15 Veggie Sandwiches That Are Actually Exciting


Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Even though sandwiches aren’t something I usually associate with lots of veggies, it turns out there are kind of a lot of veggie-packed sandwiches out there. You see, I’m someone who’s not exactly great at eating the recommended 2 1/2 cups of vegetables I’m supposed to be eating every day per the USDA. If there’s a way to turn something that’s normally just meat, cheese, and an occasional slice of lettuce into what’s basically a salad between two slices of bread, I’m gonna know about it.

Before you tell me that all veggie sandwiches are boring, take a look at these 15 creative ideas and reconsider. While it might be easy to throw some tomatoes and sprouts on bread and call it a day, these ideas experiment in ways you would never expect, and they’re just as easy to make as their less-exciting counterparts. Get pumped for vegan BLTs that actually taste legit, bahn mi that are brimming with all of the veg, and cozy, satisfying wraps stuffed with broccoli and chickpeas. They aren’t all vegetarian, but a lot of them are, and most can easily be altered to become vegetarian, if that’s something you’re interested in. Bookmark them for later and before you know it, you’ll be eating more than enough vegetables every day—and you won’t hate it.

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18 Healthy Recipes to Make With Cucumbers That Aren’t Just Salads

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

When was the last time you cooked with a cucumber in a creative way? I know for me at least, it’s been quite a while. Every now and then I’ll one eat sliced up with a side of dip, or in a Greek salad, or maybe even in pickle form. But that’s pretty much it, even though I consider cucumbers one of my favorite vegetables.

Cucumbers may not have a ton of flavor, but they’re full of nutrients like potassium and vitamin C, and they don’t deserve to be the side act in salads forever. That’s why I’m committing to using them more creatively from now on. Since it’s finally warm outside, it’s the perfect time to whip those cool cukes out and start experimenting. From creamy cucumber gazpacho to infused cocktails, there are many things you probably never realized you could do with them.

These 19 recipes will show you how to take advantage of cucumbers in only the most exciting ways. And only some of them are salads.

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19 Healthy Sandwiches With 5 Ingredients or Less

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

I have a hard time getting myself to eat lunch. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I usually forget to because I’m so preoccupied with work. Once I get into that writing flow, there’s no prying me away from my computer for very long. Which means if a lunch needs more than 10 minutes to make, then I’m probably not going to make it.

I can usually count on a sandwich as something I can throw together quickly, but sometimes even they get overly complicated. Not five-ingredient sandwiches, though. With just bread, veggies, protein, and maybe a spread, they’re as simple as it gets, and they never take longer than 10 or 15 minutes to prepare. Another plus: They’re so easy to pack! So if you know you don’t have time or space to whip up lunch in the middle of the day, you can prep a sandwich at night or in the morning, so that it’s ready to go when hunger strikes.

These 19 easy recipes are packed with protein, fiber, and healthy carbs, so they’ll keep you satisfied. Most are perfect for a packed lunch, but there are some breakfast sandwiches included, too! And while they may be simple, they definitely aren’t boring.

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7 Easy, Healthy Lunches You Should Cook This Week

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell

These days, stepping out midday and buying a to-go lunch often seems easier than packing one yourself. There are dozens of quick lunch places within walking distance of my NYC office building, and some of them have some really delicious, healthy, fun stuff on offer. But still, I’d almost always rather pack my own lunch. It’s less expensive, and it means that I get to pick exactly what I want to eat. That said, sometimes the possibilities seem a little bit overwhelming, and I find myself fumbling over what to buy at the grocery store for the week ahead.

If you also have trouble narrowing down the endless packed lunch options out there, you’re in luck! SELF is putting together weekly lists of seven recipes that will hopefully inspire your meal planning for the week ahead. You can check out past weeks’ recipes here. All of the recipes have a healthy balance of protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs; and, they’re filling, and simple enough for beginner cooks. Several ingredients appear in multiple recipes—kale, quinoa, goat cheese, chickpeas, and tortillas. That, plus some easy ingredient swaps (detailed below), will help keep your grocery list short. There are wraps, salads, and grain bowls on the menu, so you won’t get bored.

