Indy Style

Beyond the salad: cold lunches to take to work or picnics

It’s hot and the last thing you want on a steamy day is to create more heat!

Whether you are avoiding the office microwave or need some delicious meals to take to your next picnic, Chef Kat Marris, Fresh & Balanced, has you covered with her favorite cold meals!

About Chef Kat (as told by her): I am chef on a meal prep and healthy cooking mission! I run an online meal prep program designed to take the stress out of meal prepping and healthy eating. I teach meal prep cooking lessons and corporate wellness presentations. I am also a food blogger and write about meal prep topics and provide healthy recipes on my blog, Fresh and Balanced. My goal is to help you eat healthier and feel better one meal at a time.

All these recipes are wonderful as a meal prepped cold lunch but also have the added benefit of being fabulous for a picnic or cookout!

Pea and Bacon Pasta Salad
Makes 4 servings
Salad Ingredients:
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 (10 oz) bag frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 bunch asparagus, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
6 slices chicken or turkey bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons light mayo
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 16-20 minutes or until bacon is golden and crispy. Remove from the oven and place on a paper towel lined plate. Cool and crumble.

In a large bowl, mix together cooked and cooled pasta, pepper, asparagus, peas and bacon.

Mix together Worcestershire, mayo, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Pour dressing into bowl with pasta. Stir to combine. Portion into meal prep containers based on serving needs.

Sweet and Tangy Broccoli Slaw
Makes 6 servings
Slaw Ingredients:
12 ounces broccoli slaw (about 5-6 cups)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped green onion

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together slaw ingredients. In a separate small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over the slaw and toss to combine. Evenly divide tossed slaw between meal prep containers. Eat as a side dish or top with chicken, steak or tofu for an entree.

Spicy Sesame Noodles
Makes 4 servings
Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sriracha ( if you want really spicy noodles)
Sesame seeds for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Noodle Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 (16 oz) box rice noodles or linguine, cooked according to package directions and drained
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce, combine honey, vinegar, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy sauce and sriracha in a small bowl and stir to combine.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add green beans, cabbage and pepper and cook until crisp tender. Add green onion, garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.

Add sauce to skillet and stir. Add in noodles and toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving. Portion into meal prep containers as needed.

To learn more, visit:
Instagram: @katmarris
Website: and
Facebook: Fresh and Balanced