Vegan And Eating Out Vs. Packed Lunches (Scrumptious Potato-Leek-Mushroom-Salad And Perfect Pesto-Spirelli-Salad)

After two days of my weekend course, my boyfriend drove to pick me up from university, and we went out for dinner. Now, I haven’t ever paid attention to vegan options at restaurants, because, well, obviously, I have never tried to eat vegan at a restaurant. Tonight, I tried it – and succeded! In fact, it was an awesome meal, and it only felt a little akward ordering several appetizers and side dishes to make a wholesome meal. 🙂

We went out for greek food, and we haven’t had a date night in quite a while, so it was really nice to be able to take the time to do so! I was crazy tired after sitting in a classroom all day, and had typed my fingers off trying to keep up with the rapidly-talking professor, but, as you can tell, they must have stayed on somehow, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this post. I had some vine leaves filled with rice, garlic-potatoes, a side salad, and some extra-large white beans in tomato sauce. It didn’t feel like I was missing out AT ALL, seriously. I am not trying to compensate by making it sound awesome, it truly was! And, the best part is, even though it was a buttload of food, I don’t feel too full or like I’ve overeaten – which I often have a problem with when eating large portions at restaurant. So, yay me!

I had already had an awesome packed lunch today, so it was difficult to top this evening. As I have mentioned before, I prefer taking my own packed lunch with me when I am on the road (and this has always been the case, not just since my vegan experiment). First of all, it saves loads of money, and, secondly, it automatically allows me to have a wholesome, healthy meal with lots of veggies and ingredients that I personally added.

The thing that keeps most people from packing their own lunch, including my boyfriend, is the planning factor. You do have to think about what you’ll take with you, and pack it – which requires a bit of time. If you get used to packing your lunch ahead of time (sometimes you could even pack for two days ahead, depending on what it is), you’ll be saving time in the long run. Just think of the happiness you’ll feel when you open your lunch box to find something awesomely fresh, and healthy, and good for you! Trust me, once you include packing lunch into your daily routine, you won’t know how you ever made it through the day on bought croissants, bagels, or burgers.

Today, as I mentioned, I had a packed lunch with me:

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This Perfect Pesto-Spirelli-Salad  is made up entirely of left-overs from this past week, including veggies that had to be “used up” because they were starting to lose their crispness. Another advantage of packing your own lunch – it’s a great way to empty your fridge before you have to throw out half of its contents!

Perfect Pesto-Spirelli-Salad

(vegan & wheat-gluten-free)

Ingredients:

(serves 1)

  • left-over whole-spelt spirelli (I had about 1 cup full)
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 small radishes, sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced thinly
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 Tbs. broccoli pesto
  • 1 Tbs. sprouts
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • salt & pepper, to taste

All the above mentioned veggies are optional – you can easily substitute them for whatever veggies you have at home!

Procedure:

1. Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container, either the night before or in the morning.

2. Cool until you leave the house – remember to take a fork or spoon with you!

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Enjoy the freshness of this dish, combined with the raw broccoli pesto, giving this dish the “extra kick”! Health in a bowl, trust me!

Another idea I had was actually out of sheer desparation: I had bought some brown button mushrooms earlier this week, and mushrooms go bad so quickly, so I needed to make something of them. Seeing as I’ll be out of the house all day tomorrow, I figured I might as well prepare. I also had some left-over leek from making this, so I just went with it:

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Scrumptious Potato-Leek-Mushroom-Salad

Ingredients:

(serves 1)

  • 1 medium-sized and 1 small potato, cooked
  • 1/3 of chopped leek (approximately)
  • 1 cup full of brown button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp. rosemary oil (or olive oil)
  • dried or fresh rosemary
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • paprika and cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 100ml vegetable broth

Alternatively, bell peppers would work great with this dish (if you dislike button mushrooms, for example).

Procedure:

1. Heat the rosemary oil in a pan or pot. Once it starts sizzling, add the onion, and almost immediately after the mushrooms, sautéing them.

2. Once the onions and mushrooms start browning, add the leek and garlic, as well as the vegetable broth. Turn down the heat, and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Most of the vegetable broth will “disappear”, so you may need to add more, preventing the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pot.)

3. Add the cooked potatoes, diced. Allow them to roast in the mixture, and add the seasoning, to taste.

4. Allow to cool, then fill into an airtight container, and refrigerate until leaving the house. You may want to taste this before you leave, making sure the seasoning is still strong enough, as potatoes love soaking up salt.

This tastes swell both hot or cold, so, if you have access to a microwave, you may want to reheat it for lunch! For everyone else, it’s similar to a cold potato salad, only with slightly altered ingredients! Let me know if you like it!

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