Lovely Lunching

March 24, 2014

Lunch is an exciting time, don’t you think? You get to break from the rush of your day, slow down for a few moments and unpack a box of tasty goodies. It’s a time to nourish yourself, to get back in touch your body and refresh.

I recently worked on a post for Tucker, scribing a few of my favourite lunch recipes and dreaming up some daytime deliciousness. You can read my post and more deliciousness from the Tucker crew on their website (link). I’m also including the recipes for you here today as I’m a sucker for a good salad (and have an inkling you are too). I’m particularly fond of the roasted beetroot pasta salad.

Happy lovely lunching xo

Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad

You can’t go past tinned fish for convenience and nutrition, but there’s a few things to consider when assembling the popular “tuna salad” that graces so many bored lunch boxes. I prefer my fish to be packed in olive oil for flavour and nutrition. I also insist on a carbohydrate with my salad to ensure sustained energy. This may be a cooked grain, leftover roasted sweet potato or, as in the case here, legumes. Mix things up with fun and zingy ingredients such as capers or olives and your salad will never be boring or unsatisfying.

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Serves 1


1 handful Salad Leaves
½ cup chopped Cucumber
1/3 cup chopped Capsicum
1/3 cup Cannellini Beans (canned and rinsed or cooked from dried)
½ tablespoon chopped Spring or Red Onion
1 x 95g tinned Fish in oil, drained (I like Safcol tuna for their sustainability goodness)
1 tablespoon toasted Pinenuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Herbs (basil, parsley, coriander or chives)

Dressing Ingredients
1 heaped teaspoons Capers (rinsed)
½ tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A good squeeze of a juicy Lemon
Freshly cracked Black Pepper


  1. Place your salad leaves and vegetables in a bowl, including the beans.
  2. Mix your salad dressing ingredients in a small cup and whisk with a small spoon or fork. Taste and season as desired, then drizzle over your salad.
  3. Add the tuna and scatter the pinenuts and herbs. Serve.


Snack Plate

When in doubt, grab a few simple and nourishing staples and assemble yourself a snack plate for lunch. Wholegrain crackers are key to keeping this lunch well balanced, I always have a box of Ryvita, Finn Crisps or Kavli rye crispbreads in my cupboard. And the healthy fats and protein in the avocado and cheese will help keep you satiated. Boiled eggs, tinned fish and pickled vegetables would make excellent additions should you not have cheese or avocado on hand, or are extra hungry.


Serves 1


4 Ryvita or Crispbreads
½ a small Avocado
25g Cheese (cheddar or Swiss or pecorino or ricotta or feta, whatever you desire)
1 Cucumber
1 Tomato
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Slice and assemble ingredients on a plate as you desire.
  2. Drizzle the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and season to taste.

Black Rice, Boiled Egg and Pesto Salad

This salad is loaded with goodness, including fibre-full and antioxidant-rich black rice and greens. Boiled eggs add an excellent dose of nutrition, including protein and healthy fats. The pesto adds a flavour and nutrient-rich punch, however if you don’t have any pesto you can substitute with goats cheese or feta. Make my carrot top, peptia and chilli pesto if you’re keen on vibrant heat, it’s lovely with this salad.

Serves 1

2 heaped tablespoons cooked Black Rice
2 Eggs at room temperature
1 handful Greens – mixed leaves, baby spinach, rocket or other lettuce
1 handful Bush Beans
½ cup chopped Cucumber
½ Celery Stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon Pesto*
1 tablespoon chopped Red Onion
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper


1. Cook your black rice. I always make extra to have on hand in the fridge for quick and healthy meals, so use 1 cup uncooked rice. It’s a good idea to soak your black rice if you can, so do so a few hours before cooking by rinsing then covering the rise with water in a pot. Drain and rinse the rice again, then cook your rice in 4 cups water by bringing it to the boil on the stove and then simmering for ~30 minutes until tender (be careful not to burn it, add more water if required). Take off the heat, drain any remaining water and then cover with a lid for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, boil your eggs by placing your room temperature eggs in a small pot then cover with cold water. Bring to the boil on the stove then turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Leave it for 10 minutes then drain and rinse with cold water, then leaving it to sit in cold water until completely cooled before peeling.
3. Assemble your greens and vegetables in a bowl, then add the rice and the halved boiled eggs. Top with a scoop of pesto, scattered onion, then drizzle extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.

* Carrot top, peptia and chilli pesto


1/3 cup Pepitas, lightly toasted
100g Carrot tops and stems (the green part of your bunch of carrots), rinsed well to ensure no dirt remains
30g Coriander leaves
1 clove Garlic
½ a small chilli, seeds removed (more or less depending on your preference for heat)
1 heaped teaspoon Miso Paste
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly cracked Black Pepper


  1. In a food processor, blend the pepitas, carrot tops, coriander, garlic, chilli and miso until incorporated.
  2. Drizzle the oil slowly in as you continue to blend until a smooth paste (add more or less to achieve your desired consistency).
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Store in an airtight container with a layer of olive oil. This pesto is best eaten in a few days in salads, sandwiches or as a dip.


