Since I’ve gone back to work, I’ve been really cognizant of having meals prepared for lunch that travel easily and are packed with nutrition. I really enjoy cooking a more elaborate meal for dinner, so something simple for lunch is perfect. I also don’t mind eating the same thing for lunch every day, so meal prepping on Sunday works best for me.
I find that a basic salad is ideal for lunch – they travel well and require no reheating. Salads are also hydrating and nutritious. I like to add legumes to my salad to increase the nutrition and to help me feel more satiated. Legumes are a great source of protein, fiber, and micronutrients. Luckily for me, I’ve got a gut microbiome that can easily digest beans without and bloating or discomfort. Know what I’m saying?
To prepare this meal, I make a batch of the 3 Bean Salad and divide it evenly between 5 plastic containers. From there, I might add tomato wedges or other raw veggies and either air fried tofu or steamed tempeh for a bit of extra protein. Then, I top that with greens; either spinach, kale or a combination of both. I pack some of the cilantro lime dressing in a small container to toss on the salad when I’m ready to eat.
This 3 Bean Salad has flavors that are Mexican-inspired. But you could very easily adjust some of the ingredients and the dressing to suit your taste preference. That’s what I love about this recipe – it’s versatile. If you have all the ingredients on hand, great! Use them. If you have slightly different ingredients or you don’t like one of the ingredients I listed, then use what you have and prefer.
This meal is inexpensive to prepare. It’s less than 1 dollar per can of beans, a few cents for the corn, onions and bell peppers. Avocados are in season, so those are also inexpensive. I like to buy organic greens, so those can be a bit more expensive. When you factor in the cost of all of the ingredients, lunch for 5 days costs less than 20 dollars. You don’t have to spend a fortune to eat healthy, delicious, vegan meals!
I hope this recipe inspires you to prepare meals for a successful work week. Even if you didn’t have time on Sunday to meal prep, something like this 3 Bean Salad is quick and easy to prepare during the week.
When your meals are ready-made and simple, it’s far easier to choose something that is health-promoting for lunch than to grab something from the vending machine.
3 Bean Salad
Author: Brianna Wright
For the 3 Bean Salad:
1 Can Black Beans, drained and well rinsed
1 Can Dark Red Kidney Beans, drained and well rinsed
1 Can Cannellini (White Kidney) Beans, drained and well rinsed
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1/2 Small Red Onion, finely diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, finely diced
For the Dressing:
1 Ripe Avocado
1 Handful Cilantro Leaves
1 Small Garlic Clove
Juice of 1 Lime
Pinch of Salt
Extra Water, as needed
For the 3 Bean Salad
- Drain and rinse all three cans of beans extremely well.
- Finely dice the onion and bell peppers.
- Combine the beans, corn, onion, and bell pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
- If preparing in advance, store separately from the Cilantro Lime Dressing.
- If serving immediately, coat well with Cilantro Lime Dressing and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
For the Dressing
- Combine all ingredients in a small blender cup except the water.
- Blend until smooth, adding the water 2 Tablespoons at a time to reach desired dressing consistency.