You know how it goes – it gets to Sunday night and you realise you’ve not made any lunch for the next working week and you have no idea what to make. Maybe you work somewhere where you can grab and on-the-go sandwich instead , if so lucky you! I however currently work in the middle of nowhere and the only shop within five miles has a vegan section consisting of pot noodles, crisps and not much else. It’s also way cheaper to take your own lunch and if like me you’re currently saving up for that non existent house you’ll never be able to afford, then every saving counts!
Below are a few filling, healthy and most importantly easy lunch ideas that can be prepared in advance to save yourself some of that Sunday night dread.
Batch cook chilli
Starting of with one of my favourite go-to lunches that never fails. Making up a load of chilli is super easy and you can make as much or as little as you want, meaning you can freeze loads of it for another time. All you need to do is fry onions and garlic, add in your veg (peppers, mushrooms, whatever you fancy) with some chilli powder and paprika until soft, add in your choice of ‘meat’ (I usually stick with Tesco soya mince or lentils ), chuck in some tinned tomatoes and kidney beans (the ones in chilli sauce are the BEST) and leave it to simmer for about 15 minutes. Once you have this, you can team it with whatever you fancy! Rice, couscous, salad, potatoes, the list is endless. Split it into separate storage tubs and freeze for when you need it.
When you google ‘vegan curry recipes’ a lot of the results will tell you to make your own sauce from scratch. This is a lovely idea but let’s face it, who REALLY has the time? In my opinion there is nothing wrong with using shop bought curry sauces in a jar. All you have to do then is decide on your curry ingredients. I normally try and use up any random veg I have that looks like it’s on the way out, tofu, potatoes or lentils. The choices are endless! I’m still a little bit wary of reheating rice so I normally soak a load of couscous to have with it. Again, split your curry & couscous into separate storage tubs and freeze for when you need it.
As we all know, pasta is one of life’s greatest food groups and should not be limited to just dinner time. It could not be easier to boil up some pasta, add some free from pesto and veggies to create a super filling and delicious lunch. I’ve recently discovered pea pasta which is not only DELICIOUS but counts as one of your five a day. What could be better?! Other topping ideas include your favourite sauce or cheese, houmous and salad.
Sometimes you really just want to eat a sandwich for lunch, don’t you? Well thanks to the influx of new vegan products it has never been easier to create a tasty sarnie. Quorn vegan ham and chicken slices are amazing for this and taste great with a slice of your favourite vegan cheese and some salad or pickle. Linda McCartney sausages are also one if my go-to sandwhich fillers – so comforting!
When the weather is good I think it’s quite nice to make a ‘picky’ lunch, so you can pretend you’re having a picnic and definitely don’t have to go back to the office in half an hour. I know that a packet of Rivitas sound bloody boring but I have recently become a convert! Teamed with your fave meat alternative or dairy free cheese, vegan mayo and a salad they are actually super tasty and surprisingly filling. Plus, it doesn’t take much preparation as you can put it all in a lunchbox and make them up as you’re eating it!
Okay so this doesn’t taste EXACTLY like tuna but it’s sooo tasty, easy to prepare and makes enough for a good few days. There are loads of variations depending on your taste but the basics are: one can of chickpeas, vegan mayo, mustard, onions, sweetcorn / peppers, lemon juice and black pepper all smooshed (technical term) together in bowl. I don’t use exact measurements because I’m a rebel (read as: lazy) but use the amount of each ingredient that you desire and it will taste delicious. It’s a perfect sandwich filler or jacket potato topper. It’s even ideal with just a salad.
As the colder months are on their way it only seemed fair to include trusty soup on this list. Luckily for us there are a generous amount off decent shop-bought soups available now, one of my favourites being lentil dahl from The Coop. However, it is actually pretty easy to make your own and some recipes barely require any ingredients at all. You can batch cook a load and freeze it ready for those cold days, giving you one less thing to remember.
I hope this list has given you a few ideas! The best thing about all of these lunches is that they can be easily varied so you never get bored of eating the same thing all the time. However if you still run out of time to prepare your own, I highly recommend heading to your nearest supermarket near closing time and picking up reduced items – there is nothing worse than food waste and you can get amazing bargains!
Let me know below whether you try any of these out. or have any other lunch time favourites.