These are my 3 hacks (+3 delicious quick and easy recipes) for making sure lunch is always brilliant and you don’t get bored or stuck in a lunch rut. They are aimed at those who aren’t going to do a huge amount of lunch prep on the weekend and want something that can be thrown together in 15 minutes or less.
Lunch is an important part of your work day. It should be time that you get to reboot, refuel and revive yourself for the afternoon ahead. Lunch is also an excellent time to eat really delicious, healthy, easy food. Now if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by great cafes with an amazing array of options then lucky you. I am not! So over the last few years I have got pretty good at putting together lunches that make me smile and give me something to pull myself away from the desk for. Without spending extra time prepping my lunch after dinner – because I just can’t be bothered with that.
I’m also not someone who can eat the same lunch every day, week in, week out. I get bored with that pretty quickly. These ideas make it easy to feel like you’ve got something different to eat with out actually having to vary your routine very much.
1. Jar Noodles: Stop reaching for that packet of 2 minute noodles. You can do so much better with minimum effort. I promise. The idea behind these is just piling some noodles, sauce and vegetables into a jar. If you have a spiralizer this will take no time at all, if not use a grater for a similar effect. See my recipe for jar noodles here.
2. Get creative with leftovers: I know so many people that don’t like eating leftovers. It’s time you started thinking about them differently. One meal can be used so many different ways. A curry can become a delicious wrap by adding some fresh salad ingredients (either wrap in lettuce, pita, rice paper or mountain bread).This first picture in this post is leftover coconut poached chicken salad repurposed in rice paper rolls. Left over bolognese can top roast sweet potatoes, as can dhal, chilli con carne or stir fry. Plus most left overs can be added to a bunch of greens and make for an amazing salad bowl.
Oh and toasted sandwiches… leftovers belong in a jaffle maker. Which brings me too…
3. Rethink toast: Because sometimes simple food is the best food. Toast is not just for butter and jam, peanut butter or vegemite. All these things are great but try to think outside the box. Vegetables can top toast, as can left overs, as can eggs. And not just boiled, most work places have a sandwich press in whatever kitchenette area is on offer, sandwich presses make perfect fried eggs, with no need for oil. See the first recipe below for instructions on how to do this. You can also top toast with a variety of different homemade dips for some yumminess. Or just go with avocado – for an idea on how to amp up avocado toast see the second recipe below. Toast can also be made into toasted sandwiches – the best sandwich of all – there’s a recipe for this just after the smashed peas.
Smashed Peas on toast, with a sandwich press egg.
1 cup peas
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs feta or parmesan (optional)
2 Tbs mint
1 Tbs parsley
1-2 radishes sliced or quartered
1 slice of bread, toasted
Mash everything but the radish, egg and the bread together until combined, season (this can be done at home if you’re taking it to work). Turn sandwich press on, once hot crack egg onto hot plate, leave open. Cook until white has completely set and yolk is mostly set. Turn off place a heat proof bowl over the egg and leave for a minute or two. Remove with either a wide knife or spatula. Top toasted bread with the pea mash the radishes and the egg season. Enter toast heaven.
Avocado on toast with coriander, lime, black pepper and sesame.
1/2 an avocado
2 slices of toast
2 Tbs coriander
black pepper and salt
white or black sesame seeds.
Slice avocado lengthways and place on toast. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze lime, sprinkle seeds and coriander on top. Eat your delicious lunch. Probably should serve with a green salad.
Pumpkin, basil, rocket and provolone toasted sandwich.
2 slices bread
equivalent of 1/2 cup .5cm thick sliced cooked pumpkin (left over roast pumpkin, steamed pumpkin if you slice and steam it will cook super quick)
4 large basil leaves
a very small (as in a child size one!)handful of rocket (baby leaves if available)
2 teaspoons chives
2-3 tablespoons fresh or firm mozarella or provolone
Optional: dijon mustard, parmesan
Heat sandwich press, not stick pan or jaffle maker. Layer ingredients on to 1 slice of bread, top with other slice. Cook until golden in sandwich press. Sprinkle a 1/2 tsp of parmesan over the top slice of bread before cooking if you’re feeling cheesy.