It’s 11:45am, and our minds shift to lunch and the inevitable weekday fail. Our forks dive into that big batch of grains we made on Sunday to last us through the week. Or, we hit refresh on our default takeout order that’s good, not great, and likely overpriced and unsatisfying. And when desperation hits, we go foraging for lunch meeting leftovers.
Now, we know that our desk lunches don’t have to be a disappointment, but sometimes the convenience of the default desk lunch wins us over. Starting this month, we’re making sure that what’s convenient is also entirely interesting and enjoyable.
Here’s the idea: Every month, we will share four office lunch recipes that feature the same specialty ingredient (think tahini, toasted coconut flakes, matcha.) The specialty ingredient is one that you may be hesitant to try out for fear of only using once and then relegating to pantry-placeholder until(or well beyond) the use-by date. If you’re like us and looking to step up your desk lunch game, read on to find four delicious recipes that are quick to prepare, pack up easily, and add excitement to your lunch hour.
For our first desk lunch series, we’ve chosen tahini as our specialty ingredient. This Middle-Eastern seed butter is extremely versatile, but hasn’t yet become a pantry staple. We’re advocating for you to stock up, and we’re making it worth your while by giving you four ways (dressing, condiment, dip, and baked good) to use it, pack it up, and enjoy it at work. Before the recipes, let’s get to know the ingredient:
It is made from ground sesame seeds
Often found in the Middle-Eastern aisle of your grocery store, more and more stores are stocking it by the peanut butter
Just like all natural peanut butter, the oil in tahini has a tendency to separate. Make sure to stir it back in before each use!
Tahini does not need to be refrigerated
It comes in both a jar and can. We taste-tested multiple varieties and determined that the packaging yields no difference.
Read on for the recipes.
Seeded Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Lemon Tahini Dressing:
¼ Cup Tahini
1 Lemon, Juiced
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Sriracha (Optional)
1/2 Bunch Kale, shredded
1 Carrot, peeled into ribbons
1/4 Cup Seeds (Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Poppy Seeds, Pumpkin etc)
The night before, make the dressing: In a small jar with a lid, combine the dressing ingredients and shake until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients and add as much of the dressing as you’d like. Toss to thoroughly coat and transfer to a resealable container (such as a quart container or quart-sized mason jar). Refrigerate overnight. (The dressing will tenderize the kale as it sits.) Keeps well for several days in the fridge.
Tip! Save any leftover dressing and use as a dip for vegetables or chicken tenders!
Chicken & Snow Pea Wrap with Tahini Aioli
1 Wrap (about 8-Inch Diameter)
Cooked Chicken, Shredded
Snow Peas, Raw or Blanched
Microgreens or Sprouts
1/4 Cup Tahini
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
The night before, make the aioli: In a small bowl, combine the tahini, mayonnaise and garlic and stir to combine. Transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate. In a small container, combine ¼ cup of the tahini aioli and 2 tablespoons water; stir to incorporate. Prep the snow peas and dress with some of the diluted aioli; transfer to a resealable container.
In the morning, place your wrap on a large piece of aluminum foil. Spread a few tablespoons of the tahini aioli onto the wrap and top with dressed snow peas, chicken and micro greens. Fold the bottom third of the wrap up, then fold the sides over, folding the foil at the same time. Secure the wrap by folding the bottom piece up and the top piece down (like a burrito). Eat in the same way!
Avocado Hummus Dip Toast
1 15-Ounce Can Chickpeas, Drained
2 Ripe Avocados
2 Tablespoons Tahini
1 Lemon, Juiced
Cherry Tomato Salad:
¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
½ Pint Cherry Tomatoes, Quartered
2 Tablespoons Red Onion, Minced
1 Piece of Toast
The night before, in a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, avocado tahini, lemon juice and using a fork, mash until combined and still chunky. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a resealable container and top with a thin layer of water (to prevent the avocado from oxidizing and turning brown). In another resealable container, toss together the cherry tomatoes, onion, crushed red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate overnight.
At the office, pour off and discard the water from the top of the chunky hummus and stir to recombine any residual liquid. Toast up a slice of bread and pile on some of the chunky hummus. Top with the tomato salad. Finish with some flaky salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
Breakfast Tahini & Chocolate Oat Cookies
3 Large Ripe Bananas
2 ½ Cups Instant Oats
½ Cup Peanut Butter (Creamy or Chunky)
½ Cup Tahini
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips
¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the bananas and tahini. Using a fork, mash the bananas and tahini until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a greased sheet pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are light brown and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet pan for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you have a suggestion for our next featured lunch ingredient, let us know if the comment section below!