3 Easy Make-Ahead Lunches for Work

3 Easy Make-Ahead Lunches for Work
Carly Jacobs
This post is sponsored by Woolworths

 

I’m a lunch packer from way back. It always takes a little bit of extra effort but any lunches for work that I bring from home are always much better and cheaper than gross cafe sandwiches or stingy takeaway salads. I don’t always have time of an evening to make sure I’ve got a healthy packed lunch the next day, so if I look at my calendar and see that I’ve got a particularly busy week coming up, I’ll spend my Sundays whipping up a few make ahead meals. That way I’ve got no excuse to not eat healthily because I’ve always got a portioned meal ready to pop in the microwave.

Each of these make-ahead lunches for work are about 250 calories per serve, are packed with veggies and can be made ahead and stored in containers in the fridge ready for you to just grab them in the morning on your way out the door. They’re also great to have ready for mid-week dinners if you’ve had a shocker of a day and don’t feel like cooking.

Sweet Potato and Beef Pie
 
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A healthy, vegetable packed, high protein pie that you can make ahead and store in the fridge for busy weeks.
By:
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 400 gms beef mince
  • 500 gms of sweet potato, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of silver beet
  • 1 large leek
  • 2 tablespoons of macro plain gluten free flour
  • Olive oil
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1½ cups of low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • A handful of grated light cheese
What You Do
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Peel and thinly slice sweet potato. Put sweet potato slices in a single layer on a two baking trays and bake for 15 minutes or until soft. Layer them in the bottom of a large oven proof dish.
  2. Heat oil in fry pan and fry beef until brown. Add leeks and cook until soft. Layer on top of sweet potato in the oven proof dish. Sprinkle the flour over the beef with a little bit of cheese. This will help to bind the pie together as well as soaking up extra liquid from the beef.
  3. Strip the green leaves off the silver beat. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Drop the silver-beet leaves in the boiling water for 30 seconds then drain. Layer on top of the cheese and flour.
  4. Mix ricotta, eggs and half the parmesan cheese in a bowl. Pour on top of the silver beet. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until brown.

Crumbed Eggplant Bake
 
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A tasty and easy to make crumbed eggplant bake. Perfect for taking to work or for an easy dinner when you don't feel like cooking.
By:
Serves: 6
What You Need
  • 3 medium sized eggplants
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 800gm can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 2 cups of macro gluten free bread crumbs
What You Do
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Thickly slice eggplant. Bring a saucepan of water to boil and steam eggplant over the water until it’s very soft.
  2. Spread the bottom of a large oven proof dish with ½ of the diced tomatoes and layer the eggplant on top.
  3. Sprinkle with oregano and pour on remaining crushed tomatoes.
  4. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until brown.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
 
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A cheap, easy and healthy alternative to high fat curries. Packed with veggies and chickpeas, this curry is not only filling it's also super nutritious and delicious.
By:
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • Olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 large tablespoons of Madras curry paste
  • 6 gloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 bunch of coriander
  • 3cm square chunk of grated ginger
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (you can also use coconut flavoured evaporated milk if you can get your hands on it)
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 400gms can of drained chickpeas
  • 2 red capsicums, roughly chopped
  • A large handful of round green beans, trimmed
What You Do
  1. Heat oil in a saucepan and cook onion until soft and brown. Add curry paste, ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomato and stir cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add yogurt, chickpeas, cauliflower (broken into florets) and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add round beans and simmer, covered for another 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Stir through coriander and serve with a spoon of yogurt.

 

All of these recipes are very adaptable. You can add some chicken to the curry if you want some extra protein or replace the beef in the pie with a vegetarian alternative like mushrooms. Vegetable bakes and quiches are also excellent make ahead meals as they keep beautifully in the fridge.

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Do you have any standard make ahead meals that you cook regularly? Do you pack your lunches for work? Or do you just buy a sarnie at the corner shop?

This post was co-ordinated by The Remarkables Group

26 Comments

  1. merilyn 5 years ago

    what a good idea and they look delicious and you know what’s in them!
    uber organized! cheers m:)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Honestly, it’s the best thing you can do on a Sunday. If I have a busy weekend and don’t get a chance to make my meals, I really notice it during the week!

