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3 healthy packed lunches

These delicious dishes are great the first day’or as leftovers for easy, healthy meals you can take with you

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lunch boxes

Multitasking meals

School is starting up for another year, and I’ll once again be overseeing the Screaming Avocado Café at Northwestern Secondary School in Stratford, Ont., where I teach. That gives me access to healthy and delicious lunches: Whether it’s lean braised rabbit and olives in white wine, Moroccan chicken with couscous or vegetarian lasagna prepared using fresh hand-rolled noodles made by my students, the daily selection is full of health and variety, and is easily accessible.

Not everyone is as lucky when it comes to lunches at the workplace. My wife, Amanda, who is also a chef and teacher, has to plan ahead-like many working moms-to have meals she can take to work that are nutritious and easily transportable. The staff room at the school where she works offers the same “cooking” equipment of many other employee lunchrooms: a microwave. That’s why I thought it would be helpful for BH readers if I designed all of these recipes to work either as a meal to eat at home or to reheat the next day at work-the key is that they retain their flavour.

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bread salad

Tomato and Bread Salad with Herbed Chicken

People hesitate when I suggest my tomato and herbed chicken salad (a classic Italian dish called Panzanella), because I describe it as “soggy bread salad”-which is exactly what it is. But it’s delicious, with rich seasoning and diverse textures. The bread cubes act as sponges soaking up the juices of the tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is a true harvest salad that tastes best with flavourful, local tomatoes.

Try the recipe: Tomato and Bread Salad with Herbed Chicken

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Lentil and Watercress Salad with Grilled Pork

Lentil and Watercress Salad with Grilled Pork

Lentils are one of civilization’s oldest foods. They come in many different varieties and Canada is actually the largest exporter in the world-with the majority of crops grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. For my lentil and watercress salad, I use the Puy or French lentil (found in health food stores) as they retain their shape and have a nice earthy taste, which works well with lamb or pork.

Try the recipe: Lentil and Watercress Salad with Grilled Pork

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Vegetable Tajine with Couscous

I love the vegetable tajine recipe I’ve included in this issue and I’m considering using the scent of its saffron, onions, ginger and cinnamon as a room freshener-but I’m a tad eccentric! (Amanda and I like saffron so much, we named one of our daughters after it.) This is a great dish for this season, as any vege­table will work well. Be sure to stagger the addition of the veggies to the pot, starting with the ones that require more cooking time and finishing with the more tender varieties.

Try the recipe: Vegetable Tajine with Couscous

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