Cold Weather Lunch (or Dinner) Ideas: Warm Salad Bowls by Cari Culp, RD

Do you find yourself getting bored with packed lunches, eating out frequently or having a hard time incorporating veggies into your lunch meal? Maybe you want some warmer lunch options versus the typical sandwich or salad now that the weather is getting cooler. Even though the cold weather is blowing in, we can still find warm ways to enjoy our favorite veggies.
Bowls can be a great way to combine warm foods with fresh colorful veggies to get the best of both worlds at lunch time – a salad and a warm meal. And, since all of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time and stored separately in the fridge, a bowl is one of the easiest and healthiest lunches to throw together in just minutes the night before or morning of.
I find that people are always needing new lunch ideas so here are two of my all time favorite bowls that I have been making for years. I love making them for lunches this time of year when the weather starts getting a little chilly. I know lunch ideas that call for multiple ingredients can be a bit off-putting, but when you taste how well the flavors of each bowl meld together you will be glad you put in a little extra prep time. Promise!
I hope you enjoy!
Fall Harvest Bowl
Layer the following ingredients in the order they are listed:
1/3 cup of cooked warm jasmine rice
1/2 cup of cooked warm kidney beans
Unlimited fresh greens (spinach, arugula, spring mix or any other dark leafy green)
1/3-1/2 cup diced, roasted sweet potato
1/3-1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup halved, roasted Brussels sprouts
1/3 cup whole walnuts
1/4 cup green olives
3-4 ounces of grilled or roasted chicken or sauteed tempeh
2 tablespoons of goddess dressing (I like Primal Kitchen or Annie’s brands)
*Note: You can layer all ingredients except the dressing and warm in the microwave prior to adding the dressing or if you prefer, warm just the beans and rice then add all other ingredients.
Warm Quinoa and Roasted Veggie Salad
1 cup quinoa (well washed and drained)
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
About 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
1 medium yellow onion (cut into half-moons)
4 stalks celery (chopped)
4 carrots (sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds)
1/2 large golden beet (halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices)
2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4-6 ounces feta cheese(crumbled (optional))
Preheat oven to 425˚.
Combine quinoa, water, salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil; then immediately reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15–20 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes; then fluff with fork.
While quinoa cooks, toss onion, celery, carrot, beet, and broccoli with about 3 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste. Spread in single layer in baking dishes or on baking sheets. Roast in oven 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, combine vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, a pinch of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.
Place quinoa and vegetables in a large bowl; add parsley. Stir dressing and pour over mixture; toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide among bowls and top with crumbled feta, if using.

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