Lunch can be a bit boring right?! Its easy to get in the routine of having the same old sandwiches and salads.
Well, here’s 5 NEW IDEAS to get your brain whirring, including MY CHINESE INSPIRED BUDDHA BOWL. They’re all designed to be mega easy to prep, filling and warming for the colder months!
They all incorporate Nature’s Store lentil or chickpea rice. Want to know more???
Nature’s Store Rice
Here’s what you need to know:
- What it tastes like: You’ve got two yummy types to pick from, ‘Chickpea Rice’ or ‘Red Lentil Rice’. I think the texture of both is closest to brown rice but not as stodgy. It’s slightly nuttier, has a heavier bite and left me feeling fuller for longer.
- What it looks like: a bit like giant cous cous if you’d ever had that pre-gluten free days.
- What it cooks like: Same as rice but easier. Add to boiling water, reduce to a simmer. Leave for 7-8 mins. Drain into a sieve & run through with hot water. No stickiness, no fuss… just perfect every time. Honestly!
- Nutritional Properties: So, it cooks like rice, looks like rice, but has these fab benefits:
- Chickpea rice: 3x more protein and 12x more fibre than rice
- Red lentil rice: 3x more protein and 7x more fibre than rice
- Where you can buy it from: it’s now available in Asda!!!! £2.99 a box
(1) Buddha Bowl – *All explained below!*
(2) Chunky Soup – make you’re usual soup recipe & add some cooked rice. Bit like a replacement for pasta in Minestrone.
>My fav: Curried Soup. Peel and cube 1 carrot and 1 sweet potato. Place them into enough water to cover. Add 1/2 a stock cube and 1 tsp of cumin and boil until the veg is falling apart. Blend (I like to leave it slightly chunky). Add more water if you’d like it to be thinner. Add the rice. Eat!
(3) Stuffed Peppers – Mix some small cubes of cooked veg & lentil rice with a tsp of pesto. Hollow out a pepper, fill with your mixture and stick in the oven for 10-15 mins to soften. Also fab if you top it with grated cheese. My mouth is watering as I type.
(4) Shakshuka (baked eggs in a tomato sauce) – Makes such a yummy brekkie but if you add a bit of rice to the mix, it bulks it out and makes it feel more lunchy!
>How: Make a tomato sauce in a frying pan (there’s loads of recipes online but I just simmer together some tinned tomatoes, any leftover veg, paprika and mixed herbs until you’ve got a semi-thick pasta type sauce). Stir in some cooked rice. Make a well in the middle of the sauce and crack in an egg into it. Cover with a lid and reduce to a low simmer for 5-6 mins until cooked.
(5) Mix it into your fav salad – bulk it out and feel fuller for longer!
My Chinese Inspired Buddha Bowl
What’s a Buddha Bowl? Think “mini picnic!”. Basically, shove lots of small portions of different bits and pieces into a bowl and you’ve got yourself a Buddha Bowl. Perfect for taking to work as its easy to prep, you can use pretty much anything in the fridge and it can be eaten cold or warmed up.
The thought behind mine: I love a Chinese. But its not an ideal meal for a lunch and certainly not convenient for taking to work. So I’ve taken some of the popular flavours and made a healthy lunch out of it.
Sesame flavoured Nature’s Store Rice is my highlight. Sesame oil makes EVERYTHING taste like Chinese. If you haven’t tried it before, you really reaaaaally need too. Divine!!
10 MINS, SKILLET/FRYING PAN & SAUCEPAN.
Chinese Inspired Buddha Bowl
- 1 portion Nature's Store Red Lentil/Chickpea Rice
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 Avocado
- 1 portion Stir Fry Veg/Beansprouts
- 1 Pepper – Sliced into strips
- 1 or 2 Pineapple Fingers
- 3 Cauliflower Florets – Chopped into small chunks.
- Sprinkle of Tumeric
Sticky Chinese Mushrooms
- 1 Portobello Mushroom
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Tamari (GF Soy Sauce)
- 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Optional: Sweet Chilli Sauce, Coriander, Sesame Seeds, Red Chilli Pepper, Lime
Prep the Mushrooms
- Slice the mushroom into chunky strips.
- Mix together the other 'Sticky Chinese Mushroom' ingredients in a bowl. Add the strips of mushroom and give it a mix so they're thoroughly coated. Set aside to soak up the sauce whilst you prep the rest.
Make the Rice
- Cook the lentil rice (boil a pan of water, add the rice, reduce to a simmer for 7-8 mins).
- Drain the rice, run through with hot water from the tap and stir in a tsp of sesame oil.
Cook the Rest
- Coat the cauliflower in a sprinkle of tumeric and a tsp of oil.
- Add the cauliflower, pepper & pineapple to a skillet/frying pan and cook until soft (approx 5 mins).
- Fry the beansprouts if you'd prefer them cooked.
- Fry the mushrooms in a skillet/frying pan for approx 2 mins on each side, until soft and slightly sticky.
- Add everything to a bowl, top with sliced avocado and dress however you'd like! Sweet Chilli Sauce is the dream!!
*This is a paid collaboration with Nature’s Store but as always the ideas and views are all my own.**