Add extra flavour to your day with Bec Dickinson’s quick and easy lunchtime recipe, and be inspired with her top food preparation tips, both taken from her debut cookbook ‘Love Your Lunches’. As part of our At Work With series.
Lunch, the little half day hero. The sweet small moment of rest and rejuvenation that is inevitably made better when spent tucking into a meal packed full of fresh flavour. Although, with the madness of a busy working day, the presence of homemade lunches in the office have fallen to the back burner and we’re greeting the midday break with soggy sandwiches and shop bought meals.
Planning lunches in advance will be the key to success. Ear mark any recipes that jump out at you and set a shopping list to make sure you’re geared up. Keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with staples is also a way to make sure a good lunch is never far off. If you frequent a desk for your working week, a drawer of desk drawer staples will provide the little extra finesse your lunches need to elevate them up a notch. Fill it with jars of toasted nuts and seeds, dried herbs for garnish, simple dressings, and of course, salt and pepper.
One of the most underestimated lunch hacks comes in the form of a jar. Not only is this way of presenting your lunch easy on the eye, the practicality of the packaging verges on genius. Bring your salad to work without the dread of a soggy mess. Most meals can last up to a working week in the fridge. Simply tip the contents of your jar into a bowl and lunch is there, ready to go. Successfully creating an ‘all-in-one’ lunch jar comes down to the simple art of layering. Once you have the method figured out, you can go to town with your own personalised meal. Your jars need to be wide-mouthed with tight-fitting lids – the tighter the seal, the longer your greens stay crisp. The key rules to creating your jar lunch is to place wet ingredients at the bottom and ingredients that need to stay dry at the top.
Balsamic, Pomegranate & Rocket Jar Salad
This has all the elements a salad should: acidity, crunch, freshness, bite and sustaining power so it can stand alone as a meal. It can also last up to three days in the fridge as an added bonus.
(Makes 1 lunch portion, fills 1 x litre jar)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
50 g green beans
¼ small red onion, sliced
½ avocado, peeled, stoned and cubed
½ pear, finely sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp pomegranate seeds
70 g cooked freekeh
Small handful of Parmesan shavings
4 tbsp walnuts, halved
Small handful of watercress
Small handful of rocket
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Dressing: pour the balsamic and olive oil into the bottom of the jar and swirl to combine, then sprinkle in the seasoning.
2. Hard vegetables: blanch the green beans by bringing a small pot of salted water to the boil and cooking for 2 minutes or until bright green, then immediately remove and shock in ice cold water (this can be done the night before). Add the green beans and onion to the jar.
3. Soft fruit: add the avocado and pear, with lemon juice on top to prevent both going brown. Then add the pomegranate seeds.
4. Grains: spoon in the freekeh.
5. Protein: sprinkle over the Parmesan.
6. Crunch: add the walnuts.
7. Leafy greens: pack in the watercress and rocket.
8. Seal: tighten the lid, and store in the fridge. Tip into a bowl to serve.