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12 Delicious Recipes To End Sad Desk Lunches For Good

Lunch al desko doesn’t need to be a depressing event if you’re trying to be good and save money.

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Mason Jar Salad

Prepare the night before for an easy, no-fuss, and absolutely delicious lunch. You can put just about anything you've got in your fridge in your concoction, which will save you precious pennies. The key to ensuring salad jar perfection is all in the assembly:

● Dressing

● Grain/protein/chunkier items

● Cheese/nuts/raisins – stuff you want to stay dry before gobbling

● Leafy greens

1. Greek Salad Inspired Salad Jar

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Our ingredient measurements are in accordance with fitting into a standard mason jar, but if your jars are bigger or smaller, or you like more of one thing than another, fiddle accordingly.

● ½ cup chickpeas

● ½ cup cherry tomatoes

● ½ cup cucumber chunks

● ¼ cup chopped olives

● Feta cheese (you go with what feels right)

● Fresh parsley (again, go with what you think is going to work for you)

● Spinach/lettuce/leafy greens of your choice

Vinaigrette

● 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

● 3 Tbsp. olive oil

● Pinch of salt and ground black pepper to taste

Remember the assembly rules aforementioned? Well, time to put your newly found skills to work!

First add the vinaigrette in the bottom of the jar.

Then add the chickpeas.

Now layer the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives.

Guess what’s next? That’s right – feta time.

Finish with the parsley and leafy greens and seal, refrigerate, and consume at lunchtime.

2. Peanut Noodle Salad Jar

Or why not try this Peanut Noodle Salad Jar? Most of the ingredients are cheap and easy to source, and once you’ve got all the sauces in your pantry, you’ll be ready to go.

● ½ cup soba noodles

● 1 red pepper, thinly sliced

● 1 large carrot, shredded

● 1 cup of shelled cooked edamame beans

● 3 spring onions, thinly sliced

● Leafy greens of your choice

● Crushed peanuts

Peanut dressing

● 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter

● 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

● 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

● 2 Tbsp. olive oil

● 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

● Chilli flakes to taste

● Squeeze of lime juice ( ½ lime)

You’re pretty much an expert at this now.

Boil the noodles as per package instructions. Rinse under cool water and drain.

While they are cooking, make the dressing. In a bowl, whisk the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, chilli flakes and lime juice.

While whisking, slowly add in the olive oil and continue to whisk until all of the ingredients are combined.

Add the dressing to the bottom of your jar, and then place the noodles on top.

Layer the remaining ingredients like the pro that you are, top with the leafy greens, and VOILA.

3. Avocado Toast

No cooking required here, which is just the dream, isn’t it?

● ½ avocado

● Slice of bread of your choice

● Squeeze of lemon juice

● Salt & pepper to taste

● Chilli flakes (optional)

Pop the bread in the toaster

Mash that delicious avocado with the seasoning, lemon juice, and chilli flakes

Spread atop the toast and revel in the tastiness.

4. Eggs Benedict-ish

You can even cook this in the office.

● English muffin

● Egg

● Ham

● Asparagus (optional)

● Mustard/Béarnaise sauce/hot sauce

Toast your muffin.

Cook your egg in a microwave egg poacher.

If you want asparagus, put a drop of boiling water in a microwaveable plastic pot. Put the asparagus in there and part cover. Microwave for three minutes.

Put the ham on the muffin.

Put the egg on the ham.

Add whichever sauce you fancy.

Serve with asparagus.

5. Roasted Tomato Soup

Who doesn’t love a hearty, steaming bowl of comforting tomato soup? This recipe is so easy, so cheap, and so tasty that you’ll be questioning why you haven’t been making this your entire life.

This recipe will serve four portions, so you can make a big batch and eat throughout the week. Delightful.

● 10-12 large ripe red tomatoes

● 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

● 8-10 crushed garlic cloves

● 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

● 60-120ml warm water

● 2 tsp ground black pepper

● Salt and sugar to taste

Slice the tomatoes and place on a baking tray, with the garlic, drizzling with olive oil.

Place in your preheated 180°C oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, or till the tomatoes have shrunk and are browning.

