Lunchbox – baked sweet potato three ways

The one thing my friends and family always ask for is lunch inspiration and I completely get it! Spending £5 (at least) on a salad that’s reasonably uninspiring but the only alternative to a sandwich isn’t exactly an exciting lunch. And yes, healthy food chains are popping up everywhere in London and that’s great, but they’re expensive and not an option day after day. For those very reasons I have always made my own lunches at home, but keeping it new and interesting and more importantly, simple, can be hard.

One of the easiest things to prep, I think, are baked sweet potatoes. Chuck 3 or 4 in the oven at the weekend or once you get home from work and cook for an hour while you eat your dinner or get on with other things. Then top with whatever you have in the fridge.

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The following three toppings are my favourites, but something as simple as diced tomatoes, cucumber and red onion will taste just as delicious. I recommend you prepare the toppings the night before and pop into the fridge ready to be assembled in the morning. You can also save a portion of most weekday dinners and chuck that on the top too – see further suggestions below.

The sweet potatoes (without toppings) will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. For the tastiest results, add the toppings in the morning – no one wants a soggy potato!

 

Pea and mint smash with feta and avocado

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Ingredients

  • 2 pre-cooked sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) and cook for at least one hour or until soft and fluffy in the centre – they might need longer depending on size. Can be served warm or stored in the fridge and for lunch the next day.

  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 75g feta, crumbled
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Handful of mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Serves 2

Method

  1. Pop the peas into a small bowl and pour over boiling water until covered. Allow the peas to sit for 5 minutes or so to defrost. Once fully thawed, drain the peas and run under cold water until cool.
  2. Meanwhile, pop the avocado into a bowl and cover in the lemon juice. Add the feta, mint, olive oil and salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the peas and stir again.
  3. Slice the sweet potatoes lengthways and top with the pea and mint smash.

 

Harissa roasted chickpeas with tomato salsa and tahini yoghurt

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Ingredients

  • 2 pre-cooked sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) and cook for at least one hour or until soft and fluffy in the centre – they might need longer depending on size. Can be served warm or stored in the fridge and for lunch the next day.

  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 1 tsp harissa spice or paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Serves 2 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Combine the harissa spice/paste with the olive oil and some salt and pepper and use to coat the chickpeas. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the yoghurt dressing by combining the natural yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. To make the tomato salsa, simply combine the diced tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, some salt and pepper and the fresh coriander and parsley.
  4. Slice the sweet potatoes lengthways and top with the chickpeas, salsa and tahini yoghurt.

 

Vegan* red lentil chilli

*I served this dish with a dollop of natural yoghurt when styling, as I don’t follow a vegan diet. This is not compulsory and the recipe is otherwise 100% vegan.

 

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Ingredients

  • 2 pre-cooked sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) and cook for at least one hour or until soft and fluffy in the centre – they might need longer depending on size. Can be served warm or stored in the fridge and for lunch the next day.

  • Plus ingredients from the recipe link below.

Click here for the recipe. The quantities used in the recipe feed 6-8 so you can either halve everything to make enough for 3-4, or make a whole load and freeze for future lunches. I always do the latter.

 

Other suggestions

  • Tomato salsa with diced tomatoes, cucumber, red onion/spring onion and fresh herbs – you can also add responsibly sourced tuna to this
  • Last night’s* spaghetti bolognese
  • Last night’s* stir fry veg with soy sauce, cashews and sesame seeds
  • Last night’s* casserole
  • Harissa lamb and mint raita – an adapt of this harissa lamb flatbreads recipe
  • Smokey baked beans – click here for recipe
  • Salsa verde with a side of avocado – click here for recipe
  • Beef, carrot and mushroom stew – click here for recipe
  • Cauliflower and chickpea curry – click here for recipe
  • Lemon, garlic and coriander lentil salad – an adapt of this tuna steak and lentil salad recipe
  • *Working on the assumption that these are popular weekday dinners

 

Samantha x

 

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