Say goodbye to that sad sandwich, here are five vibrant and healthy lunches that are easy to make and delicious to eat
Words & Recipes Social Pantry
When you work in a busy office and are surrounded by fast-food options, it can be tempting and easy to fall into bad lunch habits. Preparing your lunch in advance is not only a brilliant way to save money but also ensures you’re eating the freshest, best quality foods to keep you energised throughout the afternoon. We’ve picked five of our favourite desk lunches that are easy to make in batches the night before and healthy to boot. We try and use the most seasonal ingredients to ensure ultimate quality, adding tinned tuna or a boiled egg is a great way to get some protein in during the day too.
1 large ripe avocado
1tsp tahini paste
1tsp pinch of cumin
1tsp pinch of paprika
1 medium chilli, sliced
1 tbsp of coriander leaves
1 tbsp of mint leaves
1 pinch of Malden sea salt
1 pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 drizzle of good quality olive oil to garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
Vegetable crudités and flat bread to serve
1. Cut the avocado in half and de-stone. Scoop the flesh into a food processor.
2. Add the chickpeas, tahini and citrus juice and blitz until smooth. If you prefer a coarser texture, pulse the mixture for less time.
3. Add the cumin, paprika and sliced chilli and blitz again.
4. Use a spatula to scrape the mix out of the food processor into a bowl and gently stir through the herbs.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and store in an airtight container or Tupperware.
6. Enjoy at work with vegetable crisps, crudités or flat breads.
Makes 5 Fritters
375g cooked beetroot
100g red onion
100g feta cheese
10g gram flour
1⁄2 cucumber, sliced into ribbons
1⁄2 pot of crème fraiche
Small handful flat leaf parsley
Small handful mint
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Coarsley grate the cooked beetroot
3. Dice the red onion and lightly sauté in a little olive oil
4. Crumble the feta and finely chop the herbs.
5. Mix all ingredients together except the gram flour, season well with salt and pepper.
6. Shape the mixture into approximately 2inch rounds.
7.Coat in gram flour and lightly fry in olive oil for colour. Finish off in the oven for 10 minute.
8. Serve with cucumber ribbons, cracked black pepper and a large helping of lemon zest crème fraiche.
Courgette, Chickpea & Chilli Salad
Makes enough for two filling vegetarian lunches
1 tin chickpeas
1 chilli, thinly sliced
1⁄2 bunch mint, finely chopped
1 bag rocket, washed
1 bag spinach, washed
1⁄2 bag of kale
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Cracked black pepper
150g soft ricotta cheese
1. Heat up a griddle pan.
2. In a bowl, slice one courgette into 0.5cm thick ribbons and drizzle with oil.
3. When the pan is hot, griddle the courgette ribbons on both sides until gently blackened and leave aside.
4. Place the spinach and rocket in a bowl large enough to mix the whole salad in.
5. You can either re-use the griddle or heat up a frying pan to cook the kale. Place the kale on the heat, turning regularly so that it cooks evenly. Take off the heat and leave aside.
6. Drain the chickpeas and add to the salad leaves with the chilli and mint.
7. Using a peeler, create long courgette ribbons and mix through the salad bowl.
8. When the courgette and kale has cooled, mix through the salad.
9. Zest the lemon over the salad and dress the salad with the juice of 1⁄2 the lemon and a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
10. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper, crumble the ricotta over the top to finish.
Ginger & Garlic Sweet Potato Salad
Makes one big batch, to enjoy throughout the week
250g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
100g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks
150g red onion, thinly sliced
100g pearl barley
1 bag baby spinach, sliced into thin strips
1 handful rocket leaves
125g slow roasted tomatoes (roast at 140 degrees for 1 hr)
1 garlic clove
1 vegetable stock cube
1⁄2 tbsp grated ginger
1tbsp garam masala
1 tsp onion seeds
1tbsp coriander finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Drizzle the sweet potato and butternut squash with olive oil and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, lightly fry the garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp oil until fragrant. Add the dry spices for a couple of seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside in a large bowl.
4. In the same frying pan, lightly fry the onion in a little oil until tender. Once cooked, add to the garlic, ginger and spice mix.
5. Cook the pearl barley in vegetable stock, according to instructions, until tender to taste.
6. Once the sweet potato and butternut squash are cooked through, add to the spiced onion mix with the pearl barley, spinach, rocket and tomatoes.
7. Gently toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
TIP: a drizzle of yogurt and pomegranate seeds to finish really bring this dish to life.
Romanesco & Purple Potato Salad with Dill Dressing
1⁄2 medium romanesco
150g purple potatoes (new potatoes will also work if you can’t find purple)
1 bag of salad leaves (rocket, watercress or lambs leaf are perfect)
1 handful sunflower seeds
1 small bunch asparagus
1 garlic clove
1⁄2 shallot, finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp whole grain mustard
Juice of half of a lemon
Small handful of dill, finely chopped
1. Preheat to oven to 180 degrees.
2. In a roasting tray, cover the romanesco and garlic clove with oil. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes, until the romanesco is cooked through.
3. In the mean time, bring a small pan of water to the boil. Chop the potatoes in half and add to water. Boil for roughly 10 min or until tender. Set aside and let cool slightly, and then cut into chunks.
4. On a hot griddle pan (a saucepan will work too) fry the asparagus and keep turning until they turn a bright green.
5. In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients and mix well.
6. Once all of the ingredients are cooked, gently mix together in a large bowl with the dressing, salad leaves and seeds.
7. Store in an airtight container overnight and enjoy cold.