An Energizing Monday Lunch

It’s Monday and another work week has commenced. On my days off, I like to cook a big lunch meal and let the full weight of food coma hit me, putting me to sleep just in time for Merle’s afternoon nap. For the days I work, I still want a filling lunch  (otherwise I head to the Dunkin Donuts next to my job to find sweet treats to snack on), but I need to be energized for the back half of the day instead of sleepy. This week I came up with a lunch spread that fits the bill perfectly.

For me an energy producing meal is all about striking the right balance of vitamins and minerals and protein for sustained energy with enough carbohydrates and sweetness to get me feeling full with an immediate energy lift. I have been slowly introducing meat into my diet, but it has been a slow moving process so I eat a mainly vegan diet still. Tofu is the main protein source in this lunch, but it could easily be swapped out with lean meat like chicken breast. The tofu receives a hefty coating of spices for flavor purposes with the layer of nutritional yeast being the real star with its high concentration of B vitamins that give a natural sustained energy boost. A bit of honey provides an instant enery jolt. Serving the tofu over a bed of soba noodles brings carbs to the lunch party, as well as extra protein, B vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Adding sautéed bok choy brings a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, and K with folate, calcium, and potassium. In other words, make this meal and you will be feeling full and charged for the rest of the day in no time.

Garlic Ginger Tofu

Serves 2

1 package extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 Tbsp Oil (for frying)
2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
2Tbsp Ginger Powder
1 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids or Soy Sauce
2/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp Honey

Heat the oil over medium high heat. Carefully place the cubed tofu into the hot oil and brown the top and bottom, approximately 5 minutes each side. Add the garlic and ginger and heat until they become fragrant, approximately 2 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, honey, and nutritional yeast. Heat 1 minute and remove from heat. 

For the soba noodles (not pictured),  dress with equal parts seasoned rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Both liquids are very potent so use sparingly. If I have them on hand, I add in chopped green onions, also known as scallions, depending on where you're from.

For the baby bok choy (not pictured), I toss it in a heated skillet with a small amount of oil and a few red pepper flakes until it just begins to soften. 

I leave each component of the dish separate until lunch time. This meal tastes great cold or heated. Happy eating! 

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