Archive for the 'Work lunch ideas' Category

Quick work lunch ideas

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Monday – the usual routine – wake up a few hours earlier than you did yesterday, zombie through the morning on a couple of coffees, counting down the moments until you get to battle peak hour traffic or trains to get back home to gradually recover and hope that Tuesday is a bit better.   That’s usually how it goes for me if I’ve had no exercise and ate badly on the weekend.  I try to be healthy Monday – Thursday and then enjoy a bit more indulgent food from Friday night onwards.  Let’s face it, there’s not much to do to catch up with friends than to do it over lunch or dinner or drinks :)     So after a weekend of bad eating, how can you give your stomach a bit of a rest as well as your wallet?   Here are a few things I’ve been having which have made it quite pleasing to be healthy on Mondays to start the week.

1) Tuna sandwich. Sounds boring eh?  But when you use tuna in oil (no, not the cat food like springwater one), it’s quite tasty.   I’ve stirred through a tablespoon of pesto into the drained tuna and had it with mesclun and very thinly sliced cucumber.  Today, switched the pesto with a thick spread of avocado and very ripe roma tomatoes.  It helps if you use yummy bread too, like sourdough or toasted turkish.

2) Grilled vege and Moroccan chicken wraps – Your Moroccan spice mix is your best friend. Or any spice mix really.  Slice an eggplant, 2 zucchinis lengthways.  Turn on your oven to the highest setting and spray with oil.  Season and bake until soft.  While this is happening, oil your chicken tenderloins and sprinkle with the spice mix and grill.  Sure, your veges won’t have the pretty grill marks – but your chicken will – and really when it all goes down who cares you’re not having a dinner party after all!  I like to have this with rocket and use lebanese bread or a tortilla wrap.  If you like, ditch the rocket and put cheese in it and press in your work sandwich griller (after you clean it from last week’s dirty colleague that is!).

3) Vege patties – microwave a cup of sweet potato cubes until soft.  Mash in with a can of drained chickpeas, a handful of chopped coriander, a teaspoon of ground coriander and generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and an egg.  Shape into patties and put in your fridge to firm up.  Once firm, panfry in a few tablespoons of oil.   Have these with sweet chilli sauce and a side salad.

4) Noodle stir fry – heat a tablespoon of oil, add some julienned ginger and crushed garlic, and stir fry until fragrant.  Add julienned veges of choice (cabbage, red capsicum, carrot and zucchini hold well, as does baby corn) and cook through.  Add a packet of pre-cooked hokkien or udon noodles, as well as quarter cup of chicken stock, a splash of dark soy and a splash of oyster sauce to taste.  Keep tasting to make it saltier if you like, and add a tiny few drops of sesame oil.

5) My favourite freezer lunch that I make ahead is chickpea, harissa and tomato soup.  It’s SO easy.  One can of chickpeas, drained, one can of diced tomatoes, one chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic and 1/4 bunch of coriander.  Heat oil and saute some ground coriander, garlic and onion until soft and fragrant.  Add chickpeas and tomato and a cup of stock (or half a cup if you prefer runnier soups).  Simmer with a generous squeeze of harissa, and then get a blender and whiz half the soup.   Mix it back with the chunky soup to make a stew and stir in the coriander also.  This soup freezes SO well, with the added bonus that it doesn’t spill when you take it into work.

As for snacking – I try to stick to fruit and also drink water instead of vending machine cans.  It’s apparently meant to make your skin glow, not to mention save your teeth. And obviously, less juice as it’s better to eat whole fruit for more fibre.  The biscuit jar is a no no too!  I’ve made a banana bread (low fat one) and cut it into slices into the freezer.  Date loaf is good too and both provide a sweet treat at hand for your cravings.

Hmm this post has sounded more like a diet/nutrition one but anyway, I hope that you start your week fresh and healthy until you gradually slide into Friday’s chips and drinks hahaha.

More work lunch ideas

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

So the search for meals that can be frozen and thawed that still resemble their original state continues. Soup got me through many days during the winter. It can be frozen, cooked in large batches, and best of all when it’s frozen in single serves, it doesn’t spill when you take it to work. Just leave it at your desk to thaw, but leave some paper towel under it cos of the condensation. My favourite is vegetable soup minestrone style: chopped carrot, celery, onion, capsicum, tomatoes cooked with garlic, chicken stock, a can of tomatoes, barley, mini pasta and parsley.

Chickpea stew also works – a can of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, and half a litre of chicken stock. But first saute a chopped onion with 3 cloves of garlic. Add the other ingredients, some paprika and some chilli flakes. Puree half the soup and add chopped coriander.

As always, spag bol freezes very well. i make a huge batch of sauce and freeze it individually, then I boil some pasta the night before and take out the sauce to thaw at the same time. The reason is that Id ont’ like the water that leeches out, and I also don’t like overcooked pasta. WHen you make that huge batch of spag bol sauce, use some of it for lasagna too. I always add red wine to my spag bol as I think it just makes the flavour all that much deeper, and a crumbled in beef stock cube. To make it low fat, always make your own mince. Add more chopped veges (the sofrito – carrot, onion and celery) to make it also less heavy. And again, a sprinkle of chilli flakes :)

Some thing you may not have known – risotto also freezes well! I make it a cheat’s way. Equal parts stock and risotto with a chopped onion that’s been sauteed in some butter and garlic. Cover the oven tray tightly with foil and bake at 220 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring half way. Add chopped cooked mushrooms, peas, and parmesan at the end and stir in a knob of butter with your seasoning for good measure.

And last idea for today – chicken and roast vegetable wraps. A very efficient way of grilling veges without slaving over the stove is to lay sliced eggplant, zucchini and capsicum on an oiled oven tray. Bake until soft, sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can assemble these wraps with roast chicken and some pesto and cheese. Hopefully your work has a sandwich griller, your sandwich will be the envy of your workmates and cheaper than the $10 that they charge in Sydney!

Vego Frittata

Monday, March 30th, 2009


This is my interpretation of a pumpkin and leek lasagna from Australian Good Taste magazine.  I never would have thought that something with no meat could be SO tasty, such that I even relished leftovers!  It makes a great work lunch too.


  • A wedge of pumpkin, chopped into 1.5cm cubes
  • 250g of baby spinach
  • Clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 200g sliced mushrooms.
  • 1/3 cup of cream
  • 1 handful of chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used parsley, basil and oregano)
  • A handful of vintage cheddar cheese, grated

frittata 2.jpg


Tuna Pasta Salad

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

tuna pasta salad.jpg

This recipe is from my friend Jo. It’s also something that can be prepared the night before for lunch. Take 1 cup of cooked spiralli pasta (I use wholemeal as it’s lower GI), a few halved cherry tomatoes, some sliced capsicum, and a few rocket leaves, and make a dressing of 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1.5 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Season to taste, and add a can of drained tuna in olive oil.  If you’re taking it to work, dress everything except the rocket, and place the rocket on the top of your lunchbox, and keep the tuna separate.  Low GI, high protein lunch – easy!