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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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Herby Pork Steak & Pesto Smothered Veg

Herby Pork Steak & Pesto Smothered Veg

Tender pork steak with pesto pasta & roasted vegetables – the tasty way to get your five a day!

Healthy, delicious and cheap, at only 76p per serving.

OK, so maybe not all of your 5-a-day, but three out of five ain’t bad! Plus, the pasta & veg combo is perfect for meal prep (see this glorious example of a packed lunch box). Although, to be fair, it really is more of a vessel for that mouthwatering rosemary & thyme coated pork steak!

This dish isn’t the quickest recipe on my site (see here for those!) but, honestly, most of the prep time is taken up with removing the skin and chopping up the awkward butternut squash. If you do want a faster prep time, you can buy packs of it ready-prepared in chunks. But that does obviously cost a bit more, and your girl here is all about saving money over saving time!

We first had this dish in a Gousto box and could not get enough of it then, cooking it several more times after. It’s a yummy one for dinner but I love how well it works cold as a packed lunch recipe. It’s really good with orzo, as per the original dish, but I’ve found that sometimes orzo is expensive — or you can’t find it in the supermarket — so I’ve substituted it for the kind of tiny pasta you normally get in hearty winter soups, which works just as well.

Would highly recommend Gousto if you’re looking to try one of those recipe box companies, by the way — they’ve got such a huge selection of recipes to choose from every week and they’re almost always delicious! Susie Verrill sums them up really well in this post if you want to read more.

Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 30 mins | Servings: 6
Cost? I paid £4.57 for everything

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Full Instructions

Marinade the meat:

3 pork loin steaks (~300g); 10g fresh thyme (finely chopped); 10g fresh rosemary (finely chopped); ½ tbsp oil; salt & pepper

  1. Cover both sides of the pork steaks in the chopped herbs, drizzle with oil, and season with salt & pepper
  2. Leave these to marinade in a dish or bowl while you prepare the rest of the ingredients

Prepare and roast the vegetables:

200g butternut squash (skinned & cut into rough chunks); 300g courgette (rough chunks); 200g red pepper (rough chunks); 2 large red onions (cut into eights); 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar; ½ tbsp oil; salt & pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C while you’re chopping your veg
  2. Combine all of the rough cut veg in a roasting dish or baking tray with the balsamic vinegar, oil, and salt & pepper before roasting in the pre-heated oven for 25–30 mins, until everything is cooked through
  3. Remember to turn everything over a few times during the cooking process

Meanwhile: cook the pasta & the pork steak:

200g tiny pasta or orzo; marinaded pork loin steaks

  1. While the veggies are roasting, boil a kettle and cook the pasta/orzo according to the packet instructions
  2. When done, drain and set aside until the veggies are cooked
  3. Put a frying pan (preferably with a matching lid) on a high heat and, once hot, add the pork steaks (no need to use oil as the pork is already coated in it)
  4. Cook the pork for about 2 minutes per side with a lid on and then another 1 minute per side with the lid off (this makes them go all crispy and delicious!)
  5. When golden & cooked through, remove the pork from the pan and, when cool, transfer to an airtight tub and leave in the fridge until needed
    *tip* to check whether the pork steaks are cooked or not, take one out and cut it in half — it’s done when it’s no longer pink in the middle

Finish the dish:

cooked pasta; roasted veg; 60g pesto; salt & pepper; cooked pork steaks

  1. Mix the cooked pasta into the roasted veg with the pesto and season
  2. Transfer to an airtight tub and leave in the fridge until needed
  3. In the morning, slice the pork and serve on a bed of roasted veggie, pesto pasta
    *tip* if you’re short on time, slice the pork right after cooking it, but otherwise leave it whole in fridge as it will stay more moist and tender that way

The Hungry Hungry Husband - the hunt for the perfect packed lunch and meal prep recipes

pork steak & roasted veg pesto pasta meal prep
The recipe works really well, hot or cold, for a delicious packed lunch

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