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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32 Responses to “tomato, corn, and vidalia onion tart”

  1. Paula - bell'alimento — July 7, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

    I’m swooning! Gorgeous MJ!

  2. This tart looks absolutely stunning. I’ve never tried a savory tart as I just end up making a pizza but I am definitely adding this recipe to my to-try list.

    Gorgeous photos too!

  3. Melanie Flinn — July 7, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    That looks amazing and your photos of the tart are just gorgeous! The colors just pop!

  4. LiztheChef — July 7, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

    I have to try this! You take the essential flavors of summer – corn and tomatoes – and create such a beautiful tart.

  5. Paula — July 7, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    Your tart is wonderful looking and this coming from a woman who is just like your husband and children. I don’t eat tomatoes in sandwiches, on pizzas, in salads etc., but I do love tomato pasta sauce (as long as there are no chunky bits of tomato in it) I know…I’m weird…been told plenty of times LOL

  6. Paula — July 7, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    Just read your article in the Florida Times Union. Very good and I learned something new today! Didn’t know the history of the tomato being classed as a vegetable in the US (did know how healthy they are for you though 🙂 )

  7. Renee - Kudos Kitchen — July 7, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

    Love the combo of the tomatoes and corn. Of course the Vidalia onions don’t hurt either. Looks delish!

  8. Great article, it’s too bad your family doesn’t appreciate the beauty of tomatoes. Maybe one day you’ll convince them! Gorgeous photos by the way, the light and composition in the top one is wonderful.

  9. Jessica @ How Sweet — July 8, 2011 @ 7:27 am

    This is absolutely gorgeous.

  10. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — July 8, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    This is so beautiful and looks delicious! I just bought a tart pan, perfect timing 🙂

  11. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner no problem. For days even. YUM!

  12. Teresa — July 8, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    I can’t believe you didn’t conquered the Anti-Tomato League with this gorgeous tart! I wish I have a slice (or two) for lunch right now! Love the pictures!
    I read your very informative and well written article ni the newspaper, which immediately made me start a search for a CSA near by. Thank you!

  13. SMITH BITES — July 8, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    yes!! this is what summer is all about – the VEGETABLES!!! everyone thinks it’s about grilling and i love to grill too but oh the tomatoes . . . love, love, love!

  14. beautiful colours! love tomatoes…
    tart looks great!

  15. You could always pack up the portion for 3/4 of your family and send it to me. I love, love, love tomatoes and the tart looks amazing.

  16. I absolutely love tomatoes. If I had to choose just one vegetable, it would probably be tomatoes. There is rarely a day passes that I don’t them in one way or another.

    Now this gorgeous tart has all the very best flavors of summer in one beautiful recipe. Tomatoes, of course, corn and the famous Vidalia onions from right here in Georgia! Looks fantastic and I absolutely can’t wait to give it a try for myself!

  17. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — July 9, 2011 @ 2:51 am

    DEFINITELY their loss!!! What a gorgeous looking tart.

  18. Gail — July 9, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    On my way down now. The fewer the tomatoes the kids and Sam don’t eat, the more for you and me.

  19. Snippets of Thyme — July 9, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    My goodness. I’m sitting here recuperating from vacation…too lazy to think about dinner and I see this tart. I wish I could make it magically appear on my table for the family. It looks delicious.

  20. Lori @ RecipeGirl — July 10, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    I absolutely love this tart. It’s the sort of thing I like to eat through and through during the summer. And I could stare at your photos of it all day long!

  21. lisa bailey — July 10, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

    I am walking up to the store right now to get what I need to make this beautiful tart tonight!

  22. Manpans Cookware — July 10, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

    Great recipe for all of us tomato lovers! Hard to believe some folks aren’t into them.

  23. Carrie Fields — July 10, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    You’re my tomato hero. Gorgeous!!

  24. lisa bailey — July 11, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    We just finished eating this and it was delicious. I’ll make it again and again.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

      Lisa – I’m SO glad to hear that it worked out well. Thanks for the feedback!

  25. Brian @ A Thought For Food — July 13, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    Doesn’t this look marvelous! I’m in love with this perfect summer recipe!

  26. Julie — July 31, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    Wow, this was great! I sauteed some bacon first, and then did the onion, garlic and corn in the bacon grease. Added tons of fresh herbs and used cheddar in place of fontina. Love it! Thanks for a great post!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — August 1st, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear it, Julie. I love the addition of bacon.

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