The Sassy Desk Lunch Round-Up
Whatsup, friends? I hope you had a glorious Labor Day weekend, and that you’re starting this short week feeling fresh as a daisy. (Or at the very least, not too hungover, jet-lagged, or miserable.)
I can’t really get behind the “Welcome to Fall!!!” theme that’s happening on the interwebs today, especially since it’s 90 degrees in NYC, and we’ve still got two full weeks of summer left on the official calendar. So, instead of force-feeding you apples and pumpkins, I thought we’d slowwwwwly transition into back-to-school/reality mode by talking sassy desk lunches. (There will be plenty of time for cozy recipes and fall cocktails once it’s cool enough to wear pants. I promise.)
For better or worse, I’ve always thought of September as the start of a new year, making it the perfect time for setting new goals and routines. As of right now, I plan to continue my yogi lifestyle, wake up half an hour earlier (no promises), and up my lunch game. (There’s been a whole lot of avocado toast this summer, which is fine, but I could get sassier.) In the hope of motivating you to join me in the latter, I’ve rounded up 12 sassy desk lunch ideas for your midday feasting pleasure.
For those that need a quick refresher on what qualifies as a sassy desk lunch, I’ve outlined the requirements below. Please get on board.
Requirements for a Sassy Desk Lunch:
- It must taste good and travel well. Duh. Eating disgusting food is both sad and unnecessary. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t spend all morning being excited about lunchtime. (I do.)
- It must not be smelly. Don’t be the d-bag that brings something that stinks of garlic, curry, or fish of any kind to eat at your desk. I’m not saying that your office peeps will automatically hate you if you bring a giant container of salmon salad, but they might.
- It must be healthy and satisfying. The point of lunch is to keep you full and energized throughout the afternoon, not make you fat. Seriously.
- It must look fancy. This is important because a.) you deserve to eat something that appears appetizing, and b.) it will make any passing co-workers jealous appreciative of both your lunch and your domestic skills and/or lead to midday compliments (which are everyone’s favorite pick-me-up).
- It must be simple. In other words, you must be able to whip it up easily the evening before and pack it in some Tupperware, so that you can grab it on your way out the door. No muss, no fuss.
Domesticate ME!’s Favorite Sassy Desk Lunches:
Lemon-Dijon Chicken Salad with Pomegranate and Toasted Almonds. This light and tangy chicken salad is one of my all-time favorite lunches. You can simply pile it in a Tupperware to be eaten later with a fork/crackers, OR bring a separate container with bibb/Boston lettuce leaves to make sassy wraps at your desk. (p.s. There’s no devil’s condiment mayo involved, so you don’t run the risk of offending any office mayo haters.)
Roasted Broccoli, Chicken and Cheddar Quinoa Bake. Make this deliciousness for dinner during the week and take your leftovers to work! It re-heats like a dream. (I’m assuming you have access to a microwave? I have no idea what office kitchens are like these days…)
Ginger-Scallion Soba Noodles with Roasted Cauliflower. Whipping out a bowl of these flavor-packed vegan noodles at lunchtime is compliment/jealousy-inducing on many levels. (I obviously don’t know this from first-hand experience, but I’ve been told as much by various desk-lunching friends in the corporate world. I trust them.)
Quinoa Green Goddess Bowl with Crispy Chickpeas and Lemon-Tahini Dressing. Perhaps the epitome of sassy desk-lunches, this supercharged quinoa bowl is bursting with fresh flavor and nutrients, and it travels perfectly. Keep the chickpeas separate until lunchtime to maintain their crunch factor.
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. On chillier days, a piping hot bowl of soup is more than guaranteed to hit the spot. Bring a teeny container of grated cheese—Parmesan, mozzarella, and cheddar are all excellent options—and some crackers, and you’ve got yourself quite the festive fall meal. (Again, I’m assuming you have access to a microwave. If not, you should probably petition for one in your office.)
Farro with Kale Pesto, Zucchini and Parmesan. Of all the ancient grains, I find that farro keeps me the most full. This is because it’s absurdly high in fiber and cyanogenic glucosides, which sound scary but actually stimulate your immune system, regulate blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. Plus, farro tastes delightful. It’s slightly chewy with an excellent nutty flavor, and when tossed with a bright kale pesto, shaved zucchini, and a little Parm, it makes for an epic midday meal.
Chopped Greek Salad with Chickpeas and Avocado. Crunchy and satisfying, this is the type of salad that will have you counting the minutes until lunch. I recommend losing the avocado (it will get brown), and adding a chicken breast on the days you need an extra protein boost. Please bring the dressing on the side. (Soggy is the opposite of sassy.)
Detox Salad. I suggest making this your regular Monday desk lunch. Routine is good.
Smoky Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Kale. Sometimes you need a hearty desk lunch, and this cozy stew is just the thing to warm you up form the inside out. (FYI, it actually tastes better a day or two after it’s made.)
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate and Avocado. Highly recommended for days when you want to feel smarter and prettier. (Antioxidants and beautifying vitamins out the ying-yang.)
Bacon Fried Rice with Broccoli and Wilted Greens. I find this stuff incredibly motivational. The promise of a bacon-y lunchtime treat makes it significantly easier to power through your busiest, most important mornings. (This is another one that tastes great hot or cold.)
Kale Salad with Quinoa, Cranberries and Toasted Almonds. You can never, ever go wrong with this salad. And since it’s one of those magical creations that benefits from a day (or 3) in the fridge, you can make a double batch on a Sunday and have the sassiest of desk lunches ALL WEEK.
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Thank you!!! I love fall as much as the next girl but thinking of pumpkins and apple picking when the temp in philly is 101 makes me want to puke
PRAISE! The Sassy Desk Lunch gets bonus points for costing way less than take out salads in midtown. Would you consider additional posts one how to cook certain grains, like the one about quinoa? I’d feel more confident trying grains like farro if I could reference a post like that one, which I use all the time. Thanks!
YAS. I love the idea of a comprehensive how-to post on cooking whole grains (farro, brown rice, wheatberries, etc.)! Will put that on the schedule.
The heat! Will it ever end?!? I’m all about fall, but I can’t even entertain the notion of anything pumpkin until I no longer sweat from the short walk to my car at 8am.