Not Sad Desk Lunch

How to Eat Lettuce-less Salads for Lunch

March 10, 2015

As a defiant response to sad desk lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too. This post is brought to you by Triscuit.

Today: Remember that potato salad your mom used to make? Here's how -- and why -- you should be packing it for lunch.

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Let's time travel for a moment, back to the 1950s when Elvis Presley shook his hips on the Ed Sullivan show, recipes were traded on cards, and the potato salad reigned. While Elvis got a second wind from YouTube and "Best of" albums, and recipes found a more convenient home, our grandmothers' fresh and crisp mayonnaise-drenched favorite quietly exited many tables to take its place next to meatloaf and tuna noodle casserole. Yes, it still makes the rounds at summer picnics and office potlucks, but we'd argue that it, and all lettuce-less salads for that matter, deserve a place in your regular lunch rotation.

More: Looking for more lunchtime inspiration? Here are 5 ways to improve your deskside lunch.

These retro salads can be personalized to match your taste, are incredibly flavorful, and are easy to whip up in the morning before work for a last-minute lunch. You can even leave the bread at home and bring a pile of crackers to punctuate your salads with a satisfying crunch. As long as you have a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry, chances are you already have everything you need for this lunch. Here are some updated versions to get you started: 

Boiled Eggs for Egg Salad

Curried Egg Salad
If you want something full of flavor, try a traditional egg salad, but don't stop right after the mayonnaise and salt -- sprinkle curry powder on top for an unexpected, spicy kick. Keep some hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator to minimize your lunch preparation in the morning.

My Mother's Potato Salad

Potato Salad, Two Ways
Love the classic? Try this version, updated by sliced radishes, whole grain mustard, and chive blossoms, or build your own. If you're looking for something new, go for this umami-rich option, that substitutes fingerlings for sweet potatoes, and is finished with a miso-maple sauce for a sweet and savory lunch.

Bean Salad with Tarragon

Bean Salad Redux
Reclaim this vegan lentil taco filling as a cracker topping, or pile on the white beans with tarragon if you're craving something as bright as those overhead office flourescents. 

Chicken Salad with Peas

Build Your Own Chicken Salad
Either go the classic mayonnaise and celery route, or use Greek yogurt as a tangy, rich binding to hold together pesto, peas, and shredded roast chicken.

Photos by Mark Weinberg and James Ransom

Our friends at Triscuit have more ideas for your next snack. Get inspired on Pinterest.

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1 Comment

Jackie P. March 12, 2015
Egg salad, tuna salad and chicken salad (curried with cashews) are my lunch staples. And yes on triscuits specifically.