Whole Living Daily

Lunch Bunch: Quinoa Salad, Roasted Asparagus, and Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies

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Typically, our weekly Lunch Bunch—a healthy, communal meal prepared by three different staffers, and enjoyed together at the Formica table in our row—is a bright spot in an otherwise Monday-ish Monday. This week, it was more like a cause for panic.

See, the three chefs on deck forgot to plan out our menu on Friday afternoon (we were too busy raising champagne flutes to the success of our new iPad edition, which was named iTune's app of the week!). So when Sunday night rolled around, we each threw something together and crossed our fingers that we wouldn't end up with, say, three kinds of gluten-free desserts.

When we pow-wowed this morning, we did the same thing millions of people do every night when they get home and have to make dinner: We took stock of what we had and made it work. We gave the salad some heft by adding Whole Foods' salad bar's entire stash of quinoa. (Literally. Other salad bar patrons were not happy.) The results: a delicious, spring-green meal with plenty of health perks. Check out the recipes after the jump.

Quinoa salad:

For salad:

Spinach

Sliced green apples

Frozen shelled edamame (thawed)

Crumbled feta

Quinoa

For dressing:

Red wine vinegar

Olive oil

A dab of dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Roasted asparagus:

To quote Camille, who prepared the dish: "Oh gosh, my recipe was such a non-recipe. Olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes."

Flourless double-chocolate walnut cookies:

I riffed off of this heart-healthy Martha Stewart recipe, swapping in a bag of chopped walnuts (1 and 3/4 cups) and cutting the cooking time down to about 16 minutes (possibly because I had to cook one pan at a time—I only have one baking sheet in my tiny kitchen!)

3 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or any other nut)
4 large egg whites (at room temperature)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir in chocolate and pecans. Add egg whites and stir just until incorporated.

2. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 3 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookie tops are dry and crackled, about 20- 25 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)

What's your go-to meal when you need to throw something together, stat?

[Photography by Jillian Guyette]

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