Many of us have been taught to revere breakfast as the most important meal of the day. I’ve got nothing against breakfast—and often enjoy it for dinner, too!—but if we want to optimize energy, digestion, and focus, lunch is where it’s at.
According to Ayurveda, lunch should be our biggest meal of the day, and eaten at a pretty regular time each day. This is because our digestive fire, known as agni in Sanskrit, peaks midday (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), in alignment with the fire of the sun, which also peaks around noon. With this extra help from the external fire of the sun, we are able to digest more food and more completely, leaving our bodies full and fueled for the rest of the afternoon, until it’s time for dinner. Eating a satisfying lunch will also help to stave off the 3 p.m. slump, when many of us turn to stimulants like coffee or sugary snacks to stay alert after our salad or eaten-between-keystrokes lunch wears off in late-afternoon.
If you’re used to skipping lunch or prefer to graze on mini-meals throughout the day, getting into the habit of having a solid meal can be a challenge. Unless, of course, that meal happens to be colorful, interactive, and delicious—like these colorful veggie wraps. They’re an ideal meal for lunch because they’re easily packable and can be made ahead of time, but also fun to assemble in real time if you’re at home and want to take a true lunch break, solo or with the kiddos.
When it comes to nutrition, these wraps pack a big punch all in the name of supporting mental stamina, which can start to wane by lunchtime. Not only does the lentil-based spread provide balanced protein, but it’s powered by Lion’s Mane, a mushroom powder that may support mental clarity, focus, and overall mood, and antioxidants turmeric and ginger. The spread and vegetables used to fill this wrap are also top sources of plant-based iron, a key mineral for healthy circulation of oxygen through the bloodstream and muscles—i.e., all the things you need to keep your mind and body sharp.
But we don’t just eat with our stomachs according to Ayurveda; we eat with all of our senses. So in addition to these incredible nutrients our body absorbs when we digest well, these wraps help feed us through their vibrant combination of colors. Igniting the fire in our eyes can have a direct translation to the digestibility of our meal, meaning that when what you eat looks good, your body gets more fuel from it. Can you say that about your Starbucks latte?
Don’t feel limited to enjoying these wraps at lunchtime. They also make a great breakfast or dinner, which is especially convenient if leftovers from the night before tend to make their way into your lunchbox. Just be sure to prepare the wrap fresh the day you’re eating it, so it doesn’t get soggy. If you are a fan of meal prepping, go ahead and make more lentils and veggies than called for here, so you can mix and match with other meals (or more wraps!) later in the week.
Lion’s Mane Lentil Wraps
Prep time: 10 minutes + overnight soaking
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 cup water
½ cup red lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or 1 hour in boiling water)
1 tbsp. Lion’s Mane powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped beets
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tbsp. coconut oil
16 oz. mushrooms, chopped (I used baby bella and oyster)
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
To make the lentil spread, bring the water to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the lentils, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf, bring to low boil, cover the pot loosely with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and the water is mostly absorbed. Discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Let cool.
Combine the cooked lentils, cashews, Lion’s Mane, lemon juice, ginger, and turmeric in a food processor. Blitz until smooth.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the broccoli and beets on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and the turmeric. Toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are crispy and tender.
In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over low heat for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, stir to coat, and cover the pan. Sauté the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, or until soft and golden on the edges. Place the mushrooms in a mesh strainer set over a bowl for a few minutes to remove some of the liquid.
To assemble the wraps, first warm the wraps (so it doesn’t break when you fold it) by placing them in the microwave for 30 seconds or in the oven for 1 minute. Layer 1 tablespoon of the lentil spread almost to the edge of each wrap, then add some cilantro. Place ¼ cup each of broccoli, beets, and mushrooms in a line down the center of the wrap. Fold the bottom of the wrap (the section closest to you) up about ¼ of the way, then fold in each side toward the center to close, covering the filling (you need less filling than you think!). Serve immediately. Store any leftover spread or vegetables in a separate container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.