A healthy mid-day meal can go a long way towards a productive afternoon. A balanced lunch includes a mixture of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat. This can satisfy your hunger and provide you with sustained energy to continue your day.
The recipes below include a number of different fruits and vegetables, and are hopefully more exciting than the standard tuna fish sandwich.
Asparagus and Citrus Salad:
Ingredients: 1-1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons fine chopped shallots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or dry sherry
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
Instructions: In a small bowl, combine shallots with vinegar and sherry. Let stand for 20 minutes. Zest 1 orange, fine chop the zest and add to the shallot mixture.
Squeeze 1/3 cup juice from the zested orange and add to the shallot mixture. Slowly whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, set aside.
Cut asparagus spears in half and cook in boiling, salted water for 4-5 minutes until slightly crisp. Drain well and remove from pan to cool. Toss the shallot mixture with the cooled asparagus.
Cut the ends off the remaining oranges and peel them. Slice the peeled oranges into 1/2 inch slices.
Arrange asparagus and orange slices on salad plates and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each serving with walnuts.
Grilled Tomato Melts:
Ingredients: 3 large tomatoes (about 8 oz. each)
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup fine chopped sweet peppers
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each tomato into 1/2 inch thick slices. For each serving, arrange 3 tomato slices, overlapping slightly in a foil lined, 15x10x1 inch baking pan.
Sprinkle with shredded cheese, chopped peppers and toasted almonds. Bake for 15 minutes. Lift with large spatula, allowing excess juices to drain off.
Red, White and Blue Pasta Salad:
Ingredients: 16 ounces pasta
10 ounces cooked (or canned) chicken
1 cup celery, chopped
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Prepare pasta according to package, drain and rinse in cold water.
In a large serving bowl, combine pasta, chicken, celery, blueberries, red pepper, parsley and onion.
Sprinkle blue cheese on top, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Salmon and Blueberry Salad with Red Onion Vinaigrette:
Ingredients: 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly in half rings
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
6 cups lettuce
1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions: In a microwaveable bowl combine onion, red wine vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until onions turn pink (about 15 minutes).
Preheat broiler. Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil on both sides of salmon fillets, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Broil skin side down until cooked through (about 6 minutes).
Divide lettuce among 4 plates, place salmon in the center. Remove onions from vinegar and sprinkle, along with blueberries around the fish. Whisk remaining olive oil into vinegar mixture and drizzle over salmon.
Warm Peanut Salad:
Ingredients: 1 pound raw peanuts, shelled and skinned (about 1-3/4 cups)
1/2 bay leaf
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 fresh small green Thai or Serrano chilies, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions: Bring 5 cups of water to a boil with bay leaf. Add peanuts and reduce heat to moderate. Simmer, covered, until peanuts are soft enough to crumble when pressed with a fork (about 30-45 minutes). Drain well.
When peanuts are almost done, stir together tomatoes, cilantro, chilies, lemon juice and sea salt in a bowl. Add drained peanuts and stir to combine.