A few easy and tasty lunch options

My work office has a canteen which produces some very nice food, however to eat there every day quickly gets expensive.  Instead, by and large, I prefer to cook my own lunches and take them in (or use up leftovers from my evening meals J).

I usually try to cook options that have plenty of flavour so that they work well either hot or cold.  I also try to go for dishes that, provided I’ve kept them in the fridge, will still be okay towards the end of the week.  I don’t really diet, but do like to try and eat plenty of vegetables and keep things generally healthy at lunch so I can indulge in the evenings if I wish.

Finally I tend to stick to meals which are quick and easy to prepare with not too much washing up.  If I’m going to spend hours creating a dish I want to enjoy it hot and fresh at home on a plate rather than from tupperware in front of my screen at work!

Here are a few of the dishes I’ve cooked over the last month or so.

One of my favourite autumn/winter vegetables is pumpkin.  It’s extremely versatile and has a brilliant ability to take on strong flavours without being overpowered so I end up using it in a lot of different dishes.  A flavour that it pairs particularly well with is chilli and so I recently made some Chilli and Honey Roast Pumpkin and Red Onion Couscous.

Chili and Honey Roast Pumpkin and Red Onion Couscous

Chili and Honey Roast Pumpkin and Red Onion Couscous

This is a really simple dish to cook.  You just need to roast some pumpkin cubes and red onion wedges coated in dried chilli flakes and honey and then combine with some couscous, lemon juice and mint (and some raisins if you like them – I love them in couscous)

Another simple lunch flavoured with chilli’s is the very healthy and light Roasted Tomato Pasta.

Roasted Tomato Pasta

Roasted Tomato Pasta

This involves roasting some lovely cherry tomatoes in a little oil, garlic, paprika and chilli and then combining roast tomatoes with pasta. The juices from the roasted tomatoes make up the bulk of the sauce so it’s really healthy and if you’re being strict with your calorie intake then the amount of pasta can be reduced accordingly.  This is one of my favourite no fuss lunches and a great way to use up tomatoes that are a bit past their best.

A little more time and a tiny bit more effort goes into my Mustard Lentil Salad, but it’s still a really easy dish to whip up.

Mustard Lentil Salad

Mustard Lentil Salad

Boil the lentils, drain and set aside.  Then sauté carrots, onions and leeks before finally adding some hazelnut saucisson (or just hazelnuts if you’re vegetarian/vegan) and mixing with the lentils, some mustard and some good flavoured oil.  My personal favourite oil for this is pumpkin seed oil.  I love the deep green colour and I adore the flavour even more! I was introduced to it but some friends and now use it on nearly every salad I make.

Finally it’s back to pasta again for Fennel, Lemon and Mascarpone Pasta.

Fennel, lemon and marscapone pasta

Fennel, lemon and marscapone pasta

Another simple option, with this you just gently sauté the fennel with some thyme and garlic until it’s wonderfully soft and them combine it with the pasta and the mascarpone.  When I created  this I needed to use up some mascarpone, but crème fraiche or plain yoghurt would work just as well.

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