Do you know how to make a healthy lunch?
Readers ask me about healthy lunches all the time. It makes sense. You want to know how to make something, quickly, using what you already have in your fridge. Kind of winging it, if you will.
Remember, losing weight is 80% diet and only 20% exercise. So forget the crunches, it’s in the food. Your body is your temple, and if you want a fit and sexy body, or even just losing that stubborn belly fat, then you owe it to yourself to cook something healthy, daily. And something tasty too. Because healthy food that tastes like cardboard is not my idea of fast, healthy food. Delicious food is.
So much of cooking healthy has to do with organization. And so much about kitchen organization has to do with just “winging it”. You know what I mean, right?.. Not following a recipe. Having the freedom to create, put a nice meal together in minutes, only using what we have in our fridge.
It’s easier than you think.
Maybe the easiest way to make it happen in the kitchen, is to rely on homemade soups and salads. I recently wrote about how to make soup at home, and how to make homemade salads. These are ultimate posts. Read them and you’ll just know how to, for a lifetime.
You’ll see in how to make a homemade salad that it’s not about recipes, it’s about a simple step-by-step formula. Once you have that formula, you can make any salad you want, including a wonderful and deliciously healthy Nicoise salad, or as the French call it, a Salade Nicoise.
You’ll find the recipe below of course, but check out this Facebook Live we did with my husband (he’s a chef). Nothing planned, we were working from home that day. We were ready for lunch. So we opened the refrigerator, evaluated the situation (what can we do with these ingredients?) and quickly came up with a solution.
We had a few hard-boiled eggs (I make the most perfect hard-boiled eggs!), some sweet peppers and other vegetables, and a single piece of fresh tuna. We also always have black olives, so there we had something.
This is what happened that day… This is how to make a healthy lunch. Also note that we’re describing how to make a salad dressing (you don’t want to rely on store-bought dressings! Very bad!), and my husband (a Frenchman) explains the differences between extra-virgin olive oil (good!), pure olive oil (bad!), light olive oil (bad!), and “estate” olive oil (great!).
Again, this video was nothing rehearsed. Just us hanging out at home in our kitchen, getting lunch ready in 10 minutes.
See, that was easy! 😉 🍴👙 👍
Making a healthy lunch at home is not that hard.
Now, of course you need some directions. I talked about it in a previous post but here is the magic formula to build a salad. This will guarantee success when you’re trying to put together an awesome salad, and still trying to lose a ton of weight at the same time. Because yes, eating a large salad with plenty of healthy ingredients and a lot of bulk (so that you are satisfy and don’t crave junk food later), is one key to your weight loss success.
Now a salad is not complete without a legit homemade dressing. That too is easy using our simple formula. Please don’t rely on nasty store-bought dressings. There is really no need for that, especially when you see how easy and fast it is to make one (literally 30 seconds).
And again, sorry to repeat myself, do not rely on store-bought salad dressings. They are full of useless, trashy ingredients that have no reason to be in there. Only to increase shelf life and squeeze more money out of you. No good.
You will find the recipe for Nicoise salad below. Even though if you apply our easy formulas, you don’t really need a recipe. Before I give away that awesome recipe, we’re also giving away a pretty nifty kitchen cheat sheet you may want to grab below.
That way, you can organize your kitchen in such a way that you only have useful, awesome, healthy ingredients that will help you lose weight, maintain your ideal weight, or just offer yourself and your family a proper lifestyle. Get started now and grab your free ebook.
Now, regarding the Nicoise Salad, and how to make a healthy lunch. As I said previously, my husband and I were just winging the Nicoise salad that day. But you can make your own authentic French salad by following the directions below.
This is a classic salad from the South of France, where my husband is from. From the lovely town of Nice (don’t pronounce that like an American! 😉 🇫🇷 Here is what Wikipedia says about Salade Nicoise.
“The version known in Nice in the late 19th century was a basic combination of tomatoes, anchovies and olive oil, described as “simple food for poor people”. Over time, other fresh and mostly raw ingredients were added to the salad as served in Nice. A 1903 recipe by Henri Heyraud in a book called La Cuisine à Nice included tomatoes, anchovies, artichokes, olive oil, red peppers and black olives, but excluded tuna and lettuce. The dressing included olive oil, vinegar, mustard and fines herbes.
Former Nice mayor and cookbook author Jacques Médecin was a strict salad traditionalist. His 1972 cookbook Cuisine Nicoise: Recipes from a Mediterranean Kitchen called for the salad to be served in a wooden bowl rubbed with garlic, and excluded boiled vegetables: “never, never, I beg you, include boiled potato or any other boiled vegetable in your salade niçoise.” Médecin wrote that the salad should be made “predominately of tomatoes” which should be “salted three times and moistened with olive oil”. Hard-boiled eggs were added, and either anchovies or canned tuna, but not both. He incorporated raw vegetables such as cucumbers, purple artichokes, green peppers, fava beans, spring onions, black olives, basil and garlic, but no lettuce or vinegar. According to Rowley Leigh, Médecin believed that salade niçoise “was a product of the sun and had to be vibrant with the crisp, sweet flavours of the vegetables of the Midi.” Médecin advocated presenting the dish as a composed salad, commenting, “As the various ingredients that go into salade niçoise are of bright and contrasting colours, they can be arranged most decoratively in the salad bowl.”
An organization called Cercle de la Capelina d’Or, led for many years by Renée Graglia until her death in 2013, continues to protest against deviation from traditional local recipes. The group, which certifies restaurants in Nice, sticks with Médecin’s standards. They reject commonly included ingredients such as green beans and potatoes, as well as innovations such as including sweetcorn, mayonnaise, shallots and lemon.
In 2016, French Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze posted a salade niçoise recipe on Facebook that included cooked potatoes and green beans. According to journalist Mathilde Frénois, the reaction on Facebook was quick and hostile from the “purists”. Darroze’s version was called “a massacre of the recipe”, a “sacrilege”, and a violation of the “ancestral traditions” of the salad. She was warned that it is “dangerous to innovate”.”
Salad Nicoise or Niçois salad has been known in the US since 1920. Much earlier in France. It has evolved over the years and yes, the French still argue about what goes into it. In fact, when we released the Facebook Live video above, some of our Facebook friends from France (jokingly) argued with us. If you can read French, here is a heated exchange on what to put and what to avoid in Salade Nicoise. It all ended up with a promise to drink wine together!
Ok. Enough chit chat about how to make a healthy lunch or what ingredients Salad Nicoise should have.
Here is the exact recipe for salade Nicoise.
- 1 pound red-skinned potatoes sliced 1/3 inch thick
- Himalayan salt
- 10 ounces green beans trimmed
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 1 green pepper sliced
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 leaves head Boston lettuce separated
- 2 5 1/2 - ounce cans Italian or Spanish tuna packed in olive oil drained
- 1 small can of anchovies
- 1/2 cup nicoise olives
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water and season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until fork-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Reserve the saucepan.
Meanwhile, bring a separate saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with salted ice water. Add the green beans to the boiling water; cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to cool; drain and pat dry.
Place the eggs in the reserved saucepan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover, remove from the heat and let stand, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then run under cold water to cool. Peel under cold running water.
Make the dressing: Whisk the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until emulsified.
Toss the tomatoes, green and red peppers in a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/4 cup dressing to the potatoes and toss. Quarter the hard-cooked eggs.
Divide the lettuce among 4 plates. Arrange the potatoes, green beans, hard-cooked eggs, tuna, anchovies, and olives on top. Add the tomatoes to the plates. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.
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