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Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Options: Flatout Bread Bowls + Black Bean Salad

September 20, 2010

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I have little ones – a 3 year old and a 1 year old.  This. House. Is. BUSY! I can’t imagine how much busier it will become when they enter the chaotic school years. Oy, I’m tired just thinking about it!

One of my favorite “time-savers” when it comes to packable lunches for my daughter and husband is to use dinner leftovers; the only problem is making sure that a microwave isn’t required before eating the leftovers, since most teachers aren’t allowed microwaves in their classrooms.

The following meal is a favorite at our house, especially when I’m in the mood for a fiber and protein rich, vegetarian meal.

Lunch Menu Day 6

Thankfully, for my husband the meat-eater, the dish goes well with a little grilled or baked chicken. For my daughter, the fun comes in making the shells or “bowls” for the salad – she LOVES helping me “make” them. I use the word make very loosely here, since it’s such a simple process to create them.

(she also gets a kick out of destroying the bowl as she eats and using the pieces as chips for her salad)

The salad and shells work well for a packed lunch as they can be served at any temperature; my husband and daughter both love this as their “leftover” lunch the next day.

If you haven’t already, watch our video to see how it’s done . . . and, yes, once again, the Little Lady was a very hyper video participant. I had to edit out MANY a song that she made up about the process of fixing dinner. Trust me – it was for the best.


Here’s the recipe for the salad. I know, I know – it looks like a huge pain to fix this salad. I promise it isn’t; I honestly think it was more work to write out the recipe than actually prepare it! It comes together quickly – the only part that takes awhile is waiting for the veggies to roast in the oven.

Roasted Pepper and Black Bean Salad

  • 1 can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper
  • 6-8 Tomatoes
  • ½ Red Onion, minced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 TB Cilantro, finely chopped
  • Splash of lime juice
  • Salt and Pepper

Step One

Wash the tomatoes and cut each in half.  Place the halves “face up” on a sheet pan and sprinkle each half with salt and pepper.

Cut each bell pepper in half; set one half (from each pepper) aside.  Place the remaining halves face up on the same sheet pan with the tomatoes and sprinkle each one with salt/pepper.

Place the pan in a 350 degree oven and the vegetables to roast for 1-2 hours.

Step Two

Brush the bottom of a glass pan with olive oil and place the minced garlic/onion in it.  Place the pan in the oven and let it roast for 5-10 minutes (it won’t take long – don’t let anything burn!).  Remove from oven and set aside.

Step Three

While waiting for the pepper halves and tomatoes to roast, finely dice the remaining pepper halves and set aside.

When the veggies have finished roasting and have a nice blackened skin, remove from the oven and let cool.

Step Four

Puree the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper.

Remove as much skin as possible from the peppers (it should come of easily as the roasting process separates it from the rest of the vegetable) and then dice the peppers.  Add to your fresh peppers.

Step Five

Drain and thoroughly rinse your black beans and pour them into a bowl.  Add the roasted/fresh peppers, the tomato puree, the roasted onions and garlic, and the chopped cilantro.  Stir to mix.  Add additional salt and pepper if needed; add lime juice to brighten the dish (I used juice from ½ a lime . . . you may want more or less).

Serving size is 1 cup for adults – 1/2 cup for Little Ladies.  Place the serving of the salad in the Flatout Shell/Bowl; garnish with your choice of additional cilantro, lime, cheese, and/or sour cream.

Meat Variation: Grill or bake chicken tenders and serve with the salad.

Store leftover salad in the fridge and put leftover Flatout shells in a large ziplock bag, but do NOT store the shells in your fridge.


We’d love to hear your fresh perspective!

  • Do you prepare any vegetarian meals for your family?
3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 6:59 pm

    Yes, we make about 2 vegetarian dinners a night…anywhere from a pasta dish with lots of veggies and protein to a frittata (sometimes even simple scrambled eggs with some fruits on the side)


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