Today’s post is a little “how to” on packing lunch for a road trip!
Pete and I often drive to Boston from Pennsylvania to visit our son Tom. On a good day, this takes about 6 hours, and I thought it might be fun to share a recipe appropriate for packing lunch for a long car ride in case you have any upcoming travels of your own.
Before I share the recipe, I thought I’d pass along a personal anecdote.
This is a true story.
Several years ago, I was in the market for a fireplace insert.
Now you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh great! A story about a fireplace insert! This is going to be exciting!
Stop being sarcastic. This is an UNBELIEVABLE story. And! It’s true. (Did I mention that?)
So anyway, I had an old stone fireplace with a movable screen. It was a drafty situation. I believed a glass-covered insert would work better. I went to the fireplace accessory store for an insert.
On installation day, the fireplace insert service guy (FISG) showed up as planned. He was tall with dark hair and a heavy beard, just the exactly the kind of person you would want in a FISG. I’m sure he wore a plaid flannel shirt. You get the picture. He placed the new covering on the fireplace. Beautiful! Good job.
FISG informed me the service included a home check for fire safety. I said OK bring it on, FISG! I want what you have to offer! I tagged along behind FISG as he inspected my house checking for blocked entrances and exits, working fire alarms and ventilation issues. I’m not sure what else, but at the end of it, he suggested I buy fire extinguishers for each level of the house, especially one in the kitchen and one for the bedroom area.
OK, FISG! Good suggestion.
He went along his way, and I actually went out and bought myself two fire extinguishers.
Fast forward several months.
I was casually walking through my living room on my way to the liquor cabinet one day.
(I’m just kidding. I wasn’t walking to the liquor cabinet.)
I was just walking through my living room on a cloudy afternoon.
(The liquor cabinet is another story.)
So anyway, we lived on a busy street at the time. I glanced out the window and I saw a truck parked in front of my house, hood up, flames shooting from the engine. A plaid-shirted man ran away from the truck. I ran to the kitchen for my fire extinguisher! I opened the front door and yelled to the man, who took my extinguisher and put the truck flames out.
He dropped the spent extinguisher and nervously fished around in his shirt pocket for cigarettes. I noticed the dark hair and the heavy beard. His hands shook violently. He was very tall.
I said, “Hey, aren’t you the…..???”
And he said, “And you’re the……!!!”
(Thank you. I told you it was unbelievable. BUT TRUE.)
What does that have to do with ANYTHING??
Well, obviously, it has to do with being prepared! When you are in the heat of the moment, you need the right tools at your disposal. In our case, this is how it always goes. We’re happily driving along in the car, listening to 70’s tunes, wondering where all the time goes, when ALL OF A SUDDEN, we experience waves of hunger, usually in Connecticut. What are vegan car travelers to do?? NOT stop at McDonald’s, surely. No, we prepare. We go to our packed lunch, including these Beans and Greens Sandwich wraps!
(We are so awesome!)
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small, white onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic (from a jar is fine)
- ¼ cup filtered water
- 1 15 oz. can low or no-salt black beans, rinsed and drained
- Juice of half a lime
- ½ cup prepared salsa, placed in a strainer
- 1 cup baby spinach
- Hot sauce of your choice (optional)
- Place filtered water in a pan, and add the peppers, onions and garlic. Heat to medium-high heat and cook the vegetables until softened. (Wait until all the water cooks away, about 4 minutes.)
- Optional step: Take half the beans and a spoonful of the cooked vegetables plus the lime juice, and place in a small food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse until a coarse paste. This helps "glue" things together inside the sandwich; however, you may also keep the beans whole if you like.
- Mix the beans and the vegetables along with the coarse bean paste if applicable. (Add the lime juice at this stage if you have not mixed a paste in the optional step.)
- Using the back of a spoon, push any excess liquid out of the prepared salsa through a strainer. (You don't want watery juices to run out of the wrap as you eat!)
- Layer the ingredients (not too much) onto a heated wrap (see notes on brands, below.) Beans, salsa, spinach. Roll that wrap! Enclose everything in plastic wrap and place in a cooler.
A note on wraps:
For health reasons, I love Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas, but they always tear a little bit for me. (Maybe others have better luck.) I use these at home.
However, for travel, I turn to these Mission Large Flour Tortillas, super soft.
Why? Because, although this Mission brand product is white flour and not whole wheat, it rolls up without tearing and keeps everything contained reliably! This is what I like for car rides.
I suggest packing your wraps with grapes, radishes, carrot or celery sticks and water. Bring napkins!