What are some food I can cook for a simple, well-balanced, vegetarian lunch dish?
The meal should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a source of protein. Lacto-ovo vegetarians consume dairy and eggs. If that is something a person doesn't wish to eat, other sources of protein are beans, lentils, nuts, soy, quinoa. Unsaturated fats are good and these can be gotten by eating nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil. A salad that is nutritionally sound is made of a bag of field greens, with a cup of sliced almonds and a cup of dried cranberries. The dressing includes 6 tbl. canola oil and 2 tbl. balsamic vinegar with a tsp. of sugar. That salad is enough for 4-6 people. To get more fiber and protein, a whole grain pita stuffed with hummus is great. Or, a cup of yogurt with the salad or cottage cheese. Or, the person may wish to make a two-egg omelet, with additional vegetables, using olive oil instead of butter in the frying pan.
Tofu is an excellent vegetarian option for lunch. With its versatility, tofu absorbs any flavors added to the dish. Likewise, it can be cooked in many ways: deep fried, pan fried, steamed, or grilled. While extra firm tofu has a similar consistency to meat, it comes in extra firm, firm, and silken. Silken tofu is best used in shakes and other blended drinks or sauces. For a quick vegetarian lunch, boil spaghetti noodles, pan fry some tofu in a skillet, add some peppers, onions, celery, carrots, or any other vegetable you enjoy, and top with a bottled Asian vinaigrette from the salad dressing aisle in the grocery store. Enjoy!
Rice and lentils are perfect vegetarian staples for carbohydrate and protein. Scrambled eggs with a plethora of vegetable mix-ins (spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, peas, corn, etc) can be a side dish for the rice. It can also be a main dish in itself if you add more eggs. Adding curry powder, turmeric, and other spices can add flavor and variety to your lunch.
I would go with either:
A simple, tomato based pasta and a green salad
A 'superfood salad' (i.e a sald consisting of quinoa, blueberries, spinach, beetroot, broccoli florets, asparagus, sugar snap peas, spinach and feta, with a drizzle of flaxseed oil and balsamic vinegar) served with some nice crunchy sourdough bread.
I'm vegetarian and the first option is a regular dinner, while the second one is an occasional treat as it can be quite expensive. Both, however are delicious, healthy and simple.