The Weekend Series: desk lunches that don’t suck courtesy of Lettuce Lunch

There’s nothing worse than being (figuratively) chained to your work desk all through lunch. Whether it be because of tight deadlines or simply a mountain of work that must get done, sometimes it’s not feasible to go out for lunch when you want. Desk lunches are an unfortunate necessity of office life, but it’s rarely a source of culinary inspiration. If your desk neighbour is giving you some fierce food envy with their freshly bought lunch or you are sick of your bland sandwiches and tinned tuna, we suggest improving your meal prep game. We recruited the services of Carlton Talbot of Lettuce Lunch to give us some killer recipes to try. Lettuce Lunch is a thriving recipe repository that educates thousands on nifty vegetarian meals that are perfect for work. Without further ado, here are five lunch boxes that’ll be the talk of the office – we guarantee it.

twe-lettuce-lunch-05Watermelon jelly wedges
We have decided to lead with the most impressive option. Simply assemble a medley of fruit, salad and protein as normal, then freeze some watermelon jelly into lime halves for an adorably sweet treat. Blow your coworkers away when you whip these babies out. Fun lunch is whenever you want it! This one is paired with some baked satay tofu and a rainbow fruit salad.

  1. Cut a medium lime into equal halves
  2. Mix up some watermelon jelly crystals and let them cool to room temperature. Optionally, if you have some watermelon on hand then add some watermelon juice to the jelly to boost the flavour
  3. Pour into the lime halves
  4. Chill in the fridge
  5. Once completely set, carefully cut each half into smaller wedges

twe-lettuce-lunch-01Portobello pizza
Leave the refrigerated Domino’s leftovers at home – opt for something infinitely more healthy and satisfying. Layer some delicious pizza toppings on top of a Portobello mushroom, roast it and then layer it over a base of fresh greens. Stir up even more jealousy by prepping some kalettes and peach muesli to accompany the mushroom goodness.

  1. Find one large portobello mushroom, remove stalk, and turn it upside down – this is your pizza base!
  2. Pour on a splash of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and roast it in an 180° oven for ten minutes
  3. In a bowl, mix 80g tomato paste with a teaspoon of minced garlic and a pinch of mixed Italian herbs to make pizza sauce
  4. Remove the mushroom from the oven and coat in the sauce, then cover with your favourite vegetables
  5. Cook in the oven for another ten minutes

twe-lettuce-lunch-02Chocolate-coated figs
If you are terrible at eating breakfast before work, we suggest making it with your lunch and bringing both to the office. This one is truly decadent, but also guilt-free. Dip some figs in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with toppings, then enjoy with your morning muesli or granola. For lunch Carlton suggests a Thai tofu over avocado and broccolini salad. Sounds good to us!

  1. Melt 80g dark chocolate
  2. Cut fig in half and dip these into the chocolate
  3. Sprinkle with your favourite toppings – we love pistachios and rose petals!
  4. Chill in the fridge

twe-lettuce-lunch-03Protein balls
The only thing as crucially important as eating right at work (in addition to doing the work properly, of course) is ensuring you are getting in some exercise. Some of us forego our lunch break to get some reps in at the gym, others rise extra early to get a pump on. If you are adding exercise into your daily routine, make sure you are replenishing your energy with wholesome snacks. Protein balls are easy to make, and will make sure you get enough of a boost to stop those 3:30 pm snooze urges. Still feeling hungry? Pair the balls with a lunch of roasted vegetables and fruit salad.

  1. Mix two tablespoons of protein powder (vanilla or unflavoured) with oats, raw nuts, cacao powder, honey, some shredded coconut, a tablespoon of coconut oil and some soy milk
  2. Ratios are not too important so make it to your tastes – as long as it sticks together!
  3. Use your hands to roll the mixture into balls, then roll them through some chia seeds for texture
  4. Cool in the fridge until hard

 

twe-lettuce-lunch-04Crumbed Tofu
Tofu gets a bad rap from a lot of people, but it’s exceptionally versatile and a saviour for those that need something extra in their salads or stir-fries. Fry up some goodness and add it to a range of dishes – there is no wrong choice with tofu, only how far you can push your imagination! Carlton has served the tofu over vegetables, salad and black rice, with a vegan-kewpie cucumber salad and some fruit to finish.

  1. Cut firm tofu into squares and press to remove excess moisture
  2. In a bowl, mix two tablespoons of plain flour with an egg substitute, 30 g of quinoa and a pinch of smoked paprika
  3. Dredge the tofu in the mixture
  4. Fry until browned and crunchy

If you’d love more ideas for your next al desko meal, head to Lettuce Lunch’s website or follow Carlton’s creations on Instagram

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