The number of servings per recipe varies, but you can easily halve or double each of them as it suits you. Also, you might want to choose just a few recipes and repeat meals for a couple of days (that’s what I do, to be honest!). If you cook one of the recipes or have questions, post a photo on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine and @xtinebyrne (that’s me!), or DM us—we love a good food pic as much as you do, and we’re always here to help!

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17 Ways to Use Edamame, the Protein-Packed Ingredient I Always Have in My Freezer

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

If you don’t already have a bag of edamame in your freezer, you should change that as soon as possible. Like a lot of registered dietitians, I always make sure I have one handy. (You can find fresh pods of edamame in some markets, but they’re much more widely available in the frozen section, pre-blanched and out of their pods.) Since the little green things are packed with 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per one-cup serving, they really add a lot of satiety to a meal. I can always count on edamame to give me an energy boost, whether I’m eating it as a snack or adding it to a meal. Most importantly, it tastes good, too.

Edamame has a mild flavor and fresh texture that makes it a great addition to all different kinds of meals, whether that be a noodle soup, a zesty, slaw-style salad, or a bowl of fried rice. I prefer to buy it frozen because you can trust that it won’t go bad before you’re ready to use it. You also don’t even need to defrost it unless you’re adding it to something cold, like a salad—you can throw frozen edamame straight into your stir-fry or soup, and it’ll thaw as you cook .

Now that I’ve convinced you to go out and buy a bag, use the edamame in one of these 17 recipes. Some of them are creative—hello, edamame pesto! Others, like edamame stir-fries, are more traditional. All of them are healthy, satisfying, and totally delicious.



Sesame Slaw from Budget Bytes

You can eat this salad on its own as a main or as a side to a meal, but we highly recommend serving it with barbecue food, especially over hot dogs. Get the recipe here.

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33 Whole30 Lunch Ideas You Can Bring to Work

Photo by Keri Bouika / Design by Morgan Johnson

Whether or not you’re actively on the lookout for whole30 lunch ideas, you’ve probably heard of the Whole30 diet. For those who are still a little confused by it, Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet that entirely cuts out grains, legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.), soy, dairy, added sugars, and processed foods. Oh, and no booze, either. Anyone on the Whole30 will spend 30 days eating tons of fresh veggies, meat, seafood, fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds, and certain oils. You can find the official program rules here.

Know that this is definitely a restrictive diet, and that it certainly isn’t for everybody. Eliminating entire food groups is hard, and SELF has reported at length that going on an elimination diet without first consulting a doctor is a bad idea. (Anyone with a history of disordered eating should likely steer clear of the Whole30 or any other plan that involves restrictive rules, but again, your best bet is to consult a doctor.) If you do decide to take on a Whole30, a doctor or a registered dietitian can give you expert advice on how to make sure you’re getting the energy and nutrients you need throughout the 30-day program.

Anyone giving Whole30 a try is likely going to need some new recipe inspiration in order to get through the 30 days. Since it forbids all grains, legumes, soy, and dairy (among other things), lunch can be particularly tricky—sandwiches and grain bowls are, literally, off the table.

Whole30 lunches are essential, because they’ll save you from a slip-up when nothing else can. It’s easy to keep the cravings at bay and stay on track when you’re at home for breakfast or dinner and can make something to satisfy your hunger in a pinch. But when you’re out and about, or at your desk far from the security of a kitchen you can cook in, you need recipes that will keep you from falling prey to the vending machine’s siren call.

These 33 recipes are all completely Whole30-approved, as well as delicious, simple, and easy-to-transport—in a word, perfect for lunchtime. Options like chicken baked with saffron and plums and turkey meatballs in an orange glaze will keep you full, happy, and far from bored.

