Healthy and tasty lunch ideas

Healthy and tasty lunch ideas

Hi, I’m Georgia. Some of you may know me from customer service but in a past life I was a chef! 

As a meal-prep chef for many years, the main concern I heard from customers was the struggle to get into the rhythm of fitting in simple/healthy mid-week meals around a crazy work/family schedule. That's why we started this meal prep series. Here's a link to my first blog if you missed it.

A quick lunch doesn’t always have to be beans on toast! I’ve put together 3 easy recipes that you can keep in the fridge to make lunch time a bit more exciting – and hopefully stress free. 

My chicken caesar salad recipe 

I love this salad. You’ll never feel hungry after this one. My dressing is made with cashews instead of egg, so it can easily be vegan if you leave out the cheese, and swap the chicken for a protein of your choice.

Ingredients for the dressing

  • 70g cashews
  • 3 tbsps rapeseed oil
  • 25g parmesan/or nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 lemons
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple/honey
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tbsp Bare Biology's Life & Soul omega-3 liquid 

Salad

  • 150g of white loaf, using up a stale or a day old loaf is a bonus
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • A splash of olive oil
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1x little gem
  • 30g watercress
  • 50g shaved parmesan
  • 70g edamame beans/broad beans
  • 4x smoked lardons/smoked streak bacon/ or vegan bacon pieces
  • 2x chicken breasts

Step 1

Cover the cashews with freshly boiled water and set to one side. Cut the chunk of white loaf into 2cm squares and pop onto a baking tray. Season with a sprinkle of garlic powder/black pepper/salt and drizzle with olive oil. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden at 160 degrees. 

Step 2

Pop the chicken breasts on a baking tray. Season the same way as the croutons and cook in the oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees.

Step 3

While the chicken is cooking, prep the salad. Roughly chop the little gem and add to a salad bowl. Mix through with the watercress.

Boil a full kettle. Add your edamame/broad beans to a colander if frozen and pour over the boiling water. Then rinse with cold water – your beans should be defrosted and ready to add to the salad, along with the shaved parmesan.

Step 4

Fry your bacon/ lardons or vegan bacon in a drizzle of oil until crispy. Pop to one side until cool, along with the chicken once cooked through. 

Step 5

Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a blender and blitz up until smooth. If very thick, add water until a pourable consistency. Add a touch more salt/pepper if needed.

Step 6

Roughly slice your bacon if rashers, and finely slice your chicken breasts. Sprinkle the bacon, croutons and herbs over your salad, then plate up along with the chicken. Drizzle with the dressing and you’re ready to go!

Flaked salmon, tabbouleh and turmeric dressing

Bulgar wheat is my summer salad staple, and go to salad base. You can pop any protein/ veggies with it, but this is my personal favourite combo.

bulgar-wheat-salad

Salad

  • 2x salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp zaatar
  • 60g bulgur wheat (quinoa for a gluten free option)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1x small aubergine
  • Small bunch of parsley
  • Small bunch of mint
  • 50g toasted flaked almonds
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • Half a cucumber
  • Half a block of feta
  • 70g olive mix (Halkidiki /Kalamata Olives)

Dressing 

  • 10g fresh turmeric
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2tsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 150g greek yoghurt
  • 1x lemon
  • ½ tsp ground coriander

Step 1

Pop the almonds onto a tray and toast in the oven (170 degrees) for 10 mins or until golden. Set to one side.

Then pop the salmon fillets on a tray and sprinkle them with zaatar, salt and drizzle with oil. Cook at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set to one side as well.

Step 2

Chuck the bulgur wheat into a saucepan with the spices and salt. Cover with boiled water and simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the grain is soft but still has a bit of bite.

Step 3

In the meantime, prep the veggies and feta. Halve the cherry tomatoes, finely cube the cucumber, feta and the aubergine, roughly chop the herbs. Combine the feta and olives. Set them to one side.

Step 4

Heat a frying pan with oil and fry the aubergine until golden – sprinkle some salt, garlic powder, cumin and ground coriander when you give them a flip half way through, just to add a bit of flavour. Mix the aubergine through the bulgur wheat. Once cooled stir through the herbs and add a drizzle of rapeseed/olive oil if needed.

Step 5

To make the dressing, blitz the honey, oil, salt, turmeric, ground coriander, lemon and a third of the yoghurt until smooth. Empty into a bowl and stir in the rest of the yoghurt. You can blitz all of the yoghurt at once – it will just go thinner.

Step 6

Bowl up the feta and olives, tomato, cucumber and bulgur mix. Flake the salmon into the bowl. Sprinkle with almonds, drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

Vegan Ramen

Ramen is a great spring soup as it’s filling, but not too heavy as the weather warms up. It can also be one of those ‘everything but’ type of meals, so you don’t have to stick to the ingredients list if you already have different veggies hanging about in the fridge.

A little prep is required, but hopefully not too much for a lunch - and it’s very quick to bung together once the miso broth has been pre-simmered. Most of the chunky bits can be fried up quickly in a pan!

Miso Broth

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Thumb-sized piece ginger
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp tahini (optional)
  • 1litre good-quality vegan/mushroom stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tbsp mirin/rice wine vinegar
  • 1tsp honey

Ramen ‘chunky bits’

  • 25g ready-to-eat beansprouts
  • 1 carrot, peeled and stripped/cut into thin match sticks
  • 200g firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp shichimi togarashi (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 15g shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 head pak choi, quartered
  • 100g (2 x nests) noodles of your choice – I like to avoid wheat and go for rice noodles
  • 25g frozen sweetcorn
  • 25g frozen edamame
  • To serve, all optional: spring onions (finely sliced), sesame oil, chopped coriander, crushed peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, crumbled sheets of nori, shichimi togarashi (Japenese 7 spice).

Step 1

Crush the garlic with the back of a knife. Cut the ginger into slices and bash those with the knife handle. Then pop both ingredients into a saucepan with the miso, tahini, stock, mirin, honey and soy. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and bubble for 10 mins until the ginger is soft. Strain into another pan and throw away everything left in the strainer.

Step 2

Meanwhile, fry the shitake in a drizzle of oil for 5 minutes and set aside. Toss the tofu through the cornflower, salt and Japanese 7 spice (if you don’t have this spice you can use an alternative, such as toasted sesame seeds and cayenne pepper) and fry in a drizzle of oil for 4 minutes on each side, or until golden. Be careful not to excessively turn during frying or it will fall apart. Cook the noodles until al dente, or just cooked through. Drain and leave in the pan with a tiny bit of cooking water so they don’t stick together.

Step 3

Add the pak choi, edamame and sweetcorn to the broth and gently reheat for 1-2 mins until the greens have wilted and the sweetcorn/edamame have defrosted.

Step 4

Bowl up the noodles, ladle over the broth. Top with the tofu, shitake, beansprouts, carrot, spring onions and a drizzle of sesame oil, plus any other toppings of your choice.

Enjoy!

By Liv Evans

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