Back to school!
If you’re in the US, chances are you or your kiddies have already gone back to school, but tomorrow marks the first day for most Canadian schools and universities. And my goodness, is it ever obvious! Living in a city with 2 universities and a multi-location college means a ridiculous amount of traffic on this day of the year. It also means that seeing young, innocent university students carrying everything from crates of beer to mattresses down the street, as their loving parents look on, tearing up over the thought of releasing their son or daughter into the wild world of university, is by no means uncommon.
Part of me can’t believe that it’s been exactly 5 years since I was one of those fresh-faced, unexpecting frosh, but the other part is quite happy that I am now a working girl, not living on a student budget. (Although I must say, my dorm room – or my half anyway – was rather well decorated, don’t you think?)
I digress. Anyways, I realize that university students aren’t the only only ones with a big day coming up tomorrow. Back to school affects everyone in some way, whether it means having to leave for your job earlier because of school traffic (like me), needing to pack your lunch again (teachers), or struggling to come up with ideas for new things to pack in your kids’ lunch bags (parents). I’m not a parent or a teacher, but I like back to school time because it motivates me to be more creative with my lunchbox selections. Big-batch cooking at the beginning of the week is where it’s at if you ask me, and that’s exactly what I did yesterday. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own lunch box this week, I’d recommend this vegan and vegetarian-friendly recipe as an alternative to your usual PB&J or turkey on whole wheat.
Back-to-School Bean Salad with Asian Dressing
- 1 cup uncooked brown or wild rice, or a blend of the two
- 2 cups shelled edamame
- 1/2 cup adzuki beans, raw
- 1 cup finely diced bell peppers, any colours
- 2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
- 1 carrot, shredded
- a few pinches of chili flakes
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- black pepper, to taste
For the Asian Dressing
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, or ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp raw honey
Place the uncooked rice in a small saucepan and the adzuki beans in another, and add water until grains and beans are covered by an inch or two. Cover each pot and cook over medium heat. The rice should take about 20-30 minutes, and the beans should take about 45 minutes if you don’t soak them beforehand.)
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the vegetables and add them to a bowl with the chili flakes, cilantro, and black pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Add a little water to create a thinner consistency if desired.
When the beans and rice have finished cooking, drain well and use a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Add them to the bowl of salad ingredients and pour the dressing over top. (Add in as much as you want – the nutrition stats have been calculated to include it all, but if you prefer a less intense taste, reserve a bit for later use.) Toss to combine and let the salad sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition per serving: 303 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 369mg sodium, 46g carbs, 7g fiber, 6g sugar, 12g protein.
Did I make the entire recipe? You bet I did. Then I divided it up into smaller containers which are currently sitting in my fridge, ready to be thrown into my lunch bag. Voila, lunch is ready!
Other big-batch lunch ideas….
- Zesty Sweet Potato Salad
- Tuna Pasta Salad
- Bean and Wheat Berry Salad
- Spelt Berry Waldorf Salad
- Tabbouleh Salad
- White Bean and Tuna Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette or… Tuscan White Bean and Tuna Salad
- Chickpea and Red Lentil Salad
- Quinoa and Chicken with Almonds and Raspberry Vinaigrette
- The Detox Salad
OK friends, I’m off to enjoy what’s left of the long weekend! I hope you’re doing the same, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow with another recipe. (I know, I know, I’m a giver.)
Ooh and one more thing!
Happy 20th Birthday
… to my sister!!
Questions for today:
- What’s one of your best back to school memories? To this day, I’m a super nerd when it comes to new stationery items, and as I confessed a while back, visits to Staples make me go weak at the knees. Labeling and using my fresh clean notebooks on the first day of school was always a highlight on my first day!
- What’s your favourite lunchbox staple? Feel free to link up!