3 simple steps to a killer lunch, no matter what’s in your fridge.

I’d always cringe with guilt when it came time to trash the miscellaneous scraps of food in the fridge — I just didn’t know what else to do with them. I’d stow away my leftovers in Tupperware, pretending I’d come back for them later, only to find the containers 5 days later, untouched in the back of my fridge.

One afternoon, I was forced to face this issue when I had NOTHING left in my kitchen to eat other than an uneaten assortment of leftover veggies and rice. At a loss, I decided to throw them all together in a bowl for a quick lunch. To my pleasant surprise, the seemingly random ingredients actually worked really well together.

Would’ve been heartbreaking if these went to waste.

This is when I realized that you could easily turn anything into a “lunch bowl”. Follow 3 simple steps to build your own bowl, and eat lunches that look (and taste) legit every single time.

  1. Start with a grain. Brown rice, quinoa, or gluten-free noodles are some examples. Since rice takes awhile to cook, I normally make 2-3 servings during my meal prep to save time for later in the week.
  2. Add veggies. Virtually any vegetable can be sautéed, so all you have to do is throw them in a pan for a couple minutes with salt and pepper.
  3. Add protein. Grilled chicken, an egg, or tofu work great. Beans or other meat works, too– really any protein you prefer. Then, top it off with whatever else you want to add flavor!

The recipe below is an example using what I had on-hand. You can substitute any of the ingredients to tailor to your dietary need, or just whatever food you have in your fridge. No two lunch bowls ever have to be the same!

Time: 5-10 minutes

When to eat it: Lunch, dinner

Perks: Adaptable to your dietary needs and preferences, no planning required

Looks planned — took 5 minutes. #winning

Sh*t You Need:

½ cup cooked brown rice 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ medium-sized red onion, chopped
red pepper flakes
1-2 red swiss chard leaves, stemmed
¼ cup edamame, shelled and cooked
¼ medium-sized cucumber, sliced
¼ avocado, sliced
1-2 eggs
sea salt & pepper
sesame seeds, for garnish

Small pot

The Recipe:

1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

2. Add Swiss chard or kale and cook until bright green and wilted. Add edamame and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through.

3. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a small pot, and reduce to a simmer. Crack the egg into a small bowl or teacup. Make a small whirpool 
in the pot with a spoon and gently slide the egg into the water. If needed, keep the water going 
in a circular motion so that the whites of the egg wraps around itself. Cook about 3 or 4 minutes, until the yolk is just set. Remove gently with a slotted spoon.

4. Top a bowl of heated up brown rice with Swiss chard, beans, cucumber, avocado, and egg(s). Garnish with sesame seeds and more red pepper flakes if desired.

Recipe was contributed by Erica Kawas (Boston University). Check out her  for more. 

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