What to CookNot Sad Desk Lunch

The Best Way to Not Forget Your Lunch? Leave These Essentials at the Office

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Some mornings, leaving the house with your teeth brushed and hair not totally matted can be a challenge. Add to that a packed (and somewhat nutritious, homemade) lunch and you may feel you're up against impossible odds.

This topic—the early morning dash out the door sans lunch—came up in conversation more than once when we visited the offices of the Guggenheim Museum team to deliver them a #NotSadDeskLunch. Until we opened up our bag of tricks, that is.

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And by tricks we mean a completely manageable weekday lunch—and tips for how to make one. Our number one recommendation? Keep as much as possible at the office:

Photo by Catherine O'Donnell

1. If your office has a refrigerator, use it!

Over the weekend, go shopping for a few staples: Some root vegetables, spinach, carrots, lentils.

When you return home, package everything you bought into containers. Cook the lentils, let them cool, then pack in an airtight container. De-stem the greens and place them into a large-ish container with a damp paper towel on top before closing it shut. Cut the greens off your root vegetables and throw them whole into a bag, to keep either in your work refrigerator or under your desk, depending on which is roomier.

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For our Guggenheim lunch, we picked out Chioggia beets, multi-colored carrots, and apples.

Our #notsaddesklunch at the offices of @guggenheim.

A photo posted by sarahjampel (@sarahjampel) on

But don't toss the stems and leaves! Once you've removed your stems, turn them into salad accoutrements. Make carrot leaves into carrot pesto—which is what we did; turn chard stems into hummus (yes, hummus); and pickle the rest of your root vegetable greens for a garnish.

Once you've transformed your greens and stems, save them to put on top of your salad in lieu of (or in addition to!) dressing. Pack your creation into an airtight container. (If you make something with olive oil, make sure it's covered in olive oil so it can last practically forever!) Then keep your container at the office and keep a small container in the fridge until you make your way through it (which won't take long).

We slathered our carrot pesto onto bread, but a dollop on top of a salad is also delicious.

2. Buy a loaf of bread and keep it in your snack drawer, carefully wrapped of course.

Snack drawers make excellent bread boxes (they're dark and keep out critters), so go ahead and use yours as such—tuck a roll of bread in for the next three days (four if you have a toaster; five if you like very firm, crispy foods). At lunch time, tear off a hearty knob to supplement your salad.

For our lunch, we brought in several boules of whole-wheat sourdough.

The @food52 team taking #notsaddesklunch at the @guggenheim very seriously. Thank you @vajiajia for hosting!

A photo posted by Haley Priebe (@haleylpriebe) on

3. Keep a few tools at the office.

While some offices won't allow knives—or because you may feel funny every time you remove your knife from your drawer—keep a small mandoline at your desk (we're only half-joking here). When lunchtime comes, you can use it as we did and mandoline raw beets and carrots straight onto your greens (see, it's really useful!). Just don't do what our editor Samantha did and donate a bit of finger to the cause (be careful!).

4. For bonus points, keep a beverage in your office refrigerator.

While sparkling water tends to be the lunch beverage of choice around our office, another beverage, used sparingly, can make a lunch feel special.

Because it was fall when we brought over the Guggenheim lunch, we celebrated the weather by bringing in some apple cider—which went deliciously with the apple on top of our salad!

Our Marketing Coordinator, Catherine O'Donnell, snapped this picture of the details that made the meal.
Our Marketing Coordinator, Catherine O'Donnell, snapped this picture of the details that made the meal. Photo by Catherine O'Donnell

What do you try to keep at your office? What do you always bring in? Tell us in the comments below!