Most days I just have a salad for lunch. I shouldn’t say “just,” as my salads these days tend to be heavily-loaded with seeds, nuts, beans, dried fruit and cheeses, in addition to the standard lettuce-cuke-tomato base. I love loads of different textures in my meal.
But even with the ever-changing ingredients, sometimes I have to switch it up.
That’s when I grab myself a packable wrap (I do not like sandwiches all that much…the bread: filler ratio is too skewed towards the bread) or slap together a cheesy quesadilla, often using leftovers and bits from the fridge. Quesadillas, especially, are a lifesaver for Leandro’s lunchbox. He doesn’t like sandwiches either, but melt cheese and leftovers in a tortilla and he is all over it.
So here are some of the lunch solutions, including a new tuna salad recipe inspired by a reader! Erin commented that she modified my mayo-chipo-ketchup dip to dress her tuna salad, I knew she was onto something, so I did it too. Thanks Erin!
The asparagus wrap comes from a previous post, but it is so easy to roast asparagus and I make it so often that I thought it was worth repeating, especially as asparagus comes into season!
Black Bean Quesadillas
1/2 Tbs olive oil
One small onion, chopped
(optional – chopped red or green pepper; if I have end bits that need to be used, I chop ‘em up and put them in too)
one 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (or one pint beans, if using home-soaked)
half a chicken or vegetable stock cube (the whole thing, if the beans are low sodium)
5-10 oz sliced cheddar or monterey jack cheese (or grated)
3 – 4 soft tortillas
Heat oil in a small pot on medium high. Add onions, stir, then lower heat to allow to soften. Add beans, 1/4 Cup water and stock cube and simmer up until thick. To make a quesadilla, heat a skillet to medium with just a smear of oil. The skillet shold be large enough for the whole tortilla to lay flat. Lay the tortilla down and put a single layer of beans on one half. Lay cheese on top of the beans, as desired, making sure to put it on the edge. Fold tortilla over the beans and cheese and press flat. When the cheese on the edges melts, flip. Flip a few more times to desired crispness. Repeat until you are out of ingredients. Slice into wedges (a pizza slice works well) and serve with Mexican-style condiments.
Mayo-Chipo-Ketchup for Tuna Salad
(play around with the proportions to suit your taste; Erin eliminated the ketchup, if I am not mistaken)
1 Tbs prepared mayonnaise
1 Tbs plain yogurt (nonfat or lowfat are fine)
1 tsp ketchup (optional)
1 tsp chipotle in adobo (minced)
1 tsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced fine
5oz can tuna, drained (you will have enough dressing for two cans, or reserve remaining dressing for other dipping purposes)
1/4 red onion, minced fine
1 small celery stalk, minced fine (optional)
Pinch salt, if desired
two 8-inch tortillas
Mix all ingredients (except tuna, red onion, and optional celery) in a bowl. Add tuna, red onion and optional celery and mix well. Salt to taste and serve atop a salad or in a wrap with avocado, cucumber spears, carrot spears, sliced red peppers, sliced tomatoes (sun-dried, of you like!) or other crunchy or creamy salad fixings.
(For tortilla: warm tortillas — soft, burrito-style preferred — in a toaster oven set to toast for 1 minute, on a hot skillet for 30 seconds or so, each side, or wrap in dampened paper towel and heat in microwave for 15 seconds on high.)
1/2 lb asparagus spears, bottoms snapped off and set aside for stock/another day
1 red pepper, top and seeds removed, sliced long
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus a smear of olive oil for the skillet (only if sauteing the peppers)
½ pint small tomatoes (grape, cherry, Sungold), halved
1-2 Tbs prepared hummus per wrap (about 1 Cup)
4-5 wrappers of your choice (tortillas for example)
If roasting the asparagus and red pepper, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat vegetables in olive oil and roast 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until fairly tender. You may also simmer the asparagus for five minutes in water instead and follow skillet instructions for red pepper.
In a skillet, warm each wrap until soft and pliable and keep warm on a plate, covered (may also be heated in microwave, following package instructions).
In the same skillet, warm a bit of olive oil on medium to cook the red pepper (if you haven’t already roasted it) until tender. Add the roasted vegetables and the raw tomato halves to the skillet and cook on high about three minutes, until the tomatoes look slightly charred and softened, shaking the pan frequently. Go back to the wraps, smear one half of each with a tablespoon or two of hummus. On the half that has the hummus, place a few vegetables. Roll up and serve, or pack up for an excellent work lunch or beach snack.