If you have been reading my recent blog posts, you have been reading about some of the benefits of bringing your lunch to work. I wanted to share an additional reason to make your meal which includes if you want or need to follow specific dietary guidelines. Bringing your lunch to work will help you stick to a healthy meal plan. You also are familiar with my comittment to seasonal eating and local food. Following gluten, diabetes, ibs (low fodmap), heart healthy vegetarian/vegan, other food sensitivities/autoimmune conditions or weight loss guidelines are common and can be a challenge for many of us. Knowing the exact ingredients by packing your own food can give us peace of mind.

Today, I am going to share a new menu idea and then give you a few substitution options to help your meet specific dietary needs. First I will share the original menu and then I will share a mix and match it to meet your needs and also share a second menu idea.

Lunchtime Menu Idea

1 serving Blueberry Kale Salad with Hempeh (or other protein if not available such as grilled chicken or beef, tempeh, baked tofu, garbanzo beans, or shrimp)

1/2 cup fresh raspberries


A Little More About Hempeh

For my salad, I am using a new product called Hempeh in my recipe but you can substitute your favorite protein in this salad. new high protein food created by the owners of Smiling Hara Tempeh, Sarah and Chad. It is made using a similar process as tempeh which is traditionally made with beans using a mushroom spore to make it a delicious edible cake. Hempeh is made with hemp seed and peanuts. Tempeh and Hempeh must be cooked thoroughly. Right now it is only available in Asheville at the Asheville City Tailgate Market and North Asheville Tailgate Market on Saturday mornings but will soon be available in more locations stay tuned to www.smilinghara.com and www.vineripenutrition.com for more details on when it is coming near you.

Blueberry Hempeh Kale Salad

This recipe uses a blueberry barbeque sauce to enhance the nutty, delicious flavor of hempeh which becomes part of this seasonal salad with a delicious new twist. Use it as a side dish or main dish for your favorite summer meal. Switch it up to use seasonal, local produce where you live and meet your specific nutritional needs. You can alternate your protein choice also.

Makes 2-4 servings

  • 1 package of hempeh
  • 1 bunch kale, massaged and sliced thin (use spinach for a low fodmap diet but you do not need to massage or slice)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup red onions, sliced

Add massaged, thinly sliced kale to a large salad bowl, add blueberries, shredded carrots and onions. Toss lightly. Make salad dressing and blueberry sauce recipe and glaze hempeh or other protein with blueberry sauce below.

Salad Dressing Recipe

This salad dressing is great on everything!

Juice from one lemon, 1 teaspoon garlic, ½ cup olive oil, salt and pepper ( 1 teaspoon honey if desired)

Blueberry Sauce Recipe

  •  2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon seedy mustard
  • Salt and pepper

In a sauce pan saute onion, jalapenos and garlic until soft. Add blueberries and the rest of the ingredients. Heat blueberries until they begin to pop. You can leave chunky for a nice texture but if you like the sauce smooth, put in the food processor.
This sauce would also be good on grilled local fish, tempeh, pork or beef.

How to Add Blueberry Barbeque Glaze to Your Protein

You can alter your cooked protein and add the blueberry glaze to it! It is good on everything!

Cut hempeh down the middle and then cut into triangles. Brown it in a little bit of olive oil on both sides and drain on paper towels. In a clean skillet, add blue berry barbeque sauce and glaze the hempeh.

Check on this video on how I glazed it. You can try this with other proteins like chicken, beef, pork, tempeh and No Evil Foods Plant Meat.

How to Fruit Glaze a Protein Food


These blueberry triangles work well to make a sandwich, top a salad or add to pasta. You can also add them to lettuce wraps in one of the adaptations below.

Fruit and Nut Snack Mix Recipe

1/4 cup of your choice of nuts, dark milk-free chocolate and your choice of fruit.





close up blueberry hempeh salad

The blueberry hempeh looks beautiful along with the green from the kale or spinach, the orange from shredded carrots and fresh blueberries.

Gluten Free for Celiac Diet

The salad or the lettuce wrap will both be gluten free. Make sure that chocolate brand is gluten free.

Diabetes Nutrition

Either the salad or lettuce wrap menu works well for a healthy meal for someone with diabetes. You can limit the sweetener in the sauce. These recipes are low in carbohydrates and with fruit or vegetable sticks can work instead of snack mix can also be a great option for folks who follow what they consider a Paleo Diet.

IBS Diet (lowfodmap diet)

Many people with IBS do well learning how to follow a low fodmap diet which include five types of carbohydrates. Kale, onions, wheat, honey and garlic may cause problems for some of us so if you discover that these are foods that cause you problems, limit these foods. You can substitute spinach instead of kale and use garlic oil in the dressing instead of fresh garlic. Brown sugar may work better in my recipes for you. You can determine which foods cause you problems by working carefully with a registered dietitian nutritionist who has been specially trained in this area to determine which foods both you and how you can reintroduce foods in your diet. Stay tuned for more on this topic in upcoming blog posts!

Heart Healthy

I am happy tell you that the vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins in addition to low sodium recipes, these menus are great for your health!


This menu is both vegetarian and vegan but can be adapted for meat eaters.

Weight Loss Guidelines

My recipe ideas can always be party of a healthy weight loss diet. I don’t analyze my recipes because I think that learning to eat fresh seasonal foods with little processed foods is a great plan for weight loss.

Other food sensitivities/autoimmune conditions

There are many food sensitivities and autoimmune conditions that can be improved by nutrition therapy by a registered dietitian nutritionist. This requires individualization so find someone you can work with to help you with this.

Below is the Lettuce Wrap Variation

Take your favorite protein and glaze with the blue berry sauce. Wrap the protein in a lettuce leaf. I topped mine with grated carrot and cilantro and served with raspberries.






blueberry hempeh salad

Here I am with the Blueberry Kale Salad with Hempeh! Hope you enjoy this summer salad with or without substitutions to meet your dietary needs! Stay tuned for how you can enter the Vine Ripe Take Your Lunch to Work Challenge! More details are coming in the next few days!


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