This recipe is: Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan*. *This recipe can easily be altered to include meat, dairy, gluten, etc.
This is what I eat for lunch everyday, Monday through Friday, and I have done so for roughly the last 3 years. I know exactly what you’re thinking… “boring!” Ah, but it is not. I’ve been eating spinach everyday for so long, that now if I go without it, I just don’t feel right. I actually crave it, yes, it can happen. I also like that “what to have for lunch” is never a question in my mind, therefore giving me one less decision I have to make in my day. Phew! The trick to keep this interesting, is to switch up the ingredients, dressings, toppings, etc. I’ll list some optional ingredients here, but don’t limit yourself, branch out and make a salad that you’ll actually look forward to eating. The truth is, if you are forcing yourself to do it, and you don’t enjoy it, it won’t last long.
NotesPrep time: 5 minutes, so you really don’t have any excuse not to pack your lunch!
- Organic, baby spinach (as much as you’d like, I fill a medium-large tupperware container full of spinach)
- Red and yellow peppers
- Raw almonds (I prefer the sliced/shaved almonds)
- Diced green apple
- Unsweetened, dried cranberries (watch the calorie/sugar content, don’t go overboard with these)
- Fresh, organic strawberries
- Kalamata olives (pitted)
- Carrot slices
- Extra virgin olive oil and a squirt of agave nectar for dressing
Other Optional Ingredients
Please note that the inclusion of some of these ingredients will no longer make the salad raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegetarian and/or vegan.
- Walnuts, pecans or other nuts
- Blueberries, mandarin oranges, avocados or other fresh fruit
- Zucchini, squash, beets, carrots, corn, peas, kidney beans and other vegetables
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, other seeds
- Croutons (Omit if going for a gluten-free dish)
- Feta Cheese (Omit if you’re going dairy-free)
- Quinoa (An amazing superfood which gives the salad more “bulk”, esp. if you are omitting meat)
- Leftover meat from dinner the night before (Save some of your chicken, steak, fish, etc. from last night’s dinner and put it on your salad the next day. It’s delish! Obviously, omit if vegan/vegetarian)
- Dressings: balsamic vinagrete, other things to mix with extra virgin olive oil. Be cautious of pre-packaged dressings. They likely contain lots of sodium, preservatives, sugars, allergens like soy, etc. If a dressing is “fat-free”, chances are they added lots of additives to make it taste good without the fat. Olive oil does contain fat, but it is good fat, just like the good fat in avocados. A little on your salad everyday is good for you!
Put all ingredients together in the tupperware, except the dressing. Use another, small tupperware for a single serving of dressing for your salad, or bring a bottle of extra virgin olive oil to the office with you, if you can. You want to avoid putting the dressing on your salad the night before because your leaves will be soggy by the time you go to eat it.
Also, I use baby spinach because it tastes the best and because it is the most nutrient-dense of all the lettuces. Stay away from iceberg lettuce because it has no nutritional value.
Lastly, when people in the office give you a hard time because all you eat is “rabbit food” for lunch… they’re just jealous, so don’t let it bother you.
**Update** Thank you Shellie Argeanton for submitting your photos of your version of the spinach salad! It looks delicious!