Tomatoes Take Stage

I got a great surprise from a friend this week: desert-grown, garden-fresh tomatoes and basil. I ate half of the gift at dinner and saved the rest for a leading role in my lunch.


The Menu:

  • Blueberry-Mango Smoothie with Coconut Milk and Basil
  • Simplicity Salad (chopped snap peas and white beans)
  • On sourdough toast, “Some Assembly Required” Bruschetta and Pine nut- and Basil-Encrusted Goat Cheese
  • Extras: Spicy Olive Oil & Balsamic Dressing (for the salad and bruschetta)

The Containers:

  • 2 pint-sized mason jars
  • 1 straw and 1 homemade lid
  • 1 mini mason jar
  • 1 plastic container
  • 2 squares of parchment paper, cut to fit the plastic container

The Recipes:

ImageBlueberry-Mango Smoothie:

  • 1 half of an 8 oz. package of frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 champagne mango, peeled
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 2-3 basil leaves


  1. Slice the fruit off the mango pit. Blend the blueberries, mango slices, and basil leaves in a food processor until the mango is completely broken down.
  2. With the processor running, drizzle in the coconut milk. Process until the ingredients are smooth.Add a few tablespoons of water to thin out the smoothie (optional).



Simplicity Salad:

  • 1/2 can of organic cannellini beans
  • big handful of snap peas, rinsed


  1. Rinse the cannellini beans in water. Allow them to drain. Put them in the bottom of the mason jar.
  2. Snap or chop the ends off all the peas. Put them in a big pile on a cutting board and roughly chop them.
  3. Set the chopped peas on top of the beans in the mason jar, ensuring that there is about an inch of space between the peas and the top of the jar. Secure the mason jar lid.
  4. At lunch, pour some of the Spicy Olive Oil and Balsamic Dressing into the mason jar. Using your fork, bring some of the beans up from the bottom of the jar. Put the mason jar lid back on, and shake to dress all the beans and peas.


Some Assembly Required Bruschetta:

  • 6-8 small tomatoes, rinsed
  • 3-5 leaves of basil, rinsed
  • 1/2 garlic clove


  1. Quarter the tomatoes. Set them into the bottom of the plastic container.
  2. Cut the basil leaves into thin strips by rolling the leaves up and slicing “discs” off the end of the roll. Sprinkle the strips on top of the tomatoes.
  3. Mince the garlic, and sprinkle the bits on top of the tomatoes.
  4. Set a piece of parchment paper on top of the tomatoes.
  5. At lunch, drizzle some Spicy Olive Oil and Balsamic Dressing on top of the the tomatoes. Use a fork to toss the tomatoes in the dressing. Enjoy with sourdough toast.

Pine nut- and Basil-Encrusted Goat Cheese:DSC_0298


  • 1/2-inch thick slice of goat cheese
  • 1 handful of pine nuts
  • 3-5 basil leaves, rinsed
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper


  1. Pile the pine nuts and basil onto a cutting board. Roughly chop the nuts and basil together.
  2. Spread the mixture out on the cutting board, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Press the goat cheese on top of the nuts and basil, making sure every surface of the goat cheese gets covered.
  4. Set the cheese on top of parchment paper covering the tomatoes. Sprinkle any remaining pine nuts and basil on top of the paper, too.
  5. Cover the cheese with the remaining square of parchment paper, and put two pieces of toasted sourdough bread on top. Secure the container lid.
  6. At lunch, enjoy the cheese with sourdough toast. Use the paper square as a “plate” to set on your table or desk.

Organizing in 1 Container: Tomatoes make the first layer; goat cheese, the second; and sourdough toast, the last. A piece of parchment paper keeps each layer separate.

Spicy Olive Oil and Balsamic Dressing:

  • 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 pinch of homemade red pepper powder (or red pepper flakes)


  1. Pour all the ingredients in a mini mason jar. Secure the lid tightly.
  2. At lunch, shake the jar to emulsify the oil and vinegar and pour the dressing over the salad and tomatoes.

And that’s lunch!



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