Most people in Belgium cannot imagine breakfast without their breads or cereals. The same goes for lunch. Try grabbing a quick bite to eat for lunch, and chances are very high that you’ll end up with a sandwich.
Yes, there is a little planning involved when figuring out your lunch for work, or at home for that matter.
I’m in luck in that I have delicious freshly made soup at work, brought to me by a friendly guy on a bike. Still, soup alone is hardly enough energy for me.
That’s why I often also have a slice of faux nutmeal bread, an avocado, or maybe a can of sardines, or some cheese or nuts as a side. Or leftovers of last night’s dinner.
Big ass salad
Sometimes, I crave something else entirely, something with more allround freshness and crunch. That’s when I make myself a big ass salad. Not a bowl of dry rabbit food, mind you. When it comes to salads, having a bottle of the best virgin olive oil at hand is essential!
People are so afraid of fats – even the healthiest ones – nowadays, that you hardly ever see those oil and vinegar sets on your restaurant table anymore. If you ask for it, the kitchen often cannot even deliver you some for your salad, or they bring you a sugary vinaigrette.
It’s a complete disgrace and a testament to the fact that people have no respect for salads as a meal. The fact is, you need fat for a salad – or any meal really – to give you satisfaction and energy and taste. Else, what’s the point of eating?
Especially if you are not going to have any bread, be liberal with the fat! (it rhymes!).
I seldom plan my salad compositions. I just stop by the grocery store on the way to work and grab a bag of prewashed leafy greens, some colourful vegetable like a red or yellow pepper, or cherry tomatoes, a bit of cheese like feta, mozzarella or cheddar cheese, or some blue cheese or tasty Oud Brugge….
Very often I will also add a protein like grilled chicken, smoked salmon, or prosciutto. I might add some walnuts or pine nuts, or some blueberries or pineapple. Wherever the produce at hand, and my fancy is taking me.
Never forget the Fat! If not from cheese, then from an avocado or olive oil, or both, or all three even. I always keep a nice virgin olive oil at work, plus balsamico, and salt and pepper. As a finishing touch, I like to add berries, or olives, or nuts for crunch and… yummie!
No small plates for me either, give me a big bowl full!
Some of my favourite combinations are:
greens + goat’s cheese + fresh figs + avocado + prosciutto
greens + smoked salmon + cherry tomatoes + boursin + boiled egg
greens + feta + beans + tomatoes + tuna + anchovy + olives
greens + grilled chicken + oud brugge or cheddar + cherry tomatoes
greens + mozarella + tomatoes + avocado + fresh basil
greens + feta + tomatoes + avocado + blueberries
greens + apple + celery + raisins + walnuts + mayonnaise
greens + red beet + herring + apple + capers and pickles in dill
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!