Usually, lunch consists of quick trips to restaurants because people don’t have the time to make a meal at home and bring to work. That, or they want to get out of the office for a while. You can still make a quick (I repeat, quick!) lunch at home and use your lunch break to run errands or go to the gym. Or just sit in a quiet cafe for half an hour and think about anything other than work.
Though a giant salad is usually my favorite option for lunch, I also enjoy homemade wraps full of hummus and veggies. Made from chickpeas, hummus is a Mediterranean staple and is a great protein for wraps. A good source of iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber and complex carbs, chickpeas can be tossed on salads, blended in soups or ground to make flour, hummus or falafel.
I first stumbled upon falafel (a Middle Eastern delight of spiced, mashed chickpeas deep fried and formed into balls) when I was in Paris. One of my friends took me to a nondescript place in an alley, where large, bustling men hung from the open business window, slopping eggplant and plump, crispy falafel into fresh pitas stuffed with veggies and a tangy sauce. This was the summer of 2007, and I was in Paris for a five-week writing workshop. Up to this point, I’d never had falafel, but when I bit into the crunchy, sharp concoction, I think I went to falafel heaven. Walking through a random Parisian park during that lunch, wolfing down the very best meal of my life, I fell in love with chickpeas. I have been eating them ever since, though I’ve never found anything to match that amazing Parisian lunch.
Hummus is a great addition to any diet, but if you buy it at the store, it’s not only expensive, it’s incredibly salty. Making your own (and in less than five minutes!) will save you time, money and extra bloating. Eat hummus as a snack with carrots, celery or cucumbers. Add a dollop on salads. Eat with quinoa and sauteed veggies for dinner. Or throw it together with veggies in a wrap. Experiment with different spices, such as curry or mustard to make different flavors.
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste; optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin and cayenne. Add one to two tablespoons water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
2. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and parsley before serving.