Food + Drink Health + Wellness Travel Tips dish food meal cuisine asian food meat produce dessert vegetable
Health + Wellness

Packed Lunch Ideas for Your Next Flight

Why eat all those calories before you arrive at your final destination?

See recent posts by Siobhan Reid

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Air travel can be stressful, exhausting and downright uncomfortable, so it’s no wonder why most of us reach for chips and soda (or some other unhealthy variation) when we’re at the airport. But not only is junk food harmful for our waistline — it can also exacerbate jet-lag and travel-related exhaustion by depriving our body of the nutrients it needs to recover. Pack a healthy lunch, however, and you won’t feel the need to reach for the sugary granola bar or calorie-packed snack mix when hunger strikes. To get some inspiration for our next in-flight meal, we hit up chef Jessica Koslow of cult Los Angeles eatery Sqirl, who shared some travel-friendly recipes from her gorgeous new cookbook, Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking, including the most drool-worthy avo toast we’ve ever tried. Get packing!

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Avocado Toast

Serves 2 (V, VVO)

For the garlic cream:

1 to 3 cloves garlic (depending on how much you like garlic), minced

½ small shallot, minced 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Fine sea salt ½ cup (120 ml) crème fraîche

For the spice mix:

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon white sesame seeds

½ teaspoon ground sumac

For the avocado toast:

Melted unsalted butter, for brushing

2 (½-inch-/12-mm-thick) slices country-style bread

1 small ripe Hass avocado

Pickled Carrots

1 scallion, thinly sliced on the diagonal

½ lemon Fleur de sel


  1. In a bowl, combine the garlic, shal­lot, lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Let the garlic and shallot soften for about 10 minutes. Fold in the crème fraîche, then taste and sea­son with a bit more salt, if needed. Lightly whip until fluffy with body but still soft and spreadable.

  2. Stir together the oregano, sesame, and sumac.

  3. Brush a friendly amount of melted butter on both sides of the bread, then toast in a toaster, toaster oven, or skillet until golden brown.

  4. While the bread toasts, cut the avocado in half. Remove and discard the peel and pit. Set the avocado on a piece of parchment paper and cut each half lengthwise into thin slices. Cover with another piece of parch­ment and press down to flatten the avocado halves like slices of bologna.

  5. Lightly spread the garlic cream across each slice of toast. It’ll melt into the bread; that’s good. Arrange the avocado bologna on top, then add a tangle of pickled carrots, using your fingers to lift the carrots and create lots of height. (We like to call these “salad fingers.”) Garnish with the scallion and spice mix. Squeeze a little lemon juice over everything and finish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

Food + Drink Health + Wellness Travel Tips dish food meal cuisine asian food meat produce dessert vegetable

Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl

Serves 6 (VO, VVO)

3 cups (600 g) medium-grain brown rice, preferably Kokuho Rose

Fine sea salt

½ cup plus 2 teaspoons (130 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup (25 g) lightly packed kale leaves (stems removed)

2 cups (50 g) lightly packed chopped sorrel leaves

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

1 Preserved Meyer Lemon (recipe follows or store-bought), flesh removed, peel finely chopped

2 to 4 small watermelon radishes, very thinly sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) Fermented Jalapeño Hot Sauce

¾ cup (85 g) crumbled sheep’s-milk feta

6 poached eggs

Fleur de sel

Freshly ground black pepper


Boil the rice in plenty of salted water until it’s tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the sorrel pesto: In a blender or food processor, combine ½ cup (120 ml) of the oil, kale, sorrel, and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Blend until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed. Season with salt to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the rice with the dill, preserved lemon peel, 1 table­spoon of the lemon juice, and the pesto. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, toss the radish with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and a pinch of salt. Set aside to marinate for a few minutes, until the radish is pliable and tender.

To serve, divide the rice among six bowls. Spoon a line of hot sauce across the rice. Arrange a little clump of feta on one side and a rosette of radish slices on the other side. Set a poached egg in the mid­dle of each bowl and season it with fleur de sel and black pepper. Gar­nish with a tiny sprig or two of dill.


Think of this rice bowl as a solid base for you to build upon. Don’t like poached eggs? Leave them out. Make it a Meat Lovers’ by adding bacon and breakfast sausage. Or go the vegan route and substitute kale for the feta and eggs. We like to toss the kale in our Southern-Style Fresh Cream and Black Mustard Dressing before adding it to the bowl.

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