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19 Stuffed Pepper Recipes That Make Great Weeknight Dinners


Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Long before we were stuffing avocado halves, zucchini boats, and spaghetti squash, stuffed peppers reigned supreme. The dish has been a longtime favorite of home cooks and food bloggers alike, probably because it’s as playful as it is delicious. Aside from being cute and tasty, stuffed peppers are also super versatile—as long as you use a mild, non-spicy variety of pepper, you can stuff it with pretty much anything and expect great results. And they’re always Instagram-worthy!

The most common type of stuffed pepper you’re likely to stumble on is one wth a Tex Mex-style rice-and-bean filling, but there are so many exciting ways to experiment with the dish that go way beyond this. These 19 recipes include ideas so creative, you’ll want to try them out as soon as possible. Get pumped for options stuffed with chickpeas and feta, buffalo chicken, and spinach and artichoke. There’s even one that tastes like lasagna! And since they’re inherently veggie-packed—or, really, veggie-wrapped—as well as adorable and tasty, they’re worth making for more reasons than one.

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23 Healthy and Simple Recipes That Are Perfect for Spring

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Every year, there comes a moment when I just can’t with winter anymore. Usually this happens sometime around the beginning of April, when it should absolutely not be snowing for the 500th time, and the last thing I want to eat is another bowl of sweet potatoes—or any winter produce, for that matter. During these dark times, the only thing that keeps me going is the promise of spring, and especially all the fresh fruits and veggies that come with it.

I love cooking seasonally for so many reasons, but mainly because it’s an easy way to switch up my eating routine, save a bit on groceries, and eat foods when they’re at their peak deliciousness. During the spring months, things like spinach, strawberries, and beets are all at their cheapest and most flavorful, and cooking with them is the perfect way to cleanse your palate when you cannot stand the thought of another hearty winter meal.

These 23 recipes take advantage of all the different spring fruits and veggies in exciting ways that will make you forget winter even happened. Get ready for lots of bright salads, green pastas, and red fruit-filled baked goods. And while you’re at it, enjoy the weather, too.

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16 Healthy Lunches That Cost Less Than $2 to Make


When I started my first full-time job, I quickly developed the bad (but common) habit of spending way too much on lunch. What started out as an excuse to get up from my desk and stretch my legs a little bit turned into $12 salads nearly every day. It was all good and fun, until I looked at my bank account and realized that I wouldn’t have enough for rent at the rate I was going. If I wanted to save any of the money I was earning, I’d have to cut out my lunch habit, and fast.

It took me so long to come around to the idea of packing lunch, because I kind of thought it was impossible for a packed lunch to ever be truly delicious. But I started making my own lunches out of necessity, and was pleasantly surprised at the result. With a little planning (and maybe some Sunday meal prep) it’s totally possible to enjoy homemade tacos, stuffed peppers, soups and more for lunch without having to spend very much at all.

If you’re new to the lunch packing game, start with these 16 recipes, all of which cost way less than those $12 salads. Each recipe will only cost you $2 to make according to prices provided by the bloggers or calculated on Peapod. Healthy, tasty, and inexpensive, they’ll make you feel like the fiscally responsible, well-fed adult you are.

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19 Amazing Ways to Cook With Eggplant


I love eggplant now, but it took me a while to warm up to it. As an Italian-American, I grew up eating my fair share of eggplant parm, but I didn’t have much exposure to the veg beyond that. When finally faced with an opportunity to cook with it, I have to say I was stumped. It’s a bit more finicky than its simple appearance might indicate, and if you don’t know what you’re doing the results can be tragic. But if you do, the possibilities are endless.

Eggplant is technically in season during the summer, but you can usually find it at supermarkets all year long. It’s a member of the same family as zucchini, but the similarities between the two end there, and while you might be able to eat zucchini raw, you definitely shouldn’t do the same with eggplant. Its flesh is dense and rubbery, which isn’t great uncooked, but is earthy, smoky, and meaty when cooked. In fact, its meatiness makes a great meat substitute for vegetarians in terms of flavor, though you may want to pair it with a protein source since it has a relatively low amount—about a gram per cup.

