In these austere times you will no longer find me in the queue in Pret eyeing up a deluxe bento box and a lemon cheesecake pot. These days I trot off to work sporting a spotty lunch bag containing all the goodies I need for the day – prepared by my own fair hand that very morning.
Sandwiches are of course a lunch box staple and few would disagree that with an endless choice of fillings they are tasty and simple to prepare. Sarnies day after day can get a bit on the tedious side however and so I like to mix it up a bit with easy to prepare lunchbox alternatives.
Here are some of my favourites, why not give them a try and get out of your cheese and pickle rut!
MORROCAN COUSCOUS WITH CHICKEN (for 2 people)
I absolutely love couscous, partly because I am lazy and it is stupidly simple to prepare but mostly because it compliments some of my favourite flavours. This has to be one of my favourite lunch box meals. I often make it with left over chicken from the night before and if there is no chicken kicking about then I have also substituted it for either avocado or tinned tuna.
Measurements are a bit vague and you can add a pinch more of this and a splash more of that depending on your own tastes.
Make couscous according to pack instructions ( I often do this the night before and pop it into the fridge)
In the morning add the following to your cous cous (based on cous cous for two people) : handful of pine nuts, juice of one lemon, generous glug of olive oil, nice pinch of cayenne, teaspoon of cumin, half teaspoon of cinnamon, handful of sultanas, shredded chicken and some chopped mint if you have some.
Mix it all up and pop it straight into your lunch box – honestly it takes 5 minutes.
MEDITERRANEAN ROAST VEG WITH COUSCOUS
When I’m making dinner I will sometimes pop some chunks of Mediterranean veg into a roasting tin along with garlic and a decent splash of olive oil, so that I can throw this lovely lunch together the following morning. Aubergine, red onion, courgette, peppers – any combo of these vegetables will do.
Make your cous cous according to packet instructions and roast your chosen veg – chopped up into good-sized chunks – with some garlic and a generous splash of olive oil until they are gloriously sweet and sticky. Once roasted and cooled, pop into the fridge. ( I do all of this the night before)
In the morning add some chopped basil, juice of half a lemon, a handful of chopped olives and a good glug of olive oil to your cous cous, mix it all together and top with the beautifully roasted vegetables.
PITTAS WITH MANGO CURRIED CHICKEN (for 2 people)
Okay okay so this is technically a sandwich of sorts but I am including it because it is super-duper tasty. It is my take on coronation chicken.
Left over roast chicken or a couple of roast chicken fillets cut into smallish chunks, flesh from half a mango cut into small chunks, 2 spring onions, about 2 tbs of mayonnaise and one tbs of natural yogurt, a hearty pinch of curry powder (half teaspoon)
Mix well and serve in mini pitta’s with a bit of rocket to green it up a bit
SPICY TUNA AND BEAN SALAD
I am new to cold beans. For most of my life the concept has seemed plain odd, and besides beans have a weird texture – like chewing material. At least that is what I used to think. Oddly I tried them a couple of years ago and now can’t get enough of them. This is a simple tasty bean recipe that I often make for our lunch boxes. You might have gathered by now that I adore food with a bit of a kick so no surprise then that there is and element of spice involved.
Tin of mixed salad beans in water, juice of a lemon, half teaspoon of cumin and a pinch of cayenne pepper, half an onion very finely chopped, the obligatory glug of olive oil, a small handful of coriander chopped.
Mix all the ingredients together and either serve next to some tinned tuna or mix the tinned tuna up with the rest of the bean extravaganza.
As ever my own recipes are a little vague on the measurement front but these are simple throw together concoctions which can cope with variance here and there.
I am always looking for new ideas for lunches so if you have a sarnie alternative that you love – let me know? I will give it a whirl.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/maheshkhanna/786837829/”>Mahesh Telkar</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukechanchan/4840535220/“>ルーク.チャン.チャン</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kugelfisch/3387704295/”>kugel</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>