Whether you are taking lunch to work or preparing a lunch at home, preparation time is often limited.
Eating something sustaining will help to power you through the afternoon ensuring you don’t get a mid-afternoon energy slump, so a small amount of time invested can pay big dividends.
So I’ve come up with 3 convenient, quick to cook lunches that can also be easily made to taste divine!
Couscous has to be top of the list for speed and ease. You can use either Barley or Wheat couscous. Technically, you do not cook couscous…you simply pour boiling water over it, cover and walk away. Generally it is found to be easy to digest, yet filling and sustaining.
- 100g couscous
- 120ml boiling water (for wheat couscous) 200ml (for barley couscous)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ lemon
Place the couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
Cover the bowl with a plate. After a couple of minutes lift the plate and fluff up the couscous using a fork, if the couscous has absorbed all the water it is ready, if not cover with the plate again and leave for another minute or so before checking it and fluffing it up again.
Liberally add some olive oil and the juice of half a lemon to it, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Couscous Topping Ingredients
- 1 stick of celery (astringent)
- 1 fennel bulb (sweet & sour)
- 1 large handful of kale (bitter & astringent)
- 1 centimetre cube of fresh ginger finely chopped (pungent)
- A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds (sweet)
- 1 tablespoon cashew nuts (sweet)
- 4 fresh basil leaves (sweet, pungent & astringent)
- (for a non-veg version add your choice of finely sliced, well sourced white meat or fish)
- Splash of olive oil (sweet)
- Salt and pepper (salty and pungent)
Simply place all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan and lightly fry in olive oil for a few moments before adding a little water to steam/simmer the kale. Place a lid on the pan and lightly cook for 5 minutes keeping an eye on it that it doesn’t dry out, while the couscous is absorbing the water. Pop the couscous and the topping into a Tupperware and save until lunchtime.
Couscous can be quite drying but by liberally covering it in oil and lemon, and serving it with nuts and seeds or meat and fish helps to make it more nourishing and grounding as an ingredient.
In Ayurveda there are 6 tastes, ideally each meal should contain each taste to promote a well- functioning digestive system, the above recipe does so.
Soba noodles generally take between 3 and 4 minutes to cook. They are usually a mixture of buckwheat and whole wheat grains. They can be cooked, drained, rinsed in cold water and drizzled with a little oil to keep well until lunchtime. Top with the same recipe above or create your own with whatever you have in the fridge, try to think about a range of tastes in the mix. Topping Suggestions:
- Spring greens, shredded carrots and fresh peas or beans
- Diced butternut squash, red chilli, sage and chestnuts
- Sprouted mung beans, peanuts and kale
Pancakes are such a versatile food. They can be made with every type of grain flour, with eggs, without eggs, eaten savoury or sweet. They are quick and easy to make, and store well tool!
Once made they can be filled with ingredients such as the recipe above plus a little soft cheese to give an added creaminess. You may want to squeeze a little excess water out of the topping before rolling it up in the pancake, otherwise you could have a very soggy pancake by lunchtime!
Buckwheat Pancake Recipe
- 50g buckwheat flour
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100ml water
- 1tbs yoghurt
- 50g buckwheat flour
- 1 egg
- 50ml water
- Ghee for cooking
Combine the ingredients. Heat a frying pan for a minute or two, the heating appliance should be turned up to 3/4 of its hottest setting, to test if the pan is hot enough splash a few droplets of water onto the pan and see if they jump and fizz.
Then add a touch of ghee to the pan, leave for a few seconds to get hot and then pour in half a ladle of batter. Lift the pan and tip from side to side encouraging the batter to thinly cover the base of the pan. Bubbles will form in the pancake and the edges will start to lift up slightly from the base of the pan, this indicates it is ready to turn. Turn the pancake over and finish cooking it on the other side, this only takes a few moments before it is ready.
The eggless pancakes can be a little prone to sticking to the pan. Make sure that your pan is well seasoned (unless it is a ‘non-stick’ pan) and is heated to a high temperature first before adding the ghee.
More Recipes will soon be available in my forthcoming cookery book.