on the packed lunch and a recipe for chickpea salad

I have a confession. When I’m at work, I often buy my lunch. I rarely bring a packed lunch.

Like, maybe once a month.

I’m not proud of this. A packed lunch is better for so many reasons. First and foremost, I can save a decent amount of money if I prepare my lunch at home and bring it with me to work. One day I paid close to $6 for a pile of tuna on top of some lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. A huge rip off.  I was almost embarrassed.

Another huge advantage of bringing my lunch to work is that I know exactly what is going into my food. I use good quality ingredients at home, so I won’t have to worry about whether that tuna has been sitting out a while, or how clean those transparent slices of tomato are.

So, what’s my excuse? The usual. I blame a lack of time. Between getting myself dressed and helping my husband get the kids dressed and out the door in the mornings, I just don’t have any extra minutes to spare. I could make my lunch the night before, but again, I don’t make time to do so. I’d rather read my Kindle. Or sleep.

I’m lazy. It comes down to that.

I’m going to make an effort to change, though. I’m tired of giving all of my money to the hospital cafeteria and the local Subway. I’d like to expand my limited packed-lunch repertoire. I’m going to start with this recipe from Molly Wizenberg that was in the April 2011 issue of Bon Appétit. I tweaked it a tad by adding some chopped preserved lemon, and it was a simple, yet flavor-packed, no-cook lunch. The beauty of it as a packed lunch is that it keeps well and can be eaten cold or at room temperature.

But, will you help me out? I’d love to hear other suggestions on the wonderful, healthy lunches that you all bring to work. Because I know you do. You’re better at this kind of thing than I am.


Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs

This recipe is from Molly Wizenberg and was in the April 2011 issue of Bon Appétit. I barely tweaked it by adding some preserved lemon to bump up the flavor profile. Makes 2 servings.


1 15 to 16 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemon
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper


Combine the chickpeas, basil, parsley, lemon juice, preserved lemon, olive oil, and minced garlic in a medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to combine all ingredients. Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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6 Responses to “sausage and lentil soup”

  1. 1
    Lael Hazan @educatedpalate — January 19, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    How lucky you are! I want good sausage too please!!!!!
    See you at the IFBC 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 20th, 2011 @ 8:24 am

      Lael, I’m so happy you’re going to IFBC too. I’m looking forward to seeing you again! Also? I really, really, really need to get down to Sarasota for one of your classes.

  2. 2
    Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — January 20, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    Two of my most favorite soups are lentil and split pea. Now I just need a father-in-law with the capabilities of yours and I’m sure mine would be elevated to new heights!

  3. 3
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — January 22, 2011 @ 9:08 am

    Yum! I love lentil soup, so I will head on over to see the recipe right away! Congrats on being featured on The Family Kitchen!

  4. 4
    Emily @ Beauties and the Feast — January 23, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

    Where does your father in law get his smoked sausage (or does he make it)? That sounds amazing!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — January 23rd, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

      Emily – He buys his from a local sausage company and then he smokes it himself. It really IS amazing.

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