One healthy (and wallet friendly) step I’ve managed to keep up with is making my own lunch for work. As I now have a new job and no longer work in a kitchen, I need to be a little more prepared.
First off, my best advice is to make your lunch the night before if possible. You save yourself up to 10 minutes in the morning and you’re probably more apt to make a healthier lunch if you have more time to work with. Another great piece of advise, cook a little extra of whatever you make for dinner. Leftovers are the most efficient way to dine – and they can be healthy!
I planned ahead for a couple of days and bought a medium purple eggplant with plans to grill it up, eat some for dinner and save the rest for lunch and dinner the next day. You can play with different ways to incorporate leftovers, like eggplant, into your meals. For example you can create a grilled eggplant tower like you will see below or add the leftover grilled eggplant to a collard wrap for lunch the next day.
Not only is this plan efficient, it makes for an easy meal. This specific layered eggplant dish was a hodgepodge of things in my refrigerated and ended up tasting great. Please note, I did not use measures because this was a “thrown together” dish. Use the concept and get creative with your own versions! This just so happens to be vegan too!
One Medium Eggplant, sliced in rounds
Pressed Garlic and Olive Oil mixture
About 1/2 Can Chickpeas
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
3 Basil Leaves
It may just be an Italian tale, but I believe that salting the eggplant prior to cooking is best. It’s suggested to let them sit for up to an hour, but impatience always strikes me. Soaking the eggplant pulls out the juices that carry the bitter flavors and helps to draws out the moisture, also helping prevent the eggplant from absorbing too much oil, which can make them greasy.
Sprinkle your eggplant slices with salt on both sides ***Be sparing with the salt. As many may know, it is known to both contribute to heart disease and causes your body to retain water, negatively impacting weight loss efforts) and allow to dehydrate for up to an hour.
Sparingly paint eggplant slices with olive oil and pressed garlic mixture.
Heat a grill pan (or saute pan if unavailable) over high heat. Lower to medium and add the eggplant slices in a flat surface. You may have to do this in groupings depending on your pan. Flip after a few minutes when marked with grill lines and repeat for the other side. Lay each slice on a paper towel lined plate when finished.
Meanwhile, blend or mash the “chickpea mash” ingredients together with a fork to desired consistency.
Assemble Eggplant towers in layers starting with the slice of eggplant, followed by a scoop of Chickpea mash (spread out), a slice of tomato (or two!) and another layer of eggplant.
Repeat as many times as you would like. Serve over a bed of arugula for a little bite.
I highly suggest making a balsamic reduction to drizzle over this dish. I wish I did! Here is a recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats.
Tomorrow, the leftovers will be rolled up in a Collard Green with quiona and whatever else I find in the fridge!
Share your weekday hodgepodge! Did it make it to lunch the next day?