Food & Drink

Easy Healthy Lunch Boxes from Julia Turshen: Zucchini-Tahini Dip + Roasted Blueberry Yogurt Pot

by Grace Bonney

All week long to celebrate her brand new cookbook, Small Victories, Julia will be joining us for quick, delicious and healthy back-to-school recipes that you can easily make and pack for your loved ones, big and small. Click here and here to check out previous menus and don’t forget to enter the big giveaway here!

Since Grace and I eat at least 90% of our meals at home, we’ve gotten really good at making lots of whatever we’re cooking and then finding ways to make it new all week long. This lunch box is so true to that spirit and not only features leftover chicken from Wednesday’s kebabs, but also a really delicious zucchini dip made from the leftover grilled zucchini that’s just whirled with some tahini, lemon, and olive oil in a food processor (you could use a blender or just finely chop the zucchini and stir like mad). This feeling of reinvention is a big theme in Small Victories. Some of my favorite recipes in the book take something leftover or a little past its prime and turn it into something entirely new and very crave-worthy (like old tortillas that get fried until crisp and turned into the most wonderful Chilaquiles with Roasted Tomato Salsa). The beautiful layered yogurt pot that goes along with this menu employs the roasted blueberry topping from the Sour Cream Pancakes in Small Victories. Roasting the berries turns them into a concentrated, jam-like sauce that’s not only great served with yogurt or on pancakes, but is also great on ice cream, on toast that’s already been slathered with ricotta, or alongside grilled lamb. —Julia


Leftover Chicken
Zucchini-Tahini Dip with Vegetables
Yogurt Pot with Toasted Coconut, Pistachios + Roasted Blueberries

Zucchini-Tahini Dip with Vegetables
Serves 4

2 cups/480 ml leftover grilled zucchini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons tahini (I highly recommend Soom)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Raw vegetables, for dipping

Place the grilled zucchini, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is well combined and as smooth as you like it (I like it not too smooth, but it’s your dip, so puree away if you like!). Season the dip to taste with salt and serve immediately with raw vegetables for dipping or store in a covered container for up to a few days in the refrigerator.

Yogurt Pot with Toasted Coconut, Pistachios + Roasted Blueberries
Serves 4

1 ¼ cups/160 g blueberries
1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar
2 cups/480 ml plain Greek yogurt (whatever amount of fat you like, if any)
3 tablespoons unsalted roasted pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat the oven (or your toaster oven if you have one!) to 400ºF/200ºC.

Place the blueberries in a small baking dish and sprinkle with the brown sugar (or coconut sugar). Roast the berries, stirring now and then, until their skins burst and they have released lots of juice, about 20 minutes. Using a fork or a potato masher, crush the berries a bit so that they become jammy. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

To serve, layer the cooled roasted blueberries with the yogurt, pistachios, and coconut. I like to do this in jars with lids so you can take them to go, but feel free to use a juice glass so that you can see the layers, or just a good ol’ bowl!

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  • The last thing I want to do after getting the kids fed, dressed, and out to school, spending a day at work, picking them up, coming home, cooking dinner, eating it, and then putting the kids to bed is to cook some more for lunches. And we rarely have leftovers (3 guys in the house). PB & J it is!
    Maybe one day when they are all grown and out of the house, I’ll make myself something delicious like this.

    • I agree. These recipes seem more appropriate for a lazy weekend that my normal week.

  • This dip recipe looks so yummy !!

    Stop it already, I’m getting the book ! I’ll check if my local library can get it (I’m in France), and if not, amazon it is.

    Leftovers cooking is underrated in my opinion. It’s already cooked, all you have to do is 10 minutes of reinvention and some creative seasoning. It’s 90% of my lunchboxes.

  • OK, the yogurt pot got my attention! I suddenly realized that your recipes, Julia, are likely to be low-sugar because of Grace’s diabetes. My husband and I are trying to eat low-carb and I have been looking for simple but good recipes. I had been resisting buying the cookbook, though I knew it would be good, because I have a full bookcase of cookbooks and I have to give away one to make room for anything new. But it is just going to have to be done!

  • This is the perfect kind of lunch for me. And I love ideas to spruce up yogurt for a snack!

  • I just got your book in English. There is no translation in Dutch but that is okay. I love it. It has been the last thing I read before bed and the first thing I read in the morning. So inspiring. Thank you so much.