Fall is here, and it's the perfect time to look inward, slow down, and change the way that we eat. Summer's expansive energy is culminating in the harvest of beans, grains, root vegetables and winter squash. These are also essential foods to eat right now because of their immune-boosting benefits.
Try these lunch ideas to strengthen your immune response and simplify your diet.
Set aside 3 hours of time on a day off. Make a list and go food shopping.
Prepare a double batch of these two recipes and you will have lunches ready for the week ahead.
Green Leek Millet Casserole
You will need:
1 cup millet
1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek
½ teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh greens: dandelion, kale, chard, collards
1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)
Place millet in a stock pot with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add salt and black pepper.
The millet will reach a thick, porridge-like consistency as you stir. Once it does, remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Chop 1 large leek into rounds. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leeks.
Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie plate with olive oil.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, and mustard.
Spread the millet on the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Place vegetables over millet. Pour eggs over the top and bake for 40 minutes.
Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.
Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.
Buckwheat Cauliflower Shitake Casserole
You will need:
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg
1 large head cauliflower
1/4 pound shitake mushrooms
½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon
3 cloves garlic
Place kasha and 2 ½ cups water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes until kasha begins to thicken. Add spices.
Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Chop cauliflower and carrots.
Oil a rectangular baking dish. Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish. Season with spices, Toss well to coat. Roast for 15 minutes.
Chop shitakes and add them to the roasting vegetables. Roast for 15 more minutes.
Mince garlic. Remove vegetables from oven and mix in garlic. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of cooked kasha. Cover kasha with the vegetables. Cover vegetables with the rest of the cooked kasha.
Bake for 15 more minutes. Cool, slice and enjoy!
Buckwheat: this little seed is not technically a grain, but is often treated like one. It is gluten-free and contains more protein than fiber or fat. It is filling, nourishing, and offers a warming quality during the colder months. Buckwheat helps maintain balanced cholesterol, stable blood sugar, and low blood pressure. Its beneficial effects are due to its high flavonoid and magnesium content. Kasha is the name for toasted buckwheat groats, which cook up much more quickly than raw buckwheat.
Garlic: high in Vitamin C and pungent sulfurous compounds, which reduce inflammation in the body; nature’s strongest anti-biotic; contains polysulfides, which trigger blood vessel dilation to reduce blood pressure; anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, controls overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the small intestine thus helping to reduce heartburn and eventual ulcers.
Mushrooms: anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and anti-oxidant. These members of the fungal family have rich, earthy flavor (umami), are high in protein, and are the fruiting bodies of a network of mushroom mycelium that runs underground throughout the entire planet. They contain a special fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which may be able to bind onto aromatase enzymes in breast cancer cells and lessen their ability to produce estrogen.
Would you like to dive deeper into changing your lunch routine?
I have created a week-long menu plan of plant-based lunches, which includes recipes, a shopping list and cooking tips. You can prepare each of these lunches easily as you make breakfast in the morning.