This post is intended for anyone who needs new ideas for their lunch break, or for people who are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle who are at a loss to know what to have.
I have laid out 10 ideas that I believe are: really quick to make (because most people only get an hour for lunch); are adaptable to suit your taste; and are very simple to make.
Initially when I went to write this post I was thinking of people who have the luxury of being able to come home for lunch, but they are usually pushed for time because they only have an hour. In this case, everything on this list can be prepared there and then, and enjoyed before two o’clock.
But most people have to stay in the office for lunch and bring in their own packed lunch or go to the canteen or café.
The majority of these ideas can be made in advance, either that morning, or the night before, and stored in lunch boxes. This one pictured, the Eco-lunchbox, is good because it has different compartments and isn’t made from plastic. 🙂
See below for my 10 simple and healthy recipe ideas for a quick 1 hour lunch break.
SALAD AND RELISH WRAP
This is a great one because you literally can put anything in it. Anything at all!
I’ll give you a list of possible fillings and you can mix and match as you see fit, depending on your own taste.
|Wholemeal||Peppers||Red onion chutney|
|Gluten free||Grated carrot||Jalapeno relish|
|Cauliflower (diced fine and raw)||Hummus|
|Beetroot (I like the pickled stuff)||Vegan mayo|
|Gherkins (I wouldn’t do beets and gherkins in the same wrap)||Vegan mayo and relish mixed|
|Finely sliced red onion (soaked in lime juice first sweetens it)|
Now an important tip is that you should try and cut all your veg into long thin strips this way you can line the veg out in a straight line down the middle of the wrap. It makes it far easier to wrap it then.
By the way the actual wrapping part does take practice but I like to use a knife to push everything in while I’m wrapping it. It helps tuck the veggies in and roll it. Then I cut it in half like a sandwich. But if you prefer to wrap it burrito style it really makes no difference!
SOUP AND CRUSTY BREAD
So you likely only have an hour for lunch so I’m not suggesting you make your own soup.
However…you could make it the night before and then you’d have a batch for the whole week.
But if you can’t be bothered there are plenty of nice wholesome ready-made soups out there now. Mainly in the health food shops but we’ll give the supermarkets a bit of credit.
You could stock up with either cans or plastic tubs of soup at the start of the week. And again, always try and get organic, and if that’s not possible at least get the least processed soup and the least salty!
Salt is a killer for putting weight on. Not fat though, just water weight. It makes you hold onto water and it might look like fat on our bodies but it’s really not and it goes away faster than fat too.
And same goes for the bread. Organic is best but it’s near impossible to find so just try and get the least processed. And if you’re coeliac you may want to toast your bread because it usually tastes a bit stale if not…!
GRILLED VIOLIFE CHEESE ON TOAST
Am I promoting cheese here?? No……………kind of!
I want to help people who are transitioning to a plant-based diet wean themselves off their usual unhealthy easy lunchtime fixes. And Violife cheese is an amazing substitute!! It’s nearly the exact same as normal cheese except is doesn’t melt as well, but it does melt well for a vegan cheese! Taste is on point though.
So how could you refuse a puss-free, casein-free, non-toxic, non-cholesterol laden grilled cheese on toast? It’s easy to make, it tastes good, it’s quick so it’s perfect for rushed lunch times…it’s the shizzle people.
If you’re traditional you could just go with plain cheese but other options include: relish as a spread, cherry tomatoes, onion, scallion, mushroom etc. You get the idea.
I would suggest toasting the bread with the cheese and toppings under the grill but you could also just use a toastie maker. Whatevs!
COUS COUS (or quinoa) WITH DICED SALAD VEGGIES
Ok so this one might take a few extra minutes to chop up the veg but again this is something you could make a big batch of the night before.
What this lunch would consist of is: cous cous as a base or quinoa to make it gluten free, and then a variety of diced salad veggies, seeds or nuts, dried fruit and a splash of dressing, all mixed together.
Look up online how to cook cous cous or quinoa (gluten free) if you don’t already know but it’s ridiculously simple. Basically you just soak the cous cous in boiling water for a few minutes (while you prepare the veggies). Quinoa is made more like rice but doesn’t take as long.
