The weekday lunch is debatably one of the most important meals of the week. It is the bench march point midway through the day when we can take a break, refuel and enjoy a moment to ourselves.
When studying, it was this meal that got me through the morning. I would look forward to that moment, sitting on the steps outside Leeds University’s Parkinson library with my flask of soup, leftover hotpot, or a shaved veg salad knowing that the dish I was about to eat would fill my body with tasty goodness and give me the energy I needed to get through a afternoon ahead.
Certainly I believe that what we eat at this meal is hugely important because it can determine our mood, energy levels and work productivity for the rest of the day. Opt for a bowl of pasta, sandwich, or a cheeky curry and you are likely to find yourself falling asleep at your keyboard. What you really need is a healthy option that will fill and fuel you and hopefully keep you away from the temptations of a vending machine mid-afternoon.
That said, the taste is also hugely important, so I have curated 5 of my top lunchtime faves. A mix of lunchbox friendly dishes, or ones that can be easily assembled at your desk.
I’m a total sucker for a good bowl of noodles and these prawn ones are no exception. Fresh, zesty and packed full of flavour, it is the perfect desktop dish. More filling than leaves, but still light and tasty. Simply cook the noodles and dress ahead, throw in some cooked prawns and tupperware it up. Be warned you may encounter a bit of workplace jealously when you whack it out.
I am a big fan of this recipe, not only because it takes seconds to make, but it is also damn tasty too. It requires no cooking, just a little bit of chopping and mixing. Simply as is, the dish is vegan. Beans make a great source of protein, so it is guaranteed to keep you feeling full and energised.
There is honestly few salads I like more than this one. One of the bonuses great things is because it is made with more fibrous veggies, you can make a double batch, dress it and it won’t wilt… unlike leafy salads. The recipe is packed full of coconut, fresh lemongrass, poached chicken and herbs. Super flavoursome and a real celebration of colour and goodness.
You might wonder why I have opted for sweet potato instead of the normal spud. Well, it’s simply because they are a great source of carotene, vitamins a, c and e (all of which are great for skin) They are also faster to cook then regular potatoes and have a more robust taste. I like to bake a couple at the beginning of the week so I have them to hand for fast lunches. Simply slice them in half and dollop with the houmous and avocado when you are ready to eat.
This is a flexible dish that lends itself well to either salmon, smoked mackerel or hot smoked salmon. I often use a mixture of quinoa, pearled spelt and brown rice for a variation of tastes and textures. To speed up the process further, I also buy handy, pre-cooked sachets of grains (I like Merchant Gourmet) and cook the salmon and greens the night before. The herb yoghurt is also a great addition. I recommend yo make a double batch. It lasts in the fridge up to 5 days and can be used with chicken too.