April 5, 2017
Now that it’s possible to see the grass, brown as it might be, it’s finally starting to feel like spring. Lawns and parks will be green again soon enough, but why not get a jump start on feeling the seasonal change by adding some green to your day? Putting some colour into a workday or school lunch is easy!
While you might normally take care with the chopping, mixing and preparation of your food, these recipes are a lot more carefree; you get to smash up the ingredients, making assembly easy and venting some stress along the way!
Smashed Avocado Sandwich
This sandwich couldn't be easier. It's the type of lunch that can be made ahead of time, or even assembled at your desk (just mash the filling at home and tote it separately from the bread if you’re worried it’ll get soggy). This sandwich is packed with protein and greens and is filled with flavour.
Instructions: How to make smashed avocado filling
Drain and rinse some canned chickpeas, then toss them into a medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or masher to roughly crush them. Peel and remove the pit from a whole fresh ripe avocado then add it to the bowl and continue to mash until the avocado is relatively smooth.
Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of lemon juice and stir to combine.
Add salt and pepper to taste. A nice variation on this is to add a dash or two of sesame oil to the mash for a toasty richness and creaminess.
Take two slices of your favourite bread, and butter them generously.
Spread the filling over the buttered bread and then add fresh green toppings like lettuce, spinach, and baby kale, or some thin sliced sweet onions.
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large ripe avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
Smashed Cucumber Salad
It turns out my entire life I’ve been serving cucumbers wrong.
I’ve peeled them, sliced them and generally lamented the fact that dips and dressings slide right off their glossy surface. It wasn’t until I read an article in Bon Appétit magazine last year that I had this epiphany.
The magazine recommends smashing up a cucumber with a food mallet or rolling pin. Yes, you just lay it on a cutting board, and pound away. Surprisingly, this does not bruise the vegetable, but it it breaks it apart into bite-size chunks. The broken pieces (with all their little crevasses) become perfect vessels for holding lots of delicious dressing.
The original recipe (here, and printed below) is basically cucumbers and green onions in a chili oil dressing. While it’s simple and good, I often adjust my version by adding thin slices of sweet or red onion, halved cherry or grape tomatoes and about 1/4 cup of feta cheese. A generous sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs like mint, dill or basil and a basic oil and vinegar dressing rounds out the salad when I make it at home. (It’s really all about the smashed cucumbers, so make any adjustments you feel like.)
Of course you can coat a salad like this with any dressing you like or have on hand. If you’re going to be packing this as a lunch, store the vegetables and dressing separately until you’re ready to eat.
Bon Appetit’s Cucumbers with chili oil & green onions
1 pound Persian or English hothouse cucumbers
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
3 scallions/green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Chili oil (for serving)
Gently smack cucumbers with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy pot until they begin to break apart. Tear into bite-size pieces.
Transfer to a colander; toss with 1 tsp. salt.
Let sit 10 minutes to drain excess liquid.
Transfer cucumbers to a medium bowl and toss with scallions, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt.
Drizzle with chili oil.
Speed up the feeling of spring by bringing a little green to your lunch this week. And be sure to let us know on Facebook or Twitter whether you had a smashingly good time making these dishes.
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