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Those of you who know me well can attest to this: I put a great deal of thought into my meals.  This isn’t restricted to dinner, when most people are comfortably at home and can whip something up on the stovetop.  It’s also true of lunch, traditionally a grab-and-go meal where speed matters more than taste.  Even on my busiest days, when most people would grab for a Clif bar and call it a day, I make sure to pack something healthy and hearty.

My commitment to lunch started back when I worked in a middle school in Boston.  Lunch was a short period that lasted about 10-15 minutes, if I was lucky.  There was no time to go out and grab a sandwich (nor were there any places to go), so I got in the habit of packing something from home.  And, since it was my one break for the day, I decided to make it count.

For me, this often meant one pot meals. The recipe here was one of my best, mixing together quinoa, kale, chickpeas, and feta. A batch lasted for about 2-3 servings, making it a great dish to prepare on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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The trick here is to add the kale when you’re cooking the quinoa.  This makes the preparation faster and easier, and you can avoid blanching and sautéing the kale separately. Don’t skip toasting the quinoa, which adds a nice nutty flavor to the dish.

Whether you spend your time standing in front of a classroom or sitting at a desk in the office, this meal will keep you energized and satisfied until the end of the day.

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Chickpeas, and Feta Recipe (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)


  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas, drained
  • 6-8 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat.  once hot, add onions and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
  2. Add garlic, coriander, and red pepper flakes and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add quinoa and let cook for 3 minutes, stirring to make sure that the quinoa doesn’t burn.
  4. Slowly pour in the broth.  Add the chickpeas and golden raisins, and top with the chopped kale. Bring broth to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid (quinoa should not be crunchy at this point).
  5. Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining ingredients (almonds, zest and lemon juice, and feta cheese).  Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Dish can be served warm or cold and will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days.


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