Is your PB & J sandwich starting to stand for Pretty Boring & Jaded? I’d be cynical too if I was as overworked as this go-to lunch choice. Sure, sandwiches and salads are classic and the combinations are endless – they aren’t going out of style any time soon. But just like a good structured blazer, if it’s an everyday appearance, you appreciate it less as time goes on. After all, it’s supposed to be a lunch break, not a lunch bummer. So make your lunch work as hard as you do. Shake up your next pack-your-own meal with these delicious alternative lunch options.
Give the spaghetti and tomato sauce a rest and get creative with ingredients and sauces. Give rice noodles a try with Pad Thai or spicy peanut sauce and your favourite veg. Or try making a pasta version of a favourite food – it’s easier than you think. Love spanakopita? Try filled spinach pasta with olives and a Greek-inspired vinaigrette sauce. I love sweet and savoury combinations. If you’re a fan as well, try incorporating bacon with sweet maple or orange sauces, or berries and cheese into your next pasta.
Take all the ingredients of your favourite sandwich or wrap, and put it in a piece of lettuce instead. You’ll be surprised what a difference in flavour it makes. It’s a much lighter lunch choice if you’re watching what you eat, but it also tastes amazingly fresh if you use good lettuce. Also try adding noodles and meat along with your veg and a tangy sauce (think honey garlic, wing sauce or any Asian-inspired sauce like hoisin). Tons of variety with this one.
Nothing compares to homemade pizza. But it’s a bit much to make an entire pizza the night before – especially if you make your own dough or sauce. Take some of the prep out by using an alternative to traditional pizza crust with flatbread, tortillas or naan. Most come in different kinds that will bump up the flavour in your pizza, too (chilli & garlic naan, anyone?). You can get creative with sauce, too. Consider trying barbecue or a creamy salad dressing for sauce instead of tomato. Add your favourite toppings, and all you have to do the next day is heat it up! Even less effort if you’re a fan of cold pizza.
This cooks up quickly in a frying pan if you’re in a hurry the night before, but it’s best grilled if you can fire up the barbie. It’s delicious as a solo with a side of tzatziki sauce. You can also add it to couscous or quinoa with cucumbers, peppers and tzatziki for an irresistible combination. Also try adding a pinch of curry or ginger powder, or a dash of hot sauce to your tzatiki for an interesting fusion flavour.
What’s better than a fresh tomato, mushroom or pepper? A fresh tomato, mushroom or pepper with delicious add-ins like fruit, breadcrumbs, cheese and meat or seafood. Try a twist on the classic tomato-basil salad by stuffing tomatoes with bocconcini cheese, fresh basil and a splash of white vinegar. Peppers and mushrooms are versatile and can be filled with whatever you’re craving. Try stuffing mushrooms with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, crushed pecans, apricots and rosemary. A great pepper filling is shrimp or crab (or if you’re not a seafood fan, ground pork) with corn, leeks and a tiny bit of horseradish.