Swapping in: Lunch Edition

As I mentioned in the breakfast edition of Swapping In, I’ve been getting really sick of both my breakfasts and my lunches lately. So, I started making a few changes.

First of all, it’s no surprise to me that I look forward more to a hot, stick-to-your ribs kind of lunch.

I do want to eat salads on some days, but I’m definitely learning that the kind of salad I make matters. In order for me to look forward to a salad, it has to be one I’ll love. It has to be exciting. And I really can’t have the same salad more than once in a week.

Most importantly, I can’t just throw a bunch of veggies into a container with a bland dressing and hope for the best.

That’s kind of what I did yesterday.

Into the mix went:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • baby spinach
  • grilled chicken
  • cucumber slices
  • baby heirloom tomatoes
  • edamame
  • red bell peppers
  • mushrooms
  • Trader Joe’s Goddess dressing

Again, don’t get me wrong – it was good!

I just was so over it by the end. I ate about 3/4 and then had to throw it out. It just stopped being appetizing.

Thus began my need for a break from salads and a return to hot lunches. So, last night, I made a big batch of something that I could use for lunches this week.

Lentil Chili

makes about 5 big servings


  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 package cooked & seasoned lentils from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 15-oz cans diced, unsalted tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup smoky BBQ sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 can light beer (I used a classy Bud Light)


Chop all vegetables and individually (by vegetable) saute in olive oil spray in a saucepan.

Transfer all sauteed vegetables to a big pot on the stove.

Add lentils, diced tomatoes, BBQ sauce, and all spices. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

When it seems done and ready to eat, add beer and stir to distribute. Cook for about 5 more minutes.

Serve, topped (optionally) with 0% greek yogurt (or sour cream) and shredded sharp cheddar (or other, but that’s definitely my favorite) cheese.

All mixed together…

(how I like to eat it)

This is a perfect, stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish for those of you who, like me, generally need something hot and substantial at lunchtime.



Filed under Blog Posts, Recipes

5 responses to “Swapping in: Lunch Edition

  1. Salad looks gorgeous!
    I’ve never really ate Chilli, so I can’t say much about it…
    It looks pretty delicious, though 😉

  2. That chili looks delicious. I go through phases where I want a salad for lunch but I have not been in the mood at all lately either. A chili with some “classy” Bud light however….(I cracked up at that part!) Sharp cheddar is the best on chili! I agree!!!

  3. A good bowl of chili makes everything amazing!

    It is hard to get creative with lunches when you are a working lady and have to take them to go. Have you thought of doing sandwich wraps in large romaine leaves? I know you use to eat tortilla wraps and this could be a good replacement.

    Or how about taco salad? Or stir fry that you can just reheat? 🙂

  4. yay for hearty salads and chili. I’m not a big chili lover but that one looks tasty!

  5. YAY for the lunch change! this chili sounds awesome!

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