I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, I always have something delicious for dinner planned, but lunch… lunch has always been a meal that evades me. I have never been able to plan for it, because what if there are dinner leftovers? My aversion to food waste has made it difficult to plan for a meal that can be so unpredictable. Not to mention, I don’t mind spending an hour cooking a nice dinner. Au contraire, I don’t have an hour to spend on making lunch! In fact, I don’t even like to turn the stove on for lunch, if I can help it.
I have spent many hours thinking about this dilemma. Why is it so difficult for me to come up with a well-balanced, quick, easy, healthy, filling, delicious lunch? Checking all those boxes has been difficult, especially when produce availability changes so quickly. And while the meal prep craze has taken some people by storm, I can’t imagine eating the same thing for lunch 5 days in a row.
So I feel like I may have stumbled upon the answer by accident this week.
I was making dough for a flatbread (recipe here) when I accidentally added too much water to my dough. That’s just what happens when you try halving a recipe without actually writing down all the correct measurements and trying to remind yourself I’M HALVING THIS!! So, instead of scrapping the dough, I just added more flour. But then I got nervous that it wouldn’t be good, so I saved the ball of dough and made another, following the recipe to a T. Turns out, the first ball of dough looked better, so we had that for dinner and I saved the second ball of dough for lunch.
2 days later, the ball of dough was still supple and so I made the same thing I made for dinner (spinach artichoke flatbread) for lunch. Does it check all the boxes?
Well-Balanced & healthy: I made this dough with a local whole wheat flour blend, cheese and vegetables. For me and my diet, I’m happy with it!
Quick & Easy: The dough takes just a few minutes to put together, so you can do that on Sunday and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes on Monday. It makes enough for 3 days of lunches, and on the other 2 days it takes just 5 minutes to reheat! Not to mention, it dirties up just one pan, making it an easy clean.
Filling: 2 “slices” of this flatbread kept me full for 4 hours. That’s longer than most healthy lunches I’ve tried in the past.
Delicious: Heck yeah it’s delicious! Honestly, anything with cheese makes me happy.
The reason I like this is, I can keep the flatbread in the fridge and reheat it easily. If we happen to have leftovers from the night before, I can still eat those and not feel guilty about throwing out food. I’ll just have the remaining flatbread another day.
And while I do love the spinach/artichoke combo, I can always change it up with whatever leftover vegetables I have in the fridge, and I can always do a half/half combo if I am afraid that I’ll get tired of the same flatbread every day. I can change up the cheese from week to week, and I can even add some meat if I am feeling carnivorous J Here are some combinations I am thinking for the future:
- Cherry tomato and pesto
- Tomato sauce, prosciutto and arugula
- Spring onion and asparagus with smoked mozzarella
- Mushroom and taleggio
- Whatever leftover veggies look good from the night before!
The key is to use vegetables that don’t need to be pre-cooked, and having a well-stocked pantry of condiments & sauces to play around with.
The only thing I would change about this: I would love to be able to find some dough from a local source instead of making my own. Baking has never been my strong suit, and plus, it would be one less step for me. I could even freeze the dough, to ensure that I always had it in the house.
Whole Wheat Spinach Artichoke Flatbread
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup water, on the warm side
2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup AP flour, blended
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Cheese (gruyere goes amazing with this combo)
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to dissolve.
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Mix in water/yeast mixture until dough has formed. Shape into a ball. Clean bowl, and then lightly grease the bowl. Put the dough ball in and cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least an hour. It should double in size.
When you’re ready to make the flatbread, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stretch out and push dough into an olive-oil greased cast iron (about 10-12 inches) and then top with the shredded cheese, spinach, and small dollops of artichoke spread throughout.
Bake for 15 minutes, slice and enjoy!