So you’ve got visions of Pinterest-worthy lunches floating around in your head — join the club. Like anyone who has ever eaten a sad desk lunch knows, good intentions won’t fill you up. Here are five realistic ways to take last night’s dinner, transform it into today’s lunch and brown bag it like a pro.
Become a Sandwich Master
Leftover roasted vegetables, steak or roasted chicken make for the beginnings of a mean sandwich. Simply stack what you’ve got — red peppers, tomatoes, steak or chicken — and line a soft baguette with a little mayo, goat cheese or some hunks of brie, add few fresh sprigs of arugula and you’re all set.
Undress Your Salad
That big salad at dinner will be a soggy mess after a night in the fridge, so if you plan to take it to work the next day, keep it naked. Give it some heft by adding canned tuna, shredded roast chicken, smoked tofu or even leftover quinoa, and save the dressing until the very last minute to keep it perky and fresh.
Double Up on Your Sides
Whether it’s brown rice, quinoa, pasta or potatoes, plan to make more than you need. Then, turn those sides into a hearty desk-side salad by adding a simple vinaigrette, a whack of raw or cooked vegetables and some fresh herbs.
Soup it Up
A hot lunch of leftover soup or stew can warm the biggest office chill, and you can be sure that any soup you’ve got will taste even better while slurping in the staff lunchroom. Make it a main by adding a buttered baguette to dip in chicken stew, some pita wedges for that lentil soup or even a some rice, fresh thyme and and parsley to chicken soup.
Instead of simply nuking your leftovers, give them new life with a few fresh ingredients and a little creativity. Last night’s pad Thai can be today’s cold noodle salad when you add green beans or shelled edamame, while a Chinese delivery of rice, beef or chicken and vegetables can easily be reborn as a quick stir-fry.