Whole Living Daily

Lunch Bunch: Whole-Wheat Pasta, Sweet-Potato Slaw, and Chia-Seed Pudding

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Photography by Jillian Guyette

Whole-wheat pasta, sweet-potato slaw, and chia-seed pudding

If you picture Whole Living staffers subsisting on a faithful diet of kale and quinoa—okay, fine, you’re half right. But the other half of the time we’ve got our hands deep in bags of nacho chips and are poking our forks into questionable takeout containers, just like everyone else. Which brings us to what’s so nice about Lunch Bunch. To the uninitiated, this is our in-office weekly tradition of having a few people make healthful dishes and bring them in on Mondays, when we all enjoy a communal meal. (It’s not as kumbaya as it sounds: We basically pull up our desk chairs and gather around the Formica meeting table!) Each dish is vegetarian and (sometimes) gluten-free, but any and all deliciousness that falls into those categories is welcome. Whole grains make frequent appearances, as does colorful produce. Another big plus of the whole ritual: We all get a midday break—and some time to hang out with one another without talking about work. It’s almost enough to make us look forward to Mondays.

Here was this week’s lunchtime goodness.

Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Salad (a recipe from our January issue)


2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely julienned (2 cups)

1 tart apple, cored and finely julienned

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

2 scallions, thinly sliced

3 radishes, finely julienned

3 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, ginger, and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In another bowl, combine sweet potato, apple, celery, scallions, radishes, sesame seeds, and cilantro.

Drizzle dressing over salad and season with salt and pepper.

Asparagus Linguine (we used whole-wheat pasta and also added tomatoes)


6 ounces uncooked linguine

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons butter

1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons white wine or chicken broth

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper


1. Cook linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil and butter until tender. Add asparagus; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add wine or broth; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until liquid is reduced. Remove from the heat.

2. Drain linguine; add to asparagus mixture. Add remaining ingredients; toss to coat. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Vanilla and Chocolate Chia-Seed Pudding (from chef Amy Chaplin, over at Coconut & Quinoa; we packed them in mini compostable containers)

Vanilla Chia Pudding with Berries... and a Chocolate Version

½ cup chia seeds

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for 2 to 8 hours

4 cups filtered water

7 Medjool dates, pitted

Pinch sea salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder

2 tablespoons coconut butter, I use Artisana

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, optional

Raspberries and blueberries to serve

1. Place chia seeds in a medium size mixing bowl and set aside.

Strain cashews and rinse well. Place in an upright blender add 4 cups of filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter and vanilla extract. Remove seeds from vanilla bean (if using) and add to the blender, place pod in bowl with chia seeds. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes and pour into bowl with chia seeds and vanilla bean pod, whisk well. Let mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, whisking every few minutes to prevent chia seeds from clumping, pudding will thicken fast. Place in the fridge and chill for 1 hour.

2. Remove from fridge, whisk. Remove vanilla bean pod (if using), serve chilled topped with berries.

3. Stored covered in a glass container in the fridge, chia pudding will keep for up to 5 days.

Serves 4 to 6.

For chocolate version;

I use Green and Blacks organic cocoa powder; it’s very smooth, with a rich dark chocolaty flavor and doesn’t need any extra sweetener.

4 teaspoons good quality cocoa powder per cup of pudding

Raspberries to serve

Once pudding is chilled, remove the amount (in cups) you would like to flavor with chocolate and sift in 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder per cup of pudding. Stir well and serve chilled topped with raspberries.

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Comments (4)

  • How is linguine gluten-free? Are you suggesting quinoa pasta or a similar substitute?

  • Author Comment:

    Thanks for asking! The staffer who made the linguine had a kitchen mishap with the gluten-free pasta she was using! She was able to set aside a portion for the editor who follows a strict gluten-free diet, but she made a batch of whole-wheat linguine for the rest of us (shown in the photo). So yes, quinoa pasta, brown-rice pasta, or other gluten-free noodles would be the way to go here.

  • I would take the pasta and pudding first. Somehow, I have to admit that sweet potato slaw is quite tempting too.

  • I love this! We try and eat as healthy as possible over at the Anytime Fitness headquarters! We may have to jump on the Lunch Bunch bandwagon...such a good idea!

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