Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bag Lunch Series Part 2: Niçoise Salad

Somehow, salads have gained a reputation for being the food of the fanatical health nut. Or worse yet, being a "lady's" lunch, thus excluding all male parties from partaking in this easy and inexpensive lunch. But salads can include any combination of "manly" ingredients (that 's a code word for filling) so you don't have to worry about grabbing at your stash of quarters for the vending machine.

One of the best examples of a filling salad is the niçoise salad, which includes a good amount of protein, the key to making it satisfying. With just a few ingredients on hand, and very little preparation, you could assemble this salad for lunch the next day. Or better yet, roast potatoes and steam green beans for dinner the night before, and use leftovers to make this salad.

Shopping List
Red skinned potatoes
Green geans
Mixed greens, spinach, boston, or butter lettuce
Green or Kalamata olives
Canned Tuna (or fresh if you want to follow Elise's recipe)
Olive oil
Shallot or garlic
Fresh or dried thyme, basil, and oregano leaves
Dijon or other mustard

Ingredients for 2 salads
2 small-med red skinned
2 handfuls of green beans, with tips cut off and cut into bite sizes
2 hardboiled eggs
1-2 cans of tuna
1 large tomato, cut into wedges or 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
8 olives
2-4 cups of greens

Ingredients for 2 servings of dressing
1 teaspoons of mustard
Juice of a lemon (or apple cider vinegar if you don't have a lemon)
2 minced garlic cloves, or 1 minced shallot
1 teaspoon of dried herbs (thyme, basil or oregano) or 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs
1/4 cup olive oil

Preparing your salad the night before
1. Cut potatoes into bite sizes. Place potatoes in a pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Alternatively you can roast them at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender.
2. Remove the potatoes to cool but keep the water. You can now boil your green beans for 5 minutes. Any longer and they will be stringy.
3. Hardboil your eggs.
4. Whisk together your dressing ingredients and divide into two containers to take to work.
5. Once your cooked items are cool, all you have to do is divide up all the ingredients among two containers to take to work. Putting the greens in last make keep them from getting wilted.

The salads don't have to stop here! Here are some other salad-y ideas:
  • Tex-Mex salad: Greens, tomatoes, salsa, canned black beans, frozen or canned corn, avocado, queso fresco, leftover steak if you have it
  • Mediterranean: Greens, tomatoes, olives, chopped cucumbers, feta cheese, chopped leftover chicken or fish, chopped red onion, chopped bell pepper, leftover roasted eggplant, store bought pita bread
  • Autumn: Roasted beets and butternut squash or sweet potato cubes, bleu or goat cheese, greens or arugula, toasted walnuts or other nuts, sliced apples or pears, dried fruits, side of cottage cheese
  • Alternatives to dressing: Try to keep your dressing splashing to a minimum. If your salad is drenched, you may be eating way more calories than you think. Instead of oil and vinegar, try balsamic vinegar by itself. Try salsa instead of dressing, or have a scoop of cottage cheese next to your salad. This combination is extremely delicious, although it may sound weird.
One last thing. . .  no iceberg.


  1. Love this..especially the iceberg comment :)

  2. I love salads, not because they are "healthy" but because you can load them up with so many goodies! I'm totally making a roasted squash/cheese/nut salad. Good idea!! Now if only I had a job so I could take it to work with me. :)