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Minimal effort, maximum taste: the best packed lunch recipes

These exciting, delicious dishes are cheaper than chips… and healthier, too!
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Green Quinoa Bowl

Green Quinoa Bowl

A gluten-free, green bowl of goodness.

This healthy bowl, full of fresh flavours and complementary textures, won’t leave you disappointed — or hungry!

For me, this vegan quinoa bowl is the perfect dish that is both super healthy and yet also rather indulgent at the same time. I think it’s something to do with the sophistication of making your own pea purée — something I always associate with my brother’s more refined culinary skills — but maybe that’s just me?! Either way, it’s still a really easy dish that takes clean eating recipes to another level.

I came across the original recipe, ‘Nutty Pea & Quinoa Bowl’, on Deliciously Ella‘s food blog and immediately wanted to test it out on The Hungry Hungry Husband. Unfortunately this now appears to have been taken down, so it’s a good job you can find a version of the recipe here instead! Admittedly, his initial response was “Looks like it could do with a bit of chorizo chopped up into it!”, but he did try it nonetheless. Unfortunately, he wasn’t 100% won over, still balking at its lack of meat… Ah well, I can’t win every battle! In my opinion, though, those tamari-seared almonds bring the unmistakable umami flavour hit you get from meat, which I’m counting as a win for the vegan, green quinoa bowl regardless!

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Servings: 5
Essential kit: blender/food processor

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Full Instructions

Cook the quinoa & peas:

  1. Boil a kettle
  2. Once boiled, add 120g quinoa & then double that much boiling water to a saucepan (i.e. a 1:2 ratio of quinoa:water) — just use whatever receptacle you measured your quinoa into and then add twice that much water, no need to weigh the water!
  3. Pour boiling water from the kettle over 300g frozen peas to defrost them
  4. Bring the quinoa to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 12–15 mins
  5. When it’s done, drain the water and set aside for now

Toast the almonds:

  1. Put a large frying pan on a high heat and, once hot, add 75g almonds and ½ tablespoon tamari/soy sauce
  2. Keep moving them around the pan, letting them catch a little and get darker
  3. After only a few minutes, they should have absorbed all the liquid and start to smell really good — take them off the heat and set aside

Cook the greens:

  1. Roughly chop or rip up 100g kale, discarding any tough stalks, and dice up 2 courgettes
  2. Using the almond pan on a medium heat (no need to wash it!), add 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 2 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped), and ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  3. Once it’s bubbling, add the kale & courgette and sauté for 5–10 minutes until everything is soft and the kale has reduced down
    *alternatives* If, like The HHH, you prefer your lunch with a little meat in, simply add 100g diced chorizo in at this stage
  4. Remove from the heat

Make the pea purée:

  1. Add 200g of the defrosted peas to a blender or food processor with the juice of ½ lime, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and some salt & pepper
  2. Blend until smooth, then transfer to an air-tight container, and leave in the fridge until needed

Finish the dish:

  1. Mix the cooked quinoa with the greens mixture, the remaining 100g peas, ½ tablespoon tamari/soy sauce, and a drizzle of olive oil
  2. Season to taste, transfer to an airtight container and pop in the fridge

In the morning:

  1. Dish a portion of the quinoa mix into your chosen lunch box
  2. Add a good dollop of pea purée and scatter over a handful of tamari almonds

*hot option* take the 3 elements to work separately, pop the quinoa mix into the microwave for a few minutes, and then add the pea purée and almonds afterwards

Final thoughts from The Hungry Hungry Husband?

“It’s great as a vegetarian dish, but I’m still having mine with chorizo in, please!”

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