What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words: “weekday lunch”? Perhaps it’s the hunger that’s been stealing your focus since 10AM, or the leftovers from the weekend that have been sitting patiently in a container. Maybe you are looking forward to meeting a friend at your favourite local eatery, or, it could be, that you’d rather just wait for dinner. Making a lunch everyday, in the midst of everything else that we have to, and would like to, do can be draining. And if we’re going to take that time and put in that effort to make ourselves (and possibly others) lunch, we’d want it to be healthy, satisfying, and beautiful. Wouldn’t we?
This is exactly where Allison Day’s new book, Modern Lunch, comes in. Filled with mouthwatering recipes, meal-prep ideas, pantry tips, and basic staples, it is a great companion to anyone who wants to redefine how they approach the weekday lunch routine. There are recipes and there are also non-recipes, those handy guidelines that teach you how to do something but don’t tell you exactly what to do. It encourages you to fill your kitchen with ingredients (raw, prepped, or cooked) that suit your tastes, allowing you to have your lunch exactly how you’d like it.
Modern Lunch opens one’s eyes to the versatility of a well-stocked fridge and pantry — to move away from strict recipe guidelines, toward a more creative, liberal approach to assembling a meal. Enjoying a delicious lunch is just the cherry on top.
So, what are you having for lunch tomorrow?
This “just-add-water” noodle dish can be served warm at home, or easily taken to-go for lunch. It makes 4 humble servings (2 generous ones), and will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. It comes together in no time!
Miso, Sweet Potato, and Soba Ramen
ramen broth concentrate
1 small or 1/2 large (7 oz) sweet potato, peeled and chunked
1 cup water, plus more for steaming sweet potato
2 tbsp vegetable or chicken bouillon powder
2 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
sriracha (hot sauce)
vegetables, eggs, and soba noodles
4 portobello mushrooms, diced
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
4 large eggs (or cubed smoked tofu)
2 bundles (6 1/2 oz) soba noodles (buckwheat noodles)
2 cups steamed greens (broccoli, broccoli rabe, kale, etc.) or packed raw spinach
black sesame seeds
minced fresh red Thai chili (optional)
4 cups (1 cup per serving) just-boiled water from the kettle, for serving
For the broth concentrate, steam the sweet potato until tender, about 10 minutes. Add to a blender or food processor along with 1 cup water, bouillon powder, miso paste, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and sriracha to taste, and then blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a jar and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
For the vegetables, eggs, and soba noodles, preheat the oven to 425°F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Toss the mushrooms with the sesame oil and tamari. Place the mushrooms on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, until shrunken and deep brown. Set aside. Tip: I did this step in a frying pan to avoid using the oven entirely.
Carefully place the eggs in boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Fill a medium bowl with cold water. Once the 6 minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the pot and place them in the bowl of cold water to help loosen the shell, keeping the boiling water on the stove for the noodles. Gently peel the eggs, being careful not to break the white because the yolk will run out, and set aside. Then, cook the noodles in the reserved boiling water according to package directions, until tender. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.
To assemble, for each serving, add 1/2 cup of broth concentrate to a large jar or airtight container (or build at home in a bowl). Top the broth with a portion each of noodles, mushrooms, steamed greens or spinach, a peeled whole egg (or cubed tofu), and sesame seeds and chili to taste. Seal and store refrigerated.
When you’re ready for lunch, for each serving, pour 1 cup (enough to cover) of boiling water over the top, seal, and let stand for 3 minutes to reheat fully. Open the lid, give the soup a gentle stir, slice the egg in half with your spoon, and then eat.
Excerpted from Modern Lunch: +100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal by Allison Day. Copyright © 2019 Allison Day. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
I received a free copy of the book from Appetite by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for my true and honest review.