There’s not many people who won’t find at least one flavour of soup they enjoy and it’s also a great meat-free or vegan lunch option. Bulk out delicious vegetable soups with your favourite choice of beans such as black bean, butter bean or even chickpea which also gives you that much needed protein element.
Consider classics such as roasted tomato and basil, pea and mint, fish chowder, or great flavour combinations such as chunky chickpea, kale and tomato soup (chorizo is a perfect addition for meat-eaters) or our very own recipe for mushroom, hazelnut and coconut soup.
We love this apple, pecan, feta and spinach salad with maple cider vinaigrette. This recipe by Cooking Classy is super easy and doesn’t require any cooking time at all. Simply chop up and put into a portable container, then reserve the vinaigrette recipe in a smaller pot so that you can freshly dress the salad immediately before you eat it.
If you’ve got a little more time on your hands to cook up a storm with this roasted sweet potato, rocket, and wild rice salad. Use cashew nuts for the protein/fat or exchange for feta if you are allergic to nuts.
As for salad dressings - keep them intolerance/allergy-friendly by always making them yourself! Recycle jam jars and add simple ingredients like lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard. The dressing will keep well in the fridge and just shake up in the jar before pouring some over your salad.
There are some exciting gluten and wheat free options even when it comes to the traditional “on the move” lunch – the humble sandwich.
Wraps. Mexican corn-flour tortillas are naturally gluten-free which is pretty great news for sandwich fans who are trying a wheat or gluten-free diet for the first time. Wrap up your favourite fillings - grilled chicken with a couple of slices of juicy tomatoes and salad leaves, or halloumi cheese and roasted mediterranean vegetables - and you’re away.
“Open”/breadless sandwiches. Why not take the flavour combinations of timeless classics and simply ditch the bread? Our top tip is to use a couple of the outer bowl shaped leaves from an iceberg lettuce to keep your breadless sandwich ingredients together. Because you’ve lost the “carb” element of your lunch, you will probably want to bulk the meal out with your favourite green leaves or a healthy grain such as quinoa (which is also protein packed!).
Soda bread mini-toasts. Our gluten-free soda bread toasts are perfect for daytime snacking. We have got four delicious flavours to choose from: multi-seed and cumin, honeyed-almond and rosemary, cranberry and hazelnut, and the very versatile mutliseed. Eat with a little pot of our homemade roasted red pepper houmous.
Healthy, home-made noodle pots are your very own version of pot noodles but healthier and even tastier and all you need is a kettle! This great version by Gluten Free On a Shoestring includes a recipe for DIY vegetable bouillon which makes the lunch a fab gluten and MSG-free noodle dish. Use chicken or make it vegetarian by using firm tofu cubes as your main source of protein.
If you have access to a microwave it’s even easier to cook up delicious leftovers so just make sure to cook twice (or more) of your dinner to bring in the next day!
So there are our top tips for healthy, gluten-free and allergy-friendly lunch ideas. Got a favourite packed lunch recipe? Tweet us @FoodsofAthenry and let us know!