Five Healthy Vegetable Packed Lunches For Two {Grain and Dairy Free}!

recipe

Five Healthy Lunches

There are a couple of questions that I always tend to be asked when I'm chatting to someone that I haven't met before. The first one is "how do you make a living blogging?" and the second is "Why aren't you morbidly obese?". My eating patterns are nothing short of crazy because my job involves at times eating huge amounts of rich food (all in the name of research) and I'm an essentially lazy person that hates exercise and isn't very tall. So I often find myself trying every trick in the book to stick to my clothing size.

Five Healthy Lunches

One thing that seems to work for me is avoiding having multiple meals out in one day if at all possible. If I know that I am going out, I'll try and eat my other meals healthily. We do one weekly fruit and vegetable shop and eat from that. Admittedly our vegetable crisper barely fits all of it in. I have a voraciously hungry husband but luckily he eats anything fruit or vegetable like. And for the past while I've been sharing some of my super healthy lunches on Instagram and a few of you have asked for the recipes for them.

Five Healthy Lunches

It got me to thinking. I was chatting to my trainer Nina and she goes grocery shopping every day and loathes it. She just can't seem to get a list of tasty, healthy meals so it's usually a trudge to the supermarket and an omelette and a salad every day. I asked her if she would find it helpful if I gave her a list of things to buy at the start of the week that she could use to make healthy grain free and dairy free lunches for two that wouldn't have anything going to waste. She was very excited about that idea so I decided to set myself a challenge and buy things that I would use in their entirety because wastage isn't really necessary with some planning (and I've got a great way to finish everything off at the end too ;) ). And all of the recipes had to be easy because you really don't want lunch to be a huge production.

Five Healthy Lunches

My shopping list read like this and was mainly made up of Winter vegetables in season (except for cherry tomatoes but they happened to be plentiful when I went). I shop at the markets so prices do fluctuate every week but it wasn't expensive, especially when you compare the cost of buying a lunch every day.

{Shopping List Fresh}

1 head fennel
1 lemon
200g/7ozs. or 4 medium beetroot
1 bunch mint
2 zucchinis
1/2 small purple cabbage
1 avocado
2 sweet potatoes
1 x300g/10ozs. chunk of pumpkin
1/2 head garlic
2 inches fresh ginger
200g/7ozs. cherry tomatoes
3 red capsicums
200g/7ozs. salmon or chicken
200g/7ozs. prawns

{Shopping List Pantry}

Sesame oil
100g/3.5ozs. walnuts
25g/1oz. pumpkin seeds
500ml/17.66 fl ozs. coconut milk
Vietnamese rice papers (sorry we won't use the whole packet but there are loads!)
Nutritional yeast
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour

Five Healthy Lunches

I always think of my in laws when I eat these.

On Sunday before the working week started I did a lot of roasting (the beetroot and the sweet potatoes) and cooked the prawns. On Wednesday I made the coconut pancakes ahead of time and on Friday I pretty much took the easiest route to making sure that all of the vegetables would be used by roasting everything that I had left over and making a soup!

Five Healthy Lunches

I was really surprised at how tasty all the dishes were and how well I worked when eating these. They were filling and I powered through work rather than wanting to fall asleep. The only protein that I used was seafood based but you can replace that with eggs if you want. I can't say that I would necessarily eat both lunch and dinner like this. For me, I love eating other food way too much but for me it's a matter of balance. A healthy lunch and then something perhaps not quite as virtuous for dinner ;) I mean you know me right?

So tell me Dear Reader, do you have any healthy eating tips? How much do you usually spend on lunch? Do you eat out or make something yourself usually?

Day 1: Prawn & Shaved Fennel Salad With Creamy Coconut Dressing

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella

Serves 2 people

  • 200g/7ozs. prawns, shelled
  • 1 head fennel
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint plus extra 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter, melted
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • Salt and pepper

Five Healthy Lunches

Step 1 - Line a baking tray with foil and heat grill to 220C/440F. Mix the 1 teaspoon of mint and butter/coconut oil together and baste the prawns with it. Grill for 3-4 minutes.

Step 2 - Trim the fennel and shave it very thinly. Drizzle with lemon juice to prevent it from browning. Mix the mint with the coconut with a pinch of salt to make a dressing and dress the fennel with this. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3 - Plate the fennel salad and top with the prawns.

Day 2: Beetroot Pesto "Spaghetti"

Five Healthy Lunches

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella, inspired by Cook Sophie Cook Makes enough for 2 plates of "spaghetti"

  • 200g/7ozs. roasted and peeled beetroot (4 medium sized bulbs), cut into chunks
  • 50g/1.5ozs. toasted walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 bunch mint
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (also sold as "savoury yeast flakes")
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 zucchinis, peeled or skin on (peeled looks more like spaghetti but skin on has more nutrients)
  • You will also need a spiraliser

Step 1 - Process the beetroot and walnuts in a food processor along with garlic, mint, lemon juice, olive oil and nutritional yeast. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

Step 2 - Place the zucchini in a spiraliser and make noodles. Toss with the beetroot pesto and and serve with extra black pepper.

day 3: Vietnamese Grilled Salmon wraps With Coconut Sesame & Ginger Dipping Sauce

Five Healthy Lunches

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella

Serves 2 (makes 10 wraps)

A warning: these are filling!

  • 8-10 small rice paper wrappers
  • 200g/7ozs. salmon or chicken
  • Kecap manis or tamari (if you want it gluten free)
  • 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 1.5 cups purple cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 bunch mint
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 red capsicum, sliced into 10 strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • Pinch of salt

Step 1 - Slice the salmon or chicken up into strips. Marinate the salmon or chicken in a mixture of kecap manis or tamari and fresh ginger for 10 minutes. Pan fry or grill until done. Set aside.

Step 2 - Dip the rice paper rolls in cold water and place on a clean surface to roll. Add some purple cabbage, mint leaves, a slice of avocado, a piece of capsicum and a piece of the chicken or salmon. Roll up and repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Step 3 - Whisk the coconut milk, sesame oil and ginger. Add a little salt and use it to dip the wraps into.

Day 4: Salad and pancake plate

Five Healthy Lunches

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella

Serves 2

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, roasted
  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cherry tomato
  • Coconut pancakes*
  • 1/4 or 1/2 avocado
  • Optional extra: fried egg

Step 1 - Blend the sweet potatoes, walnuts, garlic and oil together. Add a little to blend if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2 - Add the purple cabbage, tomato and avocado to the plate and place the dip next to it along with the coconut pancakes.

Coconut pancakes (makes enough for this and the soup below for 2 people)

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • Extra virgin olive oil for frying

Mix the ingredients together in a jug and ladle table spoon full of batter on a hot skillet or frypan. Turn over when bubbles appear. This will make a lot of pancakes but divide them in half and save the other half for the soup below.

Day 5: Roasted "Cheesy" Vegetable Soup With Coconut Pancakes

Five Healthy Lunches

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott/Not Quite Nigella

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 x small pumpkin or squash
  • Rest of punnet of tomatoes
  • 3 x Red Capsicum, seeded
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or to taste)

Step 1 - Roast the squash/pumpkin, tomatoes and capsicum together in a 180C/350F oven with the oil until roasted through and soft (about 40-50 minutes or so).

Step 2 - Blend with the vegetable stock. Add nutritional yeast and season to taste. Top with pumpkin seeds. Serve with coconut pancakes from the day before.