Brown Baggin’ It: The Healthful Lunch

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I spent the summer after sophomore year as a marketing intern in midtown Manhattan. My days were busy and very long. I relished every moment of my hour-long lunch break. Unfortunately, the office where I worked was situated in a blackhole of attractive lunch options – a girl can only eat so many Au Bon Pain paninis in one summer. Plus, I ended up spending a good portion of my meager paycheck on fifteen dollar sandwiches every day. So, for you broke and hungry interns, here are two lunch recipes that are brown bag-able and delicious.

Katharine spent her junior year abroad indulging in delicious food (and doing a little studying) in Lyon, France and Bologna, Italy. Back home, she loves cooking Ina’s Perfect Roast Chicken.


Quinoa with Asian Dressing
Serves 4-6

My mom’s best friend sent me this recipe to try for one of my weekly dinners and I have ended up making it quite a bit just to have in the house as a snack or ready-made lunch. I love the bright, summery flavors.


For the dressing

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne

For the quinoa

3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped cilantro or italian parsley
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Assemble the dressing by stirring all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and reduce the water to a simmer. Cook the quinoa until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy (about 20-30 minutes).

Meanwhile, add the scallions, cranberries, cilantro and celery to a large bowl. Toss the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat until they are toasted and add them to the bowl. Stir in the dressing.

After the quinoa has cooled slightly, add it to the bowl of other ingredients and stir it all together. Set it aside and let it come to room temperature for about an hour (to let the flavors soak in). Serve at room temperature and refrigerate the leftovers.

Serves 1

This sandwich derives from my favorite meal at Le Pain Quotidien. Since it’s a rare occasion that I get to eat the real deal, I invented my own at-home version of this delicious vegetarian tartine with a few adaptations and additions.


1 loaf of fresh country white bread (or whatever your favorite is, sourdough works well with this sandwich too), cut into 1/2 inch slices
2-3 tablespoons of hummus (any variety works, though I find that a spicy hummus makes the sandwich a little more interesting)
1 ripe haas avocado
1 cucumber, sliced
a handful of alfalfa sprouts
a few thin slices of red onion
(optional) balsamic reduction (I use a store-bought brand, which can sometimes be expensive.)

Spread the hummus and balsamic (if you are using it) onto each slice of bread.

Arrange the sliced avocado, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, and onion slivers on one slice of bread. Arrange the sandwich and pack it up well (if there’s too much air around it the avocado will turn brown – you can still eat it, it just doesn’t look as appetizing).

Originally posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2011

One Response to “Brown Baggin’ It: The Healthful Lunch”

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