Take out of the oven and cool slightly.

In a blender, add the tomatoes, garlic, all the juices from the tray, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar and the warm water, and blend until you are left with a scrummy soup.

Wraps

Make these for you and and your other half, and switch it up in the lunchboxes so you have some of each.

6. Turkey and Avocado Wraps

● Avocado

● Tortilla wraps

● Leftover turkey or chicken

● Lemon juice

● Salt and pepper

● Lettuce/mayo/cheese if desired

Smoosh your avocado into a paste. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

Cut two edges off your wrap. Smooth your green paste on it.

Lay down your lettuce/mayo. You want cheese? Add some cheese now.

Put your turkey on top.

Roll into one long sausage shape.

Cut into bite-sized pinwheels, and hold in place with a cocktail stick.

7. Salmon and Cream Cheese Wraps

● Smoked salmon

● Cream cheese

● Tortilla wraps

● Black pepper

Same as above, but replace the green mush with cream cheese and the filling with smoked salmon.

8. Homemade Hummus and Dippers

This is deceptively easy. Make the night before and bung it in a plastic food container.

● Tin of chickpeas

● 1 Tbsp. peanut butter

● Lemon juice

● Squeeze of garlic paste (optional)

● 2 Tbsp. olive oil (substitute vegetable or sunflower oil)

● Paprika (optional)

● Salt and pepper

Dippers: Tortilla wrap and crudités

Put the hummus ingredients into a blender. Blend.

Toast your tortilla under the grill until they are crisp

Serve with tortilla and crudités for dipping.

9. Courgetti with Creamy Avocado Sauce

No, you’re right, there really is no substitute for actual pasta. But if you are strapped for time and want to eat a healthy alternative, courgetti is about to become your best friend. This recipe involves no cooking whatsoever, so just spiralise, blitz, and get eating.

● Courgetti

● Cherry tomatoes

● Half a handful of fresh basil

● ½ large avocado

● Salt and pepper

● 1 crushed garlic clove

● 1 Tbsp. olive oil

● Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

To make your courgetti, you’ll need either a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. So get on that.

Place the avocado, basil, salt and pepper, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss through with the sliced cherry tomatoes. Proceed to serve and gobble it up.

10. Toasted Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Invest in some sandwich toaster bags. Life-changing.

● 1 banana

● As much peanut butter as you like

● Brown bread

Make the sandwich.

Put in a toaster bag.

Put it in the toaster.

11. Quick and Easy Stir Fry

You can even have the stir fry the night before as dinner.

● 1 portion noodles

● Sliced peppers

● Broccoli

● Sweet chilli sauce and/or lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce

● Cherry tomatoes

● Spinach

● Any prawns or meat

● Pomegranate seeds

The night before…

Stir fry the broccoli, vegetables and sliced pepper.

Mix with the noodles.

Stir in any meat.

Toss in sweet chilli sauce and/or lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce.

In the morning…

Halve the cherry tomatoes and tear the spinach. Add to the salad and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

12. Asian-Inspired Quinoa Bowl

Quinoa: the healthy, protein-packed grain of the gods. You can make a big batch of quinoa at the weekend for an easy base for all of your weekday packed lunch needs.

● Cooked quinoa (1/2–3/4 cup, or however much you feel like really)

● Sugar snap peas

● Diced carrot

● Yellow pepper diced

● Red pepper diced

● Red cabbage chopped

● 2 tsp sesame oil

● 2 tsp rice vinegar

● 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

● 1 crushed garlic clove

● 2 tsp fresh ginger finely grated

Mix the dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and sesame seeds in a bowl.

Mix all the ingredients together.

Pour dressing on top and mix through. Enjoy safe in the knowledge you just ate a healthy but extremely satisfying meal.

See? You can literally have your healthy, cheap and quick lunch "cake" and eat it too. With all the money you're about to save, now could be the time to open a Help to Buy: ISA with the Halifax, to get you started on the property ladder.

Available to UK residents, 16 years or over who are saving to buy their first home. ISA limits and rules apply.

Photographs by Lennon / Stone - Header by Ben Armson for © BuzzFeed

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