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Healthy, whole food lunches

Five easy lunch recipes that can be made in bulk and frozen

By Business Rules for LifePublished 2 years ago 3 min read
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Healthy, whole food lunches
Photo by Sanket Shah on Unsplash

Throughout my health and wellbeing focus last year, my diet was something that I've never totally let go of in any one month. This is in part because my work week lunches are always in line with how I want to eat.

I've got into a good routine of making my lunches in bulk on Sundays, but I've also got a good set of easy-to-make batch recipes. They fit my diet plan as they are not based on processed carbs and feature plenty of vegetables which I swap out depending on the season. I make use of pre-cooked canned legumes to avoid the long soaking times that come with the dried types.

These lunches can also be frozen so I can build up a bit of freezer stock. This gives me variety during the week from whatever batch I made on Sunday, and keeps me on track even if I'm away for the weekend and can't prep.

Here's five of my favorites.

Fabada (with cannellini beans)

Before you write in, this is not a traditional fabada! I use a spicy sausage like chorizo or Csaba for maximum flavor without needing to actually cook the meat, and add much more veg that you would usually find.

  1. Fry off 250g of chopped chorizo or Csaba to release some of its oils and give it a tiny bit of color.
  2. Turn the heat down and sweat off two chopped onion, followed by a couple of cloves of chopped garlic.
  3. Turn the heat back up and move the cooked ingredients to the side of the pan. Fry off chopped red pepper and courgette in the hotter center (substitute with other veg like aubergine or green beans for variety or seasonal availability).
  4. Add two cans of chopped tomato, two cans of drained cannellini beans and a handful of drained black olives.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. I don't usually need to any other flavor as the sausage does all the heavy lifting, but you might add chili and oregano.

Black bean salad

  1. Dice red pepper, courgette and green beans (I make them about half a cm to give a nicer salad consistency) and fry them off.
  2. Add the veg to two drained tins of black beans (I use a pre-made mix of black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans).
  3. Dice red onion and pickled, charred red peppers and add these to the mixture.
  4. Just before eating, add a small tin of tuna to your portion and a splash of cider vinegar for dressing.

Red lentil curry

  1. Sweat off two chopped onions, a couple of sticks of chopped celery, a couple of garlic cloves and some ginger.
  2. Push the cooked ingredients to the edges of the pan and turn the heat up. In the center, fry a couple of diced carrots and two diced red peppers until soft.
  3. Add a jar of red curry paste and cook out. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, two cans of drained lentils and a can of coconut milk or cream.

Thai green curry with chickpeas

  1. Sweat off two chopped onions. Fry diced courgette and green beans.
  2. Add a jar of Thai green curry paste and cook out. Add a can of coconut milk or cream, and around 400 mL chicken stock (or enough to make it a soup-like consistency).
  3. Add chopped broccoli and simmer until soft. Add two cans of drained chickpeas.

Quinoa soup/stew

Quinoa is super easy to make in a rice cooker, and I like to have it as a side to meal or as part of a salad. But it also works really well as something to bulk out soups, and in fact this is the way you will commonly see it served in Bolivia where the grain originates from. Here's my take on these kinds of dishes:

  1. Fry diced sweet potato until it gets some color on it. Turn the heat down and sweat off chopped onion and garlic.
  2. Add pre-cooked quinoa, and enough chicken stock to give your preferred consistency.
  3. Add roughly chopped kale or chard and wilt this down.
  4. When I've re-heated my portion ready for lunch I add some cubed feta and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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