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Posted on May 9, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Lactose Free, Meat, Recipe, Vegetarian | 13 comments

Baba ghanouj lunches

Baba ghanouj lunches


Grilled radicchio lunch

Grilled minted leg of lamb (Alton Brown’s “Silence of the Leg O’ Lamb” recipe), homemade baba ghanouj (grilled eggplant dip) with Aleppo pepper, grilled radicchio with chocolate/vinegar/raisin/pine nut sauce (recipe from How to Grill), quick salad of halved cherry tomatoes and cucumber with vinaigrette and mustard, and pita bread.

Morning prep time:
8 minutes, using leftovers from last night’s dinner. I made the quick salad fresh in the morning with vinaigrette already made and in the refrigerator — a quick way to add flavor to any number of dishes, not just salads.

Packing: The cut tomatoes in the salad gave off liquid, so if I weren’t using a totally divided box like the one above it would be better to pack it in a separate little container. I cut the big slices of lamb into bite-size pieces for easy eating (using a knife in the lunch containers is both unwieldy and scars the boxes).


Baba ghanouj lunch for toddler

Contents: Bug’s vegetarian bento had grapes, a quick salad of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, homemade baba ghanouj (eggplant dip) and pita bread triangles for dipping.

Morning prep time: 6 minutes.

Packing: This was finger food except for the salad, so I used a little three-pronged mini fork for little hands. The baba ghanouj was pretty thick and I carried Bug’s lunch for him today, so I didn’t bother to cover the inner container. If I were giving this to Bug to carry by himself, I would have covered the heart-shaped container with plastic wrap or Press N’ Seal to eliminate spillage. I put Bug’s lunch in the same insulated Lock & Lock bag with my two containers, just left the drink container out. It was a slightly tight fit, but it zipped up and gave me the flexibility to pack more food in just one bag. I also picked up a couple of little carabiners to attach the lunch bag to my diaper bag, which frees up a hand to corral Bug!

Lunch in a Box is nominated for Best Food Blog in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. If you’d like to cast your vote for speedy lunch packing, click here (you can vote for multiple blogs in the same category).



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  1. That Barbeque Bible recipe looks delicious! And I really love the lunchboxrecipes Flickr group you setup.

  2. Thanks americanmutt! I just realized that I got the radicchio recipe from How to Grill, not Barbeque Bible (same author) — sorry! Glad you’re enjoying the Lunchbox Recipes group — I wanted somewhere for the lunch packing community to post all of their good recipes, not just the Japanese ones.

  3. That lamb looks wonderful! Would you recomend it as a first time recipe for someone who’s never had or cooked lamb before?

  4. Actually, I would. The wet rub gives it a really nice flavor/aroma, and it’s a pretty straightforward recipe. Cook time was longer for us than in the recipe, though — it’ll probably depend on the heat of your fire.

  5. I’m curious about how you made the eggplant dip. It looks really yummy ^^

  6. I’ve been dealing with the same problem of cut tomatoes giving off liquid — I put a thin piece of toast under the tomatoes to sop up all the liquid. And you can eat the toast if you’re so inclined (although I found that if you really do want to eat the toast, putting a little seasoning on it before adding the tomatoes makes it tastier).

  7. Ooh, great tip, ms_hooligan! I like it!

  8. How do you keep the salad from absolutely marinating in the vinaigrette? I find that by the time I actually eat foods with salad dressing on them, a lot of times the vinegar has completely soaked into the food, which makes it really puckery. Do you make your own salad dressing?

    Also, I love the heart-shaped box in the bottom lunch. Cute!

  9. Thanks pinkfairywand! I’m constantly awed by what Bug’ll eat too — I try not to make a big deal out of it one way or the other, and find that he’ll eat pretty much anything over a week’s time. For example, he’s been on a temporary strike against cherry tomatoes, but for some reason when I cut them in half and put them in this salad he gobbled them up. Radicchio seems too bitter for him and he spit it out at dinner, but he’s pretty game for most everything else.

    I was raised on adult food (not special kid’s food), and I couldn’t imagine cooking TWO meals at each meal (one for Bug, one for us) or dumbing down our normal diet. I did a little bit of multicultural reading when we were introducing solid food, and was inspired by cultures that don’t hesitate to feed children normal food (albeit without lots of salt or hot sauce — you know). But I don’t have the hubris to think that I’m to credit for Bug’s eating habits — some of my friends have done the same things, but their children wound up being very picky eaters. I’m just thankful and cross my fingers that it continues…

    Thanks for the kind comments and the voting — I’m mostly just hoping to stick around on the top page for as long as I can, and am thankful for everyone who has voted to help make that happen!

  10. I applaud anyone who can get a toddler to eat the kind of lunches you are packing for him. I wish I’d been able to persuade my kids to eat that healthy at that age!

  11. We had the grill fired up for the lamb and radicchio anyway, so I took four really big eggplants and oiled them and poked some holes in them with a skewer. Threw them on the hot grill until they were blackened and scary-looking. Took them off the grill, put them in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap — let it sit for 10 minutes to let residual heat finish cooking the eggplants. Filled a basin with cold water, dunked an eggplant at a time, and peeled the blackened skin off while they were still hot. Throw the peeled eggplant into a colander and let it sit for at least 5 minutes to let the bitter juices drain off. In a food processor, it’s the same as making hummus. Whirl in some minced garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and a splash of olive oil plus the eggplant flesh. Adjust seasonings to however you like it. You could make it without a food processor if you chop the eggplant really fine, maybe mash it with a potato masher — depends how you like it.

  12. Thanks, never!

  13. Bruschetta, maybe?