Roasted Beetroot Pasta Salad

I’m quite certain there are few things more delicious than earthy cubes of roasted beetroot. If you manage to have some leftover, toss them with cooked pasta (or other grain, quinoa is lovely), extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar for a resplendent lunch. Increase the protein content of your meal by adding cooked or canned lentils, or being rather heavy handed with the nuts and anchovies. I won’t discourage that.

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Serves 1


½ cup Roasted Beetroot chunks
1 cup cooked Pasta (orecchiette works really well here)
1/3 cup Peas (frozen and thawed under hot water, or fresh)
1 heaped tablespoon crumbled Goats Cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley or Basil

Dressing Ingredients

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1-2 Anchovy fillets canned in oil, finely chopped
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste


  1. Place your beetroot, cooked pasta and peas in a bowl.
  2. Mix your salad dressing ingredients in a small cup and whisk with a small spoon or fork. Taste and season as desired, then drizzle over your salad.
  3. Scatter the goats cheese and herbs (and add another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil here if you wish). Serve.


Picnic Pies

Once you’ve got the hang of this pie process and feel confident playing with filo, this recipe (adapted from Jamie Oliver’s spinach and feta pie) is a sinch. Prepare these friendly pies ahead of time and take to the park for a surprise picnic lunch date. Alternatively serve them warm from the oven and have a picnic on your living room floor. They’d even be lovely eaten cold at work for a filo-fun-Friday. Whatever floats your pie boat.

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Serves 2

This recipes requires 2 ramekins 11cm in diameter (or a larger skillet if making it as one pie) that can go on the stove and in the oven, as well as baking paper.


1 small-medium Zucchini (250g), chopped into 2cm cubes2 Spring Onions, chopped
1 clove Garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus more for drizzling)
150g Spinach Leaves
3 Eggs
Dash of Milk
30g Goats Cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil (or 1 teaspoon dried Oregano)
2 tablespoon Toasted Pinenuts
4 large sheets Filo Pasty
Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
Optional: Cayenne Pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a fry pan, sautee the zucchini in the olive oil over medium heat for ~2 minutes until slightly soft. Then add the spring onions and garlic and cook for a further minute. Remove into a bowl.
3. To the same pan, add the spinach and a sprinkle of sea salt and cook over medium heat until wilted.
4. Whisk the eggs with the milk in a large mixing bowl. Add the goats cheese and herbs, then season with a little sea salt and a lot of black pepper. Stir through the zucchini and spinach, then set aside.
5. Lightly oil a sheet of baking paper big enough to sit over the ramekin with overhang, scrunch it up then lay out flat. Remove the filo pastry from the freezer and layer the equivalent of one square big enough to cover the ramekin with overhang over the baking paper (I say the equivalent because filo can break easily and you may need to assemble a sheet with broken pieces. This is fine, just ensure they overlap so no gaps in the base are present). Drizzle extra virgin olive oil lightly over the filo, season and add a small pinch of cayenne pepper if desired. Layer another filo layer and repeat the seasoning. Lift the baking paper edges over the ramekin and lightly push the paper and filo into the dish. Spoon the egg vegetable mixture into the ramekin and scatter with the pinenuts before roughly folding the edges of the filo over the pie (leaving an opening in the middle). Drizzle with a little more extra virgin olive oil. Repeat with the other ramekin.
6. When your ramekins are filled, place them on the stove for 3-4 minutes over low-medium heat to help crisp the base up (make sure no pieces of baking paper catch on fire! You might need to scrunch it up and hold it away from the flame).
7. Transfer the ramekins to the oven and bake for ~25 minutes until golden. Lift the pies out of the ramekins using the baking paper edges and serve alongside a simple salad or chopped vegetables.

Heidi xo






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  • Stephanie March 24, 2014 at 6:14 am

    I love all of these lunching ideas. I really can’t decide which is my favorite– I love them all. The snack plate looks awesome though, so much color! As do the beet root salad and black rice salad (I love anything with pesto!).

    • Heidi March 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks, Stephanie! Love a good pesto 🙂 x

  • Felicity March 24, 2014 at 10:22 am

    More amazing recipes and just when I needed inspiration for healthy lunches for my family. Fantastic as always Heidi, thank you.

    • Heidi March 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      You’re so welcome, glad you like them x

  • Cilla March 24, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Thankyou for the inspiration.
    I will get right into it when I am off the “bant”.
    (I am having a bit of a kickstarting period at the moment).
    Eggs are the shizz. Can’t believe they were shunned not so long ago.

    FYI just came back from the International Congress on Obesity. Some interesting info there.

    • Heidi March 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Oooh I bet!! So much egg love in my household. That’s one question I always get in my practice, actually – “are eggs really ok to eat?”. Hell yeah x

  • Rebecca March 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Yes! I have recently gotten back into office life and need to incorporate these into my lunching life! The snack plate looks especially delicious and the filo pie’s for an easy indulgent lunch. Great recipes

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