These 19 recipes will guide you through some of the best ways to cook with eggplant, from classics like baba ganoush to exciting new ideas like eggplant quesadillas. Before you know it, you’ll be an eggplant master.


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28 Delicious Ways to Cook With Spinach

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

Aside from the flowers and the warmer temps, the thing I love most about spring is all the great, green seasonal produce. Namely, spinach. It’s sold year-round, but it’s at peak deliciousness from the end of March through May. That means any day now, the markets are going to fill up with bundles on bundles of those delicate leafy greens, and you’re going to need plenty of spinach recipes to help you cook through your haul.

Spinach is perhaps most famously featured in salads, but that’s not all it’s good for. It tastes great simply sautéed with garlic, stewed into a zesty shakshuka, and even baked into muffins (trust us). Plus, it’s packed with vitamins A and C, and is a good source of potassium, calcium, and iron, too. Basically, there’s no reason not to eat it all the time.

Whether or not you’re crazy about spinach, these are some of the most delicious and creative spinach recipes out there, so there’s bound to be something here you’ll want to add to your recipe roster. If you thought the veg was simple and ordinary, spinach pizza crusts, “meatballs”, lasagna, and more will definitely give you a fresh perspective.



Gluten-Free Spinach Muffins from Emilie Eats

Spinach has a very neutral flavor, especially when it’s puréed and mixed with lots of other ingredients, which is why it works in these sweet muffins. And they’re super colorful, too! Get the recipe here.

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7 Easy, Healthy Lunches to Cook This Week

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell

Cooking is fun, but meal planning can be kind of a pain. Lunch in particular can be a real conundrum: I know that all the fast-casual lunch options out there are things I could so easily recreate in my own kitchen, and that packing my lunch is the cheaper option—and yet, I still find myself buying those overpriced and underwhelming grab-and-go lunches at least once a week, solely because of my failure to plan ahead. (And because I’m unwilling to piece together a mish-mash of office snacks and call that a meal.) I’m better about packing lunch than I used to be, but my meal planning game is forever a work in progress.

If you, like me, are always on the lookout for easy lunch ideas and meal prep inspiration, you’re in luck! SELF is putting together weekly lists of seven recipes that will hopefully inspire your meal planning for the week ahead. You can check out past weeks’ recipes here. All of the recipes have a healthy balance of protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs; and, they’re filling, and simple enough for beginner cooks. Several ingredients appear in multiple recipes—sweet potato, kale, quinoa, white beans, snap peas, bell pepper, sunflower seeds, and fennel—plus some easy ingredient swaps (detailed below), all of which helps keep your grocery list short. There are four vegetarian recipes, one beef recipe, one tuna recipe, and salmon recipe, so you won’t get bored.

The number of servings per recipe varies, but you can easily halve or double each of them as it suits you. Also, you might want to choose just a few recipe and repeat meals for a couple of days (that’s what I do, to be honest!). If you cook one of the recipes or have questions, post a photo on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine and @xtinebyrne (that’s me!), or DM us—we love a good food pic as much as you do, and we’re always here to help!

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell


Spring Tuna Salad Sandwich

I’m not huge fan of celery, but I love lots of crunch in tuna salad. This one has chopped snap peas and bell pepper inside, so its crunchy and a little sweet. Get the recipe here.

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell


Slow-Cooker Beef, Sweet Potato, and Fennel Stew

It might be almost spring, but it’s still chilly enough that I’m often craving a warm lunch. This vegetable-packed beef stew makes four servings, so you can either eat it for lunch (almost) all week, or freeze leftovers for another time. Get the recipe here.

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16 Delicious Ways to Eat Beans Instead of Meat


Like mushrooms, beans make a great vegetarian substitute in dishes like burgers, sauces, tacos, and other traditionally meat-centric recipes. And it’s no wonder why: Dense and chewy, they have a certain heft to them that makes things like chilis and veggie burgers feel substantial and comforting. Plus, beans are great at soaking up the flavors of whatever sauces or spices they’re being cooked with.

