The Ultimate Make-Once, Eat-All-Week Lunch

updated Aug 27, 2020
summer
Easy Lemon-Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad

Creamy white beans and crunchy vegetables marinated in a honey-lemon vinaigrette is the ultimate make once, eat all week lunch.

Serves6

Makesabout 6 cups

Prep15 minutes

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White bean salad surrounded by plates of fresh herbs, tortillas and farro.
Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe | Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe

As we head into what is sure to be a very strange fall during this very strange year, one thing we know for certain is that the last thing we’ll have time to think about is lunch. Between navigating the back-to-school routine (whatever that looks like) and juggling work (maybe still from home), figuring out what to make for the midday meal can end up being an added source of stress. Still, we’ve all got to eat. That’s why this big-batch lunch is the best way to spend 15 minutes this week.

This easy bean salad — made from pantry staples, a few fresh herbs, and a simple lemon vinaigrette — is the perfect solution to nourishing yourself all week long. The creamy beans and crisp veggies soak up flavor as they sit, so it tastes as good (or better!) on Friday as it did on Monday. But most importantly, it’s designed to be enjoyed in a multitude of ways: as a sandwich, with an egg, or tossed with cooked grains.

The 15-Minute Answer to a Week of Lunches

A make-ahead lunch that tastes as good at the end of the week as it did on the day it was made is totally possible: The secret is knowing how to choose the right ingredients. Start with firm, creamy canned beans like cannellini beans or chickpeas, then add crunchy and colorful celery and red onion. These veggies pickle in the citrusy dressing, while keeping their crunch. Hearty herbs like dill and parsley won’t wilt or blacken over time; rather, they remain vibrant, fresh, and green all week long. Make this salad in just 15 minutes, and reap the rewards all week long.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe | Food Stylist: Amelia Rampe

5 Ways to Eat the Ultimate Make-Ahead Lunch

  1. Stuff into a pita. Bonus points for adding a swipe of hummus or avocado.
  2. Put an egg on it. If you’re working from home, grab a skillet and cook an over-easy egg. Slide the egg over top and let the jammy yolk drape over the beans.
  3. Add some grains. Beans and grains are perfect partners, so reheat leftover cooked grains and serve alongside a scoop of the salad.
  4. Or some greens. Toss with peppery arugula or baby spinach — no extra dressing needed!
  5. Smash it onto toast. Finish the week by coarsely smashing some the beans and serving on top of a thick slice of crusty bread.

Easy Lemon-Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad

Creamy white beans and crunchy vegetables marinated in a honey-lemon vinaigrette is the ultimate make once, eat all week lunch.

Prep time 15 minutes

Makes about 6 cups

Serves 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 1 clove

    garlic

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    honey

For the salad:

  • 3 stalks

    celery

  • 1

    small red onion

  • 2 cups

    grape or cherry tomatoes (1 pint)

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh parsley leaves

  • 2 tablespoons

    fresh dill fronds

  • 3 (about 15-ounce) cans

    cannellini beans or chickpeas

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

  • Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

Instructions

  1. Make the dressing: Prepare the following, adding them to the same large bowl as you prepare them: Finely chop 1 clove garlic. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon, then juice the lemon (about 1/4 cup). Add 2 tablespoons olive oil,1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon honey, and whisk to combine.

  2. Make the salad: Prepare the following and add to the bowl with the dressing: Halve 3 large celery stalks lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise (about 2 cups). Halve and thinly slice 1 small red onion (about 1 cup). Halve (or quarter if large) 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves and 2 tablespoons fresh dill fronds. Drain and rinse 3 cans cannellini beans or chickpeas. Finely grate 1 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/3 cup). Toss to gently combine. Serve with more cheese and black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.