Spiced lentil soup 0

Top Lunch Ideas 04/25/11

Vanessa de Asecencao shares some delicious and healthy lunch ideas.

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  • Salads

Lime and Coriander Couscous
Serves 6

1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime rind
Juice from half the lime
2 tablespoons of fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, finely chopped

1. Place couscous in a heatproof bowl, add boiling water, cover and stand for 5 minutes.
2. Toss through lime rind and juice, coriander, onion, pepper, and cucumber.
Serve in small pots with a large leafy salad, and veggie crudités.

Tabouli salad
Serves 4

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup cracked wheat (bulgur)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 olive oil

1. Place tomato, wheat, lemon juice in a bowl, and stand for 30 minutes, or until the wheat has softened.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and toss to combine.
Serve with plain yoghurt and Lebanese style bread.

Veggie Sesame Salad
Serves 4

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
4 cups savoy cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, grated
1 large zucchini, grated
1/3 cup honey soy dressing, salt reduced

1. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds, and cook for 2-3 minutes until golden.
2. Place cabbage, carrot and zucchini in a large bowl, add dressing and two-thirds of the seeds. Toss to combine, top with remaining seeds to serve.

Chickpea and Tomato salad
Serves 4

400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Combine peas, onion, tomatoes, and coriander in a bowl. Add vinegar, and oil,and toss to combine.
2. Cover in plastic wrap, and stand for 30 minutes for flavours to develop before serving.

Crunchy Broccoli Salad
Serves 4

1 head fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Xylitol (optional)
1 cup reduced fat mayo
1 cup sunflower seeds

1. In a medium bowl combine the broccoli, onion and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and mayo. Pour over the broccoli mixture,and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow flavours to develop.
2. Before serving, sprinkle over the sunflower seeds.

  • Soups

If you have facilities at work to reheat food, soup is an excellent healthy lunch option. Alternatively, you could bring a thermos flask of soup if you don’t have kitchen facilities, or your work involves a lot of travelling.

Spiced Lentil Soup

2 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
600g carrots, washed and coarsely grated
140g split red lentils
1L hot vegetable stock (reduced salt)

1. Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 minute, or until they start to jump in the pan and release their aromas. Scoop out about half of the seeds with a spoon and set aside.
2. Add the oil, carrots, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have swollen and softened.

3. Whizz the soup with a blender until smooth. Season to taste and finish with a sprinkling of chilli flakes.

Veggie Fritters
Serves 4

1 small carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1/4 cup corn
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1/3 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup whole meal flour
3 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Combine carrot, zucchini, corn, parsley, cheese, eggs, and flour in a bowl.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan, add a tablespoon of mixture, flatten slightly, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden.
3. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to cool. Then refrigerate wrapped in plastic in lunch boxes (2 each).
Serve with veggie crudités and hummus dip.

  • Sandwich Style Lunches

Sandwiches are the classic lunchbox option, but they don’t need to be boring!

To keep your sandwiches fresh wrap in plastic, and store in the fridge overnight in lunch boxes.

In the morning pop a frozen bottle of water into the box to keep your lunch completely cool, the bottled water will also serve as an ice cold drink for you later on.

Hummus and Veggie Wraps
4 multigrain wraps
1/2 cup reduced fat hummus dip
1/2 baby cos lettuce, leaves torn
150g tabouli (see recipe above)
1 small cucumber, cut into ribbons
1/2 red capsicum, sliced

1. Place wraps on a flat surface. Spread with hummus along the centre of each wrap, top with lettuce, tabouli, cucumber, and capsicum.
2. Roll up firmly, tie with small amount of string if necessary to keep together, wrap in plastic, and transfer to lunch boxes.

Greek Sandwich
1 large wholegrain bread roll
1 medium red pepper, sliced
2 small tomatoes, sliced
1 small cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup olives, sliced
100g feta cheese, crumbled

1. Half the bread cross ways. Fill the base of the bread with pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and feta.

Some more ideas:

Gazpacho: Combine half a kg tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and a couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, with a little more olive oil.

Fresh Herb Pasta: Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta.

Eggplant & Feta: Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds.

Spicy Garlic Quinoa: Sauté 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Meanwhile, grate Pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook the quinoa. Toss all together, along with crushed dried chili flakes and salt.

Rich Vegetable Soup: Cook asparagus tips and peeled stalks or almost any other green vegetable in vegetable stock with a little tarragon until tender; reserve a few tips and purée the rest.

Easy Mezze: Combine hummus on a plate with tzatziki (yoghurt laced with chopped cucumbers and a bit of garlic), plus tomato, feta, white beans with olive oil and pita bread.

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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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