  2. Kelly 5 years ago

    My Dad has a garden full of eggplants and tomatoes at the moment. We are running out of ideas for them all. The crumbed eggplant sounds delicious. Might be on the menu tonight. Thanks for the yummy ideas :o)
    I too, am a lunch packer. I can easily justify my tight-arse tuna on crackers to myself (when other co-workers step out for yummy lunches) by buying flights to elsewhere to eat yummier foods in exotic places!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Totally! I HATE spending money on bought lunches it’s just such a waste. The eggplant bake is my favourite – it’s so cheesy and delicious! Enjoy!

  3. Yep, I’m a lunch-packer from way back too. Vegetarian cafe options get super boring, plus expensive. Sunday arvos are my cook-up time, I make something to last the week at work, plus a few serves of dinners to pop in the fridge/freezer and then I’m set for the week! Makes everything so much easier, and cheaper!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I always do double batches of everything I cook at night too! Make such a difference the next day.

  4. Harlow 5 years ago

    I am SO making the eggplant bake and cauliflower chickpea curry for dinner next week!
    I’ve been trying to only eat meat twice a week now and get excited when I find new yummy vegetarian recipes to try that are easy and full of no bullshit ingredients. Most of the time when I google vegan/vegetarian recipes its all quinoa with quinoa…with QUINOA. And I mean I love that stuff but you know..not in every meal.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh I know right? I also love quinoa but can we all calm down about it now? You can replace the lamb in the pie with something mushrooms? Just a thought?

  5. Cheekie 5 years ago

    I make double of nearly every evening meal for weekday lunches, freezing portions for various emergencies, can’t be stuffed evenings etc. It’s too much effort to cook the following meals for just one meal and I am always cooking with the words ‘leftovers’ and ‘will it freeze ok”.
    Current faves are slow cooked red meat in red wine sauce (any combo osso bucco, lamb shanks, gravy beef, with root veggies), a bolognaise pasta casserole i.e. pastitsio, veggie lasagna, schnitzels, by God everyone loves a schnitzel in their lunchbox, salads, pasta pesto and grated zucchini, those roasted root veggies again on a bed of rocket and balsamic, fetta or haloumi on everything, crispy bacon on any salad, nuts too. i freeze little bags of cooked quinoa too.
    Oh TMI!
    I love your three recipes and going to make them, do they freeze ok?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      They do freeze okay! Best case scenario is to refrigerate and eat it that week but they’re all freezable! Obviously not the salad bits though.

  6. Thank you sooooo much for this! I’ve printed all 3 recipes and will set myself some Sunday homework. x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I was away on the weekend and didn’t get a chance to do it and I missed it so much! Definitely not skipping it this week!

  7. Love your lunch ideas Carly! How do you make healthy food look so delicious? I’m impressed x

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      It’s all about the containers! Everyone loves a lunch box!

  8. Mel @ Formed Design Co 5 years ago

    I am giving these a whirl. Lunch is easily the hardest meal of my day… Every day. And usually results in an on the processed peice of crap!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      It is hard! And expensive! Seriously give them a go, they’re so easy and delicious. Game changers I swear!

  9. countrygypsies 5 years ago

    Some great suggestions here – ill definitely be trying them. Yes I love the ‘from home’ lunch. Tastes so much better! One I love at the moment is a bacon and vegie soup – I make a huge batch on the weekend then freeze it – perfect for lunch on cold winter days. Even the teenagers love it and take it to school where they can reheat it. And I just throw in any veggies – whatever looks good from the market that week
    Here’s the link
    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/22905/bacon+and+vegetable+soup?ref=collections,freezer-friendly

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh that soup looks perfect! Definitely going to try it, thanks for sharing!

  10. Childhood 101 5 years ago

    Awesome ideas, can’t wait to try them. Beats my stale bread, vegemite sandwich that is for sure 😉

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I actually managed to make two of these yesterday for the week ahead. So excited to have proper healthy lunches!

  11. Kate 5 years ago

    I’m a lunch packer from way back too. Now that I work at a school, that doesn’t run a canteen, I have to be organised! I am loving your meals! Kicks my boring salads butt!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      They also great for winter – salads can be too cold!

  12. Bec Thexton 5 years ago

    I am a take-my-lunch-to-work-every-day kinda gal, one day a week I don’t and I make fresh sammys at work (we have a supermarket downstairs.. lucky). If I don’t cook enough dinner and end up with no leftovers my partner and I are at a loss! This is a great idea and they all look deeeeelish.

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