Not Sad Desk Lunch (Bring to Work), Side Dishes

Not Sad Desk Lunch #1: Grain Medley Salad with Grilled Chicken

Grilled Chicken Grain Salad in a Jar
Grain medley, grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, arugula, oil and vinegar in a jelly jar

Years ago, Food52 came up with the hashtag #notsaddesklunch to represent the innovative, creative ways we can actually enjoy lunch at work. Bringing lunch is easier on your waistline and your wallet, but so many people fork out the $10 (on average) a day to grab a lunch to go, which equates to approximately $2400 a year! I’d rather spend that money to go on vacation, personally.

Why spend hundreds of dollars a month on restaurant fare when you can take 15 minutes in the morning (or the night before) to transform your leftover dinner into something your coworkers will envy? For this installment of #nsdl, I’ve taken leftover whole grain medley (a Costco mix of quinoa, sprouted rice, and other grains) and leftover grilled chicken, packed into a repurposed jelly jar with some other goodies. I’ve included a step-by-step photo spread below:


Not Sad Desk Lunch #1: Grilled Chicken Grain Salad

One of my favorite things to make for a #notsaddesklunch is a grain medley salad with grilled chicken. Improvise with your favorite things: Kalamata olives, feta cheese, spinach, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, whatever your heart desires!


  • 1 medium jar with lid
  • 1/2 cup cooked whole-grain medley
  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 4 slices of grilled chicken
  • 1/8 cup green onions, green and white parts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1 handful of arugula
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In the bottom of the jar, add the oil and vinegar, then the green onions.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the grain medley, then the tomatoes, cucumbers, chicken, 1/4 cup of grain medley, top with arugula and drizzle olive oil and vinegar over.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste, then put on lid and store in the fridge until lunch.

Got an idea (or a favorite go-to) for a #notsaddesklunch? Comment below!


Tell us what you think!