lunch ideas (from the white house!)

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photography by  REGAN STEPHENS text by  REGAN STEPHENS

Recently, we attended an event at the White House to discuss Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative. On an utterly momentous morning, we listened to a panel discuss the health of our nation’s kids and toured rooms rife with priceless presidential artifacts while granola bars were passed on silver trays. (Totally causal!)

We got an up close look at the White House kitchen garden, which helped spark the campaign and — thriving with leafy greens, broccoli, and herbs — feeds the first family.

Also during the event, Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford gave a cooking tutorial, sharing her recipe for Must Have Tuscan Kale Salad — a healthy grab-and-go foil to your usual sad desk lunch. In a genius move, Chef Comerford swaps out the classic (and caloric) croutons with equally crunchy and flavorful roasted chickpeas.

While we couldn’t possibly improve on the White House Chef’s recipe, (the woman has cooked for the Obama family, myriad world leaders, and Ryan Reynolds) it inspired us to make this equally portable, healthy, and delicious salad.

With kale, veggies, and roasted edamame ‘croutons’, it’s an easy-to-prep option sure to win FLOTUS’s approval. And you’ve seen her arms, right?


  • 4 mason jars with lids
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, washed, dried, cut into thin strips
  • ¼ small purple cabbage, shredded, washed, and dried
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced medium
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)


  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
  • a drizzle of olive or sesame oil
  • sea salt
  • wasabi powder (optional)


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

DIRECTIONS To make the edamame croutons, preheat the oven to 400°. Toss edamame with olive or sesame oil and sea salt. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet, misted with cooking spray, for about 1 hour. For a slightly spicy kick, sprinkle with a little wasabi powder when it comes out of the oven. Keep the roasted edamame in a separate bag until you’re ready to eat your salad.

Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar, screw on the lid and shake. Pour the combined dressing in the bottom of 4 mason jars, dividing equally.

For the first layer, divide the kale equally between the 4 mason jars. Next add layers of cabbage, carrot, and red pepper. Finally, finish with a layer of avocado and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.

Screw on the jar lids and keep refrigerated. When you’re ready to eat, shake up the salad and top with the edamame croutons. Feel free to pour everything into a bowl or eat directly from the jar.