Planning the perfect fix to pack in the lunch box every day, be it for the kids or for a long work day, is a real challenge. Not only does it require careful planning and assessment of health and nutritional benefits but the bigger challenge always seems to be coming up with variety. And more so if you are looking for vegetarian alternatives!
To make the process easier for you, here is a ready reference of ten super-easy to make and delicious to eat vegetarian recipes that pack well for lunch. So forget all your worries about planning for a nutritious meal, simply add the ingredients to your
Quinoa and kidney beans
Sauté 1 chopped onion, minced garlic and some chopped bell pepper lightly on medium heat and add quinoa to the mix. Cook quinoa as per instructions using water or vegetable broth. Add canned kidney beans, corn and season with salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper and cumin. Cook till the water is absorbed and voila, a protein packed meal is ready!
Spinach and Corn tortilla rolls
Combine 1 cup of thawed spinach, half a cup of corn, a packet of ranch dressing mix, 1½ cup mayonnaise and a handful of sun dried tomatoes in a bowl. Spread the mix onto a tortilla and season with salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon. Roll up the tortillas, grill for 5 minutes and pack!
Cook a pound of penne or bow tie pasta al dente. Add ¼ cup basil pesto, a can of kidney beans or chickpeas, ¼ cup crumbled mozzarella or feta cheese, olives, sliced cherry tomatoes, 1/3 cup fresh corn and 3 tbsp. ground jalapenos and avocado. Sprinkle salt and let it marinate in the lunch box.
Coconut rice with Brussel sprouts
Cook 1 cup rice in ¼ cup coconut milk and 1 and ¾ cups water. Meanwhile in another bowl mix 1 tbsp. soy sauce with minced garlic, 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp rice vinegar, 2 dry red chilies, sugar, salt and 2 tbsp. water. In a pan cook Brussel sprouts and green onions until tender. Layer the rice with the greens and generously garnish with the sauce. Decorate with basil, avocado and lemon slices and enjoy your packed meal at lunch.
In a large casserole or pan sauté minced garlic, fresh sprigs of thyme, chopped basil leaves and 1 cup chopped onions. Add sliced eggplants, zucchinis and bell pepper and fry these for around five-ten minutes until the veggies are golden and soft. Stir in a can of tomatoes, a tsp. of balsamic vinegar and good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and cover and cook for 30 minutes. Garnish with lemon zest and basil and enjoy with toasted bread!
Pita packed veggies
Cut oven toasted pita breads into half and slice them open to form pocket. Generously laden these with your choice of hummus and veggies like cucumber, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and bell peppers. Add either crushed avocado or guacamole. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. You can pack the pita breads and the stuffing separately and combine them just before you eat your fresh meal.
Sweet corn fried rice
Sauté minced garlic and sliced onions on medium flame. Add chopped bell peppers, carrots, corn and cilantro to it and fry till tender. Switch off flame, add cooked rice and season with salt, pepper, black cayenne pepper and olive oil. Mix well and pack when it cools down!
Zucchini- raisin muffins
Mix 2 cups of flour with ½ cup sugar, ½ tsp baking soda, 1.5 tsp baking powder and ½ tsp cinnamon powder. Mix and make a well in the center. Add a cup of applesauce, 2 tbsp. oil, ¼ cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla essence and combine into a stiff batter. Stir in a cup of chopped zucchini and ½ a cup of raisins, chocolate chips and walnuts each. Divide the batter between 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 mins at 200 degree Celsius. Let them cool on a rack before you pack!
Stir cooked rice or quinoa with salsa. Top with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro. Generously pour over chipotle cream sauce as dressing. Chipotle sauce can be packed separately to be added just before eating!
Slice a zucchini into thin strips akin to pasta or noodles. Boil these strips for around 2 minutes and drain. Mix in cherry tomatoes to these zucchini strips and keep aside. In a blender, blend in an avocado, a few drops of lime juice, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, garlic, walnuts, salt and some water. Pour this sauce over the zucchini-tomato mix set aside. Pack and enjoy at lunch!