Courtney and I have noticed that regularly eating a healthy lunch seems to be a challenge for most of us working from home. We thought we’d give you a couple of super-quick, healthy, immune-enhancing lunch ideas that we do ourselves.
As likely you all know, in Chinese Medicine, we advocate for a warm food diet and limiting or avoiding cold and raw foods. In Western culture, “quick foods” are often cold – think sandwiches, yogurt, fruit salad, vegetable salad, etc. Warm and hot foods require some cooking, but if you have the right fixings on hand, it can feel more like preparation than cooking – and not too much to manage for a tasty lunch.
I love dark, leafy greens. They’re cleansing to the Liver energy, provide excellent nutrition, and cook up quickly. My favorites include: baby kale, dino kale, dandelion greens and beet greens. Any of these would work well in this recipe.
In a skillet, heat 1 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil, ghee or coconut oil (depending on your preference). When oil is very warm (but not smoking), add sliced onions and 1 – 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Cook on medium heat for several minutes. You want the onions and garlic to cook down a bit. Then, add in 2 – 4 cups of your leafy greens of choice, roughly chopped (with any hard stalks removed). At this stage you can lower the heat and cover for 3 – 5 minutes for the greens to wilt. Then, uncover and sautee and stir to make sure the greens are all cooked evenly. Turn off heat and toss with either of these: soy sauce, liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or seasoned rice wine vinegar.
To one, nice slice of toasted bread, slather on some hummus (or avocado, if you like), then add a heaping pile of your cooked greens on top…and there’s lunch! If you’re more hungry, I often add a poached egg on top. It’s super tasty, fast, healthy and easy.
If you’re not into making your own broth, it’s not a worry – there are some great ones out there to purchase – buy in bulk to have broth on hand! My top three include Butchers, Bonafide and Osso Good. You’ll see that I like to keep it extra simple – there are no measurements here. Just add to your liking! The spicy components move stagnant Qi and help expel pathogens – don’t skimp out :)
For a 1 person serving:
Heat up enough broth to fill a mug or bowl, depending on your appetite. Add the following;
A spoonful of miso
Squeeze of lemon
Handful of shiitakes
An egg – stir to incorporate
Scallions – green parts
Voila! Hot, spicy, satisfying and antiviral.
One of my favorite and quickest meals to prepare is Khichadi. Not only is it the ultimate Indian comfort food, but it is a classic Ayurvedic meal known for its nourishing, healing and immune-boosting benefits. Khichadi is a savory porridge of split mung beans (the one legume that won’t cause intestinal discomfort), white basmati rice (more digestible) and a blend of anti-inflammatory spices cooked in just the right amount of ghee.
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup split mung beans (split yellow)
6 cups (approx.) water
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated
A bit of pink himalayan salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
2 tsp. ghee
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 and 1/2 cups assorted vegetables (optional)
Rinse the rice and mung beans. In a pot, heat the ghee on medium heat and add the cumin seeds and ginger. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the mung beans, basmati rice, turmeric powder and vegetables. Mix well and then add water and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Cook for about 30 minutes or until mung beans and rice are soft and completely cooked. Top with cilantro leaves and serve! This easy dish is instantly warming, grounding and soothing.