Get creative and experimental at lunch with lunch jars. Lunch jars are fun, easy, mess-free AND a great way to have nutritious midday sustenance without having to do much. They are also environmentally-friendly as you don’t have any throwaway packages after your meals. All you need is place your veggies, noodles or grains, protein, and seasonings in a glass jar, take it to work, fridge it and at lunch time, add boiling water.
The result is a hot meal that is hearty and healthy, ready within minutes. Here are three delectable versions by Elana Karp, the head chef for the meal kit company Plated and co-author of the new Plated cookbook.
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (491 calories)
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 teaspoon vegetable bouillon paste
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon harissa
1/4 cup thinly sliced Swiss chard
1/4 cup shaved carrots
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon low-fat plain yoghurt, for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Layer couscous, bouillion paste, cumin, tomato sauce, harissa, Swiss chard, carrots, tomatoes, and chickpeas in the jar. Pack yoghurt and cilantro separately if using.
- When you’re ready to eat, fill the jar to the top with boiling water. Stir carefully, cover and let stand for 10 minutes or until couscous is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with yoghurt and cilantro if using.
Lemony Orzo Chicken Soup (284 calories)
1/2 cup cooked orzo
1/2 cup roasted zucchini pieces (1/2 inch)
1/2 cup shredded roast chicken, skin removed
2 tablespoons chopped basil, plus 1 tablespoon thinly slices for garnish (optional)
1 lemon, halved
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)
- Layer orzo, zucchini, chicken, dill and chopped basil in a jar. Squeeze lemon over ingredients and place juiced halves in jar, skin side up. Pack slices basil and Parmesan separately if using.
- When you’re ready to eat, fill the jar to the top with boiling water, being sure to fully cover lemons. Stri carefully, cover and let stand for 2 minutes; remove lemon halves and discard. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with sliced basil and Parmesan if using.
Spicy Curried Coconut Soup With Shrimp (472 calories)
30g rice vermicelli, broken into smaller pieces
3 tablespoons coconut cream
1/2 tablespoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup julienned red bell pepper
1/2 cup cleaned, cooked and roughly chopped shrimp
4 roughly chopped Thai or regular basil leaves
1 tablespoon crushed peanuts
- Layer vermicelli, coconut cream, curry paste, ginger, carrots, bell pepper and shrimps in the jar. Add basil and peanuts.
- When you’re ready to eat, fill the jar to the top with boiling water. Stir carefully, cover and let stand for 7 minutes or until noodles are tender. Season to taste with salt.