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Lunch meal prep just got easier with these gorgeous recipes

During the week, a little bit of meal prep can go a really long way. Lunchtimes are precious, and we want to make the most of them, especially now that there’s so much to be taken care of at home.

But I always end up losing precious minutes to making that quick sandwich or putting together a fussy salad – minutes that could be spent relaxing a little, watching your favourite show, getting a walk in or even something as simple as getting around to doing a little laundry.

I decided last weekend to try out a little meal prepping for my weekday lunches and have ended up adding a lot more variety and healthiness to my midday meal. When I don't have to rush, I don't grab the easiest - and often most unhealthy - option. These are some of our favourite lunches that you can batch make ahead of time to save yourself a little bother and some time during the week!

Vegan Chilli

Meat Dish

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 spring onion
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley

Heat olive oil in a pot over a medium heat,

Add the chopped red onion, chopped red pepper and chopped courgette into the pan and allow them to soften by cooking for 10 minutes.

Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

Next add the chopped spring onion, kidney beans and crushed tomatoes and stir into the mixture, allowing it to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve with a sprig of fresh parsley.

One pan Spinach Lentils

Brown Rice With Green Peas on Stainless Steel Bowl

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 200g mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried thyme
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 230g lentils
  • 100g quinoa
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes

Chop mushrooms, shallots, garlic and carrots. Set to one side.

Heat olive oil in a pot over a medium heat and add chopped garlic, shallots, carrots and mushrooms.

Allow to saute and season with rosemary, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.

Add in bay leaves and vegetable broth.

Pour in lentils and quinoa and cover the pot with a lid to allow it to simmer.

Once lentils and quinoa have become fluffy, add washed spinach into the pot and allow it to wilt.

Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

cooked food on black cooking pan

  • 400g broccoli
  • Chives
  • 100g white onion
  • 9 eggs
  • 300g flour
  • 1/4tsp black pepper
  • 1/8tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1-disc frozen pastry
  • 200ml cream
  • 11tbsp butter
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g swiss cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp Water

Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Grate both cheeses and chop up broccoli, chives and onion into small pieces.

Sauté onions in butter until translucent and steam broccoli until soft.

Add cream, eggs, butter, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chives and water into a bowl. Mix well until combined.

Roll out the pastry into a disc shape.

Grease a circular or pie tray with butter and lay pastry into it, ensuring to fold in the edges so that it can hold the liquid mixture.

Scatter broccoli and onions on top of the pastry as the first layer, then sprinkle cheese gratings over that.

Pour liquid into the tray until it fills the pastry shell and put it all into the oven to bake for 50 minutes, rotating the pan 180° every 15 minutes.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Pine nut pasta

green vegetable on white ceramic plate

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2tbsp parsley
  • 200g spinach
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 300g whole wheat spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tbsp Olive oil
  • 2tbsp Pine nuts, toasted

Bring water to a boil over a medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add in whole wheat pasta, stirring occasionally and boil until soft.

Add spinach, ripe avocado, lemon juice, a spoonful of water, olive oil garlic, salt and pepper to a blender and pulse until it creates a thick, creamy sauce.

Add pine nuts to a pan and toast lightly on a medium heat.

Chop cherry tomatoes into halves and add to cooked pasta. Pour sauce over them and combine well.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts to serve.

Crispy Lemon Feta Orzo

person pouring water on green and black bottle

  • 50g fresh basil
  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 2tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 courgette
  • 200g orzo pasta
  • 3tbsp cornstarch
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1tbsp sesame seeds
  • 6tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1 block feta cheese
  • 200g plain Greek yoghurt

Boil water over a medium heat and add in your orzo, cooking until fluffy.

Strain and put it into a bowl, adding basil and salt, stirring it in until combined. Set aside.

Chop feta into one inch strips and dust with cornstarch. Fry in 2tsps of olive oil until crispy. Set aside.

In a clean pan, add 1tsp of olive oil, chickpeas, 1 crushed garlic clove, red pepper flakes, salt and smoked paprika. Saute for five minutes and set aside.

In clean pan, add 2tsps of olive oil and add in chopped courgette and allow to soften before adding sesame seeds, lemon zest and your chickpea mixture from earlier.

Squeeze lemon juice and grate lemon zest into Greek yoghurt in a bowl.

To serve, plate up a portion of the orzo mix and dollop lemon yoghurt on top. Add courgette-chickpea mix and top with feta and fresh thyme.

Courgette Fritters

brown and green food in brown plastic container

  • 3tbsp chives
  • 2tbsp dill
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp salt
  • 250g flour
  • 100g cheddar cheese
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium courgettes

Grate both courgettes entirely and pat dry with paper towels.

Put gratings into a bowl, adding flour, chopped chives, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, dill and an egg.

Season with salt and garlic powder.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together to obtain a sticky texture.

Scoop out a small piece and roll into a ball in your hands. Place ball on the baking paper and repeat until there is no mixture left.

Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 to 25 minutes for crispy, healthy deliciousness!

Asian Noodle Salad

noodle salad

(Sauce)

  • 1tbsp peanut butter
  • 2tbsp rice vinegar
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 2tbsp sesame oil
  • 1tsp grated ginger
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1tbsp honey

(Stir fry)

  • 1 radish
  • ½ a head of red cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 green onions
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sesame seeds
  • 400g noodles

Boil water over a medium heat and add noodles to cook until soft.

Add peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, chopped garlic clove and honey into a bowl and whisk together until combined. Pour over cooked noodles.

Grate radish, red cabbage and carrot into thin slices and add to noodles and sauce.

Chop green onions and fresh cilantro and sprinkle them and sesame seeds over the salad to serve.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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