When I worked at an office, remembering to eat lunch was never a problem. Even if I lost track of time, I could always feel how the energy around me would shift a few minutes before noon. As soon as the clock flipped, my co-workers and I would rise from our seats to meet friends or pick up sandwiches at the cafeteria downstairs.
Once I started working from home, that unconscious knowledge that it was time to eat lunch was one of the first things to go. Instead, I’d sit down to work and enter something of a fugue state. I’d resurface hours later, feeling ravenously hungry and shocked by how much time had gone by.
These days I do two things to combat the work hypnosis. I set an alarm on my computer that reminds me to eat lunch (it’s simple but effective), and I make some big batch of grain or bean salad at the start of each week so that I have something to look forward to.
For the last three weeks running, I’ve made batches of Guy Fieri’s Lentil Avocado Salad to eat for my midday meal. You saute some aromatics, add lentils and water, and simmer until cooked. The lentils are then cooled and seasoned with a simple vinaigrette. I eat a scoop over a bowl of salad greens and am delighted with it. Make it for your Weekender and enjoy it throughout the week.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— When cooking the lentils, Guy tells you to cover them with two inches of water. Depending on their age, lentils will need different amounts of water to cook thoroughly, and so sometimes you’ll have extra water in the pot when the cooking is done, whereas other times you’ll need an extra splash. If you have any leftover water, drain it off before adding the vinaigrette. Otherwise the salad will be soupy and dilute.
— To increase the refrigerator life of this salad, don’t mix the avocado in until you’re ready to serve it. Each time I mix myself up a bowl, I slice up a quarter of an avocado and plop it on top.
— Keep this recipe on your mental list of things that are good for potlucks. These days, it never hurts to have an easy, delicious, vegan dish in our repertory.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her second cookbook, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, is now available.