quick lunches and snacks

School has started, which means panic is starting to set in. My planner is filling up with things I need to do, and finding time to blog (much less finding time to feed myself, sans writing and photography) is getting harder every day. Nonetheless, I’m falling back in love with the chaos of going to school. I missed reading for hours every night and writing papers. I thrive on having too much to do.

And this year, there is certainly too much to do. I’m only taking 5 classes, but I’m also working two jobs, judging debate tournaments once or twice a month, and hopefully–cross your fingers!–writing as a Longhorn Confidential blogger. Meanwhile, I’m (knock on wood) halfway through college and less than 365 days away from writing my thesis.

The anxiety is mounting, but to be fair, this is going to be a great semester. I’ve always been the type of person to say “YES” to any opportunity that comes my way (I think it’s genetic — my parents are the same way).

One of the things that makes my life a little bit easier is planning out meals for the beginning of the week and making sure to have grab-and-go snacks on hand at all times. My go-to breakfast consists of an apple and a spoonful of peanut butter. Sometimes I slice the apple and spread peanut butter evenly on each bite… and sometimes I throw the apple in my backpack to eat during my first class and eat a spoonful of peanut butter straight from the jar. Lunches are generally a salad with protein, healthy fats, and fiber–another easily transportable option that is healthy and filling.

Here are a few recipes for foods that I make at the beginning of the week and keep in the fridge to have on hand when I’m busy: hummus, roast veg, and veggie burgers.

Veggie Burgers, adapted from Oh She Glows. Yielded 8 normal burgers and 12 mini-burgers! I froze half.

1/2 of a large onion
2 garlic cloves
Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup oats, processed into flour
1.5 cups bread crumbs
4 carrots
1 cup cooked black beans
Heaping 1/4 c. cilantro
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1.5 tsp. chipotle powder (or chili powder)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

-Preheat oven to 350F. Mix up the flax egg by stirring together the flax and 1/2 c. warm water in a bowl and letting it sit at least 10 minutes.
-Using a food processor, dice the large onion, garlic, and carrots. Place into a large mixing bowl. Next, process the oats until they are the consistency of flour (or a bit coarser). Add the oat flour and bread crumbs to the bowl. Process the black beans, but not too much — they should be sort of smooth but still a little lumpy. Process cilantro; add to bowl. Add chopped almonds and sunflower seeds, as well as the spices. Stir stir stir!
-Add the flax egg, olive oil, and soy sauce. Stir well. If the mixture is still really dry and powdery, add ~1/4 c. of water. Taste the “veggie dough” and adjust seasonings.
-Shape dough into patties (or mini-patties, or balls). Bake in the oven for 18 minutes on each side (or fry in a little olive oil).

Basic Hummus. Tangy, creamy, and salty. Yields about 1 1/2 cups.

1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas, or about 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. tahini
Juice of half a lemon
1-2 tbsp. olive oil (optional. I find I don’t taste the difference)
salt to taste
paprika to taste

Using a food processor or high-speed blender, process everything until very smooth. You can easily adapt this recipe to your preferences; I generally add some cilantro and switch the lemon juice to lime juice. Roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, and basil are all great versions.

mmm, crispy broccoli florets...

Roasted Vegetables. Yields several cups.

Veggies! I usually do a few carrots and 3 heads of broccoli. Sometimes I roast green beans or brussel sprouts.
Oil: I generally use canola oil spray. Coconut oil is heat-stable and won’t release carcinogens at high temperatures, so it’s a good option for roasting. Plus it’s delicious!
Spices: I usually use a combination of sea salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, but play around and figure out what you like!

Preheat oven to 425F. Wash and chop vegetables, and arrange on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes.

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About Natalie (The First Kitchen)

I like to eat lots of plants, bake cookies, and explore Austin.
This entry was posted in 5 ingredients or less, beans, dip, entree, gluten-free, legumes, side dish, snack, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to quick lunches and snacks

  1. Fairly simple but super delicious-looking recipes, thank youuu. Enjoy (2nd?) week of school this week!

  2. Amyna Dosani says:

    These are really helpful and really great! (I’m sharing the link on Facebook for others, too.) Only thing: can you include more about proper storage of the dishes and how long it would last? Especially for things like the hummus or veggie burgers, like… do the burgers freeze well or is the hummus done for after 3 days? My problem is that I love fresh food, but fresh food goes bad quickly, haha. I have to work at getting around that.

    • That’s a great idea — I’ll start including that in future posts. Generally things with beans last for about 4 days before they start getting funky, so I make small-ish batches of hummus. For veggie burgers, I recommend just freezing what you’re not eating and heating them up in the microwave or in a frying pan when you’re ready to eat. I’m a huuuge food-freezer — it’s so much easier to make a huge meal once rather than make small meals for 5 days! In terms of general food-freshness questions, I tend to revert to the “just try it” approach if I’m unsure. Sounds kinda gross, but if something’s bad, I just spit it out — no big deal. Hope this helps!

  3. Su says:

    Ooh, I hope you get to do Longhorn Confidential. I’ve read those the past 2 years, and I often feel like the people doing them lose interest or just forget about them altogether. I can’t imagine you doing that! You’ll be great!

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