I would recommend using vegetable bouillon in the water you cook the cous cous or quinoa in because it just gives it more flavour. A dollop of harissa too if you like it spicy! Just plop it in while it soaks/cooks.
Here are some options** to add to the cous cous for the salad: red onion, pepper, cucumber, scallion, sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, pomegranate seeds, raisins*, dried apricot*, pistachios*, walnuts*, pumpkin seeds*, coriander, chickpeas, avocado, radish, spinach etc.
*Don’t use more than one kind dried fruit in the one salad. The same goes for seeds and nuts.
**Make sure everything is diced fine because it makes it lovlier…!
RICE CAKES WITH VEGAN SOFT CHEESE TOPPED WITH APPLE OR PEAR SLICES AND CHUTNEY
Again with the cheese. There is a lovely Violife soft cheese that I have tried and tested,
but, if you can’t get it check your local health food shop for a different one. Or if you live in a city your supermarket might have a good “free-from” soft cheese.
Rice cakes are fun because you can literally top them with anything at all. For lunch time I suggest cream cheese with thinly sliced apple and pear and a nice relish or chutney on top.
I like Ballymaloe relish but there are a bazillion out there. And by all means experiment with toppings!
HOUMOUS WITH CARROT, CELERY AND RED PEPPER STICKS AND PITTA BREAD
Today I ate nearly a full head of celery with a little tub of low fat red pepper hummus. It was tasty and reasonably filling. If you don’t think you could stomach eating that much celery you could also cut up carrot sticks and strips of red pepper and also toast some pitta bread.
Again the possibilities are endless I’m just giving you the ideas!
3 BEAN SALAD
You can get three bean salads in cans so you don’t actually have to use three different cans of beans here!
To the bean mix I would add: finely diced red onion or scallions (or both) and diced coriander (or cilantro if you’re American). So simple!
And a nice dressing would consist of apple cider vinegar, maple or agave syrup (or sugar if you’re stuck), and a squeeze of fresh lemon or orange juice. This is to substitute oil which most recipes will tell you to use.
For quantities for 1 person try a tablespoon of each liquid and then taste it to see if it’s too acidic/sweet and adjust it accordingly! Serve with some lettuce leaves or in a wrap or pitta pocket.
BROWN BAGEL WITH MASHED AVOCADO, LEMON JUICE, CHERRY TOMATOES, SCALLIONS AND LETTUCE
This idea looks very specific compared to the rest but that’s because I made this exact bagel this summer and it was the bee’s knees.
It’s so easy: just mash everything up in a bowl then put in a bagel with lettuce. Obviously add your own toppings if you feel the need.
Yes I swear this is nice! I got tofu sausages from the health food shop and grilled them and made a sausage sandwich just like you would with regular sausages and it was spooky. Honestly the flavour was so similar!
However because I grilled them the sausages didn’t really take on a brown colour…they’re quite white but if you fried them in oil you might be able to get the effect of actual sausages. But I do not agree with using oil! I’m just saying.
Apple and beetroot salad
I got this idea from the Happy Pear recipe book recently. It was devine! I was so surprised at how nice it was. And so SO quick. You could definitely whip this up and have 5 portions eaten by two o’clock.
What you need for one person is: One raw beetroot, one apple, a handful of pumpkin seeds, some lettuce or spinach leaves, maple syrup, and balsamic or apple cider vinegar.
Grate the beetroot.
Slice the apple into thin slices.
Toast the pumpkin seeds.
Toss all together.
Add a splash of the syrup and vinegar.
Adjust dressing quantities (if needed)
Toast 2 slices of your favourite bread (or pitta bread)
Lay out leaves in a bowl.
Put salad mix on top.
Enjoy on/with toast.
Now these 10 recipes are all unbelievably simple and relatively quick to make.
BUT I personally do not think there is enough in one of them. So I would make two of these options and have them together. You can play around with the different ideas and figure out which you like to have together.
A salad wrap would be nicely accompanied by a 3 bean salad. And a cous cous salad would go well with a side of carrot and celery sticks with hummus. Just mix and match till you’re full!
I recommend eating whole, organic foods with an abundance or fruit and vegetables. I do not recommend oil or processed foods. I have included some vegan cheese options though for anyone who has cheese cravings. It’s perfectly ok…as long as it’s not all day every day! But I would definitely avoid oil at all costs!