En Route To Housewife Material


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Gone are the days where our meals came nicely packed in cute little cartoon lunch boxes, ready for us to swoop off the kitchen counter and head off to school. These days, if I were to ask my mom to pack lunch for me to bring to work, she’d probably just scoff at me and ask me to do it myself.

For someone whose cooking abilities are limited to fried eggs and instant noodles that are mediocre at best, the thought of putting in the extra effort and time to pack lunch to work just seems too much to handle.

For everyone who feels the same way, this article’s for you! With recipes that can take just 3 steps using simple everyday ingredients, packing lunch to work is a breeze! Not only will you impress your co-workers with your culinary skills, you’ll also be saving more than a couple of bucks.

That being said, here are 10 foolproof lunch recipes that’ll make your colleagues green with envy.

1.  Pad Thai 

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If you asked me how to make this intricate Thai dish a couple of weeks ago, I would’ve just stared blankly at you and directed you to the nearest thai food chain. Who knew that in just a few weeks, I would be a master at making this delicious Thai classic – and all in just 5 simple steps! Take your cooking skills international with this Pad Thai recipe adapted from Tablespoon. Yes, you’ve just taken packed lunch to a whole new level.

Ingredients: 

  • 200g of Pad Thai noodles
  • 2 tablespoon Naturel Pure Olive Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoons sambal oelek (or sriracha)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Time needed: 30 mins

Get the full recipe for this pad thai here.

2. Deconstructed sushi 

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Sushi sounds easy enough to make, but ain’t nobody got time to meticulously arrange each ingredient on a mat, roll, and slice them to perfection when you’re rushing off to work. We’re not sushi making machines. In times like this, I present to you: the deconstructed sushi. The same delicious goodness, only twice as easy to whip up.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of Naturel Organic Brown rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small piece of pickled ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi (optional)
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 1/4 avocado, cubed
  • 170g sashimi-grade salmon, skinned and cubed
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon black/regular sesame seeds

Soy Sauce dressing Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, grate

Time needed: 30 mins

Get the full recipe for this deconstructed sushi here.

3. Sardine Fried Rice

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Fried rice sounds simple enough to me. All you have to do, is throw a couple of ingredients together, stir fry it, and viola! True enough, this recipe adapted from Roti n Rice, takes just 3 simple steps.

Fry the onion and garlic in a piping hot non-stick pan till the mixture is a translucent, golden brown. Next, debone your sardines and add them to the pan along with mixed vegetables and rice. Just a couple more minutes of stirring, and you’re good to go!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Naturel Pure Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of sardines, deboned and diced into cubes
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 3 cups of Naturel Organic Mixed Brown and Red Rice
  • 2 tablespoons of soya sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Time needed: 20 mins

For the full recipe, click here.

4. Japanese Noodle Salad 

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You’ll be delighted to know that this recipe, adapted from Foxes Loves Lemons, also requires just 3 simple steps. At this rate, I might just be sneaking the title “Home Cook” into my resume. This recipe plays with many different textures and flavours – crisp bell peppers, crunchy rice noodles, and chewy soba noodles all coated in a tasty sweet and spicy peanut butter dressing.

Not only is this much healthier than a plate of hokkien mee you’ll typically find in a kopitiam, pulling this off will instantly make you look ten times cooler. Twenty times if you use a hipster mason jar as your lunch box.

The best part is, you don’t even have to try that hard.

Ingredients: 

For the salad:

  • 110g of soba noodles
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, cooked
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup crunchy rice noodles

For the salad dressing: 

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Time needed: 25 mins

Get the full recipe here.

5. Apple and Spinach Salad With Strawberry Vinaigrette

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Not only will this Chicken, Apple, and Spinach Salad With Strawberry Vinaigrette Salad adapted from Jenny Sugar, provide you with all the nutrients you need. It also only contains a mere 460 calories! Who says eating healthy has to be a struggle when your food looks – and tastes – this good?

Ingredients: 

For the dressing:

1/4 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 tablespoon Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon honey

For the salad:

2 beets, scrubbed
1 teaspoon Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
85g of 3 raw chicken breast
1/2 apple, washed and diced
2 cups raw spinach (or arugula)
28g of raw cheese
5 pecans, chopped

Time needed: 1 hour

Get the full recipe here.

