5 Ingredients That Make Packed Lunches Taste Amazing
If you don't have time for a total lunch makeover, here are some brilliant ways to upgrade the classics you're already eating.
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The Go-Anywhere Seasoning That Livens Up Anything You Can Think Of
We've got the quickest way to make a sad desk-lunch happy: a sprinkling of smoked sea-salt flakes (such as Maldon
). Take a pinch between your fingers and thumb, crush it then garnish for a smoky, salty flavor burst that adds a toothsome crunch, too. Keep a box in your drawer and you will never eat a boring sandwich, salad, soup or reheated chicken breast again.
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The Healthy Sandwich Replacement
We already know avocados add a creamy element to sandwiches, but one slice on a sandwich can get lost amid the bread and other ingredients. Instead, try using a halved avocado (pit removed) as a serving vessel for practically any kind of non-leafy salad. In the place where the pit used to be, you can spoon in anything from grain-based dishes, made with quinoa or brown rice, to vegetable mixes consisting of corn, beans or, really, any chopped veggies. You can leave the skin on and scoop out the avocado as you're eating, using your spoon, and each bite will have a bit of that rich and tasty fruit.
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The Savory Sauce That Goes Way Beyond Sushi
There's a reason chefs stir soy sauce into more non-Asian dishes than you'd expect (we've seen it in everything from steak marinades to pulled pork). A few drops of fermented soybeans deepen flavors and give a boost of savoriness in addition to saltiness. Add a small shake to salads (Asian or not) or noodle dishes, use it as a dip for steamed vegetables or stir it into curried chicken salad. It's even great in chili. One more unexpected use: Mix some soy sauce with cream cheese and toasted sesame seeds for a surprisingly delicious spread for crackers or bread.
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The Lunchbox Fruit in a Brand New Role
Take five minutes to grate an apple using a cheese grater and you'll wind up with little slivers of fruit that you can then mix into chicken salad or any type of slaw for a sweet crunch. Or, sprinkle the slivers on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or into plain or vanilla yogurt for a tart edge.
The Tropical Addition to Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
If you aren't already adding sweetened, shredded coconut to muffins, banana bread or pancakes, definitely put it on your to-do list to add a little taste of the tropics to ho-hum breakfasts and snacks. The best part of buying a bag of the stuff? All the creative uses you'll find for it. Toss a few spoonfuls into a stir-fry, or even a bowl of rice, for an exotic flavor and a light crunch. Or spread a thin layer on an almond-butter sandwich for what might become your new favorite flavor combination. And if you're up for an Indian-inspired spin on the classic green-bean salad, fold in a handful of shredded coconut; you'll be stunned at how well they go together.