Think Outside The Lunchbox

Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so “blah.”

Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go, and find more at calolive.org.

Greek Salad in Jars

Courtesy of Simply Recipes

Salad Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pint-size canning jars with lids

Salad:

  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup California black ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
  • 4 pita bread rounds, halved (optional)

To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and honey. › Gradually whisk in oil. › Taste. › Add additional salt and pepper, if desired. › Divide dressing between four pint jars.

To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars. › Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese between jars. › Pack remaining space with spinach, compressing leaves slightly. › Secure lids, and refrigerate up to two days. › Serve with pita bread. › Store ,and transport salads upright so dressing stays on bottom.

Black and White Pizza

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for pizza crust
  • 1 cup onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • flour
  • 1 package prepared pizza dough
  • 1 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 can (6 ounces) extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, drained and cut in wedges
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat oven to 450°F, and line large baking sheet with parchment paper. › In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. › Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. › Reserve. › Roll pizza dough into thin oval on lightly floured surface. › Transfer to prepared baking sheet, and brush lightly with olive oil and then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce. › Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. › Sprinkle olives over pizza. › Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around edges. › Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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