Lockdown has meant that so many of us will be making lunch at home every day when we would usually have grabbed a meal-deal. All of our lunch ideas and recipes are easy, healthy and delicious - and your budding young chefs are bound to enjoy them too!
It's a great idea to get kids involved in the cooking from a young age so that they grow up understanding the importance of preparing nutritious foods. So whether you're looking for a quick work-break lunch, or you're looking to prepare a meal to enjoy over a video call with the family - why not try one of these recipes? We've tried to make the ideas as lockdown-friendly as possible, meaning that you should have all of the ingredients in your cupboards anyway.
Roasted red pepper & tomato soup with ricotta
Homemade soup is the perfect easy lunch idea and with a few easy and tasty additions, it can be a tasty and exciting meal! This delicious and versatile meal can be classic comfort food but also a low-calorie, healthy option.
1 red onion, quartered
2 Romano peppers, roughly chopped
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
2 garlic cloves, bashed in their skins
few thyme sprigs
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp ricotta
few basil leaves
1 tbsp mixed seeds, toasted
bread, to serve
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the tomatoes, onion and peppers with oil and season. Put them into a roasting tin with garlic and thyme sprigs, then roast until all the veg is softened and slightly caramelised, around 25-30 mins. Mix the vinegar into the tin then blend everything in a bullet blender or using a stick blender, adding enough water to loosen to your preferred consistency (we used around 150ml).
Reheat the soup if necessary, taste for seasoning, then spoon into two bowls and top each with a spoonful of ricotta, a few basil leaves, the seeds and a drizzle of oil. Serve with bread for dunking.
BBQ rainbow beef salad
The steak in this light salad could be cooked on the barbecue - if it's a nice day, giving it a true taste of summer. It works brilliantly with our Asian-inspired dressing!
2 x 250g sirloin steak fat trimmed
thumb-sized piece ginger finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 limes juiced
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
3 red bird’s eye chillies, 2 finely chopped, 1 finely sliced
4 Little Gem lettuces
12 radishes thinly sliced
3 carrots peeled and finely sliced
½ cucumber, cut into ribbons using a peeler
3 spring onions finely sliced
1 large ripe avocado sliced
½ tbsp mixed sesame seeds
Remove the steak from the fridge 1 hr before you’re ready to cook to bring it up to room temperature. Just before cooking, make the salad dressing by whisking together the ginger, garlic, lime juice, oil, soy and chopped chillies in a bowl.
Put the steaks on the barbecue and cook on one side for 3 mins, then turn and cook for 3 mins on the other side for medium-rare. Alternatively, fry your steaks in a frying pan or griddle pan for 3 mins each side. After cooking, rest the covered meat for 5 mins.
Arrange the lettuce leaves, radishes, carrot, cucumber, spring onion and avocado on a sharing plate. Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices and lay on top of the salad. Drizzle over any resting juices and the dressing. Garnish with the sesame seeds and the sliced red chilli.
If you prefer to watch a video tutorial as you cook - try this easy watching YouTube video by Health Nut Nutrition called 'EASY 5 Minute Lunch Recipes | Healthy Lunch Ideas'. With 220,000 views, this popular video is not one to miss if you're looking to make a light salad-type lunch.
Greek tortellini salad
If you haven't added pasta to your salad yet, you're missing out - according to this recipe by Delish. Although this recipe involves a lot of slicing and cutting - which isn't appropriate for young children, they can easily get involved with the dressing and mixing.
3 (9-oz.) packages refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large cucumber, cut into half-moons
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 cup kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
1 1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup freshly chopped dill
Ingredients for the dressing:
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook tortellini according to pasta instructions. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, mustard, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the feta and stir until combined, then add cooked tortellini and stir until coated.
Fold in feta and serve.Vegetarian burrito wraps:
Vegetarian burrito wraps
These pan-fried vegetarian wraps with lime, chilli and garlic, are the perfect quick lunchtime meal with the family. They're light, healthy and quick to make - just 15 minutes!
½ x 300g pack Quorn chicken-style pieces (or similar vegetarian product), sliced at an angle
juice of ½ lime
½ tsp mild chilli powder
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 seeded wraps
1 avocado halved and stoned
1 roasted red pepper, from a jar
few sprigs coriander, chopped
Mix the vegetarian, chicken-style pieces with the lime juice, chilli powder and garlic.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan then fry the pieces for a couple of mins, while you warm the wraps. Do not let them dry out or they are difficult to roll.
Squash half an avocado onto each wrap, add the peppers to the pan to warm them through then pile onto the wraps with the chicken-style pieces and sprinkle over the coriander. Roll up the wraps, cut in half and enjoy.
Hungry for more? Take a look at these other recipes we found.
Try this Wasabi chicken salad - using leftover chicken to make this easy rice bowl for lunch. With punchy wasabi, lime and yoghurt dressing, it's full of flavour and healthy too!
This Chinese style chicken salad is fresh and full of crunchy ramen, sweet mandarins, and crisp cabbage - and it takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
If you're looking for a vegetarian dish - try this easy vegetarian chilli, full of beans and goodness.
How about a super healthy grain-based meal? Try this 'Best-Ever Farro Salad' - they called it the grain salad every picnic needs. And the picture looks divine...
Try this low carb wrap recipe if you're looking for a super-light meal or if you're trying to diet.
For another quick 'keto' style meal - try these California burger bowls. Low carb and super quick and easy to make.
Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.