Ok, ok, it might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you want to squash your PMS cravings, BUT if you're going to eat salad for lunch, why not make them super-interesting? We're all for a jazzy desk salad, so here's two recipes to pimp up your boring lunch box and fill you up until dinner time.
Padron pepper, chorizo and halloumi salad
- 120g quinoa (black works well here)
- 1 lime
- 2 spring onions (white bulbs and most of the green)
- 60g rocket
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander coconut/olive oil
- A mixture of peppers – such as 5 padron peppers and 5 small sweet peppers
- Sea salt
- 80g chorizo
- 140g halloumi
How to make
- Boil a full kettle. Put the quinoa in a pan, cover with boiled water and add a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 8–10 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool, then zest in the lime and add the juice too. Mix through the spring onions and coriander.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat a frying pan with a splash of oil, add the whole peppers and fry over a medium heat until they have browned and blistered.
- Tip into a bowl and season with sea salt. Set aside.
- Slice the chorizo into 2cm-thick rounds and the halloumi into 1cm chunks. Heat another frying pan with a splash of oil and cook the chorizo and halloumi for 2 minutes on each side until golden.
- To pack: Spoon the quinoa salad into the lunchboxes and top with the peppers, chorizo and halloumi. Scatter rocket over the top of the salad.
- If you can’t find padron or small sweet peppers, you can use 5 regular peppers, each cut into 4 big wedges or ‘boats’. Fry, then fill them with the quinoa mix.
Crunchy squash satay salad
- 1 small butternut squash coconut/olive oil
- 120g quinoa
- ½ red cabbage
- 1 green pepper
- 2 portions of satay dressing (see below)
How to make
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and boil a full kettle. Peel the squash and cut into roughly 3cm chunks, discarding the seeds. Place on a baking tray with a splash of oil and a pinch of salt.
- Roast for 15–20 minutes until tender and golden. Halfway through cooking, give the tray a shake/stir to prevent the squash chunks from catching.
- Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a pan and cover with boiled water. Cook for 8–10 minutes until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- While the quinoa cooks, remove the outer leaves and core from the red cabbage, then thinly slice. Dice the pepper into small strips, discarding the core and seeds.
- Mix the cabbage and pepper through the quinoa and season with a pinch of salt. Toss the squash with the satay dressing.
- To pack: Spread the quinoa in two lunchboxes and pile the squash on top.
- Drizzle oil and honey over a chicken breast and sprinkle with some sesame seeds.
- Bake in a 180°C oven for 15–18 minutes.
- Slice and add to the lunch boxes.
- Sprinkle with toasted and lightly crushed peanuts for extra crunch.
For the satay
This recipe works as a dip, sauce or loose dressing. The consistency can be adjusted simply by adding extra water. Great on salads or with stir-fries, it also can be used as a marinade for baked fish and meat.
- 2cm piece fresh ginger
- 80g peanut butter (preferably smooth and sugar-free)
- 8 teaspoons soy sauce
- 10g picked fresh coriander leaves
- 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
- 1 fresh red chilli (optional)
- Zest and juice of 1–2 limes (optional)
Peel the ginger and drop into a blender. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce and coriander and blend until smooth. Run the machine while adding hot water in small amounts to achieve a creamy consistency.
For a sweeter sauce, add the honey. If you want a kick of heat, add the chilli. Add the lime for zing.
This can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for 3–5 days. It also freezes well for 3 months in ice-cube trays. Thaw before using.
Extracted from Lunchbox Salads by Anna Pinder and Naomi Twigden (Ebury Press, £14.99) Photography by Twigden and Pinder
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