6. Tiger Prawn Aglio Olio


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You can never really go wrong with an Aglio Olio recipe. Afterall, it’s one of the most foolproof pasta recipes out there. As this recipe adapted from Noob Cooks suggests, even if you have the culinary experience of a 10 year old, you’d still be able to whip up this Tiger Prawn Aglio Olio in just 6 steps.

Ingredients: 

  • 160-180g of Naturel Organic Spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons of Naturel Pure Olive Oil
  • 40g Naturel Soft Margarine, evenly divided
  • 10 to 12 tiger prawns
  • 10 cloves garlic peeled and sliced or roughly chopped (not too finely)
  • 2 chilli padi sliced (may substitute with 1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes)
  • 30g parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

You can also check out other variations of this recipe here.

Time needed: 30 min

7.  Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

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If you think that salads are only cut out for those willing to sacrifice all their favourite dishes and go on a diet, you are sorely mistaken. Not only are salads easy to prepare, they’re a great source of protein, fibre and nutrients! Learn how to make this quick and easy salad in just 2 steps here.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to half inch thickness
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6-8 cups mixed greens
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 onion thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup pecans, halves
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbled
  • 2 cups apple chips

Time needed: 15 min

8. Lemon Chicken Rice 

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If the usual chicken rice fare is starting to bore you, how about switching things up with this zesty lemon chicken rice recipe? All you have to do is marinate the chicken in Naturel’s Pure Olive Oil and set it aside, while you cook up the rice. Thereafter, coat the chicken in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, thyme and oregano; and bake for 30 – 40 minutes.

Plate the chicken over a steaming bed of rice, pour the sauce generously over the top, sprinkle some fresh parsley – and you’re done!

Ingredients:

300g boneless skinless chicken thighs
8 tablespoons Naturel Pure Olive Oil
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 lemon, cut into thin slices
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt & pepper
chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Total time: 40 mins

Get the full recipe here.

9. Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

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I thank the genius who decided to combine the two things I love – pasta and salad.  This sun-dried tomato pasta recipe adapted from Popsugar, makes the perfect packed lunch as it can be eaten both hot and cold. Tossed with a splash olive oil, red wine vinegar, and topped off with as many cherry tomatoes as you’d like – you can whip up this delicious pasta salad in just 3 steps.

Ingredients: 

  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and divided
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g cooked Naturel Organic Macaroni
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup olives, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

Time needed: 25 mins

Get the full recipe from Popsugar here.

10. Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad

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Any dish that’s sweet and sour works for me. Sweet and sour fish, sweet and sour pork, you name it – I love it. So, sweet and sour broccoli salad? You’ve got my full attention. Rich in vitamin C and a great antioxidant, Broccoli is a power veggie that also helps to lower cholesterol. So if you’re thinking about wolfing down that plate of char kway teow – think again. You won’t be left feeling guilty and greasy after this light and refreshing salad!

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup of sweet and sour sauce
3 small stalks of broccoli, cleaned, cut into small florets and blanched
1 tablespoon of Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Black sesame seeds for garnish
One handful of roasted cashews
2 spring onions, sliced

Get the full recipe here.

Lunches made simple 

There you have it, 10 lunch box ideas that will make packing lunch completely foolproof.

If you still need a little help in the kitchen, Naturel Extra Virgin Olive Oil will be there to save the day.

Knowing your olive oil

We’ve all been told that olive oil is “healthy fat”, but that doesn’t automatically make all olive oils equal. In order to reap the full benefits they have to offer, make sure to always go for extra virgin olive oil. Pure, untreated and full of antioxidants – extra virgin olive oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties, that help to fight diseases and prevent obesity.

But with so many refined olive oils in the market that pass off as extra virgin olive oils, buying a good brand of olive oil can be tricky. Naturel Olive Oil undergoes stringent quality controls from sourcing to bottling, and was awarded the Superior Taste Award 2015 by the International Taste and Quality Institute (Brussels).

It also comes from a single source origin that is Andalucia, Spain – the largest producer of olive oil in the world. You know you’re getting the real deal!

Using the right kind of olive oil when you cook, is half the battle won. Now that you’ve expanded your database of recipes, it’s time to put your culinary skills to the test. Bon appétit!

See Naturel’s range of cooking products here!


This post was brought to you by Naturel.