week 5 of socially distanced lunch

week 3 and 4 were a mismash of leftovers and buffalo chickwheat sandwiches because i got burnt out on pasta. i got the just bento cookbook because i figured that would offer me some better variety in my meals.

i took her basic meatball/mini hamburger recipe and tweaked it to make 2 different flavors split between a pound of plant based “ground meat”. i use the simple truth kroger brand because it’s cheaper than beyond meat. in the future i will explore using TVP or homemade seitan for this instead because either one is cheaper than pre-made meat alternatives. i’ll keep the beyond meat for meals with my boyfriend because that’s the one he likes the most. he says the emerge has a weird taste, and the pure brand is disgusting.

i’m also trying to use up what i have on hand before i go buy new stuff to try out, so that’s why an entire can of bean sprouts and turnip greens show up. stuff i’d bought for a different recipe or dinner and just never made.

for the actual lunch: i’m alternating between the patties and the meatballs for my protein. i split the zucchini and cabbage sides into 5 equal portions and serve with a cup of rice. the first day did not go well and i had cold, hard rice. maybe today will be different? i moved the ice pack in my lunch box so that it wasn’t directly on the container. idk we’ll see.

spicy bean sprout patties

1/2 lb plant based grind

1/4 onion, diced

1 can bean sprouts, drained and patted dry. they’ll probably be tangled together, just get in there and separate them in the colander.

liberal amounts of lao gan ma black bean chili oil, i think i used a couple of tablespoons or a quarter cup.

2 tbsp unsweetened soy milk

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

preheat oven to 350. prepare a sheet pan with foil because this is messy. make sure to oil the foil. next time i’ll probably either ditch the soy milk or go easier on the lao gan ma.

mix everything together in a bowl. divide equally into 12 balls, then flatten to disks with a clean damp hand. bake for 15 minutes, rotate tray, bake another 15 or until well browned.

italian” turnip green meatballs

1/2 lb plant based grind

1/4 onion, diced

100g frozen turnip greens, or a really hefty cup.

~3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp unsweetened soy milk

2 tsp – 1 tbsp italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

preheat oven to 350, line a sheet pan with foil and oil liberally. these stuck a bit, so next time i will probably ditch the soy milk.

microwave turnip greens in water until cooked through, drain thoroughly and press water out in a mesh strainer. allow to cool.

mix ingredients thoroughly. i used a small disher to portion the meatballs and got 16, but you could form these however you wanted. make sure to roll them a bit more to form a proper meatball instead of just baking the plop came out of the disher. bake for 15 minutes, rotate tray, bake another 15 or until well browned.

~vegetable sides~

i made the walnut-miso sauce on the just bento website, just subbed for almonds since i had no walnuts on hand. it still turned out pretty amazing. i blanched & skinned my almonds because fuuuuuck having the skins get stuck in your teeth.

almond-miso zucchini & squash

make a batch of this sauce, she didn’t note if you could sub for almonds, but i did because that’s what was on hand. skinning almonds is easy – boil the almonds for 1 minute, dunk in ice water. allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then squeeze the almond out of the skin. proceed with the recipe in the link as normal. i’d be excited to try this with the original walnuts or peanuts next time.

slice and de-seed your zucchini and squash, then slice into half-moons. toss with soy sauce and saute to your preferred doneness. allow to cool, then toss with a tablespoon or two of the miso sauce. this stuff keeps for a while so i’ll probably use it again. it’s **strong** and delicious.

cabbage & onions

1/2 head green cabbage, sliced into ribbons

1/2 onion, sliced thin

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

salt and pepper

combine and saute until onions are golden brown, allow to cool.

week 2 of social distanced cold lunch

still in pasta salad land. hindsight is 20/20 and i should have put capers in this from the start. at least the other 4 bowls will have them. probably a tsp per bowl will do.

2 cups rotini, uncooked

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 yellow squash, diced

1 2oz can sliced black olives, well drained and rinsed

1 jar giardiniera. reserve 1/4 cup liquid, chop more or less to the same size

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

~ granulated garlic

~ red chili flakes

~ black pepper

~ italian seasoning mix

cook and cool pasta under cold running water. chop vegetables while pasta is cooking. mix dressing in a separate bowl. combine everything and mix well once the pasta is cool.

week 1 of social distanced cold lunch

i eat in my truck now.

2 cups uncooked rotini pasta

1 can black beans (no salt added, imo)

1.75 cup frozen black eyed pe

2 Roma tomatoes, scraped clean and diced

1 serrano pepper

~3 tbsp minced red onion, 2 rings worth

1 cup herdez guacamole salsa

1: cook pasta 1 minute less than al dente

2: rinse with cold water, set aside to fully cool

3: dice vegetables, making sure to scrape the seeds from the tomatoes

4: put everything in a bowl and mix until fully combined and coated by salsa