What’s more, beans are high in protein and fiber, two nutrients that are important for satiety. Plus, they contain no saturated fat (which the USDA recommends limiting to less than 10 percent of your daily calories). A cup of black beans has 15 grams of protein,15 grams of fiber, 227 calories, and no saturated fat. Pair beans with some vegetables and healthy fat, and you’ve got a well-rounded meal!

The next time you want to go meatless, but still want something comforting and filling, these 16 healthy bean-filled recipes will satisfy you and then some. There’s a recipe from everything to bolognese to burgers to un-chicken salad, so every taste and craving is covered.



BBQ Bean Burritos from Amuse Your Bouche

The barbecue flavor in this burrito recipe comes from a sauce made of paprika, garlic powder, vinegar, and hot sauce—and it tastes pretty damn close to BBQ-pulled pork when paired with black beans. Get the recipe here.

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17 Stir-Fry Recipes You Can Make in 15 Minutes or Less

Andrew Purcell; Carrie Purcell

When you need dinner as fast as possible, there’s nothing speedier than a stir-fry. Though all that stirring and frying may sound complicated if you’ve never done it before, it’s actually about as simple as it gets. Toss your veggies, your proteins, and your sauce in a pan, let it all cook until tender, and voilà—a well-rounded, healthy dinner is ready just like that.

There are a lot of exciting, low-maintenance meals out there, but none of them are more exciting or low-maintenance than a stir-fry. Seriously. The classic dish rarely takes more than 15 minutes to cook, and it can be made with all kinds of different ingredients. Though the famous iteration usually involves soy sauce, you can really use any kind of flavoring you please, whether that be Mexican-style spices or whatever you happen to have on hand.

Here are 17 stir-fry recipes that are so fast, you’ll never want to make anything else. None of them take more than 15 minutes to make, so they’re perfect for those nights when you’d rather not spend hours in the kitchen. They’re packed with lots of veggies and protein sources like ground turkey, chicken, and tofu, so they’ll keep you totally satisfied. And a bunch of them make plenty of leftovers, so you can pack them up and eat them for lunch, too.

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7 Easy, Healthy Lunches to Eat This Week

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell

Frankly, the hardest part of cooking is often figuring out what to make. To help alleviate some of that stress, SELF is putting together weekly lists of seven breakfasts, lunches, or dinners that will hopefully inspire your meal planning for the week ahead. Last week, we laid out a week of easy dinner recipes—this week, we’re focusing on lunch!

Several ingredients appear in multiple recipes—farro, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, apples, carrots, and Parmesan—which helps keep your grocery list short. There’s one chicken recipe, two tuna recipes, and four meatless recipes, so you won’t get bored. Everything keeps well in the fridge overnight, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your packed lunch will actually survive until lunch. And, since farro appears in five of the recipes, it’s worth it to make a huge batch and store it in the fridge to repurpose for recipes throughout the week. Anything you’re not eating within five days should go in the freezer and thawed as needed.

Each recipe serves one or two people, but you can easily halve or double them as it suits you. Plus, they all make for excellent lunch leftovers. If you cook one of the recipes, post a photo on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine and @xtinebyrne (that’s me!)—we love a good food pic as much as you do.

Oh, and if these recipes don’t do it for you? We have a whole archive of healthy, easy lunch recipes right here.

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell


Farro Bowl With Kale, Apples, and Egg

Lately, I’ve been buying Envy apples, a new-to-me variety that’s crunchy, sweet, and doesn’t brown as easily as other apples after being cut. When it comes to putting apples in lunch salads, this has been a godsend. This bowl is hearty but still tastes healthy and fresh, thanks to plenty of greens, healthy fat, and protein. Get the recipe here.

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell


Tuna, Apple, and Avocado Wrap

Because of supersized tortillas and heavy fillings, wraps often get a bad…well, rap. The thing is, whole-wheat tortillas are actually a great blank canvas for all kinds of healthy ingredients, and they pack well. This one is filled with sweet apples, tuna, and avocado, and it’s got a great balance of protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats. Get the recipe here.

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