredients into a bowl with dressing*.
Top it with crispy mushrooms, walnuts and shallots.
Whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 squirt of Dijon mustard, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. You can blend the shallots into the dressing if you have time, or just sprinkle it into the vegetables.
This recipe is super versatile. Play around with the ingredients and find a combo that works for you. You could also add in chicken or smoked salmon for some extra protein, and depending on how hungry you are this can be eaten as a side or a main dish!
What are your favorite lunch combos? I love getting inspired by hearing what others put on their plates. Got any go-to’s? Drop ‘em in the comments below.