| by Dan Black
With Christmas firmly behind us and a new year, full of possibilities, stretching out in front of us, many of us like to spend January re-focusing on our health and wellbeing. But eating more mindfully doesn’t have to be dull; indeed with the gloomy weather and early darkness of January, surely it’s the best time to add a little fun to our food, spice to our lives and a little kick to our lunches.
Our recipes this month are focused on healthier, more mindful eating, but with a little hint of spice to keep things lively for January and this month, we’ve got ideas to pack into our lunch boxes, thermos flasks and bento boxes - so there is no excuse not to try something different this month!
Whole Wheat Chilli
Filling, healthy and perfect for really cold days, this dish is also vegan (meat and dairy free) - for those who have a plant based diet, or those looking to try adding some vegan meals into their weeks.
Either whip this easy dish up the night before and reheat in the morning before popping it into our Food Flask, or because it only takes 20 mins to prepare, you can make it in the morning popping it into the flask when it’s still nice and hot.
This recipe is from Thermos Cooking
Directions: In a medium saucepan, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until softened. Once the onion is cooked, add garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook just until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the chilies, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, wheat, and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Picture from Eating Well - who recommend popping freshly cut avocado on top of their vegan chilli!
Jerk Chicken & Mango Bowl
This recipe is perfect for our Lunch Box Original. Our separate sauce bowls make adding the yogurt just before eating super easy.
From BBC Good Food, there is a little pre-prep the night before, but this makes x2 lunches for hungry people!
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tbsp jerk paste
1 tbsp olive oil
250g ready to eat lentils
4 spring onions, chopped
Small bunch of coriander leaves
1 cubed mango
8 tbsp natural yogurt
4 tbsp of mango chutney
The night before, heat your oven to 200C/180C fan / gas mark 6. Pop the chicken in a roasting tin and rub with the jerk paste and olive oil. Bake for 15 mins until cooked and leave to cool overnight
Build your lunch box bowl by putting half the lentils, chicken, spring onion, chilli, coriander and mango in each, with a couple of lime wedges at the side
Pop the yogurt in our separate pop with the mango chutney swirled through and coat just before eating.
Simple Spicy Bento
We raided The Guardian for these easy and simple bento ideas to give your January lunches a bit of a switch up and a wasabi kick.
Ingredients for one:
70g of uncooked brown rice
1 tsp sesame seeds
150 g smoked salmon
1 tsp wasabi paste
2 tbsp creme fraiche
Sticky rice is the mainstay of any bento. Cook as per packet instructions then immediately refrigerate. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice when popping in your Lunch Box Original.
Grate the carrot and mix through small slices of the fresh ginger for an aromatic side salad. Add a squeeze of lime just before eating.
Try making a Japanese style omelette by whisking the two eggs with splash of soy sauce. Pour into a small pan and when cooked enough to be flexible, fold over itself. Do this once more and remove from pan. Once cool, cut into ribbons.
Image from Japanesecooking101.com
Mix the wasabi paste with the creme fraiche for a spicy dressing.
The salmon can be dipped or coated in any of the other bento ingredients as you wish!