Canadian food blogger Allison Day believes that "life is too short to eat a bad lunch." The goal of her new cookbook, "Modern Lunch," is to offer creative ideas for delicious lunches that are budget-conscious and easy to prepare.
This flavorful recipe even includes "edible dinnerware" in the form of a vegetable wrap. It calls for ground chicken, but you can substitute crumbled tofu if you want to make it vegetarian. It takes 20 minutes to prepare and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
See more of Day's recipes on her blog, YummyBeet.com.
CHICKEN, EGGPLANT AND BASIL WRAPS WITH CASHEWS
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 pound ground chicken or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pulsed in a food processor until minced
2 Chinese eggplants, sliced into thin rounds
Heaping 1/2 cup unsalted raw or roasted cashews
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce
2 green onions (white and green parts), minced
2 cups coarsely torn basil leaves (use Thai basil if available)
1 head lettuce such as iceberg or Bibb, or cabbage, leaves separated
For the filling, in a large, high-sided or nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, eggplant and cashews, and saute until the chicken is cooked through and the eggplant is tender and browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and tamari or soy sauce and cook for 1 minute longer, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the green onion and basil. Transfer the filling to a large container or bowl, cool, seal or cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the wraps.
To assemble, divide the filling between 4 bento boxes or containers. Roll the lettuce leaves and tuck them in bento boxes or containers or securely wrap and pack on the side. Seal everything up and refrigerate until you are ready to take it with you.
When you arrive at work, keep your meal cold in the refrigerator or with a cooler pack in your lunch bag. To serve, keep the filling cold or reheat, if desired, then top the lettuce leaves with filling, tuck in the sides (like a taco), and enjoy.
MAKE IT VEGETARIAN
Replace the chicken with 1 package (12 ounces) extra-firm tofu, finely crumbled after pressing out the liquid. As it's already cooked, the tofu will only take about 5 minutes in the pan to dry out and become a touch crispy.
Excerpted from "Modern Lunch: +100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal" by Allison Day. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.