Ellen Van Dusen's Bright and Happy Lunch

Ellen Van Dusen's Bright and Happy Lunch

With a little extra time on your hands, why not treat yourself to some artistic culinary expression? We miss the beautiful presentation of in-restaurant dining, so we decided to bring some of that home.

We asked Ellen Van Dusen of Dusen Dusen to prepare a lunch with equal thought for presentation as taste. If you're not yet familiar, Dusen Dusen is a collection of bold, happy, colorful home products (that's her napkin and plate in the above photo!).

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For her lunch challenge, she cut fresh cucumbers, carrots, sourdough bread, cheddar cheese, and made her own hummus.

Why DIY hummus?

"I started making hummus since the shutdown began, and now I like to have it on hand at all times. It's so easy, and being able to tailor it to your interests makes it so much better than grocery bought. I, for example, am a big garlic head. I go heavy on the garlic. I sometimes throw in some cilantro or basil, or a roasted tomato if I'm feeling funky. Having good olive oil makes the hummus 10000x better!"

Editor's note: basil lovers can also experiment with ARISE basil oil!

On why this is her lunch of choice:

"I love to be able to snack throughout the day and call it lunch, and this plate achieves exactly that. I take a piece of bread, come back, take a carrot, come back, grab a cucumber and the cycle continues."

On food presentation:

"Presentation is always important to me. Food is more appealing if it looks good. This plate was a collaboration with my BFF, Helen Levi. I like to have a healthy mix of colors on a plate of food — for aesthetic reasons, and also because I hear it's healthy."

This bright and easy five-minute lunch is the perfect afternoon pick me up.

Local tip for New Yorkers: Ellen orders bread from a local baker, Bread and Roses BK, who delivers by neighborhood once a week. Ellen swears by it! 



  • juice of 1 big lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons AWAKE olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons water



Put everything except the water into a food processor.

Press go and watch it blend!

After a minute or so, add water while blending for desired creaminess.