Recipes for easy office lunches

Sick of sandwiches? Try these lunch ideas from the Great British Bake Off 2016 finalist Andrew Smyth, who offers fresh lunch ideas for busy office workers.

Aerospace engineer Smyth says these are efficient lunch choices for small business owners who, like him, frequently eat “al desko” and fancy something a bit different from the humble sandwich. The best part? Each one requires no more than 20 minutes of effort and won’t break the bank.

Nutty griddled pear salad

Smyth says this light salad hits those seasonal notes and his recipe makes enough for two lunch portions.

Pear and walnut salad

Ingredients

70g walnut halves
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 ripe pears
70g whole cooked chestnuts (optional – sold in pouches)
80g mixed salad leaves (I like the peppery Italian styles)
20ml balsamic vinegar
20ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp mixed seeds
Method

Preheat the oven to 160C and scatter the walnut halves over a baking tray. Once the oven is up to temperature, roast the nuts for around 7 minutes until golden brown and sizzling.

Meanwhile peel and top and tail the pears, and slice lengthwise into 1cm thick slices. Heat a griddle pan on a high heat and fry for around 2 minutes on each side until dark golden grill lines are visible. Set aside.

Mix the maple syrup, olive oil and cinnamon, and toss with the hot walnuts once out of the oven before returning to the tray and roasting for another 4 minutes. Leave to cool. Finely chop the chestnuts. Top the mixed leaves with the griddled pear slices and scatter over the candied walnuts and chestnuts. Whisk the balsamic with the oil, salt and pepper, and drizzle over – with the mixed seeds if you like – just before serving.

This is best eaten within a day.

Harissa chicken with spiced couscous

The harissa paste has a little heat, so maybe dial it down if you’re not a spice fan. Makes enough for 2 lunch portions.

Ingredients

200g chicken mini fillets
25g harissa paste
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 tsp olive oil
80g couscous
½ tsp ground cumin
300ml chicken stock
1 lime

Method

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.

Lay the chicken out on a baking dish, making sure that it’s well spaced. Rub the harissa paste generously on the fillets. Bake for 15 minutes, turning the fillets over midway through cooking.

Finely dice the pepper and red onion. Smyth enjoys them fresh and raw with the couscous, but his housemates prefer them lightly fried for a few minutes in a little olive oil.

Mix the couscous and cumin in a large bowl with about 200ml boiling chicken stock (follow your brand’s instructions). You can always drain afterwards if it’s a little wet, or keep some aside and add if it’s dry. The easiest way to do this is in a glass bowl, so you can see the sides.

Mix with a fork then leave to absorb for 5 minutes. Mix in the vegetables and enjoy with the chicken.

This will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Cajun avocado and halloumi wrap

This is a welcome a taste of summer. Makes 1 large wrap or 2 small ones.

Ingredients

80g halloumi
½ ripe avocado
6 cherry tomatoes
½ tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp light crème fraîche
1 or 2 large seeded wraps

Method

Slice the halloumi into ½cm slices and fry off in a hot, dry pan for two minutes on each side until golden brown. Set the halloumi aside to cool.

Halve the tomatoes and add them to the warm pan and heat through with the Cajun seasoning and crème fraîche.

Thinly slice the avocado flesh and layer in one or two wraps with the halloumi and tomatoes. Refrigerate and give it a quick blast in the microwave for lunch.

This will keep for two days. – The Telegraph

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